Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sample Technical Paper

Sample Technical Paper

  1. Point out error, if any, in the following program
    int i=1;
    case 1:
    printf("\nRadioactive cats have 18 half-lives");
    case 1*2+4:
    printf("\nBottle for rent -inquire within");
    Ans. No error. Constant expression like 1*2+4 are acceptable in cases of a switch.

  2. Point out the error, if any, in the following program

    int a=10,b;
    a>= 5 ? b=100 : b=200;
    Ans. lvalue required in function main(). The second assignment should be written in parenthesis as follows:
    a>= 5 ? b=100 : (b=200);

  3. In the following code, in which order the functions would be called?
    a= f1(23,14)*f2(12/4)+f3();
    a) f1, f2, f3 b) f3, f2, f1
    c) The order may vary from compiler to compiler d) None of the above

  4. What would be the output of the following program?
    int i=4;

    printf("\n A mouse is an elephant built by the Japanese");

    case 1:
    printf(" Breeding rabbits is a hair raising experience");
    case 2:
    printf("\n Friction is a drag");
    case 3:
    printf("\n If practice make perfect, then nobody's perfect");
    a) A mouse is an elephant built by the Japanese b) Breeding rabbits is a hare raising experience
    c) All of the above d) None of the above

  5. What is the output of the following program?
    #define SQR(x) (x*x)
    int a,b=3;
    a= SQR(b+2);
    a) 25 b) 11 c) error d) garbage value

  6. In which line of the following, an error would be reported?

    1. #define CIRCUM(R) (3.14*R*R);
    2. main()
    3. {
    4. float r=1.0,c;
    5. c= CIRCUM(r);
    6. printf("\n%f",c);
    7. if(CIRCUM(r))==6.28)
    8. printf("\nGobbledygook");
    9. }
    a) line 1 b) line 5 c) line 6 d) line 7

  7. What is the type of the variable b in the following declaration?
    #define FLOATPTR float*
    FLOATPTR a,b;
    a) float b) float pointer c) int d) int pointer

  8. In the following code;
    FILE *fp;
    fp= fopen("trial","r");
    fp points to:
    a) The first character in the file.
    b) A structure which contains a "char" pointer which points to the first character in the file.
    c) The name of the file. d) None of the above.

  9. We should not read after a write to a file without an intervening call to fflush(), fseek() or rewind() <>

    Ans. True

  10. If the program (myprog) is run from the command line as myprog 1 2 3 , What would be the output?
    main(int argc, char *argv[])
    int i;
    for(i=0;i printf("%s",argv[i]);
    a) 1 2 3 b) C:\MYPROG.EXE 1 2 3
    c) MYP d) None of the above

  11. If the following program (myprog) is run from the command line as myprog 1 2 3, What would be the output?

    main(int argc, char *argv[])
    int i,j=0;
    for(i=0;i j=j+ atoi(argv[i]);
    a) 1 2 3 b) 6 c) error d) "123"

  12. If the following program (myprog) is run from the command line as myprog monday tuesday wednesday thursday,
    What would be the output?
    main(int argc, char *argv[])
    while(--argc >0)
    a) myprog monday tuesday wednesday thursday b) monday tuesday wednesday thursday
    c) myprog tuesday thursday d) None of the above

  13. In the following code, is p2 an integer or an integer pointer?
    typedef int* ptr
    ptr p1,p2;
    Ans. Integer pointer

  14. Point out the error in the following program
    const int x;
    Ans. x should have been initialized where it is declared.

