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What to Do and What to Avoid? Nikolay Kostov academy.telerik.com Technical Trainer Telerik Academy.

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Presentation on theme: "What to Do and What to Avoid? Nikolay Kostov academy.telerik.com Technical Trainer Telerik Academy."— Presentation transcript:

1 What to Do and What to Avoid? Nikolay Kostov academy.telerik.com Technical Trainer Telerik Academy

2 1. What is a Job Interview? 2. Preparation for an Interview 3. Typical Interview Questions and Answers for Software Engineers Classical Questions Classical Questions Technical Questions Technical Questions Non-Technical (Personality) Questions Non-Technical (Personality) Questions Questions to Ask Questions to Ask 4. Typical Mistakes and How to Avoid Them? 2

3 A Stressful Situation or a Chance to Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Skills?

4 A job interview is a meeting aimed to assess a candidate for a certain job position A job interview is a meeting aimed to assess a candidate for a certain job position The candidate should prove he or she is the right person for the offered position The candidate should prove he or she is the right person for the offered position The interviewers asses the skills of the candidate and his or her personality The interviewers asses the skills of the candidate and his or her personality By questions and small tasks By questions and small tasks The candidate tries to prove his or her skills The candidate tries to prove his or her skills The candidate demonstrates his or her personal character The candidate demonstrates his or her personal character 4

5 The job interview is a stressful situation! The job interview is a stressful situation! You need to present yourself in the best way You need to present yourself in the best way In most cases candidates fail to demonstrate their skills due to stress In most cases candidates fail to demonstrate their skills due to stress How to overcome the stress? How to overcome the stress? Just be well prepared! Just be well prepared! Prepare yourself for the technical and non-technical questions Prepare yourself for the technical and non-technical questions Expect the questions and have good answers Expect the questions and have good answers 5

6 What is the Best Way to Prepare Yourself for an Upcoming Interview?

7 Once you have scheduled and interview, be sure to prepare yourself for it Once you have scheduled and interview, be sure to prepare yourself for it It is important to put enough effort in your interview preparation It is important to put enough effort in your interview preparation Half an hour is not enough, invest at least few days Half an hour is not enough, invest at least few days Steps to prepare for an interview Steps to prepare for an interview Research the company and the HRs Research the company and the HRs Research the offered position Research the offered position Prepare for technical questions Prepare for technical questions Prepare for personality questions Prepare for personality questions 7

8 Always research the company you apply for Always research the company you apply for You should expect a question at the interview like "What do you know about our company?" You should expect a question at the interview like "What do you know about our company?" If you answer "Nothing", you will fail If you answer "Nothing", you will fail If you say something incorrect, it is even worse If you say something incorrect, it is even worse How to find information? How to find information? Obligatory explore in details the company Web site, brochures, publications, ads, etc. Obligatory explore in details the company Web site, brochures, publications, ads, etc. Look for articles, blogs, forums, etc. Look for articles, blogs, forums, etc. Ask your friends what do they know Ask your friends what do they know 8

9 What information you should know? What information you should know? The company products / services portfolio The company products / services portfolio The target market and customers The target market and customers The technologies used in the development (e.g. C#, Silverlight, SQL Server, RIA Services, etc.) The technologies used in the development (e.g. C#, Silverlight, SQL Server, RIA Services, etc.) Download the products and play with them Download the products and play with them You will be asked what you know about the products related to your prospective job You will be asked what you know about the products related to your prospective job The company mission, vision, projects, etc. The company mission, vision, projects, etc. The corporate culture, corporate values The corporate culture, corporate values 9

10 Obligatory research the offered position, requirements, advantages and responsibilities Obligatory research the offered position, requirements, advantages and responsibilities You should research all mentioned products, services and technologies in the job description You should research all mentioned products, services and technologies in the job description E.g. if you see "Experience with Selenium is a plus", be sure to install and play with Selenium E.g. if you see "Experience with Selenium is a plus", be sure to install and play with Selenium Be sure to know all "unknown words and acronyms" in the job description Be sure to know all "unknown words and acronyms" in the job description Be ready to demonstrate skills and experience in the fields from the job description Be ready to demonstrate skills and experience in the fields from the job description 10

