10 Mistakes People make during an interview for a software role

Here are the top 10 mistakes people make during a coding interview for a software developer job.

#1 | Practicing on a Computer
If you were training for an ocean swim race, would you practice only by swimming in a pool? Probably not. You’d want to get a feel for the waves and other”terrain”differences. I bet you’d want to practice in the ocean, too.
Using a compiler to practice interview questions is like doing all your training in the pool. Put away the compiler and get out the old pen and paper. Use a compiler only to verify your solutions after you’ve written and hand-tested your code. Continue reading “10 Mistakes People make during an interview for a software role”

Advertisements

SIX MISTAKES DURING A JOB INTERVIEW

  1. You talk too much

 The advantages of the fact that you are open to discussions and you are decided to persuade the fact that you are the best can turn against you. There is the risk of boring the other person with so many details and you can even look like you don’t have the cap city to concentrate on one given subject. Continue reading “SIX MISTAKES DURING A JOB INTERVIEW”

Business Dress – Women

Like it or not, the first impression people get from you is your appearance.

When engaged in an interview or you are already hired, you always want to look best.  Clean cut, professional looking people get treated like a professional.  How you dress sends specific signals to people.

Let’s start from head to toe for women.

Subtle email marketing might prove successful for new customer attraction
Subtle email marketing might prove successful for new customer attraction

Continue reading “Business Dress – Women”

What can you do if you believe a preemployment test is unfair or invades your right to privacy?

This can be a perplexing situation. Most job seekers fear that if they question a test and its relevance to the job for which they’re interviewing, they’ll be perceived as difficult or defensive, leaving a negative impression on their prospective employer.

However, Bill Banis, who has a Ph.D. in management and industrial/organization psychology and is director of university career services at Northwestern University, believes that job seekers have a right to ask an employer how the test or selection method is related to the job. Most interviewers should be able to give an explanation of why the test is used and how it relates to the job for which the candidate is interviewing. Keep in mind, however, that in order to maintain the integrity of the test, they may not be able to discuss its job-relatedness until after the testing process is completed.

“We advise our students that if they have a concern about a questionable practice in an interview, they should not jeopardize their candidacy,” he says. “They should come to me or one of the other staff, and we can inquire about the practitioner and circumstance without revealing [the student’s] name.”

For those job seekers who don’t have a career services office to turn to, Toni Kovalski, associate director of test development for the International Personnel Management Association Assessment Services Division, suggests calling the department that administered the test. Job seekers can express their concerns and request some explanation of the test’s job-relatedness. If the job seeker still feels that something was wrong with the testing or interview process, his or her next move will depend on the nature of the complaint.

If Banis learns that an employer is using an inappropriate or illegal preemployment test, he will address the situation with the employer. Sometimes illegal interviewing or testing methods enter the hiring process quite by accident.

Because of legal and other problems that can result from irrelevant or unfair tests (or tests that have “adverse impact”), be assured that many companies now choose their preemployment tests and interviewing techniques very carefully. In addition, career services professionals such as Banis often review preemployment tests that will be used with student job seekers before interviews begin. Checks and doublechecks are made on the reliability, validity, and job-relatedness of preemployment tests. As Kovalski points out, it is a waste of an employer’s time and money to administer tests that don’t give them the appropriate information about a candidate, which makes it unlikely that inappropriate tests will slip through the review process.

Do Interview Tests Invade Your Right to Privacy?

Rochelle Kaplan, legal counsel for the National Association of Colleges and Employers and a specialist in employment and labor law, points out that although students and job applicants may feel that preemployment tests are an invasion of privacy, investigations of matters such as criminal records or credit history are not illegal.

In the case of criminal records, your potential employer needs to focus on convictions, not arrests. Federal criminal records are generally not available to private employers, except banks. An employer is more likely to gain access to state criminal records if it can show a genuine need for the information.

When an employer includes a credit report in its hiring process, it must inform the job seeker in writing that a credit report may be used as part of the screening process. The job seeker must indicate in writing that he or she authorizes the employer to obtain a credit report. If you are rejected for a job because of a poor credit report, the employer must have a job-related reason for using bad credit as a reason for rejection.

If you have been given a psychological or personality test, your employer should request information from the exam that relates to position for which you’re applying. For example, if you have applied for a position as a bank examiner or auditor, the employer should request test results that relate to honesty or integrity rather than information on emotional or psychological problems that do not relate to your ability to do the job.

In all cases, your potential employer should be able to explain why it wants the information (how does it relate the job for which you’re applying?) and to whom it will be distributed. Access to your employment application and test results should be limited to those individuals who need the information to make an employment decision.

How to Behave in a Behavior-Based Interview

When Todd Lombardi sits down to interview a job candidate at Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc., he has a list of very specific questions to ask, and he knows how to follow them up with more probing questions about how the candidate performed in past jobs and projects.

Lombardi, who earned a master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology from West Chester University last May, wrote his thesis on behavior-based interviewing. Now he’s a college relations specialist at Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc., based in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and he says his background has helped him understand an interviewing technique that has become increasingly popular and, according to both his research and popular opinion, more effective than traditional techniques.

“It seemed like the more structure and the more thought that was put into an interview, the better it was,” he says.

Lombardi says behavior-based questions are generally designed to determine if a candidate possesses certain “key competencies.”

