Thread: My first real interview for a programming (JavaScript) position! Advice? Tips?

  1. #16
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn
    Wait, is that site a joke? It just seems like it's literally using native JS O_o
    Recall that "vanilla" is sometimes used to mean "plain" or "without extras".
    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarne Stroustrup (2000-10-14)
    I get maybe two dozen requests for help with some sort of programming or design problem every day. Most have more sense than to send me hundreds of lines of code. If they do, I ask them to find the smallest example that exhibits the problem and send me that. Mostly, they then find the error themselves. "Finding the smallest program that demonstrates the error" is a powerful debugging tool.
    Look up a C++ Reference and learn How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

  2. #17
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    I don't know if this'll be an issue or not but unless there's a substantial need for jQuery, I'm not really that into it
    It will grow on you. It facilitates greatly the development of interactive webpages. The problem is that many places use it like someone going to work everyday on a loaded semitrailer. But for any web app, JQuery turns your unavoidable spaghetti JS into more manageable chunks.

    It's both a framework and a library. So it is meant to abstract more complex coding patterns, but also to introduce new capabilities into JS. So if you are planning to apply for a job doing JS, there's not much point fighting against one of the most popular libraries out there. Just know when to use it and when not to use it.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  3. #18
    Officially An Architect brewbuck's Avatar
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    Look at me and answer my questions. It's okay to be nervous, but don't look at the floor, table, etc.

    I'm looking for a good technical base in the field being hired. I want to know your existing experience with the chosen tech.

    I'm looking for knowledge of current tools, techniques, and best practices (for somebody very new, I relax this a lot).

    Don't feed me any bull........... I can smell that a mile away.

    I'll ask you to prove a few things that you've said. I'll either ask you to write some code, or ask a series of very specific questions. If you get this far, things are good.

    If you say something that isn't quite right, I may give you a prompt with a small piece of information. This is a second chance, take it.

    My company makes certain products. I want you to have some knowledge of them beforehand. Even better, display some passion for working on products like ours.

    I'll leave 5-10 minutes at the end to answer any questions you may have. Smart people will ask questions like: "How stressful is a typical day working here? How big are your teams? What's your favorite part of your day? What's the average longevity of people in this role? What is the leadership like here?"
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

  4. #19
    Registered User MutantJohn's Avatar
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    I'm looking for a good technical base in the field being hired. I want to know your existing experience with the chosen tech.

    I'm looking for knowledge of current tools, techniques, and best practices (for somebody very new, I relax this a lot).
    Lol good thing I've been using JS for like 2 months now! XD

    I'm actually surprised they're bringing me in considering most of what I went on about was about parallel programming and meshes.

    I've been checking out the website and it's actually more confusing than it is helpful. From what I can tell, the service is about linking together a butt ton of different data sources into a convenient user-interface. It sounds interesting, to say the least.

  5. #20
    Citizen of Awesometown the_jackass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewbuck View Post
    What's the average longevity of people in this role?
    LOL!
    Last edited by the_jackass; 07-08-2015 at 09:45 AM.
    "Highbrow philosophical truth: Everybody is an ape in monkeytown" --Oscar Wilde

  6. #21
    Sweet
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    Well,

    Did you get the job?

  7. #22
    Registered User MutantJohn's Avatar
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    I find out on Monday lol. I'm so nervous!

  8. #23
    Registered User MutantJohn's Avatar
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    Lol I didn't get the job.

    I'm reflecting back on it and thinking about where I messed up :

    During the technical interview, I was scared of being perceived as dumb by the senior programmers so even though I didn't understanding something, I didn't say anything. Likely, in their minds me not admitting that I didn't understand something is a waste of both time and money. This was a mistake on my part.

    I have no idea how to talk to project managers. I also didn't get along with the one PM at all. I thought his questions were kind of dumb. One thing he asked me was, "What's the most important thing people should know about you?" How am I supposed to answer this for a job interview? People are more than one thing. I thought the question was philosophically dumb. I should've said that instead of coming up with a weak answer.

    I also didn't know the proper etiquette for if you're stuck is to only wait like 15 minutes before asking around for help from other coders. I lost points here because I said I'd probably take like 2 to 3 hours before finally asking for help. Neither of the PMs I talked to were particularly thrilled with my ignorance on this subject.

    My final mistake was then mentioning to the final person I was talking to that one of the senior programmers where I'm at now really doesn't like me. Turns out, that one thread I made on here about the database locking up got me chewed out pretty badly and in a way that I feel was completely unprofessional. Mentioning this was a huge mistake. I think I only did because they asked me about the place I was at now and I was honest but I was incomplete. I feel like I painted a bad image of myself with this one.

    So, now I know for the future. My technical expertise was definitely where it should've been but I have no idea how to "play the game", so to speak. Very lame. But now I have a lot of very valuable experience. This was, after all, my very first real programming interview ever. So going into future ones, I'm going to do a lot better, I think. I'm beginning to understand the industry a little bit better.

    Weirdly enough, the rejection email I got was the most auto-generated thing I've ever seen. It was literally two lines and 100% impersonal. I was like, "I took two days off of work for this?!​"

  9. #24
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    Lol I didn't get the job.
    It didn't come as a surprise to me. More on that below...