11 How to prepare for the technical questions? How to prepare for the technical questions? Typical general technical questions Typical general technical questions Data structures and algorithms Data structures and algorithms Logical thinking and puzzles Logical thinking and puzzles Software engineering questions Software engineering questions Object-oriented programming (OOP) Object-oriented programming (OOP) Specific questions for the offered position Specific questions for the offered position If the job description says "JSF and RichFaces", you should learn these technologies If the job description says "JSF and RichFaces", you should learn these technologies 11

12 How do you prepare for a certain technology? How do you prepare for a certain technology? Pass a course / tutorial / read a book / blog article about the unknown technology Pass a course / tutorial / read a book / blog article about the unknown technology Obligatory create a small project using the technology and play with it Obligatory create a small project using the technology and play with it This is the only way to get some real-life experience, live in a project This is the only way to get some real-life experience, live in a project If you have never used a certain technology (e.g. JSF) you cannot say you are prepared If you have never used a certain technology (e.g. JSF) you cannot say you are prepared The best way to learn it is by practicing The best way to learn it is by practicing 12

13 Typical Scenario for a Technical Interview

14 A technical interview for software engineer / IT professional consists of the following parts: A technical interview for software engineer / IT professional consists of the following parts: The candidate presents himself or herself The candidate presents himself or herself The interviewers present the company, its business, products, services, etc. The interviewers present the company, its business, products, services, etc. Technical assessment – solve few technical problems and demonstrate the way of thinking Technical assessment – solve few technical problems and demonstrate the way of thinking Personal character assessment Personal character assessment Negotiation – salary expectations, start date, … Negotiation – salary expectations, start date, … 14

15 Typical start of an interview: Typical start of an interview: The interviewers presents themselves The interviewers presents themselves Usually there is more than one interviewer Usually there is more than one interviewer HR (or HRs) and senior devs and / or team leaders HR (or HRs) and senior devs and / or team leaders The interviewer presents in short the company, his department, his team, the current and upcoming projects, technologies used, etc. The interviewer presents in short the company, his department, his team, the current and upcoming projects, technologies used, etc. Some companies skip this step and expect the candidate to know all this stuff Some companies skip this step and expect the candidate to know all this stuff 15 My name is … Our company is … bala-bla-bla … We are leader in … bla-bla-bla … Our products bla-bla-bla … Our projects … bla-bla-bla … We are the best!

16 Typical next step in an interview: Typical next step in an interview: The candidate is expected to say few words about himself / herself The candidate is expected to say few words about himself / herself Be prepared to talk minutes Be prepared to talk minutes Explain how did you start programming Explain how did you start programming Your last job and projects (if you have) Your last job and projects (if you have) Your current occupation (e.g. student at NBU) Your current occupation (e.g. student at NBU) How did you learn about the position and your motivation to apply How did you learn about the position and your motivation to apply 16 Present yourself in short – your relevant experience, education, how did you start programming, etc.

17 The technical assessment is one of the two most important parts of the interview The technical assessment is one of the two most important parts of the interview You will be given technical questions to answer and technical tasks to solve You will be given technical questions to answer and technical tasks to solve Always come with a pen and writing pad Always come with a pen and writing pad It is not so important whether you solve correctly the tasks or answer correctly It is not so important whether you solve correctly the tasks or answer correctly You should demonstrate your way of thinking! You should demonstrate your way of thinking! The interviewer wants to know how you attack the problem, not whether the result is correct The interviewer wants to know how you attack the problem, not whether the result is correct 17

18 You should demonstrate your way of thinking by saying what you think at the moment, e.g. You should demonstrate your way of thinking by saying what you think at the moment, e.g. Being silent for a minute while you think is evil! Being silent for a minute while you think is evil! 18 In C# which explain the fastest algorithm to sort a list of customers by their first name? … I know the build-in Array.Sort() method, but I am not sure it is the fastest. If I had a computer I would perform a Google search. For multi-core CPUs I could try the parallel sorting using LINQ with parallel extensions. I should either implement own comparer or use a lambda function to sort by the FirstName property.

19 Suppose you are given a simple problem like: Suppose you are given a simple problem like: The first thing to do it to get the writing pad and write an example! The first thing to do it to get the writing pad and write an example! This shows a correct and serious way of thinking This shows a correct and serious way of thinking By using the pen explain how you could randomize the sequence of cards By using the pen explain how you could randomize the sequence of cards Explain how you will represent a single card and a sequence of cards (data structures) Explain how you will represent a single card and a sequence of cards (data structures) Explain how you could test your solution Explain how you could test your solution 19 How do you can randomize a sequence of playing cards?