“When I start any behavioral interview, I explain the process,” Lombardi says. “I say, ‘I’m going to be asking you for specific examples. I will be asking you for details, including names of people, dates, and outcomes.’ I really like talking to people about lengthy projects they’ve had to do–how their role evolved, how they handled time deadlines, pressures, and unexpected situations, and especially how they handled any adversity…Everyone’s got that kind of experience.”

Lombardi says that the best way for students and new graduates to prepare for a behavior-based interview is to dig up old research papers, to think hard about any difficulties encountered in summer and part-time jobs, and to recount the steps it took to successfully complete school projects and projects that were part of internships or co-ops.

“What I would recommend is for them to just kind of think through situations that have occurred, projects they’ve worked on, specific experiences they’ve had,” he says. “They should be able to talk about that in detail and be very specific. They should reread that term paper…A lot of it is just common sense.”

Following is a list of typical behavior-based questions, courtesy of Lombardi and The Ultimate Job Search Kit by Damir Joseph Stimac. Competencies sought by the interviewer are listed in parentheses:

1. Describe a situation in which you had to use reference materials to write a research paper. What was the topic? What journals did you read? (research/written communication)
2. Give me a specific example of a time when a co-worker or classmate criticized your work in front of others. How did you respond? How has that event shaped the way you communicate with others? (oral communication)

3. Give me a specific example of a time when you sold your supervisor or professor on an idea or concept. How did you proceed? What was the result? (assertiveness)
4. Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress so that you can meet deadlines? How do you stay focused? (commitment to task)
5. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge your company or class was facing. What was the challenge? What role did others play? (creativity and imagination)
6. Describe a specific problem you solved for your employer or professor. How did you approach the problem? What role did others play? What was the outcome? (decision making)
7. Describe a time when you got co-workers or classmates who dislike each other to work together. How did you accomplish this? What was the outcome? (teamwork)
8. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline. What things did you fail to do? What were the repercussions? What did you learn? (time management)
9. Describe a time when you put your needs aside to help a co-worker or classmate understand a task. How did you assist them? What was the result? (flexibility)
10. Describe two specific goals you set for yourself and how successful you were in meeting them. What factors led to your success in meeting your goals? (goal setting)

Questions to Ask During a Job Interview

At most interviews, you will be invited to ask questions of your interviewer. This is an important opportunity for you to learn more about the employer, and for the interviewer to further evaluate you as a job candidate. It requires some advance preparation on your part. 

Here are some guidelines for asking questions:
* Prepare five good questions. Understanding that you may not have time to ask them all. Ask questions concerning the job, the company, and the industry or profession. 

Your questions should indicate your interest in these subjects and that you have read and thought about them. For example, you might start, “I read in Business Week that … I wonder if that factor is going to have an impact on your business.”

* Don’t ask questions that raise warning flags. For example, asking “Would I really have to work weekends?” implies that you are not available for weekend assignments. If you are available, rephrase your question. Also, avoid initiating questions about compensation (pay, vacations, etc.) or tuition reimbursements. You might seem more interested in paychecks or time-off than the actual job. 

* Don’t ask questions about only one topic. People who ask about only one topic are often perceived as one dimensional and not good candidates.

* Clarify. It’s OK to ask a question to clarify something the interviewer said. Just make sure you are listening. Asking someone to clarify a specific point makes sense. Asking someone re-explain an entire subject gives the impression that you have problems listening or comprehending. For example, you can preface a clarifying question by saying: “You mentioned that at ABC Company does (blank) . . .Can you tell me how that works in practice?” 

A job interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about a potential employer. Indeed, what you learn from an interview may determine whether or not you want the job you’re interviewing for. The following are examples of the types of questions you might ask at your job interview.


1. “Can you please tell me how your career has developed at XYZ Corp. Would someone entering the firm today have similar opportunities?”

2. “If I work hard and prove my value to the firm, where might I be in five years?”

3. “I read in your literature that your training program is comprised of three six-month rotations. Does the employee have any input into where he will go at the end of each rotation? How do you evaluate the employee’s performance during the training period?”

4. “I read in Business Week that a major competitor of yours is increasing its market share in your main market. What plans does your firm have to regain its lost market share?”

5. “Can you describe for me what a work week is really like as a salesperson for XYZ Corp?”

6. “How many individuals complete your training program each year?”

7. “When does the training program begin?”

8. “What is the length and structure of the training program?”

9. “Do most trainees advance fairly rapidly through the program?”

10. “What career paths have others generally followed after completing the program?”

11. “How does the position and the department contribute to the overall company mission and philosophy?”

12. “What is a typical day (assignment) for a [ position you are applying for ] in your company?”

13. “What characteristics best describes individuals who are successful in this position?”

14. “Does the position offer exposure to other facets of your organization?”

15. “What other positions and/or departments will I interact with most?”

16. “To whom does this position report?”

17. “How much decision-making authority and autonomy are given to new employees?”

18. “How will my performance be evaluated?”

19. “How often are performance reviews given? By whom?”

20. “What are the opportunities for advancement?”

21. “Does your organization encourage its employees to pursue additional education?”

22. “How would you describe the organization’s culture/environment?”

23. “What makes your organization different from its competitors?”

24. “What industry-wide trends are likely to affect your organization’s strengths and weaknesses?”

25. “How would you describe you organization’s personality and management style?”

26. “How is the work environment affected by the organization’s management style?”