How to Prepare for a Technical Interview

Professor Sprenkle's Notes from Students

  • Know the projects listed on your resume well
    • Know how large the project was in terms of lines of code
  • Be able to answer questions like:
    • what was your favorite project to work on and why?
    • what is your process for developing code/an application?
    • what programming language do you like to use best?
    • what would you do if you are out of time but haven't completed a project for a customer?

Phone Interviews

These are more general than technical interviews. Try to find out what to expect.

Advice from GHC Web Site

Advice copied from Grace Hopper Celebration web site.

To help you prepare for the upcoming Grace Hopper Celebration Career Fair, we’ve put together a how to prepare for your interview cheat sheet. We would like to thank Katie Albers and Laura Downey who contributed to this article. Here are some of the ways you can prepare for an interview:

  • Before you arrive at your interview, extensively research the company you will be interviewing with including their website, annual report, product reviews, media reports, financial news.
  • Create a set of basic stories that illustrate how you are qualified for the position. Go in with a handful of stories prepared of successful projects that you completed in previous positions. Be sure the examples are diverse, for example, ones representing your work with local, off-shored and remote resources; start-up; enterprise-wide; small and large teams; etc. For each story prepare notes regarding what difficulties you faced, how you dealt with them, what was easy and why, why you used certain tools, difficulties you encountered personally and what you did about them, results (preferably in numbers), and so forth. Memorize these stories and be able to explain what they illustrate about you.
  • Also have personal stories prepared such as times when people disliked you but you made them thinking differently, when you not only succeeded but exceeded expectation, when you failed but recovered from that failure, and so forth.
  • Remember there may be no I in team but there are I’s in interview. Interviewers want to hear what you did and what your personal contribution to your team/project was. If you were very junior on the team and can’t discuss a contribution you made, then talk about what you learned.
  • Be prepared for some of the more standard questions such as:
    • Describe how you handled a challenge.
    • How you would start a new project?
    • Describe one of your successes.
    • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    • Do you prefer teams or working more independently?
    • Why do you want to leave your current position?
    • Why do you think you are a good fit for this position?
    • What do you bring to the table?
  • Have a set of lists known by heart. On this should be some of the following:
    • What professional blogs do you read and why?
    • What tools (usually web-based or version tracking, or bug tracking as well as a few that are career specific) do you think are useful/best?
    • What do you think are the 10 books that everyone in X position should own and why (think of having these in order in case you are asked for more than one)?
    • What are you reading now?
  • If you get asked the question “What are you reading now?” you can say you just received a book that you really want to start to read and that you are hoping to start it tonight. For example, at the moment that book could be “Grace Hopper and the Invention of the Information Age”. On the other hand, if you get asked what book you recently finished you could say you have been rereading an important technical book, or reading something to understand the basics of something relevant to your current skill sets (i.e. something on a different CMS system. The purpose of questions like these is for the interviewer to get an idea if you are keeping current in your field, if you are adaptable in terms of technologies, and if you bring something new to the table.
  • Bring examples of your work such as designs, reports, etc. Think about creating an interview folder or portfolio. Make sure to include extra resumes.
  • Create a reference list but do not give it to the interviewer unless you are asked for it. Let your references know in advance you are going to be using them as a reference – send them the job description and your latest resume.
  • Prepare a specific set of questions for the interviewer. For example – what do you like most/least about working here?, why did you join this company?, what is the organizational structure?

Preparation is critical for a successful job interview. You can never prepare too much. Being prepared will increase your confidence and make you a stronger candidate. If you are coming to the Grace Hopper Celebration planning to interview, be sure to look at all our sponsors’ websites – they are all actively recruiting and you never know which organization will be the best fit for your career.

Resources

students/interview.txt · Last modified: 2018/01/29 19:58 by sprenkle
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