Honesty while interviewing

New sAhf28
Feb 11 25 Comments

What's the deal with it? I'm looking for comments from people who can speak on both sides.

In my opinion, you shouldn't need to tell the interviewer if you've already seen the question/ asked the question. This is almost equivalent to sitting in an exam and not solving a question just because you know how to solve it.

In case I mention that I've seen the question, I'm not given any points for my morality, nor is it going to compensate for any low points I may have had during the interview. I'd lose the job either way.

If I have a chance in securing it, why would I go out of my way to hurt my chances?

Edit- where would you draw the line now if you are asked the same question twice while interviewing with the same company? This seems like a pretty hypothetical scenario, but humor me.

CMV. Please 😄

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TOP 25 Comments
  • Microsoft bsVL13
    Been on both sides of it. Don’t be honest.
    Don’t blurt out the optimal right away - that’s a dead giveaway hint to them. Pretend to struggle. Take your time. Mention the brute force. Talk out loud. Then lead into your optimal after a few minutes.

    It’s their fault for not coming up with unique questions. Not your fault for being prepared.
    Feb 112
    • Facebook / EngSegTree
      What if they came up with a unique question and then someone leaked it?
      Feb 11
    • Microsoft Desitechie
      If everyone came up with unique questions and changed them say every year, the probability of passing all the rounds because you've heard the question before goes way down
      Feb 12
  • Walmart.com ToKL28
    Did anyone directly asked you if you've seen this question? If not, then why would you screw yourself by pushing the interviewer to switch to the question he is unprepared to ask??
    Feb 112
    • New sAhf28
      OP
      Even if someone did, won't agreeing to it still change the course of the interview?
      Feb 11
    • Walmart.com ToKL28
      The question is about honesty. There is no point in honestly answering the question, which nobody asked.
      Feb 11
  • Pure Storage iSSk05
    Always pretend like you never seen the question. Don’t be a sucker.
    Feb 110
  • Microsoft / Engbro12
    Even if for no other reason, the interviewers can often tell if you're regurgitating a known answer (at companies like Google, detecting this is part of interview training). They won't always tell you that they know but it could be part of their feedback.
    Feb 115
    • Amazon / Eng:!
      Good to know Google does this. That’s creepy
      Feb 11
    • Pure Storage iSSk05
      You can’t accurately detect when a person has seen the question or knows the answer. You can only guess... I think you’re lying to yourself if you think you can.
      Feb 11
    • Microsoft / Engbro12
      You're right, nobody can always detect it, but how do you know whether they could this time?
      Feb 11
    • New sAhf28
      OP
      Why is that a deciding factor? Do they want you to not be able to solve the problem? Seems like in that case, you'd still end up with a negative review
      Feb 11
    • Facebook tGTv63
      So I don't think that's a deciding factor. The point is to see how you think through the problem. If we can't get a signal on that then there is a miss.
      At the same time, I don't know if asking LC hard, if the expectation is realistic. So
      Feb 11
  • Microsoft Desitechie
    If you are asked a question that you think is too tough, just say you've seen it before 😝😝
    Feb 111
    • New / Enganagram
      Bad idea
      Bad bad idea
      Feb 12
  • Amazon RCRV46
    Interviewers *think* they know when you’re regurgitating an answer but I’ve been in positions where I was asked a problem I’ve never solved before, solved it relatively quickly and coded fast, and the interviewer suspected that I had seen it before.... like sorry bro, I know my shit

    With that said, I would only tell the interviewer that I’ve solved it before / know the answer if
    1. I knew FOR SURE that I was aware of the optimal solution. You’d certainly lose the job if you say you know the answer and what you present is suboptimal.
    2. I could easily communicate the solution so that a 10 year old could understand it.

    Without that, I would just walk through the problem and if I came to a point where I gauged that I answered too easily / interviewer suspects me of knowing, then I would mention “I think I’ve seen this pattern applied to similar problems before”

    No harm done, you used past experience to solve it which is what you do irl
    Feb 110
  • Microsoft bsVL13
    Same question in same loop? Yeah I probably will tell him I just got this question and gave him a weird look as to make them look like they are disorganized. I assume they will debrief, and you don’t want to take the chance there.
    Feb 114
    • New sAhf28
      OP
      Interesting. How is that different from the previous scenario? Isn't it still them who are preparing the questions? I guess what I'm getting to is, why does morality end up becoming a deciding factor?

      Similar to the previous instance, suppose I tell them and they give me a harder question which I don't end up solving, I'm still at loss
      Feb 11
    • Amazon / Englegend
      At least in Amazon, people write detailed feedback including question and answer which is read by all interviewers during debrief. It will come as a red flag that you didn't call it out.
      If you get a different question it may be simpler as well. However, if you are flagged as dishonest, there is no chance.
      Feb 11
    • Microsoft bsVL13
      First I’m all for being honest. Interviewers I know will fail you for being dishonest. That is just the way things are.

      In the first case - there are no positives for being honest. If you act well they will not be able to tell. Either that or try a harder question that you haven’t seen. Your choice :)

      In the second case - interviewers will talk during debrief. If they find out you heard an identical question without letting them know, that can be seen as being dishonest. Don’t put yourself in that situation. Not worth it.
      Feb 11
    • New sAhf28
      OP
      Totally. I completely agree. This is just something I've discussed with friends a couple of times and there have been instances where people told me they've been asked the same question in their both phone screen and onsite interviews. ( even at MS :) )

      Now they could just easily be bragging or making stuff up. I'll never know. It's just a little intriguing for me think about what the entire HC was doing when they hired this person :D
      Feb 11
  • Flagged by the community.

  • Varian Medical / Product
    NzLh55

    Varian MedicalProduct

    PRE
    Apple
    NzLh55more
    If they didn’t write the test question themselves why should they be upset that you did research, studied, and prepared?

    Either the question is bullshit (ok we all know it’s bullshit but nobody will admit it) and not representative of the kind of stuff you need to know.… or by studying and learning solutions in advance you’ve gained valuable knowledge to the kind of problems they will want you to solve.
    Feb 110
  • Google tsukino
    "Is your model fitted to the test data?" (data snooping beyond training subset)
    Feb 110
  • VMware codejunkie
    If I’ve understood the problem and how to solve it (not memorized the solution), then I don’t see any reason for telling the interviewer.
    If it’s a problem that needs you know some rare concept/algorithm I’d tell the interviewer that I know the concept/algorithm.
    Interviewing needs some luck anyway!
    Feb 110

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