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I have 4 years of experience in web development, so: PHP, javascript, Mysql, HTML, CSS, the usuals.

I have an interview soon for a position involving c#, wpf and other desktop programming languages.

Its a junior position, which I perceive as: someone willing to learn, junior to no knowledge and fast learner.

I have very limited experience in c# and wpf but no knowledge of some other requirements.

In the initial round of interviews which were conducted via video, so not face to face, I was honest, I told them I am keen to learn, but have limited and no experience in what they offer but I do have transferable skills.

Surprisingly to me they offered a face to face interview considering how honest I was about I didn't atm meet much of the desired requirements.

What would have lead them to offer me a face to face interview?

How should I approach this interview without sounding to repetitive and begging whilst being honest but confident?

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closed as off-topic by gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Kilian Foth, GlenH7, MichaelT Mar 11 '14 at 15:42

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4 Answers 4

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It sounds like you are maybe correct in your assumption that they are looking for someone keen, willing to learn, fast learner etc.

Maybe they have seen enough in you that you are worth the second interview at least.

I'm not sure there is anything you can do to guarantee getting the job.

Maybe talking about some personal projects, or learning that you have been doing to try and ramp up your skills?

Confident, well organised companies can find value in the inexperienced, if that person has the right motivation and willingness to improve themselves.

If you are really good at the skills you do have, then they might be banking on your ability to cross train with the right books, courses, mentoring etc.

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Just don't be repetitive or beg? What would have lead them to offer you a face to face interview I would guess is the perception that you were honest and could string a sentence together well enough. Presumably you answered some questions about your field of expertise well and if they did their background checks they'll have looked you up and seen that you have your own site and that you are an active community member which is super valuable on any team. They won't be wasting their own time on purpose, so ultimately all that matters is that they saw something that they liked!

The interviewer will (should) know how much C# knowledge is important to the role and they will have an opinion on how easy/hard it is for someone with a technical background and some willpower to learn it. You need to trust them to do their job, but be prepared to ask questions of them to make sure that they are doing it! It's no good to you if you get hired to do a job that is too far outside your skillset, or if actually, there is no real C# (and that's why you took the role) and they're just getting you in for your CSS skills.

If they are building a team, it will be important to them to have team members with a range of skills, but importantly a personality fit, maybe they just liked you and thought, yeah, this could work.

How should you approach the interview, just as you did the first. Be honest, be confident, be relaxed, whatever you have told them you know - know it well, be interested in the company, be interested in the role and make sure you get as much out of the interviewer as he or she gets out of you. Oh and be sure that you want it and can say why, it's very different from what you have been doing. Good luck.

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I'm concerned that you're applying for a job outside of your current expertise.

Keep in mind that it's extremely common for an employer to reject experienced candidates for not having used a particular API/framework despite expertise in all other requirements.

Firstly, don't beg - an employee-employer relationship is a professional one.

Have you taken the time to fully evaluate the firm? Companies willing to interview candidates without requisite skills tend to be either aggressively expanding, targeting only the best, or more likely, an utterly dire place to work with a terrible tack record of training employees (a career black-hole).

Secondly, avoid confirming the mindset of the interviewer. The interviewer will know:

  • There's little in PHP that's immediately applicable to C#
  • You can't make an immediate high level contribution to their goals
  • Inexperienced candidates often cost months of development time while training up

So instead, focus on things an interviewer will want to hear, things that help them to realise their development goals.

Tell them you're in this for the long run. Sell your past work - development time, support time, total value - and demonstrate how malleable you are (you're familiar with a wide range of APIs, development patterns and tools!).

Sometimes it helps to be critical about something, for example, give poorly implemented agile a bash, but be warned, use too many acronyms or talk outside of your expertise and a good interviewer will pick-up on it and embarrass you.

I think you'll find the interview difficult, but nonetheless, best of luck!

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When is the interview?

You can always buy books and study before the interview so that you have some grasp of the subject matter even if it's not more then a very elementary knowledge. This will also demonstrate that you are a willing and fast learner.

It would also be a good idea to download a copy of Visual Studio express and try some sample projects in WPF to get a feel for how it might be to use this environment. Also it would give you an idea about whether or not you'd like to work with this framework.

Often our junior developers put in extra hours at the beginning to get up to speed if they don't know a particular language or framework. They usually get up to speed and start making some kind of contributions fairly quickly (after a week, sometimes two). Also, it is generally expected that you will have a lot of questions and will require some guidance.

If you have experience maintaining other people's code or team programming experience, then I'd highlight that as a plus. In fact, I care more about your general software development experience then your experience with any particular language or framework. It is very different when you are doing maintenance programming and working in a team shop compared to working as a solo developer on greenfield projects.

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