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How to enter big companys?

Hi Joel:
Could you give me some advice on how to enter big company?
like Kokak, Microsoft ...

I have read your article on interview many times. but seems many companies donot use the way you described to interview , here, China.

Microsoft asked me "what ISDN mean?"
Kokak asked me  "Does SendMessage() works between two process?"

I did everything , for example, brought some real code to the interviewer. I also learned everything about C programming and program design (ADT, OOP).

Well, I have been always staying in small companies.
So maybe I donot know the way big companies think?

redguardtoo
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What you have to remember is that a big company consists of thousands of people, and they are not all the same. So when you go to an interview, the people who interview you have their own personal opinions of how to conduct interviews. Even if interviewing was an easy process, they might be having a good day or a bad day or they might be good interviewers or bad interviewers. At a company like Microsoft I would expect to find a dramatic amount of variation. In other words: there are three kinds of candidates .. the ones that would get rejected no matter what by Microsoft, the ones that would get accepted no matter what by Microsoft, and the biggest group of all, where it depends on who happens to do the interviewing that day.

At least at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington there is a lot of consistency in interviewing because the people there all talk to one another all day long. In far-flung outposts like Beijing you probably have a few people who came out from Redmond and mostly people who hired locally and spend most of their time talking to other Chinese employees. So it wouldn't surprise me one bit if for some reason the Beijing team has its own completely different style for hiring and interviewing people that may be completely different than what the company is used to. In fact the original reason I wrote "The Guerilla Guide to Interviewing" is because I discovered that the Microsoft New York office did interviews the old way -- chatting about your resume and then asking you trivia questions about obscure APIs -- instead of using all the great interviewing techniques that were developed 3000 miles away at Microsoft headquarters.

In conclusion there's no right answer to this question, because the variation inside one company in how hiring takes place is so huge that there's no real way to know what to expect. The bottom line is that even the best people are going to get rejected for a lot of jobs that they are completely qualified for, so you shouldn't stake all your hopes on one particular employer, and you shouldn't hesitate to keep trying with other employers or even with the same employers (they'll usually let you re-apply after a year or two).

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Once you get in, you'll be looking for a way out soon . . .

R. M.
Monday, May 03, 2004

I dont understand? What's wrong with those questions?
Were they not at all connected to the position you were interviewing for?

B
Saturday, May 08, 2004

The problem with these style of questions is that it depends heavily on some (possible obscure) bit of knowledge, and ignores how good (or bad) of a problem solver the candidate is.  Companies should not care if the person knows the details of the Windows API or some technical terms because any competent programmer could look that stuff up in under 10 minutes.  What they should care about is if the person would be able to devise an algorithm or methodology to solve a given task (how would you move Mt. Fuji?), because programming is all about problem solving.

EvilPettingZoo
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

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