Category Archives: Job Interview

Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions

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By Gayle Laakmann McDowell

I am not a recruiter. I am a software engineer. And as such, I know what it’s like to be asked to whip up brilliant algorithms on the spot and then write flawless code on a whiteboard. I’ve been through this as a candidate and as an interviewer.

Cracking the Coding Interview, 6th Edition is here to help you through this process, teaching you what you need to know and enabling you to perform at your very best. I’ve coached and interviewed hundreds of software engineers. The result is this book.

Learn how to uncover the hints and hidden details in a question, discover how to break down a problem into manageable chunks, develop techniques to unstick yourself when stuck, learn (or re-learn) core computer science concepts, and practice on 189 interview questions and solutions.

These interview questions are real; they are not pulled out of computer science textbooks. They reflect what’s truly being asked at the top companies so that you can be as prepared as possible. WHAT’S INSIDE?

  • 189 programming interview questions, ranging from the basics to the trickiest algorithm problems.
  • A walk-through of how to derive each solution, so that you can learn how to get there yourself.
  • Hints on how to solve each of the 189 questions, just like what you would get in a real interview.
  • Five proven strategies to tackle algorithm questions, so that you can solve questions you haven’t seen.
  • Extensive coverage of essential topics, such as big O time, data structures, and core algorithms.
  • A behind the scenes look at how top companies like Google and Facebook hire developers.
  • Techniques to prepare for and ace the soft side of the interview: behavioral questions.
  • For interviewers and companies: details on what makes a good interview question and hiring process

Job Hunting Secrets: (from someone who’s been there)

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By Clark Finnical

Many recruiters, HR and hiring managers spread myths, misconceptions and sometimes, downright lies, now its time for job seekers to know the truth. Readers say,

Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. ~ Kathy Burkhardt, Regional Director of Health Information

You can tell the author has walked a mile, or five, in a job seeker’s shoes because this book truly thinks of everything. ~ Kristin Sherry, Career Coach

I’ve consulted for the Labor Department and I’ve never seen a book as thorough, well-researched, and helpful as this one. ~ Chris Largent, Academy Director, University Lecturer & Adjunct Faculty.

I’ve had Lee Hecht Harrison coaching and read articles on job hunting. Your book distilled the best advice in one easy to read and understandable source; for $20 retail, it’s the best deal I’ve come across ever! . ~ Tom Weisbeck, CSP

This book has a lot of great information to help you…read between the lines and the hidden “code” (the runaround) we often get when we begin the application process. ~ Barbara Bermudez, Transcription Manager

You will be surprised to find that a successful job search requires ignoring much of what you are told.

A Critical Interviewing Mistake!

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By Brad Remillard

Candidates more often that not miss one of the best opportunities during the interview to shine, to differentiate themselves, and demonstrate their ability to do the job. What a great opportunity missed!!

In most interviews, the interviewer even sets the candidate up with the opportunity to shine and candidates blow right past it. The interviewer asks the soft ball question, “Do you have any questions for me?” A golden opportunity to shine. The questions you ask can outshine every answer you have given so far in the interview.

However, time and time again, I hear candidates do one of two things:

  1. Answer,”No, not really. Most of my questions were answered during the interview.” What a terrible answer. How did the interviewer answer “MOST” of your questions, when they were asking you questions.
  2. Reply with one or two (occasionally someone stands out and asks three) standard, unimportant, basic no-brainer, no forethought questions such as, “What is the budget?” or “What is your management style?” Again, these reveal the candidate has not prepared and is very shallow.
  3. Actually, there is a third, the candidate sits there like a deer in the headlights trying to think of something to say.

This is your opportunity to ask questions that demonstrate your ability to understand the job and what performance standards will be. Challenge the interviewer, ask “Why” are you doing X, probe deeply into the issues you will face once on board, how they manage, etc. Every candidate knows this question is coming in one form or the other. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is a sign of strength, confidence and demonstrates a depth of knowledge. As a recruiter for almost 30 years, when a hiring manager calls back and says, “This person really asked me some great questions. They made me think in the interview.” I know that person is getting the job.

One component of your interviewing preparation should be questions to ask. Not just questions about the company, but specific questions about the job, ask “why”, ask about communications, ask about past issues, ask about future challenges, ask about people, ask about KPI’s, ask about systems, there are so many issues to discuss to make sure you will be successful.

The best advice I have is ask the same questions you will be asking once in the job to be successful. You might as well know them before you accept the position. Otherwise, it might be a position where you can’t succeed.