  15. What would be the output of the following program?
    int y=128;
    const int x=y;
    a) 128 b) Garbage value c) Error d) 0

  16. What is the difference between the following declarations?

    const char *s;
    char const *s;
    Ans. No difference

  17. What would be the output of the following program?
    char near * near *ptr1;
    char near * far *ptr2;
    char near * huge *ptr3;
    printf("%d %d %d",sizeof(ptr1),sizeof(ptr2),sizeof(ptr3));
    a) 1 1 1 b) 1 2 4 c) 2 4 4 d) 4 4 4

  18. If the following program (myprog) is run from the command line as myprog friday tuesday sunday,
    What would be the output?
    main(int argc, char*argv[])
    a) m b) f c) myprog d) friday

  19. If the following program (myprog) is run from the command line as myprog friday tuesday sunday,
    What would be the output?
    main(int argc, char *argv[])
    a) r b) f c) m d) y

  20. If the following program (myprog) is run from the command line as myprog friday tuesday sunday,

    What would be the output?
    main(int argc, char *argv[])
    a) myprog friday tuesday sunday b) myprog friday tuesday
    c) sunday tuesday friday myprog d) sunday tuesday friday

  21. Point out the error in the following program
    int a=10;
    void f();
    void f()
    Ans. The program is trying to collect the value of a "void" function into an integer variable.

  22. In the following program how would you print 50 using p?
    int a[]={10, 20, 30, 40, 50};
    char *p;
    p= (char*) a;
    Ans. printf("\n%d",*((int*)p+4));

  23. Would the following program compile?
    int a=10,*j;
    void *k;
    a) Yes b) No, the format is incorrect
    c) No, the arithmetic operation is not permitted on void pointers
    d) No, the arithmetic operation is not permitted on pointers

  24. According to ANSI specifications which is the correct way of declaring main() when it receives command line arguments?
    a) main(int argc, char *argv[]) b) main(argc,argv) int argc; char *argv[];
    c) main() {int argc; char *argv[]; } d) None of the above

  25. What error would the following function give on compilation?
    f(int a, int b)
    int a;
    return a;
    a) missing parenthesis in the return statement b) The function should be declared as int f(int a, int b)
    c) redeclaration of a d) None of the above

  26. Point out the error in the following program
    const char *fun();
    const char *fun()
    return "Hello";
    Ans. fun() returns to a "const char" pointer which cannot be modified

  27. What would be the output of the following program?
    const int x=5;
    int *ptrx;
    a) 5 b) 10 c) Error d) Garbage value

  28. A switch statement cannot include
    a) constants as arguments b) constant expression as arguments
    c) string as an argument d) None of the above

  29. How long the following program will run?
    printf("\nSonata Software");
    a) infinite loop b) until the stack overflows
    c) All of the above d) None of the above

  30. On combining the following statements, you will get char*p; p=malloc(100);
    a) char *p= malloc(100) b) p= (char*)malloc(100)
    c) All of the above d) None of the above

  31. What is the output of the following program?
    int n=5;
    a) n=5 b) n=5 c) n= 5 d) error

Courtesy : Akhila JS , SNIT , Kollam

C, C++ Interview Q & A

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C++ code examples for job interviews

 Write a short code using C++ to print out all odd number from 1 to 100 using a for loop(Asked by people)

for( unsigned int i = 1; i < = 100; i++ )
    if( i & 0x00000001 )
        cout <<>

ISO layers and what layer is the IP operated from?( Asked by Cisco system people)

cation, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Data link and Physical. The IP is operated in the Network layer.

 Write a program that ask for user input from 5 to 9 then calculate the average( Asked by Cisco system people) main()
int MAX=4;
int total =0;
int average=0;
int numb;
cout<<"Please enter your input from 5 to 9"; cin>>numb;
if((numb <5)&&(numb>9))
cout<<"please re type your input"; else for(i=0;i<=MAX; i++) { total = total + numb; average= total /MAX; } cout<<"The average number is"<<

return 0;

Can you be bale to identify between Straight- through and Cross- over cable wiring? and in what case do you use Straight- through and Cross-over? (Asked by Cisco system people)

A. Straight-through is type of wiring that is one to to one connection Cross- over is type of wiring which those wires are got switched

We use Straight-through cable when we connect between NIC Adapter and Hub. Using Cross-over cable when connect between two NIC Adapters or sometime between two hubs.

