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How good are most job applicants?

I was recently contacted by a head hunter for a job I thought was worth investigating. I wanted to talk to the company directly, but the head hunter made it clear that Step 1 was always a web-based programming aptitude test, no matter who you were. 20 questions. 18 correct was considered passing. They would only talk to candidates who got 19 or 20 correct.

So I took the test and got 20 correct (as I imagine many would as well). I thought it was very easy. The headhunter later told me that in 9 months, she had sent 52 people to the test, only 2 of us got 19, and I was the only one who got 20.

I'm not really sure what this means. That there are a lot of posers out there? That she wasn't very good at screening talent? That the companies seeking the best talent gladly pay $100 for automated screening 50 times to save their time?

I guess my biggest feeling is one of disappointment. It's just not that hard to become a good-enough programmer to get 20 right every time. All it takes is study, passion, a lot of dedication, and a lot of hard work. I wish more people would do that. There aren't enough of us.

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