Over the years, I’ve sat in my fair share of technical interviews, both as the interviewer and the interviewee. As an interviewer, everyone has their own style. Some people like to do whiteboard exercises, some like pencil and paper, some just want to hear about projects and some want to find out if you know the nitty-gritty details. Personally, I like to just shoot the breeze and try to get a feel for the person AS a person, but that’s neither here nor there right now.
Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in two tech interviews as the interviewee. One of the interviews was a good mixture of pencil and paper and talking about projects while the other was a pretty intense detail-oriented interview.
The detail-oriented interview was actually the “secret” phone call I had last week during CodeMash. On Thursday morning, I had a tech interview for Pillar Technology. The interviewer was none other than Dave Donaldson. To say I was a bit intimidated would be an understatement. Dave drilled me pretty well on .NET internals. By the time I was done, I thought for sure I had totally blown the interview. Five months on the “bench” hasn’t been the best thing to happen to me, so I definitely felt a bit rusty and there were several questions I absolutely should have known, but either struggled with or just plain couldn’t answer. Ugh. Not a good thing. The interview lasted just over an hour. When I realized this, I felt a bit better because if I had totally sucked, I’m sure he would have ended it after 10 minutes or so.
Anyway, after the interview, I talked to the recruiter, who BTW, is very cool. She had just gotten off the phone with Dave when I walked up. Surprisingly enough, I got the thumbs up. I talked to a couple more Pillar people, but earlier this week, I was sent a contract and a bunch of HR paperwork. Woohoo! Granted, it’s going to be 1099 work, but hey, that works for me. I’m all for keeping some semblance of independance. I’ll be working on some cool projects with some really smart people, so I’m happy. Best of all, there’s not much travel involved.
One thing I learned through my years as an indy has been do NOT put all your eggs in one basket, so last week during CodeMash I accepted an interview for this past Monday. I didn’t want to make any assumptions about an offer coming from Pillar, so I jumped all over the opportunity for an interview.
The second interview was for a contracting company that’s doing work at Northrop Grumman. This time around, the tech interview was a bit less detail-oriented, but still tough. They asked about the projects I’ve worked on, the technology I’ve used, etc. They had me review some code and explain what it was doing. They also had me write some relatively simple HTML as well as some SQL. Overall, I feel like I hit this one out of the park, but because the contract company I was dealing with is 3 layers down from Northrop, I haven’t heard anything back yet.
Regardless, it was nice to have a couple of interviews after such a long time on the bench. Dave definitely made me realize those areas I need to work on and I’m definitely thankful for that.