Saturday, December 03, 2005

Interviewing

Today I had the opportunity to interview some applicants to the Associate Software Engineer designation. Basically what’s expected from us (myself and other interviewers) was to evaluate the applicants’ skills highlighting and commenting on their strong areas and weak areas and to recommend whether to go forward with the second round of interviews or not based on our overall impression of the candidate.

The areas that we covered included their past projects involvements, object oriented concepts, knowledge of algorithms, data structures etc., Programming language and Programming platform specific knowledge, Knowledge of database concepts and products, the scope of exposure in to a verity of technical domains, knowledge of software development processes’ etc.
Based on today’s experience I’d like to advise who ever is seeking a career not only at Virtusa but any other place for that matter.

1.) Don’t say you know something unless you really do. Not verbally - not in your CV.
2.) When you speak of projects that you have done, be sure to mention the extent of your involvement in that project. It makes a real bad impression when you have mentioned real good projects in your CV but you do not have enough knowledge of that domain and technologies used.
3.) Make sure you have adequate knowledge of the technologies you mention in your CV. If you don’t know it - don’t mention it. (It creates a real bad impression when you mention that your core technology is C# .NET and you aren’t able to give an overall description of the .NET Framework.)
4.) Be sure to prepare yourself before hand. Take time to find out what is expected of the role you have applied for and what knowledge is required. For example an ASE at Virtusa is expected to have good analytical and problem solving skills, know the fundamentals required for software engineering (object oriented concepts, UML, data structures, common algorithms, basics of databases etc.) together with a reasonable knowledge of at least one language and a programming domain plus flair knowledge of a database product. Knowledge of software development processes, testing, networking etc. would be advantageous. Your ability to express yourself and the attitude also plays a major role.

Having said all that, it should also be mentioned that ultimately it all depends on the person who interviews you. Some people interview to prove that they are better than the interviewee, some people can’t tell the difference between an exam and an interview (I saw some interviewers getting the candidates to write answers to question papers - which is not what’s expected of an interview.), some people want to eliminate all possible challenges to them while what is expected from an interviewer is to have an open mind towards the interviewee with the clear intension of evaluating whether he/she is fit for the job or not. It’s true that it’s not fair, but let’s face it. Life is never fair

Even though Virtusa as a company tries to eliminate this kind of anomalies it’s really difficult to achieve it in a large organization like it.