    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    During the technical interview, I was scared of being perceived as dumb by the senior programmers so even though I didn't understanding something, I didn't say anything. Likely, in their minds me not admitting that I didn't understand something is a waste of both time and money. This was a mistake on my part.
    I warned you specifically about this. Right at the beginning and very clearly. But I guess you like to ask for advice and then not to follow it. You would get along just great with my daughters.

    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    I thought his questions were kind of dumb. One thing he asked me was, "What's the most important thing people should know about you?"
    You get a lot of this pseudo-intellectual crap. There's nothing philosophical about it. It's actually a good way for you to gauge if you want the job or not. If you start to get too many questions of this type, it is really ok if you just get up and walk out. You probably don't want that job.

    But let me explain: Those questions are not usually meant to gauge at your persona. They are part of a set of questions meant to test your ability to reason quickly in the face of a situation that has no clear answer. You score high if you come with a clever answer, no matter if positive or negative. Let me show a couple of examples of high score answers and low score answers...

    High score:
    - "Well, I guess it should be important people know I'm a murderer of innocent children", and then you put a mocking face.
    - "People should know I really want this job", with an emphasis on the "really".
    - "People should really now it doesn't matter what I want them to think of me, because that won't make them change their minds."

    Low Score:
    "People should know I'm friendly and easygoing and that I make a great colleague at work and..."

    The problem with all this, is besides being highly subjective in nature, it is really open for debate if it has any actual value. Your ability to reason quickly in the face of adversity doesn't have much to do with your ability to solve programming problems. Cracking jokes, evading the question, or being too smart for your own good (the three examples of high scores above) are also debatable qualities in the face of a difficult situation.

    So when someone starts to ask too many of these questions, they definitely have no idea of how to conduct an interview for job position and are full to their heads on the BS notion they can evaluate a personality with these type of incredibly stupid questions. Companies that agree to this type of BS are probably full of BS on many other things and you can give them a pass.

    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    I said I'd probably take like 2 to 3 hours before finally asking for help. Neither of the PMs I talked to were particularly thrilled with my ignorance on this subject.
    I can't blame them. That was a particular dumb moment of yours. Nerves can cloud your brain. You need to relax on these things or you are screwed. Not all -- in fact very few -- interviews you will face in your life will be made in such a way that you will feel perfectly at ease. So you need to start getting used to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    My final mistake was then mentioning to the final person I was talking to that one of the senior programmers where I'm at now really doesn't like me. Turns out, that one thread I made on here about the database locking up got me chewed out pretty badly and in a way that I feel was completely unprofessional. Mentioning this was a huge mistake. I think I only did because they asked me about the place I was at now and I was honest but I was incomplete. I feel like I painted a bad image of myself with this one.
    I don't have enough details to judge this one. I don't know if it was such a big mistake. Depends exactly on the level of "incompleteness". You should only answer what you are asked. If no one asked you anything that could lead to that story, that is a mistake in the sense that you can come across a bit of a loony: "Why is he telling me all this!?"

    On the other hand, if you start something you finish it. If you told only half of the story and weren't clear on the details, you really lose points: "What's that he said about a database and some senior dude? Whatever."

    On my early days I used to get very nervous during interviews. One thing I learned from that time is that among the symptoms or nervousness there is a particular nasty one; You get this tendency to picture in your brain whole monologues, but without actually evaluating their value or how to properly conduct them. You just "have this thing you want to say" and in your nervous state, you don't judge if it really should be said and how it should be said. And you just spout it, without realizing you actually didn't think this through. And as you start talking, you quickly realize the mistake it was. And you get even more nervous. And you just ruin even more your ability to reason about it. And you start realizing you are making a mistake after as another. And you start trying to fix it. But every word that comes out of your mouth just makes it worse. And after a few minutes of pure internal agony, you finally shutup. Inside your brain you realize you just made a mess of yourself. Nothing of value was said and you just made yourself look bad. And you will go through the rest of the interview with this dark cloud in your brain.

    Son... we all have been there.

    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    So, now I know for the future. My technical expertise was definitely where it should've been but I have no idea how to "play the game", so to speak.
    There is no game. Here is why I was not surprised...

    1. Statistics were against you all the time. Early jobs are usually harder to come by. It's only as you become more professionally experienced that you will start to gain a more successful ratio of positions per interview. Also because you start to gain the ability to only choose those job openings you know are in your reach.

    2. Experience plays a role also beyond your technical expertise. You said yourself you are still not very experienced in Javascript. This type of situation tends to put you in a less comfortable position during an interview. You feel you have more to prove but know you have little to show.

    3. Javascript has plenty of programmers. Everyone and their cat knows how to program in javascript. There's even Javascript programmers who don't program anymore at all. Their keyboards just program for themselves. Companies have little difficulty in going through a large list of candidates and choose only from the top of the final list.

    You not getting the job is not an admission of failure. It is merely what's expected given the circumstances. Just keep trying. And this time... follow advice.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  10. #25
    Registered User MutantJohn's Avatar
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    I warned you specifically about this. Right at the beginning and very clearly. But I guess you like to ask for advice and then not to follow it. You would get along just great with my daughters.
    This part made me lol.

    In my defense, I kind of forgot everything I read about here during the actual interview and was just running on instinct.

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