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sarat
sarat

Posted on

Interviews! What am I doing?

I have been interviewing developers of various experience levels for about 7 years now. I do my best to avoid the mundane logical problems and focus on getting the person opposite me to write some code. I try to make it a sort of pair programming experience. "Why are you declaring the variable at this stage?"; "Do we need this loop here?"; "Is there a less complex way to do this?". Like that. The problems I pose have not changed in the last 5 years. The program they need to write is the same and the questions surrounding the basic data structures are also the same. While I am not a big fan of grilling candidates about Search and Sort algorithms, I do think a strong foundation in data structures goes a long way in shaping a good programmer.
One comment I have often heard: "Why are we focused on this. Please ask me complicated questions in Spring, Express, etc etc".
Am I wrong in expecting the basics to be in place?
Is my thought process from a different time?!
I'd like to hear from you guys.

Top comments (5)

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rakshakannu profile image
Raksha Kannusami

I am also a student and preparing for interviews and will be sitting for placements in less than a year. I'm aspiring to be a software developer. As required by the companies, I'm learning data structures, algorithms and the computer science fundamentals. I know that only way to crack a good company is being well versed in this. I think DS/Algo knowledge builds the much required foundation to be a good developer. It would be great if you could share your point of view of what you expect from a fresher? What do you think makes the candidate stand out? What are some repetitive mistakes made by students in interviews? Thanks in advance :)

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kreitcher profile image
sarat Author

Large scale service companies should be your last(backup) option. look for small teams that are doing some good work. You will be in the thick of things and will be forced to learn a lot.
For the interview, you need to know your basics and be conversant with atleast one language. The more time you spend writing code than reading about it, you'll do yourself good.

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rakshakannu profile image
Raksha Kannusami

Thank you. Will keep this in mind!

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mjuraj profile image
Juraj Malenica

I almost never ask technical questions. I'm mostly interested in knowing 2 things:

  1. What is the hardest problem you tried to solve?
  2. What do you do in your free time? I'm guessing that this has a lot with our company culture, but we're not afraid to invest time to help teach someone coding in some framework. What most people miss is the right attitude. I want someone who is passionate about development and isn't afraid to be challenged. Does the candidate know how quick-sort works doesn't really matter to me, because if he has the right attitude - he'll learn (fast).

The questions tell me a lot:

  • "what you do in your free time?" - the ideal answer should be "work on a project for fun" or "experiment with XY technology". That means that development is fun for them.
  • "what is the hardest problem you tried to solve?" - that informs me of the level you're on. If you're really good, it will be a hard technical problem whose challenges you shouldn't have a problem dissecting to details.That way I understand better just where someone is.
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kreitcher profile image
sarat Author

This is a good set of questions to ask someone who is a rank fresher. A candidate with some experience needs to be grilled a wee bit more IMO :)

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