A feedback for my application at crossover


#1

what is this?

this is a readme file I've sent over to a tech trial application I was assigned while applying for a job at crossover. they asked me to deliver a complex dummy application made from scratch within 3 days, and I simply couldn't do it in such short and surprising notice. in retrospect I probably could have predicted it before I pressed the start process button, but I didn't.

so, below, there's the file at its integrity. picture you're the examiner getting basically this single file instead of sources and screen recordings as requested and, like the examiner probably will, just ignore it. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

disclaimer

maybe I'm being too verbose here, I’m writing most phrases first letters with lower case to kind of separate what I’m personally writing now from anything else and make a writing style.

my whole delivery here is not meant to be evaluated.

I’ve contacted support early on and decided I’ll apply later for another position.

right below, quoted, there is my reasoning for giving up on the process this time. I’ve sent it to support yesterday, when there was little more than 2 days still left, on Wednesday July 1st 12:34 gmt. Unedited and adapted to markdown:

There was just not enough information before starting the tech trial 3 days period.

And I've got enough experience to know I won't be able to finish it in a good manner within that timeframe. But that's not to say I couldn't do it. At all. It's just a combination of many factors, including that lack of information. Had I knew before hand what I would need (windows, visual studio, sql, etc), I would've postponed the beginning to next Monday.

I'm way too flooded with many things going on.

For one, I'm on a mac, with no access to a windows machine and it's been a while since I've used .NET with MVC (so I would really need to use all the time given to get to a good result).

If you really want me to give me a new assignment for Monday (maybe just switch me to Java) I could make a commitment... But, since we've got to this point, I rather ask you to consider my different application. I will upload a clever solution, later on.

Another thing is I only ever intended applying for this job to start in September, when I'll be finished moving from Brazil to Portugal. Yeah, next week I may have no good internet access at home, as part of this moving process. This is one big reason why I rushed a bit trying to finish this process now.

Finally, I really want to invest all my time until then with a very important personal project. Right now I'm choosing to codename it either cregox sam or sargix, which you'll soon be able to google for if you really want to know more.

In any case, I'm still quite interested in this opportunity so please let me know if we can move forward! wink

honestly

I’ve got over 20 years of deep computer experience. It have been over 15 years I started as a professional programmer, before I was even 18, in a country where computers are still quite rare in schools.

I know how to do every single thing asked there, but I’ve got no current experience with any of it. Regardless, I could certainly get something working, and probably complete the full task with some excellence, if I had the environment ready. sometimes such trivial things can become surprisingly and increasingly difficult, and I already knew that as well.

I haven’t completely gave up on trying, I just could find no good solution for getting me a windows machine through those 3 days. that’s how difficult things are in my current position.

analysis

here are some parts from the request, followed by my comments.

Preconditions

  1. You should work on your local machine.
  2. You may use Visual Studio 2010 to 2013.
  3. You may use SQL Server 2008 to 2014 (Main or Express edition).

I believe this should have been said before we need to accept the challenge. the whole process wasn’t asking anything from my local machine so far, and this is basically what threw me off the process.

  • Create the architecture and design of a custom XXX system. Implement the system's services and applications.

sounds fair.

useless work to be thrown away, since you expect 3 days of work, but fair.

here’s the problem, though: you’re throwing away your best candidates unless they make less money than you offer. and you’re letting it pass the worst ones, who already had something similar ready.

why not using the candidates expertise instead? check the work the candidate have done already! why trying to make the candidate convey with your standards? you’re not really going after the 20% top people this way, imho.

this is a big reason I keep feeling I shouldn’t even bother wasting my time applying, honestly. I’m not even sure why I bother, I probably shouldn’t. and probably nobody is reading this far anyway. maybe the bigger reason I’m trying is I’m still very lost in my career positioning, although that will change soon enough.

not sorry if I’m being too bluntly honest, even if mostly with criticisms! I really do love transparency. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

  • It cannot use any 3rd party XXX frameworks, not even open source ones.

also fair. after all, that’s exactly what you’re asking to build.

  • Do not use any existing JavaScript framework.

that doesn’t make any sense. in reality it’s more important knowing if the candidate can use frameworks and libraries and every resource available to their advantage.

  • Even if you are not able to complete all the tasks, try to achieve a working system.
  • Add missing requirements to the implementation, according to your experience.

best and most reasonable rules in the whole request.

  • Design.doc with needed diagrams

please, don’t ever ask of top 20% engineers to use DOC! most will probably hate you for this. this is way unnecessary for the task required here.

bottom line

I understand this whole process exists both to filter and qualify candidates, and I haven’t even got to talk with a human being yet. that part makes a lot of sense to be able to find the top candidates, from an HR and its resources point of view. but not so much from the candidate point of view.

this conflict of interests makes the whole proposition behind crossover a bit dubious to me, but I still found the process appealing enough to try. maybe I shouldn’t. while I’m confused about it, and got time to try, I’ll keep trying, in hope to be proved wrong! stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

waiting for talking to a person soon. cheers.


