Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Interview Guidelines for Freshers

Fly High
Isn’t it true that hundreds and thousands of articles, on the same topic, already exist? Then why I want to crowd the space more? I’ve got two reasons to do so:
  • After I published Thoughts on Interviewing freshers, few people wrote me back. They shared their valuable experiences, both good and bad, while applying the thoughts mentioned in that article. It was their feedback, which I believe would help a lot of people preparing for interview. 
  • Most of the technical forums, where Google searches are pointing for the keywords like “how to prepare for technical interview”, “what to read before interview”, are missing the point. I could easily figure out a pattern, a negative one, coming out of these “homework” guidelines to fresh engineers. Almost everybody, I interviewed, appeared to follow the same advice, as there was similarities in the mistakes.
Here are few things I can suggest.
Your Resume is important: Good interviewers prefer to ask the questions based on what you already know. And your resume tells what you’ve done and learnt. So, first thing first, get your resume straight.
  • Mention only what you know and have learnt. Adding things, which you don’t know or not confident about will only get you into trouble. A candidate mentioned a web application project in his resume. When asked about which application server was used, he replied that it was a team project and he didn’t work on that part. No prize for guessing, his answer didn’t work for him!!  
  • One candidate highlighted “Agile” in his resume. Later he confessed that he did this just to add few good keywords in hope to get his resume filtered. Your resume doesn't become eventful by mentioning false things. A solid resume is one where you mention the things you have done yourself. Likewise, many candidates add acronyms, without knowing details about them, for the same reason. 
  • People tend to over emphasized their hobbies. Chances are that your first prize in the dance competition not going to help you much. My take is, if you have plenty of relevant things, like you have done a web site for your uncle’s business, contribution in a open source project, or participation in some technical forum, then mentioning your extracurricular activities will look good. But if it is the only thing in your resume.....better avoid. 
  • Ideally, the first thing one should do, just after enrolling in any degree course, or something of that sort, is to have a resume in place. As you learn and do new things, keep on adding those in your resume. Also review your resume at regular interval, this will give you a good feedback about your progress. 
Answering Interview questions: The secret recipe to be hired at any good place is to remember that most of them are interested in your Learning ability, Problem solving skills, Attitude to work in a team, and your Creativity. Your aim is to either build or look out the opportunities, during the interview, to demonstrate these skills.
  • Again, the first advice is to be honest. While answering questions don’t make up the things. If you know something, explain it-concisely. Otherwise tell clearly that you don’t know. 
  • If you know something partially, just say so along with a permission to give it a try to figure out the possibilities. You can impress the interviewer by your thinking capability. 
  • While trying to figure out the possibilities, according to the above point, ask questions from the interviewer. If you are able to ask Valid questions you get another opportunity to impress the interviewer. While working in software field, where things are changing so fast and there is always something new to learn, you will need help from other experts. It’s known fact in our industry that people struggle taking help and asking relevant questions. So if you demonstrate this ability, you are heading in the right direction. 
  • Don’t cram before interview. Actually, don’t cram ever. Nobody is going to offer you a good job just because you know all the definitions. 
  • Everybody recognizes the fact that you are a fresh graduate and it’s acceptable fact that you don’t know much. It’s more important that you understand this part too. Lot of candidates pretend to be “knowledgeable”, I believe, because they believe that it’s expected from them due to their credentials (the degree course they have attended, the courses they have taken, and so on). Software development is a craft and it takes years and years of practice to master this craft. We accept the fact that it will take some time for you to know everything.

It's long journey.

  • Many interviewer prefer to ask abstract questions rather than pure technical ones. Some times they give you puzzles. The intention is to see your problem solving skill. You should focus on understanding the problem quickly and demonstrate the approach you are taking to solve the problem. Some time the approach you are taking is more important than the result itself. This is a window to show your creativity too. 
Overall the message is to be Honest and show What You Know, with Confidence. Good luck!!

P.S. Are you a fresher? Register here for more cool tips and other useful things.


  1. Prateek, you have provided a very good stuff for freshers as well as experienced candidates too.
    Resume demonstrates the candidate abilities. If any wrong information has been mentioned in the resume that will be caught at first sight by interviewer. So, need to be honest in the interview. Interviewers are more interested in knowing the problem solving approach of a candidate rather than list of technologies he knows. It may be possible that a candidate who have not mentioned any technical skill in his resume get selected by interviewer.
    I will encourage the freshers around me to read this article which will help them during interviews.

  2. Very well written Prateek.. Point for RESUME goes with all the domains....
    Your writings will really help many upcoming n wonderful professionals !!

    keep going n inspiring others... :)