Tell Stories To Ace Behavioral Interview Questions

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By Justin Mountford

Behavioral interviewing is a common technique in almost every interview you’ll encounter. It’s also the hardest technique to prepare for. Or is it? Find out how you can simply tell stories and ace any interview you walk into.

Behavioural interview questions are certainly not a “new” interviewing technique, however they can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. While you can spend time learning a great “canned” response to questions such as “tell me about yourself” it’s much harder to prepare for questions you don’t know.

Or is it?

The real problem with this interview approach for interviewees is that instead of getting nice predictable questions such as “tell me about yourself” or “Why should I hire you” a behavioural interview question could be anything. In fact, you’ll probably never hear the exact same question twice.

This technique is designed to probe your ability to use experience to answer questions in an open ended fashion. Typically recruiters use your answers to predict your future behavior.

How To Prepare For the Unknown?

If you don’t know what the question is how could you possibly prepare?

I found overall the best way to answer these types of questions is to literally tell a story.

As a recruiter I also enjoy listening to a quick story instead of hearing boring robotic answers, especially because a response like, “Yeah, I can do that.” is not going to impress anyone.

But there is a catch! When you tell a story, it should be relevant, convincing and short.

How do you do that?  Be a STAR that’s how.

STAR is a very popular acronym for constructing answers to behavioural interview questions and it suits our short story method perfectly.

Here’s how it goes:

S = Specific situation

T = Task or target

A = Actions you took

R = Results from your actions.

The format of your stories should include a problem or situation, a task or target you set, the action or activity you took, and the outcome that benefited the company.

Keep your story fast paced and to the point. If it’s interesting you might be asked to elaborate even further.

Getting Specific about questions

Before heading into an interview try to work out what the company might value most, are they are startup and want flexibility, or a large enterprise looking for a specific skill, or a non-for profit that looks for core values.

When you’re asked a question try to come up with an example where you successfully “used” methods that are inline with the company values. Such as I “saved money by doing xy”, or “I developed a new abc”, or “I understood the values and worked on a mutually agreed deal”.

Don’t Go Wandering

When you answer interview questions don’t let your answers wander from topic to topic. Remember to tell your story with STAR in mind.

First, describe the situation, then what task you didBusiness Management Articles, actions you took and your actions accomplished. Stay on topic.

Prove You Can Do it!

Behavioural interview questions are a great way to prove that you are the right person for the job by citing exact examples. While you can’t exactly anticipate a question you can recall stories from your career that demonstrate that you have the skill and competencies necessary to be successful.

Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview

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By Thea Kelley

Praised as “Excellent” on Forbes.com, this concise interview guide gives readers proven tips and clear instructions to prepare for breakthrough interviews.

Job seekers will learn to:

  • Identify and communicate their unique strengths, their “key selling points.”
  • Understand why employers ask many of the most common interview questions – and how to answer with confidence.
  • Succeed with video interviews, behavioral interviews and panels.
  • Build an arsenal of success stories.
  • Ace every step – from the first screening to accepting the offer.

“A practical guide to authentic, well prepared interviewing, Get That Job! offers an abundant tool kit of resources – including great answers to challenging questions every job seeker is sure to encounter. Kudos!” – Marie Zimenoff, Director of Career Thought Leaders and the Resume Writing Academy

Heard on The Street – Quantitative Questions from Wall Street Job Interviews

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By Timothy Falcon Crack

THIS IS A MUST READ! It is the first and the original book of quantitative questions from finance job interviews. Painstakingly revised over 23 years and 19 editions, Heard on The Street has been shaped by feedback from many hundreds of readers. With well over 50,000 copies in print, its readership is unmatched by any competing book. The revised 19th edition contains 226 quantitative questions collected from actual job interviews in investment banking, investment management, and options trading. The interviewers use the same questions year-after-year, and here they are with detailed solutions! This edition also includes 210 non-quantitative actual interview questions, giving a total of more than 435 actual finance job interview questions. There is also a recently revised section on interview technique based on Dr. Crack’s experiences interviewing candidates and also based on feedback from interviewers worldwide. The quant questions cover pure quant/logic, financial economics, derivatives, and statistics. They come from all types of interviews (corporate finance, sales and trading, quant research, etc.), and from all levels of interviews (undergraduate, MS, MBA, PhD). The first seven editions of Heard on the Street contained an appendix on option pricing. That appendix was carved out as a standalone book many years ago and it is now available in its revised fourth edition: “Basic Black-Scholes” (ISBN: 978-0-9941386-8-2). Dr. Crack did PhD coursework at MIT and Harvard, and graduated with a PhD from MIT. He has won many teaching awards, and has publications in the top academic, practitioner, and teaching journals in finance. He has degrees/diplomas in Mathematics/Statistics, Finance, Financial Economics and Accounting/Finance. Dr. Crack taught at the university level for over 25 years including four years as a front line teaching assistant for MBA students at MIT, and four years teaching undergraduates, MBAs, and PhDs at Indiana Univeristy. He has worked as an independent consultant to the New York Stock Exchange and to a foreign government body investigating wrong doing in the financial markets. His most recent practitioner job was as the head of a quantitative active equity research team at what was the world’s largest institutional money manager.

