Friday I was in the University of Texas at Arlington for a first round of interviews of an Internship program for Summer 2013. It was a very interesting experience and I don’t regret a bit my decision to go there and do interview personally.
First of all the methodology was to go through a fixed questionnaire, not at all my preference but I understand since I won’t be the only hiring manager looking at the profile hence having an standardized format would help others gauge between different candidates. Then second thing was that all interviews were back to back 30 minutes long which makes it really difficult to get to know the candidates, but as a first round I guess it’s OK.
Throughout the interviews I started seeing some patterns in terms of knowledge and/or interests of the candidates
- Lot’s of interest in mobile development, this is no wonder as everybody has smartphone these days
- Two of the questions were “Can you compare Object Oriented Programming with Procedural Programming” and “What’s a memory leak?”. It gave candidates a really hard time to come up with answers to those questions. I think the reason was so difficult it’s because newbies already start with OOP and so they don’t have procedural programming background like an old guy like me would. For the same reason most of the programming languages they use have a built in Garbage Collector and most of their programs are short lived. So they rarely deal with memory leaks
- What industry requires and what universities teach has impedance mismatch. This is quite shocking realizing that programs are old and foundational skills are not there
On the flip side of the coin all interviewees had a lot of energy and they wanted to start working right away which gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Most of them were also very smart. I took the liberty of giving a few of them advice in how to move their careers forward and what basic skillsets would give put them in top of HR haunting lists. One of them wrote me a thank you letter afterward.
It was a lot of work but I think it was worthy to go and meet future team mates.