Interview-notes- part I

Lots of Notes
Image by Spyderella via Flickr

I am out there looking for new opportunities, this time around my criteria is different. I want lesser commute, more flexibility, a promise to myself to be more of a hands on technical person, people and the environment, in that- how people interact with each other.Hopefully looking for a company that will be my base for at least 3 years. Having said that, my past gig has been at a large company. And I have been spoilt.

I cannot mention the company name here, but lets just say that it is a start-up mode 500 employee firm. The pace feels like start up, they have agile method of development, low dividers instead of cubes,glass walled conference rooms, very little privacy, party lights adorn the walls with red and white furniture. In terms of interview time, I met 6 people in 5 hours. The interviews, at least 1 was made to stress me out, and very fast passed- apparently to give me a feel of what it is like to work there- that was my best most enjoyable round.What I did like about each of the interviewers, is that they had all read my resume, and come prepared. What I didn’t like about some one of the interviewers is them going over the board about the company. When I see that, I see aggression, and I do not want an aggressive car salesman kinda manager-at least not for engineering,atleast not when I am interacting with my potential manager- who I will count on to cover my back when the time comes.

1. Interviwer1: The newb:Automation QA: Indian lady:

Must be as experienced as me, with little to no exp of interviewing. Text book interview.

  • Details on my resume.
  • Dug into automation aspect of it.
  • How does client communicate with the server. Browser-TCP/IP (or some protocol- request sent)-server- server-response. She wanted to know how the browser knows how to contact the server. (very vague) but then after some tries, I said router. And thats what she wanted to hear.
  • Asked what is Java?. I guess she was looking for a textbook answer?.  I was vague, she asked if it was OOPS. I said yes and then started rambling about the characteristics of OOPS>
  • what is polymorphism.
  • What is encapsulation
  • What is the difference between overriding and overloading.
  • What is inheritance
  • What is multiple inheritance- how do you implement it in Java.

2. Interviewer 2: Hard nosed manager:Development manager: Indian lady

Came in to make me happy, are you cold, do you want something- Then came the, I expect my team to be nimble, smart, agile, else you don’t work -attitude- turned me off. I know she was setting her expectations. And yes. nothing wrong with that. But I am a different personality. I am a chill person,and this didn’t go well with me.

  • Talked about her team, what she expected.
  • Asked a general overview of my resume.
  • A container can hold 3 liters of water and another 5 liters, and you have unlimited suppy of water. How will you calculate 4 liters of water.

Interviewer 3(OH MY FAVORITE).-manager, hands on,the guy who builds tools.

Friendly, to the point, spoke very fast in multi-threads, apologized for it. But told me he was trying to stress me out- to give me a sense of the pace they worked at. I loved it.I loved his style of interviewing. If I do interview people I am so going to base it on this guy.Told me, he and his team always asks practical questions- I was begining to freak out.

  • He started off with what is your fav db, your web server, your browser. Drew them as boxes on the board. Asked me how they are connected.
  • Said the project he is working at, has a auto complete feature on it- type first three letters, and the cities matching it pops up. So he types in SAN, and say san diego, san-francisco pops up. But in this case it doesn’t how will I go about figuring it out.EXCELLENT QUESTION. In one shot, he managed to test how much I knew about technology, without necessarily knowing the terms for it- but also how I would trouble shoot it.
  • I started off with the db, using select statment, to senting a get requiest, to coming to the UI.
  • Asked me ttake his laptop and fire up firebug and told me how I would go about testing javascript.
  • Took his laptop back, taught me python in a very short time. Including classes and inherited classes: asked me questions on that. Then reversed it ans asked me to teach him python. It was overall an awesome inteview. I really dont kow what he was looking for, but I felt i was solving something- like I would at my day job, instead of trying to market or sell myself.

Interviewer 4: Very morose, classic dev types 😛 . American.

  • Asked me to code Fibonacci with java,
  • Asked me XML
  • Said there is a carrier, flight number, arrival airport, departure airport, to come up with classes. Ehh, isn;t this more like  a dev question?

Interviwer 5:UI developer: american, friendly.

  • resume stuff
  • Discussion on how things were done at my current job, and how they do it there.
  • Discussion on how I communicate with the developers.

Interviewer 6:Director of UI development: chinese-american, friendly- but you could tell he was testing you.

  • Resume details
  • What do I look for in a UI- how do i test it.
  • I chatted with him about their latests kick ass product, and that gave him a high, obviously he was proud of it- spent 15 mins showing me that 😀 . Went over the 1/2 hour limit and tokok 45 minutes instead.
  • Details on automation testing. Also told me my resume was light, but that it was ok!

Overall, I spoke to 6 people, I enjoyed talking to 3 of them. I like interviews that try and test your “day to day- things you would use at your job” skills, thanwhat I perhaps memorized sitting in a class. Its ok if you are not a guru at oops concepts (for a qa) maybe for a dev its highly important. If you have  rough idea of what it is, and you have the capacity to understand what the other person is talking about, its good enough.

Well IMHO a good QA

1. Communicates well. Asks questions.

2. Is analytical.

3. Has the thirst to know more about the product, so he/she can test it better.

4. Passion for breaking stuff.

5. Understands code, and has the ability to research and build on something.


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