If you hear the CPU fan is running and the monitor power is still on, but you did not see any thing show up in the monitor screen. What would you do to find out what is going wrong? (Asked by WNI people)

A. I would use the ping command to check whether the machine is still alive(connect to the network) or it is dead.


C++ object-oriented interview questions

How do you write a function that can reverse a linked-list? (Cisco System)

void reverselist(void)
                        head->next = 0;
                        tail->next = head;
                        node* pre = head;
                        node* cur = head->next;
                        node* curnext = cur->next;
                        head->next = 0;
                        cur->next = head;
                        for(; curnext!=0; )
                                     cur->next = pre;
                                     pre = cur;
                                     cur = curnext;
                                     curnext = curnext->next;
                        curnext->next = cur;

What is polymorphism?

Polymorphism is the idea that a base class can be inherited by several classes. A base class pointer can point to its child class and a base class array can store different child class objects.

Example: function overloading, function overriding, virtual functions.

How do you find out if a linked-list has an end? (i.e. the list is not a cycle)

You can find out by using 2 pointers. One of them goes 2 nodes each time. The second one goes at 1 nodes each time. If there is a cycle, the one that goes 2 nodes each time will eventually meet the one that goes slower. If that is the case, then you will know the linked-list is a cycle.

How can you tell what shell you are running on UNIX system?

You can do the Echo $RANDOM. It will return a undefined variable if you are from the C-Shell, just a return prompt if you are from the Bourne shell, and a 5 digit random numbers if you are from the Korn shell. You could also do a ps -l and look for the shell with the highest PID.

What is Boyce Codd Normal form?

A relation schema R is in BCNF with respect to a set F of functional dependencies if for all functional dependencies in F+ of the form a->b, where a and b is a subset of R, at least one of the following holds:

  • a->b is a trivial functional dependency (b is a subset of a)
  • a is a superkey for schema R


Interview questions on C/C++

A reader submitted the interview questions he was asked. More C/C++ questions will be added here, as people keep sending us a set of 2-3 questions they got on their job itnerview.

Tell how to check whether a linked list is circular.

A: Create two pointers, each set to the start of the list. Update each as follows:

while (pointer1) {
 pointer1 = pointer1->next;
 pointer2 = pointer2->next; if (pointer2) pointer2=pointer2->next;
 if (pointer1 == pointer2) {
   print (\"circular\n\");

OK, why does this work?

If a list is circular, at some point pointer2 will wrap around and be either at the item just before pointer1, or the item before that. Either way, it’s either 1 or 2 jumps until they meet.

 How can you quickly find the number of elements stored in a a) static array b) dynamic array ?

Why is it difficult to store linked list in an array?

 How can you find the nodes with repetetive data in a linked list?

Write a prog to accept a given string in any order and flash error if any of the character is different. For example : If abc is the input then abc, bca, cba, cab bac are acceptable but aac or bcd are unacceptable.

This is a C question that I had for an intern position at Microsoft: Write out a function that prints out all the permutations of a string. For example, abc would give you abc, acb, bac, bca, cab, cba. You can assume that all the characters will be unique. After I wrote out my function, he asked me to figure out from the code how many times the printf statement is run, and also questions on optimizing my algorithm.

 What’s the output of the following program? Why?

            typedef union
                        int a;
                        char b[10];
                        float c;
            Union x,y = {100};
            x.a = 50;
            x.c = 21.50;
            printf(\"Union x : %d %s %f \n\",x.a,x.b,x.c );
            printf(\"Union y :%d %s%f \n\",y.a,y.b,y.c);

Given inputs X, Y, Z and operations | and & (meaning bitwise OR and AND, respectively)

 What is output equal to in

output = (X & Y) | (X & Z) | (Y & Z)

C++ gamedev interview questions

This set of questions came from a prominent gaming company. As you can see, the answers are not given (the interviews are typically conducted by senior developers), but there’s a set of notes with common mistakes to avoid.

