public class ben:harrell

June 7, 2006

Tech Interviews

Filed under: Careers, Technology — benjamin harrell @ 9:52 pm

Continuing with the “career” theme, I thought I would take a second to talk about tech interviews. I have done quite a few interviews and I have seen what I consider all types so I wanted to talk about the most common and see if anyone has experience with these interviews and perhaps any others that I missed. So here is the short list from easiest to most difficult!

1. The Conversation – This is usually a joke, if you can talk about a few things on your resume and some newer technologies without swallowing your tongue you are probably going to do well. The trick to this inteview is find out what peeks the interviewers interest and have a fun conversation about it. Don’t forget to plug yourself when appropriate, not in an awkward way but in the flow of the conversation. (ex. “I am very excited about C# generics, I used several strongly typed collections in my last project and can see the benefit.”)

2. The Behavioral – This interview type is a little different, you are given questions where you have to discuss situations. For example, “Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss and how you handled it.” The best way to handle these is to be truthful (duh!) but prepare for this one by answering some common questions in advance. Here are some links to sample questions:

http://www.quintcareers.com/sample_behavioral.html
http://www.brockport.edu/career/behave.htm
http://jobsearchtech.about.com/od/interview/a/behavioral.htm

3. The Quiz – This type of interview is really just a machine gun of questions about your past, projects, technologies, and pretty much any other trivia you can think of. It really helps to be prepared for this type of interview but in a pinch it is ok to say that you haven’t worked with a certain tech (if it isn’t on your resume) or to give the old “I remember reading about that but haven’t had a chance to use it, I’m sure I could find the answer pretty fast if needed.” Don’t be surprised if you get brain teasers and code on the whiteboard questions in this one. Don’t get too fancy on the whiteboard stick to pseudocode if not given a language and just make sure that you talk about what you are doing. When you get a brain teaser don’t just think about it and freeze up. Start making notes and talking about the problem, most interviewers don’t care too much about the answer just your process for getting it.

I hope these reviews help, feel free to leave a comment about interviews you have had and any tough questions you can remember.

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