Interview Advice

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    • Interview Advice

      Hey all, i'm looking to get some interview advice. I managed to get an interview with ArenaNet for their programming internship position.

      I've been going through a book called Programmer Interviews Exposed which is mostly a refresher on academic exercises like writing a stack or traversing a BST. I don't think i've dealt with either of those concepts since my early college days 06-08.

      I also always got really nervous before tests, and that seems to have carried over to interviews as well. It looks like it's only going to be a short 1-2 hour interview though.

      Anyway, just wondering if anyone has gone through this process recently and might have any advice for me. Also, I figured it couldn't hurt to get some updated advice in this section since I know a lot of us here are still looking to break into the industry.

    • RE: Interview Advice

      It's hard to prepare for an interview since each one is different. Here are a few pieces of feedback I've given over the years.

      1) If at all possible, bring a demo. At the very least, try to bring some source code. When I give interviews, I always check to see if they have a demo with source code. It gives me a better idea of what kind of programmer they are.

      2) Don't lie. This should go without saying, but I've given a lot of interviews to people who stretch the truth past the breaking point. A lot of times, these lies seem like innocent little embellishments. One common example is the list of programming languages you know. Don't put it on your resume unless you'd feel comfortable answering a programming question about it. I once asked someone which Perl compiler they used. The answer was "Microsoft". (For the uninitiated, Perl is an interpreted language like Python or Lua, so it doesn't have a compiler.)

      3) Brush up on your data structures and algorithms. What is the difference between an array and linked list? Why would you use one over the other? How does a dictionary work? Why would I use one particular sorting method over another?

      4) Brush up on your 3D math. What's a cross product used for? What about a dot product?

      5) Make sure you know C++.

      Hope that helps!

    • Thanks Rez!

      I actually feel pretty comfortable with each of those points.
      #2 is especially important, I knew a guy who had a job offer pulled because he accidentally (supposedly) put down that he had graduated, instead of putting down an assumed graduation date in the future on his resume. They figured it out during his background check.
    • Well, I had my interview yesterday. The process is still ongoing, so I won't give any details at this point. But I should find out the results in about a week.

      I will say that despite all my preparations, I was still asked a few questions that I was not prepared for. So, if nothing else, it was at least an interesting experience to see how a game software company goes about the interview process. :)
    • It's impossible to fully prepare for an interview because interviewers will always ask something that you're not prepared for. If a candidate is nailing all of my questions, I switch gears. I want to watch them try to solve something they don't know. I want them to try at something and fail, because how they handle failure is more important than how they handle success. What I'm really after is to see how they think.

      Let us know how it goes. :)

    • I think that may be why I dislike interviewing so much, I hate failing. When I run into a problem I can't solve, I end up obsessing over it until I figure it out. I'm sure most, if not all of the people on here, are the same way.

      I'll be sure to update everyone in about a week when I find out.
    • You will fail constantly in any professional environment. I'm watching how you handle that. If you throw up your hands and say "Screw this, I just don't know!", then I don't want you. If you stare at it and say "Okay, I'm thinking it's something like this, but I'm not sure. Let me walk you through my logic." That's the candidate I'm looking for.

      Being that obsessive person is a good thing.

    • Well I didn't get the position. But it did help me understand where my deficiencies as a programmer lie. One of the things they mentioned is that they like to hire good overall programmers, rather than just an accomplished game programmer/hobbyist.

      It turns out I am lacking in my understanding of bit-level code manipulation, hex, bitwise operations and the like. So i've got some work to do.

      The positive here is that they liked me enough in the interview, so they asked me to take their technical exam which is ultimately where I failed. I did get a free Guild Wars 2 shirt out of it though! :D
    • I wouldn't want to be over at Anet currently :D They have so many bugs right now with the new content patch that everyone is going crazy.

      Anyways I thought of applying for the internship, too but I live in Germany so it would be a lot of effort and I still am studying so maybe in two years :) Hope you can catch up with the stuff you didn't know.

      It would be nice to have some more details about the interview what did they asked you in particular ? If you feel comfortable answering it. :)

      The post was edited 1 time, last by gbarnes ().

    • I don't want to be too specific, but they did not ask me any specific math questions. I had put C++11 on my resume, so they asked me a bit about that. I mentioned my personal engine project, and even told them it was based on the architecture outlined in Game Coding Complete, and they knew what I was talking about. So then of course I had to be able to explain it well.

      As for the test, it covered Hex/Binary problems, Hashing, a linked list, and other programming concepts. There was also an assembly question, but that was not required to answer.
    • Those types of questions are pretty standard. I ask a lot of the same stuff when I give interviews. :)