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  #1  
Old November 26th, 2013, 10:16 PM
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How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

I have been in the computing industry for close to 6 years and everytime I go to an technical interview, everything is up in the air for questioning. I come from a wireless background with a PhD in layer 3 and above. I have background in parallel and distributed computing, have worked for infrastructure based companies like ALU, have worked for device side companies like Qualcomm, and have also worked on something in-between, like cable modems, and set-top-boxes.

But these days I am in the job market for new opportunities and I must tell you, I hate preparing how to reverse a linked list etc. I know our interviewing process is not more than 45 mins per interviewer and because of that time limitation, interviewers wish to test everything from ripping out beautiful algorithms to writing solid code. And because of these two things, simple things are asked to be programmed on a white board. And then there are the classic knowledge based questions in C/C++/Java/IP-networking/LINUX/RTOS/Large Scale Distributed Systems/Parallel Computing Paradigms/Design Patterns etc ... The list is endless ... I have even been asked to plot an OFDM waveform and I am not an RF guy, but seems like if you havent charmed your interviewer that guy may end up being the proverbial "Achilles Heel" bringing down the support for your candidacy among other enthusiastic reviewers ...

So, how do guys prepare for interviewers ... Do you guys follow the model of solving interview questions or do you revise your concepts and hope to apply them in an interview-like situation ... I must tell you that the latter approach is so time consuming and looks very unappealing for the guy interviewing you for he must have seen other candidates ripping out solutions in 2 minutes and hence looking better than you do ...

So what do you do?
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Old November 26th, 2013, 10:20 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Also remember people just cant solve all the interview questions in the universe because there are just too many ... At the end of the day what matters are concepts and your understanding of them ...
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Old November 26th, 2013, 10:38 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Wee landya.. it is like this. If the interviewer is serious about hiring the right person for the job he will ask RIGHT question. If that bugger goes around asking questions that are not required of your skill set.. say much above or much below then he is NOT going to give you that job but is just doing a timepass.

Much above is testing you further but also is a warning flag.. it means the bugger wants an elephant but that will eat the food of a mule.. i.e he wants a mule but if required he will ask it to do the job of the elephant without any extra benefits.. samjhaa.

So there.. trust your knowledge.. ack your weakness and be honest Saala 6 saal ke baad koi gandu mere ko bolega how do you write a for loop, I am saying thankyou very much and walking away (and trust me I have done that). One fellow after all satisfactory answers and in one case where I argued and proved he was wrong saw one of my marks lower than the other subjets and asked me what is the reason. I said I was dead drunk the previous night and was busy making out with my girlfriend instead of studying for that paper and that PERHAPS might be the reason. He laughed and I was selected. He later asked me if that was true and I told him go go F himself. I told him dude I knew you were screwing me and I decided to give it back to you..simple.. he and me became quite good friends later..

Anyways to tell you the truth.. you don't prepare for interviews.. you just let it happen. The questions will tell you whether that interview is just a time pass or a serious one.. Some folks like to pretend to be busy to stall some thing else and use interview as a pretext.. they can always walk out of a meeting, inconvenient questions/confrontations say.. oh I have an interview to conduct.. a convenient excuse and managers use it if they can.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 10:40 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

It is like suhaag raat man.. either you screw or get screwed.. you don't prepare for it.. you just let it happen.. kyaa prepare karega.. sandey ka teyl le jaayega kyaa bedroom mein?
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Old November 26th, 2013, 10:48 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Pelu bhau, I sometimes feel programming interviews are overrated ...they ask for simble things and expect you to deliver carrier grade software much before the deadline with zero bugs ... I wonder if what they select is people with linked lists skills, then who is writing the real code ...

I have been told in phone interviews, that this is a not a research position and I have asked them back, if that is not research that you are doing when you write good software, then you shouldnt be in the market ... because even if I have to support an old IBM mainframe code, it is a research by itself ... you dont write code and then research if it was a right change or not :-) which basically means you are in the field being cursed to figure out some unrelated crash that happened due to your change ...
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:02 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Ladya pai.. trust me.. I have my speciality in cryptography and how many times have I used it professionally? ZERO.. never professionally. I have professionally written and implemented quant codes for trading (algorithmic trading, signals, auto trading routines) and such.

Tell me how will an interviewer proceed to interview me.. what the hell does he know of the field.. what can you possibly ask me? Give an excerpt from dancing men and ask me to make sense of it? It does not work that way. Or ask me to create a new quant algo there or the logic behind how to do it given a few data points? Just cannot be done.. it takes a lot of study and various approach to arrive at such subjective things lie quant.. an codebreaking.. well that is a world of its own.. how do you interview for such position except checking the problem solving approach of the prospective employee?

As for your linked list question.. any c programmer worth his salt will be able to show a basic code from his college days how to create, populate and traverse a link list.. even Btree inorder preorder postorder traversal are BASIC methods.. to is that a testimony of that fellows programming skills?

They do not test a person on LOGIC.. that is the important part. And for that no need of silly linked list questions.. logic is universal to all programing tasks and that is ignored.. do not fret. If your logic and problem solving approach is ok.. just let that reflect in your answers and there ends the matter.. for syntax RFTM.. simbul.. Dil chota nai karneka idiots will always make sure to select another idiot for their jobs.. they do not want their position under scanner. Do they?
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:04 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

And when ever I have been asked "how soon can this be done?" I have invariably answered perhaps never! Saala koi dosa bana rahe hain kyaa? even to produce a baby fertilization has to happen and then 9 months of successful gestation is required.. subah uth ke bachha dhoondoge to kidhar se hoinga?
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:21 PM
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Thumbs up Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

- Take a hard look at the CV

- Think of possible questions on each project especially last 2-3 projects , their context, why selected particular approach vs. other

- Think of one/two challenging situations for each project and how did I overcome those

- IF you have more time , look for general interview questions on net for the particular technology .Brush up on some technologies which is relevant to the interviewer company/project and which you used a while back .

