I was interviewing lots of developers in the past six months for some open positions.
I must have talked to at least 50 people and it got me thinking about what a good interview is.
A good interview is an interview that impacts the person across the desk from you on their level.
If you are being interviewed by a business person, someone that is non technical, but, instead values communication skills you have lots of room to impress. They probably have no idea if you are a good programmer or not and they have no way to measure your skills except asking you questions about your resume. If, however, you are being interviewed by a technical manager, or a peer, you have less wiggle room. The only measurement in this case is how well you can answer technical questions. I think the worst mistake you can make is try and impress a technical person with some system you may have coded in the past, or a solution some ex company you worked for implemented, but, fail to answer simple programming questions, or try and get into boring technical details with a business person that has more interest in hearing how you can solve his problem, not, how many bits are in a byte. Talk to the person across from you on their level.
Don’t create any false expectations and come prepared. A programmer that does not know what a static class is or why we need interfaces won’t probably be able to code his way out of a paper bag. Look in the mirror. Are you that guy? If you are asked to bring code samples, make sure you don’t have any obvious spelling errors and you have lots of comments in the code.
It’s also nice to see team players, people that can work well with others. If you think you are the bomb, chances are you are probably not. Anybody can learn. I learn every day, sometimes from people that have less than half my experience. If you are cocky, chances are that you might annoy productive team members.
There are no magic formulas when it comes to scoring the job of your dreams. Just show up on time, be polite and nice, know the material and answer all of the questions clearly.
17 May 2010 11:34 PM