Posts Tagged Interview Questions
We recently discussed questions STEM professionals should ask during their interviews to ensure they’re making a fully informed decision when accepting a job offer, and increase the odds they’re going to be happy with that company.
Now, let’s talk about the questions a hiring manager could ask you – if you’re a technical professional. Tech company interviews are notoriously difficult, so being prepared for both common and trickier questions is essential. Luckily, it’s easy to find sample questions on the web to help you prepare. Or at least give you an idea of the nature of questions. As you’ll see, some questions are just impossible to predict. So prepare for the unexpected!
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your technical certifications and how do you maintain them?
- How did your education and past experience help prepare you for this job?
- Give an example of how you applied your technical knowledge in a practical way.
- Tell me about a recent project you worked on and your responsibilities.
- How do you ensure consistency across unit, quality, and production environments?
- Describe a time you were able to improve upon an originally suggested design.
- What makes a successful team and why?
- If you were a Microsoft Office program, which would you be? (Consolidated Electrical Ecommerce Position Interview)
- You’re in a row-boat, which is in a large tank filled with water. You have an anchor on board, which you throw overboard (the chain is long enough so the anchor rests completely on the bottom of the tank). Does the water level in the tank rise or fall? (Tesla Motors Mechanical Engineer Position Interview)
- If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it? (Hewlett-Packard Product Marketing Manager Position Interview)
- How would you design a recommendation system? (Adobe Data Mining Engineer Position Interview)
- How would you cure world hunger? (Amazon.com Software Developer Position Interview)
- Write a Fibonacci series. (Apple Software Engineer Interview)
- A website with two app servers and one database server is slow. Explain how you would investigate it and solve the performance problem. (Amazon.com Software Engineer Interview)
- What are the seven layers of the OSI model? (Cisco Systems Associate Systems Engineer Interview)
- You have five bottles with pills. One bottle has 9 gram pills; the others have 10 gram pills. You have a scale that can only be used once. How can you find out which bottle contains the 9 gram pills? (eBay QA Software Engineer Interview)
- Explain quantum electrodynamics in two minutes. (Intel Senior Process Engineer Interview)
- Would you rather have strictly defined tasks or a more open space to define your work? (Yahoo Software Engineer Interview)
- Please spell “diverticulitis.” (EMSI Engineering)
Obviously these questions are examples. You will probably hear some of the basic questions, but you may never hear these specific unique ones. However, you can be sure that you will hear other unique questions. The point is to take each question in stride, take the interviewer through your thought process out loud, and ensure your answers demonstrate why the company should hire you.
Seem a little intimidating? Don’t let it be. Be open and honest with your answers and have fun. Showing your true self makes you more likeable, which is another great reason to hire you.
We all remember those awkward first interviews we experienced as we searched for our first jobs out of college. The hiring manager asked formulaic questions that we answered, and at the end of the interview it was our turn to ask questions. If you forced yourself to ask a handful of carefully prepared questions because you’d been told this was an important part of the interview, you’re not alone.
However, with experience, and resulting increased confidence (and let’s not forget, as an in-demand STEM professional who might have several job offers to choose from and must narrow the selection) you likely now go to job interviews with just as many, if not more, organic questions for the hiring manager, as he or she has for you.
And yet, maybe you’re preparing for your first interview in a while and aren’t quite sure which questions to ask. The market may have changed, ways of doing business change, and companies change. So, here’s a little cheat sheet just to get your brain going. Use these questions as a guide, and build upon them or personalize them as needed.
- How did this position become available?
- What skills are you looking for?
- What types of projects would I be working on?
- Who do I report to?
- Who reports to me?
- What sort of decisions will I be making?
- What resources are available to me?
- Describe a typical workday.
- What measures of success would you like to see from the candidate you choose in the next six months to a year?
- How would you describe this department? What makes it unique?
- What are its strengths and weaknesses?
- How would you describe the culture?
- What’s your favorite thing about working here?
- Who are the organization’s competitors (this will help you understand if the company is a market leader or not).
Do not discuss compensation until you have been offered a job.
- What type of benefits does the compensation package include.
- Does the compensation plan include performance-related portions?
- If an employment contract exists, what are its terms?
- (In the case of a relocation) what moving expenses are covered (these may include lump sums or expense accounts for broker fees, move-in costs, meals and transportation, corporate apartments, or trips to your new city to search for housing).
The Next Steps
- Close by asking the interviewer if they have any remaining questions about you (give yourself an opportunity to fill in any gaps remaining in his or her mind about your fit for the position, if applicable).
- If you’re interested in the position, ask about next steps and a time frame for when you’ll hear back.
- Make sure you let the hiring manager know you are excited and would love the position.
You need not pepper the hiring manager with a list of questions at the end of the interview. If you have these questions in your mind, they will most likely organically come up in the conversation throughout the interview. At the end, take a look at your notes and circle back to any you might have missed! You’re in demand – so you should be asking questions!