This set of questions came from a prominent gaming company. As you can see, the answers are not given (the interviews are typically conducted by senior developers), but there’s a set of notes with common mistakes to avoid.

  1. Explain which of the following declarations will compile and what will be constant - a pointer or the value pointed at:
    • const char *
    • char const *
    • char * const

Note: Ask the candidate whether the first declaration is pointing to a string or a single character. Both explanations are correct, but if he says that it’s a single character pointer, ask why a whole string is initialized as char* in C++. If he says this is a string declaration, ask him to declare a pointer to a single character. Competent candidates should not have problems pointing out why const char* can be both a character and a string declaration, incompetent ones will come up with invalid reasons.

  1. You’re given a simple code for the class BankCustomer. Write the following functions:
    • Copy constructor
    • = operator overload
    • == operator overload
    • + operator overload (customers’ balances should be added up, as an example of joint account between husband and wife)

Note:Anyone confusing assignment and equality operators should be dismissed from the interview. The applicant might make a mistake of passing by value, not by reference. The candidate might also want to return a pointer, not a new object, from the addition operator. Slightly hint that you’d like the value to be changed outside the function, too, in the first case. Ask him whether the statement customer3 = customer1 + customer2 would work in the second case.

  1. What problems might the following macro bring to the application?

#define sq(x) x*x

Consider the following struct declarations:

struct A { A(){ cout << \"A\"; } };
struct B { B(){ cout << \"B\"; } };
struct C { C(){ cout << \"C\"; } };
struct D { D(){ cout << \"D\"; } };
struct E : D { E(){ cout << \"E\"; } };
struct F : A, B
C c;
D d;
E e;
F() : B(), A(),d(),c(),e() { cout << \"F\"; }

What constructors will be called when an instance of F is initialized? Produce the program output when this happens.

Anything wrong with this code?

T *p = new T[10];
delete p;

Note: Incorrect replies: “No, everything is
correct”, “Only the first element of the array will be deleted”, “The entire
array will be deleted, but only the first element destructor will be called”.

Anything wrong with this code?

T *p = 0;
delete p;

Note: Typical wrong answer: Yes, the program
will crash in an attempt to delete a null pointer. The candidate does not understand
. A very smart candidate will ask whether delete is
overloaded for the class T.

  1. Explain virtual
    inheritance. Draw the diagram explaining the initialization of the base
    class when virtual inheritance is used.

    Note: Typical mistake for applicant is to draw an inheritance
    diagram, where a single base class is inherited with virtual methods.
    Explain to the candidate that this is not virtual inheritance. Ask them
    for the
    classic definition of virtual inheritance
    . Such question might be too
    complex for a beginning or even intermediate developer, but any applicant
    with advanced C++ experience should be somewhat familiar with the concept,
    even though he’ll probably say he’d avoid using it in a real project.
    Moreover, even the experienced developers, who know about virtual
    inheritance, cannot coherently explain the initialization process. If you
    find a candidate that knows both the concept and the initialization
    process well, he’s hired.
  2. What’s potentially wrong
    with the following code?
long value;
//some stuff
value &= 0xFFFF;

Note: Hint to the candidate about the base
platform they’re developing for. If the person still doesn’t find anything
wrong with the code, they are not experienced with C++.

  1. What does the following
    code do and why would anyone write something like that?
void send (int *to, int * from, int count)
int n = (count + 7) / 8;
switch ( count%8)
case 0: do { *to++ = *from++;
case 7: *to++ = *from++;
case 6: *to++ = *from++;
case 5: *to++ = *from++;
case 4: *to++ = *from++;
case 3: *to++ = *from++;
case 2: *to++ = *from++;
case 1: *to++ = *from++;
} while ( --n > 0 );
  1. In the H file you see the
    following declaration:
class Foo {
void Bar( void ) const ;

Tell me all you know about the Bar() function.