Explain which of the following declarations will compile and what will be constant - a pointer or the value pointed at:

const char *

char const *

char * const

Note: Ask the candidate whether the first declaration is pointing to a string or a single character. Both explanations are correct, but if he says that it’s a single character pointer, ask why a whole string is initialized as char* in C++. If he says this is a string declaration, ask him to declare a pointer to a single character. Competent candidates should not have problems pointing out why const char* can be both a character and a string declaration, incompetent ones will come up with invalid reasons.

You’re given a simple code for the class BankCustomer. Write the following functions:

Copy constructor

= operator overload

== operator overload

+ operator overload (customers’ balances should be added up, as an example of joint account between husband and wife)

Note:Anyone confusing assignment and equality operators should be dismissed from the interview. The applicant might make a mistake of passing by value, not by reference. The candidate might also want to return a pointer, not a new object, from the addition operator. Slightly hint that you’d like the value to be changed outside the function, too, in the first case. Ask him whether the statement customer3 = customer1 + customer2 would work in the second case.

What problems might the following macro bring to the application?

#define sq(x) x*x

Consider the following struct declarations:

struct A { A(){ cout << \"A\"; } };
struct B { B(){ cout << \"B\"; } };
struct C { C(){ cout << \"C\"; } };
struct D { D(){ cout << \"D\"; } };
struct E : D { E(){ cout << \"E\"; } };
struct F : A, B
       C c;
       D d;
       E e;
       F() : B(), A(),d(),c(),e() { cout << \"F\"; }

What constructors will be called when an instance of F is initialized? Produce the program output when this happens.

Anything wrong with this code?

T *p = new T[10];
delete p;

Note: Incorrect replies: “No, everything is correct”, “Only the first element of the array will be deleted”, “The entire array will be deleted, but only the first element destructor will be called”.

Anything wrong with this code?

T *p = 0;
delete p;

Note: Typical wrong answer: Yes, the program will crash in an attempt to delete a null pointer. The candidate does not understand pointers. A very smart candidate will ask whether delete is overloaded for the class T.

Explain virtual inheritance. Draw the diagram explaining the initialization of the base class when virtual inheritance is used.
Note: Typical mistake for applicant is to draw an inheritance diagram, where a single base class is inherited with virtual methods. Explain to the candidate that this is not virtual inheritance. Ask them for the classic definition of virtual inheritance. Such question might be too complex for a beginning or even intermediate developer, but any applicant with advanced C++ experience should be somewhat familiar with the concept, even though he’ll probably say he’d avoid using it in a real project. Moreover, even the experienced developers, who know about virtual inheritance, cannot coherently explain the initialization process. If you find a candidate that knows both the concept and the initialization process well, he’s hired.

What’s potentially wrong with the following code?

long value;
//some stuff
value &= 0xFFFF;

Note: Hint to the candidate about the base platform they’re developing for. If the person still doesn’t find anything wrong with the code, they are not experienced with C++.

What does the following code do and why would anyone write something like that?

void send (int *to, int * from, int count)
       int n = (count + 7) / 8;
       switch ( count  %  8)
                    case 0: do { *to++ = *from++;
                    case 7: *to++ = *from++;
                    case 6: *to++ = *from++;
                    case 5: *to++ = *from++;
                    case 4: *to++ = *from++;
                    case 3: *to++ = *from++;
                    case 2: *to++ = *from++;
                    case 1: *to++ = *from++;
                    } while ( --n > 0 );

In the H file you see the following declaration:

class Foo {
void Bar( void ) const ;

Tell me all you know about the Bar() function.



Courtesy  Akhila J S,  MCA, S N IT,  Kollam

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Interview Tips

You finally got the interview for your dream job, but what should you wear? Unless it’s a job in the fashion industry, you won’t get hired for dressing well. What’s important is to seamlessly blend with your interviewer’s expectations for your appearance, so they can focus on what they say and who you are.

