Learning SW Engineer Interview Process

In order to perform well on your interview, one of the important steps is to learn the interview process to anticipate and prepare for the interview.  The very first event after you are selected for an interview based on your resume is the interview screen.  Interview screens are commonly done over the phone.  Over the phone interviews will likely involve technical questions so it is very important to be prepared for this.  However, sometimes, interview screens will be done in person but this may not involve technical questions.  Instead, it will be more focused on the behavior related questions and the technical questions will follow after you are selected from the screening.

The next phase after the screening is the actual on-site interview, which can involve as many as 4 or more separate interviews.  These interviews will be mixed with behavioral and technical questions.  For entry level interviews, many large corporations invite the candidates to one central location and invite all the hiring managers to perform the interviews.

After the on-site interview is done, the interviewer meet for several hours to parse through all the candidates and go through a selection phase.  The interviewers also document the result of the interviews and submit feedback in the system.  Most companies will respond back to the candidates within a week.  However, some will take several weeks to make their decisions.  In this case, it is okay to follow up with the recruiters.

Preparing for the Interview Questions

Believe it or not, many interviewers refer to the Internet for a list of questions to ask during interviews.  They even use websites like CareerCup.com for references.  It can be an important step to do some research on anticipating the types of technical or behavioral interview questions from online for the position you have applied.  For example, if you applied to a JAVA development position, then you should be able to explain important JAVA terminologies and be able to write JAVA program on the fly on a piece of paper.

Below is a list of preparations you should do for the interview.  Some of the actions should be started many months prior to the interviews so start as early as you can.

  • Build personal projects at home. This can involve building a website.
  • Work on expanding your network. Social media is a great place to start.
  • Students should take courses that involves large projects in a team environment.
  • Start building your work experience via Internships
  • Professionals should focus on big projects instead of tedious and repetitive activities.
  • Modify your resume and request for reviews.
  • Practicing interview questions involving writing codes on a piece of paper
  • Create a list of targeted companies to apply for
  • Create mini projects to completely understand key concepts.

Evaluation Criteria

There are four primary criteria that companies focus on when evaluating candidates.

  1. Prior work experience: Prior work experience isn’t as important as other criteria. However, it can play an important role if you can show how your prior work experience is relevant to what the company is looking for to fill their position.
  2. Personality in relation to Company Culture: It is important during interview to make sure you do not come across as an arrogant SW Engineer. Companies tend to look for candidates who can work well with other SW Engineers without being argumentative.
  3. Coding Skills: Coding skill is very important criteria. Need to be well prepared.
  4. Problem Solving Skills: Problem solving skill is another very important criteria.  Need to be well prepared and make sure your resume contains your involvement in problem solving and troubleshooting issues.

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