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Really “wow” them in the interview

Let's say I appear for an interview. What questions could I expect and how do I prepare?

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locked by World Engineer Mar 9 at 23:50

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marked as duplicate by Mark Trapp Sep 20 '11 at 4:14

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Keep in mind that this question can be very different for different positions. A low level assembly programmer versus a java or web programmer. –  Chris Sep 9 '10 at 17:20

6 Answers 6

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Programming Interviews Exposed is also helpful.

This classic book uncovers what interviews are really like at America's top software and computer companies and provides you with the tools to succeed in any situation. The authors take you step-by-step through new problems and complex brainteasers they were asked during recent technical interviews.

50 interview scenarios are presented along with in-depth analysis of the possible solutions. The problem-solving process is clearly illustrated so you'll be able to easily apply what you've learned during crunch time. You'll also find expert tips on what questions to ask, how to approach a problem, and how to recover if you become stuck.

I've used it in preparing for my last round of interviews and while I didn't end up needing it, reading through it certainly made me feel more confident and prepared. The book also has a section on non-programming questions such as salary negotiation, which I found very helpful.

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Michael Pryor has a site dedicated to technical interview questions.

A good interview though will contain a lot of questions about the technology they are hiring for. And you will probably also need to write code. Unfortunately there is no shortcut for this, only experience will help you here. This link also details a list of Programming Puzzles.

For the prior (or should I say pryor) you prepare by working through the questions and getting good at those types of questions. For the later you should be preparing your whole career.

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In my experience, the best way to prepare is not to do much beyond relaxing, and (as tia says) reading up on the team. You know what you know, and you're only as smart/experienced as you are right now, and no amount of last minute prep will enhance that.

Expect them to ask you to write code for a simple but tricky problem. By virtue, the question shouldn't take a lot of code, so if you find yourself thinking or writing a long program, you're probably not on the right track. Do explain your thinking as you go. Some interviewers might ding you on not finding the right solution, but spot things they like about you as you explain.

Sometimes, they will give you a non-programming puzzle. In my experience, if they ask you one you already know, just be honest and tell them you know it and move onto the next question. Again, honesty is one of the top things people appreciate, and they can spot prior knowledge from a mile away anyways.

Most of all, get good sleep, relax, and try to be in a good mood.

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From a community perspective: Can you please embed some text in your post, if those links become inaccessible in the future your links will tend to get useless... –  Tom Wijsman Sep 9 '10 at 17:29
    
Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. –  Anna Lear May 13 '11 at 21:40

Prepare everything else. Company's profile. Why you like the company. etc.

If you already have an appointment for interview, I think it is too late to prepare for technical knowledge. Good interviewer will be able to spot that your answers come from experience or not.

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