  • Be formal (no matter what the regular dress code is at the job). The only exceptions to this are if you are interviewing somewhere that they tell you specifically what to wear for your own safety (such as at a factory). For most interviews, a suit is the appropriate attire. A blue suit works the best and it gives you a lot of versatility in terms of shirt and tie choice. Light or dark grey are also good conservative choices. A three button suit will look good on almost anyone, while a 2 button will give a slightly taller/slimmer appearance.
  • Choose a solid white or blue shirt. You don’t want to look too flashy with a brightly colored shirt, and striped (and especially patterned) shirts are a little less formal. A straight collar is also more formal than a button down. Choose one with a medium spread. (If you have a particularly large neck, a wider collar may look better.)
  • Wear a tie in a dark, conservative color (never pink). Stick to solids, rep (diagonal striped) or small patterned ties. A red tie will give the friendly politician look, while blue ties give a more serious FBI agent look. Both are acceptable.
  • Wear a belt or suspenders, but never both at the same time. It’s redundant. If you’re a suspenders kind of guy, get buttons sewed into your trousers and wear suspenders that button on, not the cheap clip-on kind. They will make you look cheap.
  • Show off your shoes. A pair of black oxfords or cap-toed oxfords is the best choice. Get ones that don’t have super thick soles so they won’t look like boots.
  • Wear solid, vertically ribbed socks in black or grey. Get socks that are long enough to cover your legs when you sit down in your suit. Socks should always match the color of your trousers.


  • A nice watch rounds out the outfit. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a Tag Heuer. Fossil and Timex make nice enough looking watches that can fool almost anyone.
  • If you are lucky enough to be asked for a second interview, simply changing the shirt and tie combination can give the look of a whole new outfit, even if you don’t have another suit.
  • Remember to turn off your cell phone before you go.
  • Although it seems counterintuitive to wear another layer, putting on an undershirt will keep sweat from getting on your dress shirt and showing exactly how nervous you really are. The bonus is that your white shirt will look whiter with a white undershirt. Choose a white short-sleeved tee in favor of an athletic undershirt.
  • Make sure your dress shirts’ tails are long enough that they stay tucked in. Refresh your tuck right before the interview in the nearest restroom: unzip your fly and reach in to pull the front tail downwards, to align the placket with your trouser hitch and belt buckle.
  • Wear unscented deodorant and no cologne


  • It is imperative that your clothes are clean and pressed. If you never iron your clothes, iron just this once for your interview. You could also drop your clothes off at the dry cleaners.
  • Some dress shoes can be slippery, and literally falling on your face is not the impression you want to make. Look for shoes with rubber inserts for traction.
  • Also make sure your shoes are shined and the heels aren’t worn down. If the heels are worn down, you can have them repaired at a cobbler.
  • Don’t get a watch that beeps. Don’t ever wear a digital watch.
  • Some of the more technical organizations you may interview with have a “we don’t hire suits” custom. Check beforehand with the firm’s HR contact to inquire about this.

How to Use the Right Interview Body Language

Pay attention to your interview body language - it plays a critical role in determining how you come across in the job interview! Non-verbal communication accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending the interviewer.


  • Sit properly. Sit upright but in a relaxed fashion leaning slightly forward at about a 10 to 15 degree angle towards the interviewer. This sends the message that you are an interested and involved candidate.
  • Be aware of your hands. The best thing to do with your hands is to rest them loosely clasped in your lap or on the table, if there is one. Fiddling with hair, face or neck sends the message of anxiety and uncertainty. Body language experts agree that touching the nose, lips or ears can signal that the candidate is lying.
  • Don’t cross your arms. Folding arms across the chest suggests a defensive type of position. It sends the message that the candidate is feeling threatened and ill-at-ease and is shutting the interviewer out. It can also send the message that the candidate does not agree with or buy into what the interviewer is saying.
  • Place both feet on the floor. Crossing feet at the ankles or placing them both flat on the floor sends a message of confidence and professionalism. Jiggling or moving the legs creates an irritating distraction and indicates nervousness. Resting an ankle on the opposite knee looks arrogant and too casual, crossing the legs high up appears defensive.
  • Maintain direct eye contact. Keeping direct eye contact with the interviewer indicates active listening and interest. Eyes that dart around suggest dishonesty. Looking down gives the impression of low self-esteem.
  • Be conscious of mouth movements. Pursing the lips or twisting them sideways shows disapproval of what is being heard. Biting your lips suggests nervousness. Try to relax your mouth.
  • Position your head. Keeping your head straight looks self-assured and authoritative, it sends the message that you should be taken seriously. For a more friendly and relaxed look tilt your head slightly to one side. Nod your head every now and then to show you are listening closely.


