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Six interview tips to land you with a job

Six interview tips to land you with a job

Firstly, check this article that explains how interviewers evaluate your resume. Once you have your resume ready with you, you need to prepare for the interview.

Based on the role applied for, the interviewer has different expectations from you.

Be ready with examples from your past experience.

The purpose of interviews conducted for the lower positions isto assess the theoretical skills and ability to apply the concepts in the real world.

As you go one step higher, the interview also includes the assessment of the quality of work experience. Its purpose is to understand the application of the technology to solve real world problems. The below example illustrates this point.

A fresh graduate out of college gets questions like ‘explain the concept of pointers’. His answer should elaborate the reasons of using pointers, use of memory and common uses of pointers with the help of a conceptual diagram.

Theoretical answers are fine, but some examples from a college project generate a lot of confidence about the graduate from the perspective of the interviewer.

An experienced software engineer is expected to know best practices of using pointers and reasons of following the best practices. She should be able to quote examples of code to demonstrate what works and what does not. She should also know current advances in technology.

Mugging the questions and answers does not help whereas drawing on your experience helps a lot.

Higher the position, more are the expectations.

Senior engineers,module leads and tech leads are expected to explain workarounds.Interviewers give an example problem or a case and ask questions to find a solution.

Discussing the solutions, asking questions on alternate scenarios and giving examples from past experience helps a lot.  

What type of answers do interviewers like?

Interviewers expect practical suggestions. They love “it would not work because” type of answers. They also look for examples from your experience that assure them that you are able to apply your experience to recommend solutions or select technical platforms. This is more relevant for experienced leads or junior architects.

If you have written a white paper or presented in an internal forum or contributed to on-line communities, it gives social proof of your expertise. Quote such experiences to the interviewer.

How to respond when you do not know the answer?

It is better to tell the interviewer that you do not know the answer, but ask if you can explain your past projects. This question may help you to direct the flow of conversation towards the territory known to you.

If you explain your project experience very well, they are likely to conclude that you will be able to solve problems in similar situations.

What do interviewers hate the most and how to avoid it?

Faking is the thing most hated by interviewers. Avoid it at all costs. If you do not know the answer, say so.

How do interviewers figure out that someone is faking and how to prevent it?

Superficial answers are full of terminology. The interviewee hides behind fancy words. He does not explain the concepts or get into details.

In case, you do not know the answer, say so gracefully. In case, you need to brush up your skills, be fair to yourself and tell the interviewer.  This prevents potential embarrassment.

What if I do not have experience?

In case you do no thave solid work experience, the interviewer would like to judge if you have the capability to work. The interviewer does not want to lose someone who has the ability to perform, but is not able to answer questions based on past experience.

To judge this potential, interviewer may ask a few questions to test your analytical abilities.

Here is an example.

Analytical question example 

There are three boxes containing fruits. One of them contains a mixture of oranges and apples. Out of the remaining two boxes, one contains oranges and the other contains apples. These boxes have labels pasted on them. By mistake, the contents and the label do not match. You can open only one of the boxes and see only one fruit. Based on the observation, you should be able to figure out contents of all the boxes.

This is a typical example to test analytical abilities.

Now, how do you get the answer to this problem? Firstly,confirm if you have understood the problem well. Ask your doubts to the interviewer. Once you are clear about the question, deal with it.

Such questions area bout eliminating possibilities.

Let us say, if you open the box that has label as ‘oranges’, what are the options? It contains all apples or a mixture of oranges and apples. So, if you see an apple, you are not sure of the contents.If you try the box labelled ‘apples’, you will be in the same dilemma.

What ifyou open the box labelled ‘mixture’? You will either get an apple or an orange. This means you have found a box that has either oranges or apples. If you get apples in that box, box labelled ‘apples’ contains oranges. Further, the box labelled ‘oranges’ contains the mixture of fruits.

It takes concentration to solve such problems, so practice for a couple of weeks to tackle such puzzles.

If you are applying for junior positions, you will meet with interviewers who test such analytical skills.

Prepare for ‘Why should we hire you’ sort of questions.

This question is difficult to handle if it is raised towards the end of the interview. It means that the interviewer spent a lot of time understanding your background and experience; however he is still not convinced.Interviewer wants your help to get convinced.

Let us be fair with the interviewers. Sometimes, the interviewer feels that you are a good fit for the job, but still has some reservations.Interviewer has to take a decision – hire or let go the opportunity of hiring you.

You need to help the interviewer. You need to explain the benefits of hiring you. You have to do a bit of planning from the beginning of the interview to understand the unsaid job requirements and the organization culture.

You should ask questions on the job position. Relate your experience with the job requirements. Think of examples from your past projects that relate with the job requirements. Explain your points with the help of these examples.

Ask questions on organization culture. Is the organization a start-up that thrives on chaos? Or is it a process oriented enterprise? Relate the organization culture with the organizations you have worked for in the past.

Ask if this organization is tech-savvy or works with more mature technologies. If you enjoy working on leading edge technologies, be ready with examples. If you prefer to work with mature technologies, say so.

Best way to answer this question is to relate your work experience with the job requirements and organization culture. If you do get this question, here are some possible ways to deal with it.

Explain how you completed a project on schedule, if you feel that the interviewer is not convinced about your project management skills.

Explain how you would use your past experience to train the juniors to get them up-to-date on technology.

Talk about your flexible nature to get the job done. Help the interviewer to select you.


In conclusion,

1. Be ready with examples from your past experience.

2. Offer practical suggestions to the interviewer.

3. If you do not know the answer, say so.

4. Do not give superficial answers.

5. Prepare yourself for analytical puzzles if you do not have much work experience.

6. Prepare for the ‘why should we hire you’ question.

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