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nomilieu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:58 pm    Post subject: Job Interview Reply with quote

I need to prepare for a job interview. I don't know many details about the position, but supposedly it involves some C coding. (The title is programmer analyst, with C listed as a desired skill.)

I haven't coded much in C since I was an undergraduate. (I pretty much do everything in bash or python, as I take the path of least resistance.) That said, I'm sure I could pick it all back up quickly. Through my social channels, I know that this company doesn't necessarily mind training know-nothings, although I don't know how much that depends on the particular position. (I know of a guy with zero programming knowledge who got hired there as a programmer. They sent him through a training program.)

More to the point, are there any obvious technical questions I should be prepared to answer? I would hate to come off as a pleasant guy but give a headsmack-inducing answer to an easy question. If you were the hiring manager, what would you want to know?
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notageek
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somebody at work once shared this link: https://sites.google.com/site/steveyegge2/five-essential-phone-screen-questions

Of-course I didn't read it but might be useful (or not).
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nomilieu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, that's useful, as this is actually a phone screening (although they call it a phone interview). It's not with some random screener though; it's with the person directly responsible for hiring, and if I don't fuck up, there would be a more traditional interview afterward.

I'm mainly worried about it because I don't code for a living. I've been doing blow-your-brains-out-boring IT work. I'd hate to lose my shot over something silly.

I did not get the impression that any code would need to be dictated over the phone (as given in your link). That would be difficult as I feel awkward making the call at my desk (and thereby letting my boss know I'm wanting to quit), so I was thinking of taking it outside. That means I wouldn't have a computer or even a pen and paper handy.
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should try to find a quiet, private place to take the call. Talking to the guy on the street from a cell phone is not a good idea. You need to concentrate entirely on the verbal communication that is taking place, and not be distracted by anything, or you'll sound like an idiot.

You have a "doctor's appointment" at the time of the call; go to your "doctor's appointment", which should be somewhere where you are alone in a small, quiet room with no noise and no distractions, and an empty table or desk with a copy of your resume on it, maybe some notes you made with bullet-points to help you answer common questions, and some scrap paper for you to take notes on.

Also, with respect to that thing notageek provided, I have never seen or heard of anybody asking such questions during a phone interview (i.e., asking somebody to actually produce code, over the phone).
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energyman76b
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

know something about the company. Tell him why you want the job. Have some points ready why YOU are the right guy. And please don't the usual 'because I am ready to work hard, am a teamplayer and sooo motivated'.
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nomilieu
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@BK:

Well, I'm going to have to use my cell phone, but it's not like there is a lot of fuss or city noise going on outside. I expect that would be the easiest way to get away from other people so I can make the call in peace. There are plenty of relatively isolated places to sit. If it pours down raining or something, I'll just have to get creative.

I didn't think about printing my resume; that would probably be a good idea. I don't know why it didn't occur to me, as bringing several copies seems standard for an interview.

As for technical questions, I just don't want to get slammed due to having knowledge too broad, but also too shallow in places. For example, I might be slick with shell scripting, but you can bet that I've got another terminal open to read man pages.

@energyman:

Luckily, I do know a bit about the company. As for why I want it, the honest answer is that I want to relocate, increase my salary, and do some work that doesn't bore me to death. (You know I hate my job because I read forums a good chunk of the day.) I'm not sure if I need a fancier answer than that.

As for actually being right for the job, that's harder to put into words. I have a really bad habit of underselling myself because I'm afraid that if I mention a skill, they will expect me to be some kind of expert or something. I'm such a geek that I am nearly incapable of distinguishing the basic from the esoteric.
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McGruff
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Start off by telling a really filthy joke to break the ice.
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcgruff wrote:
Start off by telling a really filthy joke to break the ice.

Yeah, you want to show you have a sense of humor, are up on current events, and are in touch with the outside world.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Little Boy Blue.
Little Boy Blue who?
Jerry Sandusky. BWAH HAAAH HAAAAAAAH!!! <---- always finish with this, loudly, while slapping the table repeatedly

Be sure to show you can fit into the local culture. Let's say the interview is in Atlanta:

Q: How does a Georgia girl know when her mother is having a period?
A: Her brother's dick tastes like blood. BWAH HAAAH HAAAAAAAH!!!

Or, if it's a woman, make sure she sees you can be "one of the girls" (show your feminine side):

There once was a vampire named Mabel,
Whose periods ran quite stable.
At every full Moon,
She'd pull out a spoon,
And drink herself under the table.
BWAH HAAAH HAAAAAAAH!!!

Most important of all, periodically refer to the interviewer as "dude", preference every third or fourth verb with "like", and end every third or fourth sentence with "ya-know?"
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b0nafide
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Refer to the job as if you have already been hired and mention future events like the election as if they were all forgone conclusions. At some point, notice the date and panic, shouting: "They sent me back a year too far!!" and slam down the phone.
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Prenj
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the interview is in NorCal, say things like "far out" a lot.
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

b0nafide wrote:
Refer to the job as if you have already been hired and mention future events like the election as if they were all forgone conclusions. At some point, notice the date and panic, shouting: "They sent me back a year too far!!" and slam down the phone.

:lol:
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nomilieu
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'll stay away from the outrageous jokes. I actually need this job. :lol:
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wildhorse
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would ask you to present some of your work. OK, you don't get the job.
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nomilieu
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

:D

Well, that went better than I had expected.
I was slightly awkward on a couple of the general questions, but I nailed the technical stuff.
I felt as if I was wielding a magic sabre of Unix knowledge.
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wildhorse
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get drunk! :)
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomilieu wrote:
:D

Well, that went better than I had expected.
I was slightly awkward on a couple of the general questions, but I nailed the technical stuff.
I felt as if I was wielding a magic sabre of Unix knowledge.

You said, "I use Gentoo", and he said, "You've got the job."
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"The accumulation of all power, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands...may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
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wah_wah_69
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
nomilieu wrote:
:D

Well, that went better than I had expected.
I was slightly awkward on a couple of the general questions, but I nailed the technical stuff.
I felt as if I was wielding a magic sabre of Unix knowledge.

You said, "I use Gentoo", and he said, "You've got the job."


And once you're in, remember:

Nobody has ever got fired for using Gentoo.
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McGruff
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep. In fact, on your first day, if you wipe all the windows boxes and install gentoo I guarantee you'll make a big impression.
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Bones McCracker
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was at the gym the other day and I saw Ubuntu on a computer in the office. I was going to go in there and harass the IT geek for using NoobUbuntu, but then I realized, hey, at least he's using Linux. Plus, I didn't want to be Gentoo Ricer Boy. :P
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