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Java Interview

I know this is an old question, but I'm interviewing for a Java position next week and am just looking for some pointers.

I have over 3 years of experience doing Swing and Servlets. I also do Perl, Python, some C#, HTML, CSS, SQL, the usuals. At my current position I also do graphic design, maintain a Linux app server farm, design and implement marketing campaigns, sell to customers, and even some user support. Lots of stuff!

The new position wants Struts, JSP, graphic design, HTML, etc. They know I haven't done a lot with Struts, but I'm currently learning it for a project of my own, which I told them. I've done some JSP, but in my big web app I generally use XMLC for my presentation.

I know I'm meeting with some technical and HR people, so I'll probably get both sorts of questions.

I always do horrible at interviews. I stutter, I ramble on and on, I say things that I don't mean, the usual nervous act. I am a decent developer and a hard-core geek who can't stop coding even to sleep, but I'm also good at communicating with customers, and a "snappy dresser," at least according to a comment from a past interview.

So I'm looking for tips on not being nervous, what sort of technical questions I might be asked, how to answer those "what are your greatest strength"-type questions, what questions I should ask them, etc.

I interviewed with these people for a different position but messed it up by being nervous. I really like the company and want to get it right this time!

Any comments or pointers to information would be appreciated!

JD
Monday, June 14, 2004

I suppose I won't find any pointers in a Java position!

Maybe I should be a stand-up comic instead.

JD
Monday, June 14, 2004

As a technique to relax and avoid being nervous you could try to imagine that your interviewer is naked.

This doesn't work if she's a cute lady, though. But might be more interesting ;). <g>

Well, seriously, I would just recomend that you take your time to answer: think for a few seconds what are you going to say.

And try not to asnwer with absolute yes/no.  Always explain your answers. Think aloud. Don't hesitate to doubt (pun not intended) on answering if you think there is a trade-off between posible answers.

Just relax and think that it is just an interview. They want to know who you are and you have to let them know you just as you are.

If there's a window in the interview room, try to see through it and think how insignificant we are and how a small problem is to be afraid of a little interview when the world is so huge and there are so many posibilities ahead.

Good luck

.NET Developer
Monday, June 14, 2004

First of all, if they start asking the "what are your greatest strengths" type questions, run, do not walk, for the nearest exit. They're idiots. Secondly, if they start jerking you around (like making you sit in a waiting room for an hour past your apointment time), politely excuse yourself and run, etc.

Remember, this is just an interview - you won't be shot if you screw up. If you really know your stuff, you'll be fine. It's the lack of preparation that will kill you.

And probably most important, did you do "due diligence" on the company? Are you sure you're a good match for what they need? If you're not sure, ask them what they're looking for (not just skillsets but what kind of person), and if you don't like what you hear,  run....

W Michael Ealem
Monday, June 14, 2004

I agree with all the advice given so far, and especially with the implied advice above that you should do "due dilligence".

I consider the interview to be a two way process. The more I've learned about companies, the more I become convinced that the interview is the one time you should be asking a lot of questions about how the development organization works (and, most importantly, where it doesn't work).

You sanity depends on it. :) Good luck.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Monday, June 14, 2004

You said you are good at communicating with customers. Try to pretend your interviewers are your customers: you are offering your services as a developer, and they are the client paying for those services. Sell yourself!

Ian
Monday, June 14, 2004

You're not going to get the job anyway so why be nervous?
Consider it a free shot at telling some assholes just how things Should Be Done. In fact, you may as well let them know how lucky they are you deigned to be interviewed by them.

arrogance is bliss
Monday, June 14, 2004

Thanks for the helpful comments!

Well, all except for that last person. Perhaps he's bitter, unemployed, and possibly a schmuck.

JD
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Or maybe he's the boss.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004


Since these are HR and other types, work out a few answers in advance...

Like:  "What are some of your weaknesses?"

Be prepared for questions like this and be prepared to address things.  If you ramble and stutter, it's not going to help, but if you ponder deeply for a moment and then come back with considered answers, you'll be in a much better position.

KC
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Re the "greatest weakness" question, I once read this and it really stuck with me:

"Being asked about your greatest weakness is an open invitation to put your head in a noose.

Decline the offer."

This question should always be answered with something that can be readily improved via training or experience: e.g., "I don't know as much about <technology X> as I'd like" (where X is NOT anything that's a core requirement for the position!)

The WRONG answer to this question is anything inherent about you or your personality, e.g. "I don't delegate well", "I don't like to multitask".

It's worked for me.  Good luck...

- former car owner in Queens
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

What former car owner said.

Furthermore, don't tell them something like that you're a perfectionist.  It means you can't finish a project.  This is not a good thing.

5v3n
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I think i'd call the interviewer on that one. You know, "Come on, guy. What do expect to find out about me from such a inane question."

MilesArcher
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

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