Brett Klamer

Interview Preparation


Behavioral and Non-technical Questions

Companies generally look for someone with the right personality, skill set, and prior experience. Think about what the company is and your potential role when answering the following questions.

  1. Tell me about yourself…
  1. Tell me about your experience…
  1. What are your weaknesses?
  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years / What are your career goals?
  1. Why are you looking to change jobs?
  1. What are your salary requirements?
  1. What is your salary history?
  1. Why should we hire you?
  1. Why do you want to work for this company?

Recreate the following table and fill in with keywords (McDowell 2011) You should be able to tell a short story for all of these questions for any major areas found on your resume. Have it available when conducting phone interviews.

Common Questions Project 1 Project 2 Project 3
Most Challenging
What You Learned
Most Interesting
Hardest Bug
Enjoyed Most
Conflicts with Teammates

Technical Questions

  1. Clarify the question.
  2. Think out loud.

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

  1. How much of the day will be spent programming vs. writing reports?
  2. How many meetings will we be having each week?
  3. What measures are taken for data security?
  4. Do you use software I may not be familiar with?
  5. Can I create public, open source repositories for the types of projects I would be working on?
  6. Was there always someone in this position or were duties spread across multiple people?
  7. What made past employees excel in this role?
  8. How can I improve my qualifications to be a better fit?
  9. When do you face the toughest time or have the longest days in this position?
  10. Can you tell me a bit more about (an interesting thing they previously mentioned).

Personal References

Academic jobs openly request and provide references. Industry may request them, but tend to not provide them. Be aware of this difference for your future career goals. Always have a group of people you know will provide strong recommendations. Create this group starting in college and grow it as much as you can. Don’t assume companies will only ask for three references, they may ask for five or even more.