Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Varying interview questions

I wonder if interviews for other professions are as varied as the interviews for software engineers.  I guess with all the charlatans and pretenders out there, companies have been burned.

With the change in ownership at my company, I have been interviewing with different companies, and the questions have been varied and interesting.  I thought I would share some experiences with you.  Here are a sample of some of the questions I have been posed with.

  • How would you handle a situation where you were handed a deadline for some functionality and you KNEW it could not be done in that time frame?
  • What is the difference between deleting rows, dropping a table, and truncating a table (NOTE: This was for a Java developer job, not a DBA job)
  • How do you do String comparison?
  • What is the difference between a Map, a List, a Set, and an Object Array (You mean besides the fact that an Object Array is a primitive part of the language and the others are not?)
  • Describe how you would manage a software development project.
  • Describe a time when you had to debug something and the tools you use.
I believe I've done reasonably well in the interviews I've been in, but the questions to me seem to be all over the place.  Perhaps employers have a variety of needs and are trying to determine where I would best fit.  Either way, its difficult to be prepared for interviews.  Last week I was reciting intricacies of JVM memory reclamation, language features and syntax, and constructs. This week I was describing my use of requirements, Use-Cases, UML and Sequence Diagrams.  I can't wait to see what next week brings.


  1. I believe that some of the variation is due to the fact that the jobs themselves are different. There are a number of variables to IT work and as you already know it's difficult to to distill an IT job down to just a few questions that a) demonstrate a candidate's ability to use all the technologies necessary to the position, and b) perform all of the highest-priority tasks required by the position. You'll work on a database-centric web application using straight servlets/JSP one day, a user-centric data-entry client/server application with web services another day, and a flashy GWT/GXT staff scheduling application the day after. How do you measure a candidate's effectiveness at all of that using just a few questions?

  2. Hi

    I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

    Pls try to keep posting.

    Let me show other source that may be good for community.

    Source: Employer interview questions

    Best regards