Don’t overdo direct eye contact; too much contact without breaks can make the other person extremely uncomfortable and can be suggestive that you are domineering.

How to Go to an Interview

Going to interviews can be nerve-wracking. With these tips, rough seas soon become smooth sailing.


  • Arrive in the area 30 minutes early. Find a quiet cafe, relax and take your mind off of the commute. Iced mint tea is always nice.
  • Keep your cool. You probably will not get the job if you let the employer see how nervous you are.
  • Answer only the questions that the interviewers ask you and do not offer other information.
  • Be polite and don’t insult the employer. Know that he or she could have many more people to interview.
  • Do not take offense to anything the interviewer says. If they do not give you the job, do not let it stop you from trying to get another job.
  • Be very forward in everything you say and in your actions.
  • Try not to confuse the employer. Be careful of what you say and realize that your employment is on the line!


  • Be confident
  • Sit straight
  • Look up and at the interviewer
  • Always write a thank you letter to the person who interviewed you!

Interview DOs & DON'Ts

Interview DOs
  • Do Dress appropriately for the industry; err on the side of being conservative to show you take the interview seriously. Your personal grooming and cleanliness should be impeccable.
  • Do Know the exact time and location of your interview; know how long it takes to get there, park, find a rest room to freshen up, etc.
  • Do Arrive early; 10 minutes prior to the interview start time.
  • Do Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you might be solicited during hiring decisions.
  • Do Offer a firm handshake, make eye contact, and have a friendly expression when you are greeted by your interviewer.
  • Do Listen to be sure you understand your interviewer's name and the correct pronunciation.
  • Do Even when your interviewer gives you a first and last name, address your interviewer by title (Ms., Mr., Dr.) and last name, until invited to do otherwise.
  • Do Maintain good eye contact during the interview.
  • Do Sit still in your seat; avoid fidgeting and slouching.
  • Do Respond to questions and back up your statements about yourself with specific examples whenever possible.
  • Do Ask for clarification if you don't understand a question.
  • Do Be thorough in your responses, while being concise in your wording.
  • Do Be honest and be yourself. Dishonesty gets discovered and is grounds for withdrawing job offers and for firing. You want a good match between yourself and your employer. If you get hired by acting like someone other than yourself, you and your employer will both be unhappy.
  • Do Treat the interview seriously and as though you are truly interested in the employer and the opportunity presented.
  • Do Exhibit a positive attitude. The interviewer is evaluating you as a potential co-worker. Behave like someone you would want to work with.
  • Do Have intelligent questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Having done your research about the employer in advance, ask questions which you did not find answered in your research.
  • Do Evaluate the interviewer and the organization s/he represents. An interview is a two-way street. Conduct yourself cordially and respectfully, while thinking critically about the way you are treated and the values and priorities of the organization.
  • Do Do expect to be treated appropriately. If you believe you were treated inappropriately or asked questions that were inappropriate or made you uncomfortable, discuss this with a Career Services advisor or the director.
  • Do Make sure you understand the employer's next step in the hiring process; know when and from whom you should expect to hear next. Know what action you are expected to take next, if any.
  • Do When the interviewer concludes the interview, offer a firm handshake and make eye contact. Depart gracefully.
  • Do After the interview, make notes right away so you don't forget critical details.
  • Do Write a thank-you letter to your interviewer promptly.

