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.