5 Replies - 679 Views - Last Post: 03 November 2011 - 06:23 AM

#1 m-e-g-a-z  Icon User is offline

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Preparing for an interview

Posted 02 November 2011 - 10:17 AM

So i've got an interview with a well known international company as a graduate software engineer. For preparation, i'm going over my data structures book and reading up on stuff as well as doing problems i find on the Internet. I was wondering how do you all prepare for interviews? Since i could be asked anything from databases to network programming.
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Replies To: Preparing for an interview

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is online

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Re: Preparing for an interview

Posted 02 November 2011 - 10:21 AM

We search this thread for the 50 odd other times people have asked that.

Beyond that, there are numerous books on how to interview.
I think amazon even has some for "How to interview for IP positions" and "How to interview for programming jobs"

Several are available electronically. So you could be reading it in minutes
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#3 DimitriV  Icon User is offline

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Re: Preparing for an interview

Posted 03 November 2011 - 01:57 AM

Get your facts straight. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be confident. And most of all,

GOOD LUCK WITH WHATEVER IT IS!!!
J-Bo
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#4 MrSooty  Icon User is offline

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Re: Preparing for an interview

Posted 03 November 2011 - 02:23 AM

If they're going to ask any questions that seem personal (what do you do in your spare time?) keep it relevant, don't go on about your stamp collection :) Also if they ask about strengths and weaknesses, mention only 1 weakness, but then turn it into a strength. e.g I get stressed out over meeting deadlines, but the perks of that is that nothing is ever late.

Good luck and enjoy mate :)
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#5 CapC  Icon User is offline

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Re: Preparing for an interview

Posted 03 November 2011 - 06:17 AM

I might be of a smaller group of thinking on this but... I didn't shave(well I have a full beard so that wasn't going to happen either way) or get a hair cut prior to interviewing. I did not study for the interview. I interviewed, and was myself offering what I could do.

My point is that you want to be interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. Interviews should not be one sided nor something to be anxious over. You are offering that company your skills. My logic was if a company I interview at doesn't hire me based on my not having a haircut or a trimmed up beard then its probably not the best fit for me and I'll go elseware. I wouldn't want to work somewhere that made that choice. On the other hand, if they are asking questions that I can't come up with an answer to, I may not be the best fit for them.

Play on your strengths, if you have a grad degree use that. Tell them what you bring to the table, "I'm a grad student so that in and of itself should depict my responsibility and hard working nature" "I have proven that I am able to think, comprehend and learn on a high intellectual level"

Anyway, good luck to you friend.
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#6 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Preparing for an interview

Posted 03 November 2011 - 06:23 AM

View PostjimmyBo, on 03 November 2011 - 04:57 AM, said:

Get your facts straight. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be confident. And most of all...


DO NOT LIE. Period. About anything. This can be a kinda grey area like claiming to have some expertise in something you may have only seen/done briefly or in passing. You need to understand that if you're getting an interview they've already determined that you likely possess the technical competence for the job.

What an interviewer looks for in an interview is confirmation of those skills but they're also evaluating you personally. Do you speak well and express yourself clearly? Can you carry on a conversation in a professional fashion when under pressure? How do you interact with others? I'm going to pass along the pointers from my dad when I was much younger that, at the time, I thought were kinda dumb and simple but which I now realize, for as simple as they are, actually mean a fair bit:

  • Be punctual or early for the interview
  • Dress appropriately. If you're not sure what that is, overdress rather than underdress.
  • Be clean and neat. Trim fingernails, make sure you took a shower, etc.
  • Bring something to write on and a working pen. Make a note of the interviewer's name so you don't forget it when you're nervous.
  • When meeting the person, look them in the eye and give a firm (but not crushing) handshake.
  • While seated, lean slightly forward rather than slouching back in the chair (body language is an important aspect to an interviewer...particularly if they're HR)
  • To that end, know your audience. If it's a technical person interviewing you, be prepared to talk tech. If HR, be prepared to be judged on personality.
  • Go to the bathroom before the interview. Preferably before you arrive. Also, don't forget to check yer breath. Coffee is a great morning drink but it makes you wanna crap and it kills yer breath. Avoid it if possible and make sure you've eaten something so your stomach isn't growling.

Personal tip: during high stress interviews, I noticed that my palms sweated...and that made me rather self-conscious about shaking hands. My solution was to always fold up a paper towel and stick it in my right front pocket. As someone entered a room whose hand I might end up shaking, I'd put my right hand in my pocket and grab the paper towel to dry my palm. Hand is offered and I pull out a dry mitt with which to shake hands.

Finally, there is no sin in admitting you're nervous or that you may not know something. Remember that you're dealing with other human beings who have almost certainly been in your position before. Admitting that you're human is no shame and helps to cultivate an image of honesty and self-effacement which most folks do not find repellent. If, on a technical question, you have to admit that you don't know something, try and spin it like this: "Well, I don't want to claim I have an expertise with [X] yet. I have been working with [X] over the past several months when other projects allow but I don't think my skill level is yet enough to claim to be an expert as yet". A statement like that shows that you know you have a limitation, can be honest enough with yourself and others about it, handle that limitation like a professional and have implied that with more exposure, you will become expert in it. It may also lead to another pathway during the interview wherein you're asked about the projects that use [X] and that allows you to showcase what you have done and gives you something to brag on. It also demonstrates, in a subtle way, that you're a self-starter which is a quality ALL employers look for and treasure without saying "I'm a self starter".

Good luck!

This post has been edited by Craig328: 03 November 2011 - 06:27 AM

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