Tech & Work

The interview: What questions will you be asked?

It's interview day, and you're all ready to dazzle your future employer. But what interview questions did you prepare to answer?


Today's the day. You've got an appointment with Mr. Jones at Stodgy Old Software Development House, Inc. You arrive 15 minutes early, in your best suit, your patent leather shoes gleaming in the sun as you walk across the parking lot. Under your arm, you caress your briefcase, which carries extra pens, a fresh notepad, five copies of the masterpiece you call your resume, your trusty PDA, lint brush, and some extra tissue paper. As you climb the steps, your eyes focus on the shiny brass kick plates at the bottom of the glass doors.

Or perhaps you are in sneakers and blue jeans, 15 minutes late, sprinting up the steps to the fifth-floor office suites occupied by Barely Profitable Cube Farm.com. You finger your lucky rabbit's foot and clutch your resume in your sweaty left palm as you climb the stairs. Your eyes focus on the doorknob of the stairwell door as you ascend the final landing.

The interview frame of mind
Whatever you're wearing and wherever you're going, your mind will likely be preoccupied as you arrive for an interview. Aside from simply dealing with the stress of an interview situation (not to mention that uncomfortable suit, if called for), chances are you'll be going over how you're going to answer those "interview questions." You'll be mentally reciting the answers you cleverly crafted to give your interviewer the best possible first impression.

That's what it's all about—making that good first impression—and it's difficult. Interviews are inherently uncomfortable: The prospect of putting yourself on show in front of someone you don't know isn't something most people relish. It's hard to be at your best when you have a critical audience. That's one reason why there aren't more live television shows. However, good preparation, like knowing the questions you'll probably be asked as you interview for programming positions, can help make things easier.

'Tis the season…for interviewing?
It's springtime in the United States, which, according to the poets, means that love is in the air. Unfortunately, due to the economic problems of the preceding year, something a little less flowery is hanging around as well. It's called unemployment. Combine the numbers of unemployed developers with the soon-to-graduate college students, and you wind up with a relatively large number of developers out there interviewing for a limited number of new jobs. The competition will be stiff.

So Builder members, here's where you come in. We want you to tell us what questions you'd expect to be asked during a job interview. These can be straight technical questions or the oddball ones that some interviewers like to throw at a potential employee to see how he or she will react. After we've collected a reasonable number of questions, we'll solicit good "interview answers" for them, to serve as a kind of prep tool to help you get ready for those interviews to come.

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