As some of you may know we packed up and left NZ and moved to England about a month ago. I decided to go contracting as it allows greater freedom and more money! There are downsides too of course (discussed on my other Other Blog
Anyway, as such I have been to a few (3) interviews and 2 phone interviews over the last few weeks and thought I would post my views.
Interviews suck, lets face it, but some suck more than others. It is common these days to vete applicants with an initial phone interview first. This to me is fine and makes sense. I have no problem with phone interviews.
Then it seems it is becoming more and more popular to do an online "skills" test. I think these are a complete waste of time. I (and others) consider myself to be an above average developers, and I have over 10 years experience, in several languages, platforms and more importantly, business areas.
Quite frankly the stupid online tests can hope to test me on my experience. The ones I have done are a multi choice question and answer type thing. All this tests in my opinion is how well you remember semantics outside the IDE. I have pretty much been developing since Intellisense, and have (I admit) become lazy. It doesn't mean I am a bad developer, in fact in my opinon the opposite. I let the tools do the donkey work, while I am concentrating a creating a solution.
I once interviewed for a job at HP. They had the best test I have ever seen. It was a real world scenario to finish an application. It gave the testee the opportunity to really show what they were capable of, and let the testers see some code and see how the person thinks. (I didn't get the job, but was the only person to ever finish the test. Didn't get the job for other reasons than soft dev ability BTW)
I think the HP style test is the only way to go. Test people by all means, but don't make them do stupid little multi choice Q+A tests. They really are wasting everybodys time.
If you make it to the face to face interview, make sure you have are prepared. Do some research on the internet about the company, and have some questions in your mind to ask them.
I find if you ask questions along the way, it makes you :
a) seem more intested in the company
b) look intuitive and knowledgable
c) seem well prepared
Also, run through in your head some questions they may ask you, and have some answers sorted out. It helps relieve the tension.
Above all enjoy it.