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How to Get a Job As a Computer Programmer – Getting Through the Interview Process As an Aspirant
As an aspiring professional computer programmer (meaning you’ve never worked for pay in the corporate world), I’d like to share with you some tips on how to get through the interview process in the final stages of a job search. .
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “opportunity makes luck.” So how much preparation have you done before appearing for the interview? Most importantly, what kind of preparation have you done?
Think of the interview process as a multifaceted crystal. As you turn it around, you can see that it’s made up of multiple sides — each side representing a different aspect of the interview. To be successful you must bring all sides into your awareness at the same time.
The type of preparation required will depend on which aspect of the interview process you are preparing for. Trust me if you fail in any of these aspects you can fail the interview no matter how well you do in any other aspect.
There are three main aspects of the interview process for hiring an aspiring computer programmer. They are firstly a measure of your technical prowess, secondly a measure of how well your personality fits with the organization you are joining and finally a gauge of your willingness to join.
Measuring your technical prowess
As an aspiring professional computer programmer your technical preparation should be highly targeted and relevant to the requirements of the role before appearing for an interview. This may sound obvious, but occasionally I’ve seen interview candidates (with good overall general knowledge) who fumble over details relevant to the job they’re applying for.
This often happens because they haven’t taken the time to carefully go through the technical job description of the role they’re going for to make sure they have enough depth of knowledge in the specific area they need. So while general knowledge is great, you must also be prepared to face the specter of detail.
How do you prepare for the details? Those who succeed make use of the abundance of freely available online resources at their disposal. I imagine that being already internet savvy you are familiar with the plethora of resources available regarding computer programming technical skills. One of the most effective ways to make the most of this online resource is to subject yourself to a battery of tests to see how you perform. Use Google to find various online testing sites and then take the tests. This will soon reveal the kind of weaknesses that your potential employers will be looking for.
All of this assumes that you are already reasonably fast and honing your skills to the sharpness needed to cut through the interview process. You may have already gone through several textbooks or taken a computer programming course. But there is usually a gap between this degree of preparation and the degree of preparation needed to clear the interview.
You have to pass as many trials as possible (and possibly fail) to cross this bridge.
Measuring your personality fit
In my personal experience whether or not your personality will fit can be decided within minutes of walking through the door. This decision-making process sometimes occurs at an almost unconscious level.
Passing this exam is usually quite easy once the technical hurdles are overcome. But there are pitfalls and pitfalls to be careful of. If you are with another candidate (a different possibility if you are an aspirant who has not worked in the corporate world) then this can be a tie breaker so please be careful!
Don’t assume anything and communicate the fact that you don’t assume anything especially if you have demonstrated a high level of technical expertise. Why does it matter? Well, some people with high technical skills have a tendency to be obnoxious or arrogant. Good managers are wary of such people. They sometimes pass them on in favor of someone who may be a little less talented but skilled enough to get the job done.
So let humility be your watchword throughout the interview process. But at the same time no good manager has a problem with confidence or a tendency to question the status quo, if he is willing to listen to other points of view as well.
How willing are you to join?
A few years ago, I took my son to school for an interview. He had to sit for a three-hour test followed by an hour-long oral interview. Finally got a chance to talk to the principal of the school. He seemed pleased with my son’s overall performance but was hesitant about whether he would make an offer. As we shook hands before I took my leave, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Would you accept if we made your son an offer?”
Without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, “Of course.”
This is the important point I am making here. You should convey through your body language and general demeanor that you would not hesitate to join if offered. Also you will be asked directly as I was with my son. Be prepared to respond positively even if you have doubts. You can always decline a formal offer later if you change your mind.
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