On Job Interviews in Software Development Companies

I think I now have quite some experience with job interviews, especially since I am working as freelancer from time to time.
Of course companies usually want to get to know you before you start writing software for them and ensure that you are the right person for the job, and it is always interesting to talk to other software development people during this process. Interviews like these are of course a bit different to job interviews when you simply apply for a company employee job, but there are a lot of common parts as well. One recent such occasion reminded me on this blog post by Svetlin Nakov, a software engineer from Sofia.

Basically he describes his job interviews at Microsoft and Google, where the interesting part is the short Google part:

It was like Olympiad in Informatics. Google asked me only about algorithms and data structures, nothing about software technologies and software engineering. It was obvious that they do not care that I had 12 years software engineering experience. They just ignored this.(source)

And then he summarizes that working at Google probably sucks because Google seems to employ everybody as junior developer, ignoring any existing software development experience.

Well, google may actually not suck as employer, but the problem is that a lot of companies today seem to forget that the job interview process is not one way: It's not only for the company to see if the job applicant fits their needs, but it also serves the applicant to get a first impression of the internals of the place where he may be working from now on.

So basically, if a company asks me stupid questions and treats me as an idiot in the job interview, I might not even want to work for it at all because I get a very bad impression from this alone. :)

six comments, already:

Google is a young company and grew very fast, they need some time to figure out how to do good interviews.
Tobur - 16 07 08 - 19:14

And what about Microsoft job interviews?
The Onslaught - 16 07 08 - 22:13

@niko “So basically, if a company asks me stupid questions and treats me as an idiot in the job interview, I might not even want to work for it at all because I get a very bad impression from this alone. :)”
well, looks like you have very bad experience with jobs interviews?
can you tell me what stupid question for example, and what mean when you say “treat me as an idiot”?how? not kind, or just stupid people? or something else?
you cant expect the other have knowledge like you, because this people looks for programmer, but maybe dont know what exactly wants?I hope you understand…
SkyWalker (link) - 17 07 08 - 01:19

The interviews with the company I work for were quite OK, but today we have got a problem: we would need about 10 more software developers but we can’t find that many. I work and live in a small town in southern germany, maybe it is easier in a big town like Munich, but we do currently really have trouble getting people.
Brainsaw (link) - 17 07 08 - 09:35

@skywalker: it wasn’t that bad, but I’m not going to tell details here.
brainsaw: exactly that’s the problem of a lot of companies in this area right now, so maybe a reason more to focus on nice interviews :)
niko - 17 07 08 - 18:39

To my mind, Google is in the right as they don’t need any programmers with experience, they need talentuous programmers with ideas: much of Google’s projects started with employees’ personal projects (Google lets its emloyees spend some time on their own projects at work time).
Moreover, they don’t ask any stupid question, just hard algorithmic problems.
blend - 18 07 08 - 11:58

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