Nerd Guru

Because technical people need good soft skills to get ahead.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Surviving engineering interviews: Part 4 - Technical Questions

The kinds of technical questions you will be asked obviously vary based on the kind of degree you have and the type of job you are applying for. Still, there are some general guidelines that can help you prepare.

Regardless of your experience level, anything on your resume is fair game and as a result you have to be careful about what you expose yourself to through your own description of your credentials. The worst possible scenario here is when you have some small mention of a technology you didn’t work with much that happens to be your interviewer’s key expertise. This person begins to ask you tough questions that you don’t really know the answers too. As with all interview scenarios, be honest. Communicate what you know and admit what you don’t, being sure to explain why the item occupies space on your resume in the first place. A good technique is to ask your expert interviewer a few questions about the technology in question that you know little about. This will show your curiosity and give you a chance to establish some rapport with the interviewer.

Especially if you are entering a new sub-genre, it is a good idea to review general technical topics in your area of interest. Besides any old school notes you might have laying around, a great source for concise technical information are the Shaum’s Outline series. Having a few of these in the right topics can give you an easy way to brush up on concepts you may not have worked with in awhile.

The main source for your answers is your job experience. Read through any performance evaluations you might have had to refresh your memory of different projects you may have worked on. Try to remember the challenges you faced and the solutions you created for each, including solutions that may not have worked out. This gives you a good baseline of data to work with on top of any trade journal or technical website reading you might do to better match your knowledge with that of the job you are applying.

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posted by Pete Johnson @ 1:42 PM   0 comments links to this post

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