.NET Developments

Jan 3 2008   1:15PM GMT

Preparing for that job interview

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Happy third day of 2008, dear reader!

For many of you, the beginning of the new year may mean seeking out a new job, whether through promotion at your current company or by seeking new opportunities elsewhere.

In either case, that’ll likely mean going through an interview process and demonstrating your knowledge of common .NET development concepts.

Blogger Eric Wise — who himself begins 2008 at a new job — is now in the process of hiring developers. Admittedly “amazed at the number of candidates who come my way who have little or no understanding of object oriented fundamentals,” Wise has posted what he feels are eight questions every .NET developer should be able to answer.

These questions, by design, are open-ended. One example: What is serialization, and how do you implement it in .NET? “Open-ended [questions] tend to give the candidate enough freedom to show their knowledge or lack of depth,” Wise suggests, adding, “I find it is harder for people to fake knowledge with such open-ended questions.”

As Wise points out, not everyone is going to answer all eight questions correctly — and they shouldn’t expect to, particularly if they are just getting started. Rather, they offer a chance to demonstrate what they know about concepts and, perhaps, engage in a philosophical discussion.

Rob Teixeira, meanwhile, advocates a different approach. As he writes in OOP and Interviews, his interviews start off vague and get more specific as time marches on.

In particular, Teixeira wants specifics on a candidate’s contributions to previous projects: “I want to hear what you did specifically, not what your team did. I want to know what you know, not what your team knows,” he says.

Also, saying “I don’t know” to Teixeira isn’t the end of the world, he admits. If that happens, he says, “I will then try to assess how you would solve such a problem involving that topic, and that’s more important to me than knowing every answer from memory.”

Check out Wise’s list of questions, and Teixeira’s rebuttal of sorts, and let us know what you think.  Is that list missing any key concepts or topics that might be important for a job interview? Or have you had better luck just describing what you know, what you’ve done and what you want to do?

(UPDATED Jan. 7 — Charles Miller, who has seen his share of resumes come across his desk at Atlassian, has added his $0.02 and linked to additional relevant ruminations in a blog entry called On Resume, Error. Miller’s main point is that, when it comes to resumes, developers must do something difficult and think like marketers.)

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