Interview DON'Ts

  • Don't Don't make excuses. Take responsibility for your decisions and your actions.
  • Don't Don't make negative comments about previous employers or professors (or others).
  • Don't Don't falsify application materials or answers to interview questions.
  • Don't Don't treat the interview casually, as if you are just shopping around or doing the interview for practice. This is an insult to the interviewer and to the organization.
  • Don't Don't give the impression that you are only interested in an organization because of its geographic location.
  • Don't Don't give the impression you are only interested in salary; don't ask about salary and benefits issues until the subject is brought up by your interviewer.
  • Don't Don't act as though you would take any job or are desperate for employment.
  • Don't Don't make the interviewer guess what type of work you are interested in; it is not the interviewer's job to act as a career advisor to you.
  • Don't Don't be unprepared for typical interview questions. You may not be asked all of them in every interview, but being unprepared looks foolish.
  • Don't A job search can be hard work and involve frustrations; don't exhibit frustrations or a negative attitude in an interview.
  • Don't Don't go to extremes with your posture; don't slouch, and don't sit rigidly on the edge of your chair.
  • Don't Don't assume that a female interviewer is "Mrs." or "Miss." Address her as "Ms." unless told otherwise. Her marital status is irrelevant to the purpose of the interview.
  • Don't Don't chew gum or smell like smoke.
  • Don't Don't allow your cell phone to sound during the interview. (If it does, apologize quickly and ignore it.) Don't take a cell phone call.
  • Don't Don't take your parents, your pet (an assistance animal is not a pet in this circumstance), spouse, fiance, friends or enemies to an interview. If you are not grown up and independent enough to attend an interview alone, you're insufficiently grown up and independent for a job. (They can certainly visit your new city, at their own expense, but cannot attend your interview.)

Courtesy   Mathruchaya Frndz, Bangalore

Interview Questions

55 Interview Questions

Prep for the 10 Most Common Interview Questions

Too many job seekers stumble through interviews as if the questions are coming out of left field. But many interview questions are to be expected. So study this list, plan your answers ahead of time and you'll be ready to deliver them with confidence.

What Are Your Weaknesses?

This is the most dreaded question of all. Handle it by minimizing your weakness and emphasizing your strengths. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits: "I am always working on improving my communication skills to be a more effective presenter. I recently joined Toastmasters, which I find very helpful."

Why Should We Hire You?

Summarize your experiences: "With five years' experience working in the financial industry and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company. I'm confident I would be a great addition to your team."

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you've given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. For example, "I've selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices."

What Are Your Goals?

Sometimes it's best to talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future. For example, "My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility."

Why Did You Leave (Are You Leaving) Your Job?

If you're unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context: "I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20 percent reduction in the workforce, which included me."

If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: "After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience."

When Were You Most Satisfied in Your Job?

The interviewer wants to know what motivates you. If you can relate an example of a job or project when you were excited, the interviewer will get an idea of your preferences. "I was very satisfied in my last job, because I worked directly with the customers and their problems; that is an important part of the job for me."

What Can You Do for Us That Other Candidates Can't?

What makes you unique? This will take an assessment of your experiences, skills and traits. Summarize concisely: "I have a unique combination of strong technical skills, and the ability to build strong customer relationships. This allows me to use my knowledge and break down information to be more user-friendly."

What Are Three Positive Things Your Last Boss Would Say About You?

It's time to pull out your old performance appraisals and boss's quotes. This is a great way to brag about yourself through someone else's words: "My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can rely on me, and he likes my sense of humor."

What Salary Are You Seeking?

It is to your advantage if the employer tells you the range first. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point. One possible answer would be: "I am sure when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount. In what range do you typically pay someone with my background?"

If You Were an Animal, Which One Would You Want to Be?

Interviewers use this type of psychological question to see if you can think quickly. If you answer "a bunny," you will make a soft, passive impression. If you answer "a lion," you will be seen as aggressive. What type of personality would it take to get the job done? What impression do you want to make?


Mathruchaya Frndz and Deepthi Pilakkat, Christ College, Bangalore