October 15, 2004

Interviewing Tips

This one comes in reply to a S.O.S. A friend of mine mentioned about getting a call from Microsoft for their initial on campus screening through college recruiting. He also wondered how he could prepare for it. Here is what I have to say:
  • Look up their website. Look up their positions (I think they have 4). Go through the details and figure out which one you would identify with. Also try to identify with a core Microsoft technology and express your desire to work in that group (this is not a must, but would show you have done some homework!)
  • Once you have decided what you are likely to go in for, google around a bit for those positions. Many interview questions are available on google itself.
  • If you have the time, look up Zoe and Gretchens blog on http://blogs.msdn.com/jobsblog They have some good inside information on the recruiting process.
  • Irrespective of what position you apply for, make sure you are well versed in regular string manipulation, data structures and algorithms and the regular HR questions. I suggest Algorithms and Data Structures and Pointers in C written by Yashwant Kanitkar for the same.
  • Be prepared for puzzles. I think http://www.techinterview.org/ is a good place to start off with.
  • Most important: GO THROUGH YOUR RESUME!! If you cant answer something on your resume, dont show it there. "I had worked on this a while back hence I dont really recollect it" is a strict NO-NO!
  • Dont be scared to say "I dont know." Suppose you are asked questions on Operating Systems and its not what you want to go into, dont be scared to say "This is not what I would like to go into. Altho I know OS is an important part of MS etc. etc. but I would like to work in groups such as encarta or messenger. OS does not really interest me right now". These guys are more interested in your strengths and not your weaknesses. Of course, dont be too rigid.
  • Do a self evaluation. If you have taken specialised courses in Software Design and none in testing (and you know nothing about testing), you probably are more suited for SDE. Find where your passion lies and interview for that position.
  • Think! Think ten times before you code. Ask millions of questions. Test your code. I am sure the interviewer will ask you to test it anyways.
  • At the end of the interview, ask some genuine questions and not for the sake of asking questions!
  • More importantly, be yourself. Be calm. Be relaxed. Be methodical... and smile! Show the person across the table that you are enjoying the experience!
  • There is a remote possibilty that the person interviewing you is HR and not tech. Such times, tech. questions would be rare. Concentrate on teamwork, how you contibuted "differently" to your project and few examples of leadership qualities.

Good Luck!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post Apoo. What do you think is the ideal way to interview a candidate coming in for a tester job? I am not talking about Microsofts or any other corporations manner of interviewing, but your own personal view on how you would interview a candidate. Just curious!! :-)


3:00 PM  
Blogger APOO said...


Good question. How do you identify a good tester? I'll cover this in a future post of mine.

12:07 PM  

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