20 Assessment of your personal character qualities is very important for the company! Assessment of your personal character qualities is very important for the company! Good software companies will weight your personal skills more than your technical skills Good software companies will weight your personal skills more than your technical skills You will be asked somehow irrelevant questions that reveal your character, e.g. You will be asked somehow irrelevant questions that reveal your character, e.g. 20 Do you have experience working in a team? What do you prefer – being a leader or a player? Do you play some kind of sport? At what position? How do you react if you are about to miss a deadline?

21 At the personal assessment questions there is no correct or wrong answer At the personal assessment questions there is no correct or wrong answer Just be you Just be you Don't recite some other's words Don't recite some other's words Very important: be positive! Very important: be positive! Negative people are not welcome anywhere Negative people are not welcome anywhere Be confident Be confident Avoid saying "I don't know" Avoid saying "I don't know" Demonstrate willingness and ability to work in a harmony and with pleasure with the others Demonstrate willingness and ability to work in a harmony and with pleasure with the others 21

22 If your interview runs well, you will reach the "negotiation" part If your interview runs well, you will reach the "negotiation" part Salary expectations – always have a good answer Salary expectations – always have a good answer Eventual start date Eventual start date Other terms of the contract (bonuses, holidays, working time, etc.) Other terms of the contract (bonuses, holidays, working time, etc.) Companies don't like "money-driven" employees Companies don't like "money-driven" employees You should demonstrate motivation to work hard for long-term and continuously improve your skills You should demonstrate motivation to work hard for long-term and continuously improve your skills 22

23 Finally you will have a chance to ask your questions Finally you will have a chance to ask your questions Having no questions is not good Having no questions is not good Demonstrate interest to start working Demonstrate interest to start working Ask about your first project, about the development process, about your team, etc. Ask about your first project, about the development process, about your team, etc. Never ask about salary raises, bonuses, parking space, fitness and sport facilities, etc. Never ask about salary raises, bonuses, parking space, fitness and sport facilities, etc. You should demonstrate motivation to work hard, not claims You should demonstrate motivation to work hard, not claims 23

24 (for Junior Software Development Positions)

25 At a technical interview you will be given questions from several categories: At a technical interview you will be given questions from several categories: General questions General questions Technical questions Technical questions Abstract thinking questions Abstract thinking questions Personal character questions Personal character questions The "salary" question The "salary" question 25

26 Experience, Education, Future Plans

27 27 Where are you from? What High school have you graduated? What University have you graduated / studying now? When you started programming? How many books about computer programming you have read? What was the name of the last? Do you believe that computer programming is your passion and your future job? Can you work on full time (8 hours/day)? If not how many hours a week you can work?

28 28 What are your English skills? Can you freely talk on the telephone in English? What are your plans for the next few years? How you see your career after 2 or 3 years? How you inform yourself about new technologies? Do you read news or blogs? Which sites? Shall you study more after you graduate your current University degree? Maybe abroad? How will you describe your typical work day? What do you know about our company?

29 Algorithms, Databases, Web Technologies, Etc.

30 Algorithms and data structures: Algorithms and data structures: 30 Explain what is a hash-table and how it works. Explain how the QuickSort works. How fast is it? You are given a set of words. Find all their subsets. Can you draw a picture of a linked list? You have to implement a Web spider which runs on a cluster of machines. How you will design it? Explain how polymoprhism works in the object-oriented programming (OOP)? What is typical for the Strings in C# / Java / PHP?

31 Databases and SQL: Databases and SQL: 31 What is database constraint? How constraints work? You have a table consisting of: EmployeeId (PK), Name, Salary, ManagerId (FK), DeptId (FK). Write a SQL query to find the name, salary and department of the employee that has minimal salary in his/her department. If many employees take the minimal salary, display just one of them. How we implement one-to-many and many-to-many relationship in relational databases? When we use "1 x 1" relationships in database modelling? Give an example.

32 XML questions: XML questions: Multithreading questions: Multithreading questions: 32 How we execute multiple tasks in the same time in C#? What is the difference between DOM, SAX and StAX parsers for XML? How you use DOM in C# / Java / PHP? What is XPath and how it works? Give an example. How you use Xpath in C# / Java / PHP? You have to download 500 files from Internet but your network bandwidth is not too wide to handle 500 downloads simultaneously so you want to download the files by 10 at a time. How you implement this?

