Number of times in 20 years outside of a job interview I've had to implement a Linked List: 0)IMHO Google, Facebook et al are largely the cause of the current recruiting mess because companies who don't understand what makes a good employee for their company have been cargo-culting Google, Facebook et al in the hope that will "make it rain" for them.
You can't look for an answer if you don't know what question to ask.
Or did you sit next to that awesome person on a team at your last job and just goof off all day and now put everything that guy did on your resume?
I'd love to have any means of better answering that question than going with "did you pay attention in class/last few jobs?
" sorts of questions like "Can you work with this linked list on a white board" simple programming problems, but right now I don't know a better way.
So I don't consider programming puzzles meaningless on the assumption that the guy who slacked off won't do well with them while the guy who paid attention and loves to program will know and demonstrate a thing or two.
Won't it have been better to simply concoct another piece of code with the bug they fixed and see if they can spot it with the familiarity of someone who's seen something like it before.