5 steps to ace a programming interview.

By patrickg,

  Filed under: blog

Ok first off let’s manage expectations. This advice does NOT apply to kinds of programming jobs at the top ~5% of the talent pool. It also doesn’t apply the bottom 10% of the talent pool. Im talking about the not junior, but not quite senior and senior development positions. Nothing client facing also.

1. Don’t dress up.

When you show up to interview, don’t dress for church. I’m not saying roll out of bed and into the meeting room, but give the company an idea of what to expect from you. If you set the bar high on day one, you cant deviate or people will think you are having home troubles. For the love of god don’t wear a suit, you fuckin try hards.

2. Curse, but keep your head about you.

Development is stressful, and dealing with that stress by conjuring new and unique strings of swears is perfectly healthy. It also demonstrates you are confident and comfortable. So when asked the inevitable “what was the hardest thing you worked on” spice things up with a coulpe D’s or so. You are allowed ONE F-bomb. You don’t work there yet, don’t get too familiar.

3. Exercise one bodily function.

Burp, cough, sneeze, something. Let the interviewer know you are a human being. Ask for the rest room before beginning and stay in there juuuust long enough to question if it was a long piss or a quick shit. Farting is the equivalent to a hail-mary move in interviews. The right kind of person, you will be a lock for the position, the wrong sort, and you are done for. Use wisely.

4. It’s OK to say “I don’t know”

Interviewers want to trip you up, see your limits, and see how you handle uncomfortable situations and pressure. We will ask you questions that we KNOW you don’t know. Are you going to bullshit through it? Do you know enough to even bullshit through it? Or will you make a complete ass out of yourself. The choice is yours, but it says a lot about someone who is willing to admit they don’t know something.

5. Last one. Ask difficult questions.

If you want to stand out, there is no better way than putting your interviewer on the spot. Ask them what they are looking for in a developer, then ask them what they AREN’T looking for. This is sort of a double edged sword because you are asking them to basically tell you about a bad experience they had previous to you (why the job is open), while at the same time not wanting to be rude so they have to work in your own qualifications as desirable. Capitalize on this with a dismissive or unimpressed tone and you will take the upper hand leaving them wondering if THEY did a good job selling their job to YOU.

 

That’s the list, fuck off.