- Research on the background of the company where you are interviewing to get an idea of their business

Apart from all this , keep answers ready for usual questions :

- Tell me about yourself

- Where do you see yourself in next three/five years horizon and what are you doing at this moment to reach there ?

- Why you are interested in this project /company

- Why you are looking for change , if you are interviewing for another company?

- Keep the reasons for change ready for previous job changes

- Name your most significant achievements in last project / last two years


Take a contrarian view when seeing through your CV in a dispationate way and think of all possible questions for each page/project of your CV and you will have prepared well for the important interview .
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Last edited by Soorma Bhopali; November 26th, 2013 at 11:59 PM.
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  #9  
Old November 26th, 2013, 11:24 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Yess that approach is good if you are desperate for a job/job change.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:32 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Actually, my company has put me on a layoff notice, however I just got my GC done, so before GC, I was in a very vulnerable situation and now I am cool ... It is an experience to get up one morning and realize where has that tension gone ... that constant tension of going out-of-status because you are on H1B ... but seems like my current company still wants to entertain me :-) I mean I am getting serious calls from other BUs ... but I have decided to move on...

So I had a reason to change before my GC (which was more of, get any job ... will do anything for being in-status), however now, I am very selective.

If nothing works, I am planning to choose projects and work as a consultant ...

Soorma, thanks for the pointers and suggestions ... please keep them coming ...

Pelu bhau, I have done something like object based programming in C by using design patterns etal ... so I dont know how anyone can judge someone's salt in C ... I have asked them that I can do virtualization in C and implement anything that wires one user to several providers and they are still insistent on reversing their Goddamn linked list and believe-you-me, it is the frustration that keeps me to getting to their beautiful algorithm for reversing that list ... Trust me the last time I wrote an ADT was when I was trying to maintain packet buffering for high speed wireless connections where feedback process was on and packet sequence numbers were arriving all randomly ... try doing that on circular sorted linked list and that too in an interview like scenario ... the thing is, I have had interviewers who are reading my resume in front of me, not knowing what to ask (the classic, worked here worked there and the need of depth, like you mentioned) and then switched questions to something stupid ...
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:36 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

BTW, when an HR asks, are you interviewing elsewhere what do you say ... at times I have said "I have just started the process" and at times I have been told to say that "mention the names of companies that you have interviewed with" ...

but I have also heard that HRs are a tight knit community, divulging where you have been interviewed is a double edged sword, specifically when some HRs are even asking as to what stage you are at specific companies ... what are they offering etc ...
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:40 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Another trick is to confuse them.. just impossible to convince them.. then just go ahead and confuse them.. they atleast will have the insufferable prospect of explaining the rejectin.. "err I could barely understand him".. umm why? Was it because YOU were dumb or the other person was? cuts both ways.. give them something to regret about.

Simple.. if you cannot convince them confuse them.. works all the time.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:42 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

BTW, pelu bhau, the valley is buzz with startups doing anything with analytics ... so if interested, try coming here, because the market is hot for these things ...
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:51 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Yes I have and I am. After all this is not the only employer in this whole big country/state/city!! who with.. I don't think the data is important. It was a similar company (suggesting a competitor).. of course only if you are doing so.. You can always say. I just started and my current employment does not give me lot of time to go about interviewing sundry so I am a little picky where I go (suggesting you were special).. I am a little too busy as it is to let my concentration go adrift but just did not want to pass your company by.. I am looking for more challenging tasks that helps me test my yet untested expertise but for now I am only scratching the surface.. if something comes my way fine for now I am not desperate for a change but it is a good to have.. if things ever get bad, I will try a little harder . this again say giving them a little ego rub but not ass kissing and the person thinks our company is a good career opportunity per him and perhaps we should consider this person a tad seriously too who knows with this skill he will not be available.. (it can work against you if you give the feeling of being too casual.. just give them a pat and a soft kick.. balance it). What ever you do be yourself. Tu nahi to aur koi aur nahi to aur koi attitude dimag me rakh but do not be overzealous about that feeling.

I was asked by one HR dude don't remember where.. "What would you do if we do not give you this job". I said I am sorry but then I will have to commit suicide.. he was WHAT!! I said.. I was just kidding.. There will be someone else.. you don't then some one else will.. big deal. I got selected but before that I got offer elsewhere and so had to refuse them.

Jyaada teyl nahi dene kaa.. ulta apne ko ich jhukaa dete hain.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 11:55 PM
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Re: How do you guys prepare for technical interviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by landyaBhai View Post
BTW, pelu bhau, the valley is buzz with startups doing anything with analytics ... so if interested, try coming here, because the market is hot for these things ...
I will try.. March.. mera surgery abhi scheduled hai.. do baar madarbhagat postpone kar diye because of scheduling issues.. I hope to get it done by dec at least and then recover and get my ass over in march.. dekhte hain.

Ek lafada hai ki some of the projs are classified so cannot include them in resume.. so it looks like "gaps" which is never a impressive thing.. and then I cannot even fill it up with gas.. I will have to think about it when the time comes to huff and puff.

I can get my resume filled with projects from NASA and all false and get someone from NASA to attest that I have done it too.. but that would be unfair naa? (No I have never even seen the NASA building and the closest I have been to anything that takes/has taken space flight (the moon thingy) is at the Air and Space museum in DC).
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