33 Web development questions (front-end): Web development questions (front-end): 33 Explain the meaning of the following CSS rule:.newscolumn { width: 400px; width: 400px; float: left; float: left; clear: both; clear: both;} Explain the difference between HTTP GET and POST requests. We have a element in a HTML page which is visible. How to hide the with JavaScript? How to do the above in jQuery?

34 Web development questions (server side): Web development questions (server side): 34 What is custom tag / user control in a ASP.NET / Java based Web application? How it works? When we need this technology? How you could implement a shopping cart in ASP.NET / Java / PHP? What is AJAX and how it works? How we use AJAX in ASP.NET / jQuery / PHP / Java based Web application? We have a list of products that have name, price and photo. We need to display them in a Web application. Describe the steps to do this in ASP.NET / Java / PHP. How we implement URL rewriting in ASP.NET / Java Web application / PHP?

35 Software engineering questions: Software engineering questions: 35 What is source control repository? Which source control software you have used and when? What is software requirements specification (SRS)? What is the typical structure of such document? What is unit testing? When we need it? What unit testting frameworks you have used? How the continous integration works? Explain what is agile development. What is SCRUM? Explain the most important practices of SCRUM.

36 Puzzles, Unsolvable Problems, Etc.

37 Questions in the category "abstract thinking" aim to check the level of alertness, ability to think and to attack unsolvable problems Questions in the category "abstract thinking" aim to check the level of alertness, ability to think and to attack unsolvable problems In some cases there is no correct answer and your task is to demonstrate your thinking In some cases there is no correct answer and your task is to demonstrate your thinking 37 Estimate how many gas stations exist in Sofia. Do you see the tree outside on the street? Can you calculate how many leaves it has? You have 8 balls. One of them is defective and weighs less than others. You have a balance to measure balls against each other. In 2 weighings how do you find the defective one?

38 Your Best and Worst Qualities, Ability to Work in a Team, How do you Handle a Stressful Situation?

39 Questions to assess your personal character: Questions to assess your personal character: 39 Describe the ideal software company from your dreams. Can you describe an ideal collague / team member? What are your 5 best personal character qualities? What are your 5 worst personal character qualities? What kind of sport do you practice? At which position do you play? What shall you do if you have a deadline until tomorrow and your project is not completed? How do you resolve a conflict with a colleague?

40 Questions to assess your personal character: Questions to assess your personal character: 40 Do you prefer to work independently or in a team? Give some examples of a team work from your experience. Describe a difficult work situation / project you have experienced and how you overcame it. What does motivate you and what does not? How do you handle stress and pressure? How you can evaluate your results. What is success?

41 Questions to assess your personal character: Questions to assess your personal character: 41 What were your responsibilities at your last job / last project? What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them? Why are you leaving your current job? What interests you about this job? What challenges are you looking for in this position? Why we need to hire you, not someone else?

42 How to Answer in the Best Way?

43 The typical salary question is like this? The typical salary question is like this? Your answer should demonstrate that your work is more important than the payment Your answer should demonstrate that your work is more important than the payment Examples of possible answers: Examples of possible answers: 43 What salary do you expect? I don't care about the payment. I want to work at the company for long-term and I believe that if my results are good I will be paid accordingly. I understand that I have to learn a lot. Thus now I think I could start with a salary of XXX leva and in a year I expect to become more skillful and get a pay rise of YYY (or be fired if I don't meet your expectations).

44 You always talk about a net salary (after all the taxes are deducted) for a full-time job (8 hours) You always talk about a net salary (after all the taxes are deducted) for a full-time job (8 hours) Some candidates will say: Some candidates will say: Some companies have a policy for this case: Some companies have a policy for this case: Most companies will force you to say a certain number and you should say something – be ready! Most companies will force you to say a certain number and you should say something – be ready! 44 I don't know what salary to expect. Please make an offer for me. You will be a junior developer (trainee). For this position our salary range is from XXX to YYY leva.