Don't know why I can't stop applying for jobs
Don't know why I can't stop applying for jobs
#2

Hi, I recently do the application for crossover but I can understand if a global candidate search, with many people around the world this is a open vacancy? why they can find the candidate? they is searching the best of best?


#3

Hey there Mr Punto.

I can't quite understand what's your point or any of your questions, but by next year I should be able to talk a bit more about crossover.

For now, I can say they did get in touch with me, thanks to this topic, about 2 months ago. It was one of the best feedbacks I've ever got for any of my online reaching out efforts, from mircea strugaru. He complimented me a lot for this and seem to really want me to join them. However...

Controversially, after many annoying attempts to schedule a voice meeting, he ended up making a proposal through email. On their side, he would give me "a second chance" to apply as soon as I wanted. On my side I should "write a set of improvements" for the application process, to the dev team.

Of course, I read all that really badly. It was basically asking me to reapply and start working right away "for free". He said it was "a second chance", I suppose because with that "offer" I wouldn't need to wait 6 months to try again. So I've made a counter proposal, in the same day: he pays me for my work, and in about 2 weeks I would get it done. Never heard back from him.

Now there he goes. A bit more of honest and hopefully constructive feedback for the "application process". :smile:


#5

Yeah, me too. It makes basically no sense to try reinventing certifications in a job application.

But, for practical purposes, in life we have to work with what was given us. And it's always frustrating if we keep hoping it could be perfect... I rather try to understand it because, well, the universe does have a perfection in it we just can't comprehend. :wink:


#6

After re-reading the mixed reviews on quora (got notifications by email), including an answer by Andy CEO, I must admit that I will probably try applying again, next month. Still, I sure wish the application process, among with other details, could be improved.

Here's from Andy:

What is the deal with your testing?
Unlike other firms, we do test everyone to ensure they are the best of the best. Our clients typically have 1000s of resumes thrown at them - so we enable people from around the world to differentiate themselves through these tests to 'stand out' and be hired. If you pass our tests - you typically get hired (I have several roles like my Chief Architect roles that I can guarantee you'd be hired at $100k/yr). But since many candidates don't put in the effort to pass - we end up getting upset people that they didn't get hired. I'd love to change that - but we're not going to lower our standards either. So a bit of a catch-22 situation.

If all they say is true, there's a very simple solution for the testing: make it into a certificate. Charge people for it, review every application properly.

As for the so called "terrible" monitoring tools, just drop them. They're an invitation for people who will want to tweak the system. Easier said than done, but there are much better ways to make things work. Unless, of course, the whole point of this is getting low quality work done... Which is a business on its own, and have a keyword assigned to it already: agencies. I speak badly of this because if this is the case, I simply don't want to participate.

The keywords to make it work is communication and transparency. Clients who are willing to give autonomy to the experts, and good professionals who will join for the long run - build a good steady standing project, right from the beginning. All filled with weekly sprints, deliveries and constant adjustments. I've had enough experience dealing with those on my own (to cite a few) and I do know what I'm talking about.

Granted, the time keeping tool, along with some reviews I heard from some crossover clients, who work with jira and gitflow workflow, sure have many upsides. And I never really managed anything that big... But that shouldn't stop me from trying my best! :smile:


#7

Hello.

I got to your post even before taking the test from Crossover and, being a Mac user, I was expecting it to be Windows based, but it was java.

Thanks to your post I was expecting something not doable in 3 days. Jackpot! After starting the trial I got the first surprise. There were two assignments, each one might take 3 trial days (not whole days) to complete. IMO the second assignment would suffice to assess ones skills. But...

Also, the first assignment text was a bit confusing. The solution would be simpler but my understanding is they wanted to see some coding. Maybe I made it more complex than they were expecting, I guess I'll never know.

I worked day and night, slept around 4 yours a day. And two days after submitting, I got a standard e-mail message saying it was rejected. Nothing else but this.

It was not only a shock but it sounded disrespectful. After putting so many hours in a trial, I was expecting a more detailed feedback. Either a technical feedback pointing where did I fall short or at least a score count per requirement. I do value feedback a lot and I feel like I have wasted 3 good days away from my daughter for nothing.


#8

Awesome!! :smiley:

I did manage to get in touch with Andy. This was his whole message:

Thanks for the email Caue and good luck on your application. Really appreciated your feedback.


#9

What an answer...

Anyway, Happy 2016 pal, and thanks again for sharing your experience.


