Monday, July 17, 2006

Tips to prepare for an interview …

Off late, quite a few people are asking me about interview tips!! Though I don’t have any best prescription to follow before attending an interview, I thought would give it a try.

What I used to do when I was attending interviews?

I used to maintain a diary where-in I would take notes of imperative points while studying. Also after attending an interview I used to scribble down all those questions which were asked irrespective of whether I already know the answer or not. Later I would sit down and find answers for those questions which I wasn’t aware of.

So this diary would contain all important points of a subject and FAQ of that subject (with answers). Once I get an interview call, the first thing I would do is to run through that diary completely. It really worked for me, because I noticed that questions gets repeated after few interviews

The next thing I used to do is to collect FAQs from the internet and go through it WITHOUT fail. To my knowledge, for initial level of screening, interviewers in majority of the company make use of these FAQs only.

There are few companies / consultant who as part of their initial screening process ask us to take up online exams ( is one popular site ). So I used to practice taking online exams whenever I find time. FYI, till few years back Brainbench exams where free. Now it isn’t.

Apart from this, if you know of any better methods do let me also know :)


If you are a fresher concentrate more on Puzzles, Aptitude questions, computer language which you have studied on your academics and be ready to explain in detail the projects you did as part of your course.

For Experienced:

Irrespective of what technology one is working on, they need to be spellbound more on these topics:

  • Object Oriented Programming ---- Common for both .NET and JAVA. But not limited to these 2 alone. For example, now OOPs based programming can be done in Flash too. Yes, Macromedia Flash MX has inbuilt support for OOP. Also, Macromedia Flex has OOPs support built into it.

  • Good knowledge of Databases Concepts ---- No matter what front-end one use, mostly from day one of their career they would be using one database or other. So it’s quite normal to expect good competency in database when experience grows.
  • Performance (application, database) ---- Self-explanatory. This is how one can find the difference between a fresher and a skilled programmer.
  • Design patterns ---- This comes into picture when you start applying for Architect position.

Importance of Communication:

Communication is really very important. No second thought about it.

I know of many people who have not been offered a job because of “lack of decent communication”. I really don’t buy this point unless or until that person has applied for a Module Lead or above position.

Communication is more important when a person is required to converse with the client (or) Give directions to their team mates etc., So if a person is just applying for a software engineer position I guess one need not give too much of importance to communication as they can improve it after joining the organization as well!!

Better to avoid:

Irrespective of whether you are a fresher or skilled aspirant mention that you have done certifications (MCAD, MCSD, MCP, OCP etc.,) ONLY if you have confidence in that subject. If you lack self-confidence but you have completed those with DUMPS it’s better to avoid mentioning about it in your resume. Why? Because with few questions one can easily find out whether you have real experience on that subject or not.

If you don’t know the answer for a question just accept the fact that you are not aware of it. No harm in it. Interviewers normally get goaded when a candidate starts to beat around the bush. By giving wrong answers you start exhibiting that you don’t have clear idea about that answered topic as well.

This post is by no means an exhaustive list of things to know and remember; it is just a beginning step for you to search more in the web :) But I hope this would help you get started!

All the best for your Job Hunt …

Updated on 07 October 2006: The part II of this series is here

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ramya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lijin said...

Im Lijin and a beginner in the field of programming.
Today I just happened to go thru ur blog. Its very good and friendly.

these tips are very much helpfull to all

Hav a great day sir.

Srini said...

"If you don’t know the answer for a question just accept the fact that you are not aware of it"

Now i understood how I managed to get a job, and I've heard it straight from the Horse's mouth :)) Nice post Vadivel.

Prashant Singh said...

Hello sir ..

i m Prashant working on STRUTS.
Actually i was looking for some interview tips on java when i found ur blog this is really an excellent blog helping us to nurture our carrer.

i m expecting more blogs of such standard from u.

Have a nice day

Seshadri said...

Hi Vadivel,

Sorry 4 d very delayed comment.. Nice post..

These things wil prove to b very useful to lotta ppl :)

Am really proud to have been interviewed by u..

I still remember every minute of it.. I was jus goin thru Yashwant Kanetkar outside d interview hall at DBS center..

They called me in 4 interview.. Ur smile, d handshake n d warm welcome made me be at total ease.. felt very comfortable.. I have to say dat, once a person feel comfortable, d mind starts workin calmly, efficiently.. Experience :)

Result - Workin in VERIZON..


U r jus gr8..

Anonymous said...

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They're exam cram style but 100% free..

Free online MCAD and MCSD practice exams