Phone Interviewing Quiz – Are You Ready for a Telephone Interview?

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By Brad Remillard

Most interviewing processes start and stop with the phone interview. In our opinion this is the most important interview. Not only because if you fail here the process stops, but mainly because it sets the stage for the in-person interview if you do well. Have a great phone interview and the mindset of the person bringing you in for the face-to-face interview is already positive, they believe you must be qualified, and you are starting out in a strong position.

Here is a quick quiz to see if you are ready to, “Win The Phone Interview.” Answer these in your mind, not fair if you already read the book or downloaded the free chapter. (Answers below)

  1. List all three factors that can be measured during a phone interview. Must list all three.
  2. How long should you talk before re-engaging the interviewer?
  3. Is the format for answering a question different than a face-to-face? If so, what is different?
  4. Is there a possible benefit from not answering the phone? If yes, what is it?
  5. What is the only purpose of a phone interview?

If you can answer all of these, then you are aware of how different the phone interview is from the in-person interview. If you can’t answer all of them then you should consider doing your homework. It is possible you’ve missed an opportunity because you were weeded out during a phone interview.

To help you, we have a number of completely FREE resources to make sure you know how to win the phone interview.

  1. Our chapter on “Winning the Phone Interview” from our job search workbook is free to download. It answers all these questions and more.
  2. We just posted a 1 hour audio file from our radio show focused completely on the phone interview.
  3. There are also a number of other blog entries dedicated to the phone interview for you to read.
  4. Our Linkedin discussion group is a great forum to discuss any issues you have regarding your job search.
  5. Our monthly Candidate Open Forum tele-conference has been one of our most successful methods to discuss all job search related topics. These forums fill up in less than a day. Click here for the next date and time.

Please consider taking advantage of these. They are all free tools you can use to ensure you not only win the phone interview, but win the job.

Help your friends and family know how they can win a phone interview by sharing this with them.

Please let us know how you did on the quiz. Did you really know all of the answers?

Answers:

  1. Energy level, technical abilities and communication skills
  2. 1 minute.
  3. Yes, since it shorter and you can’t read their body language it is very important that your answers are succinct and impactful.
  4. The hiring manager leaves a message saying, This is the VP of HR from ABC company. I’m calling about X opening and would like to speak with you.” Now you can do some basic research on the company.
  5. To screen you in or screen you out.

Smile, You’re On Videoconference! Overcoming Obstacles When Job Interviewing

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By Karen Friedman

In today’s tough economic times, companies are cutting back and looking for ways to save money when interviewing prospective job candidates. For many, that means being interviewed by satellite or video conference. How can you shine? What do you need to know about making a good impression from miles away?

t’s all the rage especially if your company is doing a little belt tightening and you can score some points by saving a few bucks. Instead of paying for travel expenses and spending your free time whining and dining a lot of potential job candidates, what about speeding up the time consuming process by conducting the interview during a videoconference that is inexpensive by comparison? Companies can save time until they’ve narrowed the search and job seekers can try to impress without traveling to all corners of the globe. After all, universities offer videoconference lecture series and companies frequently use the technology to hold global meetings. In fact, a study on web conferencing quoted in HR Magazine shows the market jumping nearly 300 percent between 2005 and 2011, to $2.9 billion. So clearly, the technology is certainly gaining popularity. The question is: to whose advantage?