#10

I don't blame him.

Writing emails to unknown people is usually a huge time waster. Reason why I bring everything to public.

But I bet he didn't really try understanding what I tried to say and I probably couldn't properly sum it up in short messages, as I should have.


#11

I am the skeptic type, I do believe in people's good will but this one looks like a template.

So far I got no answer from them too.


#12

Well, this is what I wrote him:

Thanks to the great salary promise, mixed reviews, this email conversation with Mircea and, maybe above all, hard times find employment / starting up my own biz, I'm still giving some thoughts of applying for a job in your company, mr Andy.

Please, do keep reading on /talk/t/a-feedback-for-my-application-at-crossover/7658/6 :wink:

Then, below that, I've attached the full conversation with Mircea... So, maybe it was my fault after all. I haven't realized this before. I'll try again now.


#13

Maybe I'll try again in a few months, but what troubles me is the lack of feedback of my test. If I don't know what the problem was, it's hard to guess what they want to see after all. Good luck and keep posting.


#14

This is what I've sent him now:


As for your lack of feedback, @Paulo_Pedroso, and as a thank you for those words I've quoted there (which led me to re-evaluate my email there)...

I've wrote some of this elsewhere, but can't remember where so I'll write again from memory:

They're trying to make an awesome certification exam without charging for it. The financial resources required to do it have to come from somewhere and, the fact they're not allocating money for it from where it should come (the interested candidate) already reveals the company got a lot of administrative issues. On top of it, my friend confirmed that lack of good managing with them.

Regardless of those issues, they're able to pull it off and make a very, very interesting movement in that whole software hiring / freelancing market. I really like a lot of things as I've already pointed and I think they still might have a huge potential in their hand, which might be going to waste. I've seen it many times in the past, including in the latest company I've worked (for 2 years), www.p3d.com.br - I wasn't just a programmer there, but it was still my main role and they would never care or listen to me for anything non software related. I bet if they did they'd still be up.

My friend who has a startup ( www.nelumbu.com.br ) is already asking me for Financial Advise - regardless of my complete inexperience in the area, 2 years down his startup road because, well, he trusts in my logical brain and calculation capacities.

I am something else, you see... Really nothing from the norm.

Just had the bad luck of not accomplishing any 1 single thing big enough for people to notice me. So far... :wink:

(look at my online presence, though, and you'll see something huge).


To openai: questions from an arrogant prick
#15

Fingers crossed.


#16

This reply wishing you luck in the application was in response to the email you sent below. Wishing you luck seemed like the appropriate response - was it not?

From: Caue Rego [email protected]
Subject: crossover
Date: December 22, 2015 at 3:30:01 AM CST
To: [email protected]

Thanks to the great salary promise, mixed reviews, this email conversation with Mircea and, maybe above all, hard times find employment / starting up my own biz, I'm still giving some thoughts of applying for a job in your company, mr Andy.

Please, do keep reading on /talk/t/a-feedback-for-my-application-at-crossover/7658/6 :wink:


#17

@Paulo_Pedroso - can you shoot me your email address? I'll have my team provide you with the detailed feedback on your tech trial deliverable. We need to get better on our side providing the detailed feedback (vs the few sentences we do today). Sorry for the lack of info - we'll fix it.


#18

Well, once again @Andy_Tryba , it feels as if you didn't really read whatever I wrote. For instance, don't know why you quoted my message there - as I've already done that.

If you're not interested in anything else I was trying to offer, then fine, just say it! :wink:

And then, absolutely appreciate the "good luck", good wishes and all time you've spent reading and even replying. :slightly_smiling:

You coming here, registering and posting a message = 1 googol (insanely big number) points in my score. :smiley:


#19

Actually - I've read all your messages as well as many of your blog posts (as part of this string and the others). I only reposted the response since my email response above was not in response to the message you posted prior to your post (but you did post it later). So it made it come across as if I were responding to the longer note... :slightly_smiling:


#20

All right. That's fantastic!


Thanks.

And good luck with crossover. Wish you all the best! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Oh, and as for the email quoting @Andy_Tryba, here's a hint: you could highlight the text and press "quote text". Works better this way.

( After this, I'll definitely try to apply as soon as I can - gotta clear up my head first and study hard :footprints: )


#21

Ah - thanks for the tip! And I'm happy to chat on Skype if you think the Software Engineering Manager role isn't the right fit and you think you'd be more interested in a Chief Architect position or something else along those lines. We have a variety of high skill roles that our customers are looking for that you may be a good fit for. But either way - good luck and feel free to reach out at anytime. I know we have a lot of improvement areas to make Crossover better - but I'm definitely committed to listening and learning - then quickly implementing. I'm passionate we can create this new world where location is completely independent to high-end, long term roles...