45 Typical net salary ranges (Sofia, January 2012 ) for full-time software engineer jobs: Typical net salary ranges (Sofia, January 2012 ) for full-time software engineer jobs: Junior.NET / Java developer – leva Junior.NET / Java developer – leva Junior PHP / Web site developer – leva Junior PHP / Web site developer – leva Junior QA engineer – leva Junior QA engineer – leva Junior support officer – leva Junior support officer – leva Junior system administrator – leva Junior system administrator – leva After a years you could expect twice After a years you could expect twice Senior developer (4-5 years) – leva Senior developer (4-5 years) – leva 45

46 One Wrong Word Could Spoil the Deal!

47 Never say bad words about former employers, colleagues, etc. (dont hate anyone) Never say bad words about former employers, colleagues, etc. (dont hate anyone) Always be positive! Always be positive! Typical "catch-you" question Typical "catch-you" question Possible nice answer: Possible nice answer: 47 Did you have colleagues or classmates who you can't stand? What were they? Why you can't stand them? Generally I can stand anyone. I don't like too much XXX kind of people but if I need to work in a team with such colleagues I will defenitely find a way.

48 Generally all kinds of inadequate claims or pretentions are evil Generally all kinds of inadequate claims or pretentions are evil Requesting too high salary, too high position, too short work-time (less than 8 hours / day) Requesting too high salary, too high position, too short work-time (less than 8 hours / day) Being negative about something or someone Being negative about something or someone Be positive, be successful, be skillful, be professional, don't blame somebody else! Be positive, be successful, be skillful, be professional, don't blame somebody else! You should demonstrate high motivation to work hard for long-term You should demonstrate high motivation to work hard for long-term Anything confirming the opposite is harmful Anything confirming the opposite is harmful 48

49 Requesting too high salary Requesting too high salary Requesting too high position for a start Requesting too high position for a start You should always show willingness to work for a long-term You should always show willingness to work for a long-term 49 This is my first job and I want to start with 1800 leva net salary because I am very smart and experienced. I will work in your company for few months and will go abroad for a better job after I get some experience. I want to start a job at some management position because I have graduated University in UK.

50 Putting university / exams as your first priority Putting university / exams as your first priority You could say the same in a better way You could say the same in a better way 50 I want to start working but my University education is my first priority. Thus I will be unable to come at work each Tuesday and each Wednesday and when I have tests, exams and projects. My first priority is my job. In the same time I have some commitments in the University but I am flexible to do my best to move them out of working time. Sometimes (e.g. once monthly) I will have to take tests / exams in the University and I hope we could find a way to avoid harmful consequences for my projects at work due to my eventual absence. Do you think this would be possible?

51 Do not Come Late, Usual Dressing, …

52 Be sure to come exactly at the appointed time Be sure to come exactly at the appointed time Not earlier, not later! Not earlier, not later! Eventually come 5 minutes ahead Eventually come 5 minutes ahead Dressing code Dressing code Be sure to come with clean dresses and shoes Be sure to come with clean dresses and shoes Dress yourself in your everyday style Dress yourself in your everyday style Software engineers do not need to wear a suit Software engineers do not need to wear a suit If you are nervous, train for the interview If you are nervous, train for the interview 52

53 How to Answer Hard Interview Questions, Charlie Gibbs, 2nd Revised edition, 2009, ISBN: Programming Interviews Exposed: Secrets to Landing Your Next Job, John Mongan, Wrox, 2006, ISBN:

54 1. Read the recommended IT interviews book Find and read IT interview web sites in Internet Find and read IT interview web sites in Internet 2. Practice for a sample interview with friends Imagine you have applied for a certain job position in certain company Imagine you have applied for a certain job position in certain company Prepare for the interview following our guidelines Prepare for the interview following our guidelines Try to play the "interviewer" role Try to play the "interviewer" role Try to play the "candidate" role Try to play the "candidate" role 54

55 3. Try to go to few interviews (just for practicing) Find in Internet a job opening related to you skills and interests, prepare and submit a job application Find in Internet a job opening related to you skills and interests, prepare and submit a job application Choose a small company where you don't want really to work (some day) Choose a small company where you don't want really to work (some day) Never say to the interviewer you are just practicing, just for fun Never say to the interviewer you are just practicing, just for fun Practicing interview will reduce your stress, will increase your self-confidence and gain experience Practicing interview will reduce your stress, will increase your self-confidence and gain experience 55

56 Questions?

57 Thank You!


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