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#1 harro.rm   User is offline

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Best language to use during interviews

Posted 05 October 2016 - 09:50 AM

Hello,

I have a technical phone screen some time next week, and I was wondering what's the best language to use? The college recruiter asked to list them, so I sort of did them based on my exposure: C/C++ (school), Javascript (School/internship), Java (internship), Python (internship).

I can't really say I'm an expert in each, like my intro cs classes were in c++, data structure in c, etc... Is it okay to switch up languages during interviews based on the questions asked?

This post has been edited by harro.rm: 05 October 2016 - 09:50 AM


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Replies To: Best language to use during interviews

#2 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 05 October 2016 - 09:55 AM

What is the position asking for?

Switch as needed. If they throw you a question on web design it wouldn't make much sense to write it in C++, would it?
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#3 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 05 October 2016 - 10:09 AM

Use polite language ;)
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#4 harro.rm   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 05 October 2016 - 10:20 AM

Well it's gonna be about cs fundamental and stuff so I was thinking of using c for data structures since that was the language used for that class. Any oop type questions, then I would use either c++ or java.

I guess I can do it all in java but I just thought it'd be easier to use the language that accompanied a type of class
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#5 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 05 October 2016 - 10:47 AM

Frankly, it shouldn't make a difference to anyone what language you use. You say you're good in each of those languages, so you should be fine in any case. Pick the best one for the problem. From the interviewer's point of view, they want to know how well you think about problems, they don't care a lot about how well you know the syntax of this language or the other one, so they're going to be fine whatever you do.
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#6 tlhIn`toq   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 05 October 2016 - 10:52 AM

Quote

I was wondering what's the best language to use?

The same as the interviewer. If they're speaking French don't reply in Russian.
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#7 astonecipher   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 05 October 2016 - 11:03 AM

They are likely to ask very specific questions regarding the language they use. I really doubt they will ask you to write out an algorithm over the phone.


Like I was once asked, "What is a virtual method?", and "What is boxing and unboxing?"

It is specific to what they want.

If you apply for a position in C and answer by what is done in Python, I am not interested in you any further.
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#8 NeoTifa   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 06 October 2016 - 08:20 AM

I use pseudocode. Syntax doesn't have to be 100% correct, as they're looking more for logic than syntax.
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#9 xclite   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 06 October 2016 - 09:07 AM

The one you know, in my case. Generally I can read pretty much any language a candidate plans to use, and I'd rather they were focused on solving the problem. I mostly want to see that you can figure out the solution and are skilled in your chosen tools. I never ask language or library-specific questions.
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#10 Skydiver   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 18 October 2016 - 09:38 AM

Ah, but what if your candidate starts using all the goodies that usually come in the standard libraries for the language that they choose. For example, one of the classic interview questions revolves around generating permutations of the letters that match a phone number. If your candidate starts using the std::next_permutation() do you stop them and tell them that they they can't use standard library functions?
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#11 xclite   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 18 October 2016 - 09:51 AM

My questions aren't language tests, they're problem-solving tests. If a candidate think it's unreasonable for me to stop them from filling
def reverse(string)

end


like
def reverse(string)
  string.reverse
end


Then they're missing the point of interviews. You can use the language you like because I don't want you stumbling trying to recall how to do a for each loop in Ruby, not because I want you to take advantage of a standard library function to sidestep showing how you work through a problem on your own.
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#12 Salient   User is offline

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Re: Best language to use during interviews

Posted 19 October 2016 - 02:59 PM

Don't mention the drinking problem or the voices in your head :ph34r:
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