12 things to know about job interviews

1. Interviews are not technical contests

to see who gets the most number of questions right. Nobody knows everything. so, don’t be overwhelmed by the number of Q&As on this site. It is all about effectively & confidently communicating your ability to add value to an organisation. Preparation is the key as it boosts your confidence & ability to clearly communicate your value with substance (E.g. 16+ Technical Key Areas, asking the right questions, etc).

4 things to watch-out for are
  • Getting through the initial telephonic & written/coding test screening, which mainly focus on must know FAQs & coding solutions.
  • Quality” of the answers to open-ended questions with industrial strength reasoning and knowledge. Whilst answering open-ended questions, which have no right or wrong answers, your communication skills, passion, attitude, and ability to “get things done” will be under scrutiny.
  • Depth” of the answers to must know questions to convince others with your “technical know how“.
  • How well” you communicate your thoughts with diagrams, key areas, examples, “how to go about..”, process improvements, etc and handle non technical questions to sell your soft skills and ability to get things done.

So, what you learn in this interview training goes beyond getting job offers. The goal is to fast-track your career by proactively building your experience and confidence.

2. An Interview is a 2 way street.

You need to ask questions to see if this is the right job for you. Asking the right questions will help you choose from multiple job offers.

3. It is natural to be nervous.

Treat each interview as a free training session to get the win/win outcome. If you get the offer you win, if you don’t get the offer, you still win as you can learn from your mistakes. Preparation can give you the much needed confidence.

4. Interview questions are initially based on your resume.

So, know your resume well enough, and reflect back on your past experience, accomplishments, and skills. Interviewers start with the ice breaking open-ended questions like ” Tell me about yourself? “, ” Can you give a 100 feet overview of the architecture of a recent Java application you had worked on? “, ” What do you look for when reviewing others’ code? “, ” What will be your ideal job? “, etc.

5. Think out load and brainstorm with the interviewers

Technologies/frameworks/tools are very vast. Nobody knows everything. The interviewer certainly won’t know everything either. Interviewers are interested in evaluating how good your basics are?, what experience and skills you have?, and how well you can think through a problem? So, how you go about tackling a problem is more important than arriving at the expected solution or answer at once. Especially, in an interview within a short time and when you are bit nervous. Your attitude, demeanour, and ability to fit in with the team will be under scrutiny.

6. Sometimes knowing something is better than knowing nothing

If you are only familiar with something, then be honest about it. You could say that your familiarity is limited to just working on tutorials and learning the basic concepts. If you are confident, you could say that you believe that you have a good grasp on it, and happy for the interviewer to ask any technical questions relating to it.

7. Interviewers place a lot of value in “I don’t know” over inventing answers …

Many good interviewers strongly believe that a smart developer with good understanding of the core concepts and key areas can quickly pickup new frameworks, APIs, tools, etc. So, be honest.

8. Understand the motive behind a question …

Interviewers do have varying motives. Sometimes a question or statement may seem bad or ridiculous, but the interviewer may be trying to ascertain some quality in you? For example, how well you handle criticism, how well you cope with stress, do you just blindly do what you are told or ask the right questions, how confident you are, how flexible you are, etc.

9. Body language & etiquette matter

1. Eye contact.
2. Firm hand-shake.
3. Dress properly.
4. Speak clearly.
5. Show interest.
6. Stay positive.
7. Arrive on time.
8. Never bad mouth your current or past employers or employees.
9. Do some research about the company and prepare some questions to task.
10. Don’t brag, but talk the talk to sell your technical and non technical strengths. If you don’t, no body else will.
11. Thank the interviewer for his or her time.

10. What to do if you don’t have experience with a sought-after technology, framework, or tool?

  1. Pick a few newer technologies, frameworks, or tools and learn them from online tutorials, good blogs, and books.
  2. See if you can apply them in your current project at work or contribute to an open source project or a self-taught project in a way that uses those technologies.
  3. Write a few blog posts about those technologies to increase your understanding.
  4. Make sure to list those technologies on your resume and online portfolio, once you have used them in any projects — paid, unpaid, open-source, and self-taught projects.

In short,

learn → apply → experience → let the world know

11. Don’t be overly concerned about your academic achievements

We all get paid based on how well we contribute to the bottom-line of a business & supply/demand of sought-after skills. The employer pays you a certain salary and expects you to return more than what is invested on you. So, your learning does not stop with your certification(s) or academic achievements. You need to continuously invest in your professional development both technically and non-technically. You need to stay abreast with latest advancements in your field. Set aside some funds for your personal development. Learn to evaluate yourself critically and see where you can improve. Blogging is a useful tool for self realization. Constantly challenge and reinvent yourself to become a well-rounded contributor. Try volunteering on open source projects, community initiatives, taking part in company presentations, and taking on extra tasks whenever you can.

Display great professional ethics. Be punctual, reliable, diplomatic, enthusiastic, and positive. It is a human behavior to err. Learn to accept constructive criticisms and learn from your past mistakes. You do not have to be a team-lead to display leadership skills. Irrespective of your title, display good communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills. Develop an analytical and problem solving mind. Learn to ask the right questions.

Improve your visibility without becoming a politician or a braggart. Attend company events, team meetings, conferences, etc with utmost enthusiasm and contributions. Make sure that your boss knows what results you are producing. Don’t just be a quiet achiever. You might be missing out on great opportunities.

12. Open-ended questions are your opportunity …

  • to make a statement about your ability to get the job done.
  • to prove based on your past experience, achievements, and extra-curricular activities that:
    • You are technically capable.
    • You can analyze, research, and solve problems.
    • You can work as a team.
    • You can communicate at all levels. Both oral and written communication.
    • You can learn quickly, mentor, and take initiatives.
    • You can look at things from both business & technology perspective.
    • You can look at both the bigger picture and also drill down to details.
    • You are flexible, and have the right attitude and enthusiasm to get things done.

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