While there are clearly benefits, from where I sit as a communications coach, there are also a host of barriers that prevent job candidates from feeling at ease and making their best impression. How can you possibly connect with someone and make them feel who you really are if you can’t shake their hand and look them directly in the eye? It’s like buying a car without taking it for a test drive. Given that first impressions are critical, if the job applicant is unfamiliar with the technology, appears nervous or looks off, then decision makers may form incorrect impressions. Then there’s the lighting issue. If the lighting isn’t good, the applicant can look pasty or washed out. Additionally, there are often delays as video and audio are compressed and transmitted between locations. So, that means people unknowingly talk over each other or try to fill the silence without realizing that those on the other end of the connection are still listening to someone’s response. On the other side of the screen, interviewers often forget that they are also visible and need to make a good impression. That means no slouching, checking e-mail; leafing through magazines and making potential employees feel as if they’re boring you.

Like any interview or presentation, the key to success is for both sides to prepare in advance. The first step would be to set up a phone call and talk about videoconferencing etiquette.

PHONE PRIMERS – Before the interview, the company should schedule a phone call with the applicant to explain video protocol. For example, tell them how the room will be set up, who will be there, where to look, how wide the video image will be or what technical issues could arise. Can they interrupt? Who will hear them? Will there be feedback or delay time? What’s the format and how much time will they have? It’s up to the company to send a message that says they want the interview to be successful for the prospect.

THINK TV – Appearing for a video interview is a bit like being on TV. You have to connect with people you can’t see so it’s important to engage your audience quickly. In most cases, you want to look directly into the camera so you seem completely attentive to the people on the other side of the screen. The trick is to appear natural and not over focus on the camera which is very hard for an untrained person to do. Instead, pretend that camera is one person. As a former television reporter, I used to speak to more than one million people every evening. By pretending the camera was my Mom or a friend, it was easier to speak from the heart and focus on the information I wanted to convey. It’s also important to gesture and use your hands so you’re animated, but movements can be magnified on the screen so aim for smaller, smoother movements.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS – What looks good in your mirror doesn’t always translate to the big screen. The number one rule is to wear what makes you feel good as long as it doesn’t distract from your message. For women, that means leaving big earrings, frilly tops and clunky jewelry at home. But putting on some lipstick, eyeliner and a little blush will prevent you from looking washed out. Both sexes should avoid small patterns like checks and tweeds which can “bleed” on screen. As for colors, warm bright colors typically look great, but if that’s not your style, think contrast such as a white shirt with a navy blazer as opposed to just a white shirt. And men, a viewer’s eye will go straight to your tie, so make it a good one! Finally, find out what the background is. If you’re up against a green screen and you wear green, oops, you’ll disappear.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT – Set up a video camera and practice with a pal who can ask you questions and offer feedback. Play it back and check your body language, expressions and pace. Are you talking too fast? Are you speaking loud enough? Do you look friendly and approachable?

While videoconferencing should not replace face to face interviewing, as technology gets easierFree Web Content, so will video interviewing. And the job of tomorrow may very well come down to the person who seems at ease on camera.

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2020: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

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By Richard N. Bolles

What Color Is Your Parachute? is the world’s most popular job-hunting guide, revised and updated annually with more than ten million copies sold. This newly streamlined edition features the latest resources, case studies, and perspectives on today’s job market, revealing surprising advice on what works—and what doesn’t—so you can focus your efforts on tactics that yield results.

At its core is Richard N. Bolles’s famed Flower Exercise, a unique self-inventory that helps you design your career—and your life—around your key passions, transferable skills, traits, and more.

This practical manual also provides essential tips for writing impressive resumes and cover letters, networking effectively, interviewing with confidence, and negotiating the best salary possible.

Whether you’re searching for your first job, were recently laid off, or are dreaming of a career change, What Color Is Your Parachute? will guide you toward a fulfilling and prosperous life’s work.

The Proximity Principle – The Proven Strategy that Will Lead to a Career You Love

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By Ken Coleman

Right now, 70% of Americans aren’t passionate about their work and are desperately longing for meaning and purpose. They’re sick of “average” and know there’s something better out there, but they just don’t know how to reach it.

One basic principle―The Proximity Principle―can change everything you thought you knew about pursuing a career you love.

In his latest book, The Proximity Principle, national radio host and career expert Ken Coleman provides a simple plan of how positioning yourself near the right people and places can help you land the job you love.

Forget the traditional career advice you’ve heard! Networking, handing out business cards, and updating your online profile do nothing to set you apart from other candidates. Ken will show you how to be intentional and genuine about the connections you make with a fresh, unexpected take on resumes and the job interview process. You’ll discover the five people you should look for and the four best places to grow, learn, practice, and perform so you can step into the role you were created to fill.

After reading The Proximity Principle, you’ll know how to connect with the right people and put yourself in the right places, so opportunities will come―and you’ll be prepared to take them.