I've been a full time programmer for some five years now. I've never had a programming test in an interview, and I've worked for three small mobile game dev companies. I've always felt competent at my work. Now I'm about to be interviewed by Google, and the mock interviews I've done online have shown me that the thing I thought I would be showing off in the interview -- my ability to communicate and work with team members while writing competent code -- and my ability to think about how ideas become cohesive products -- is not going to get me past the phone interview.
In one recent mock interview online, I had 30 minutes with my interviewer. I spent the time doing a solid analysis of the first problem he gave me, developing a repartee with him and describing my thought process. I thought I did well. But was flabbergasted to discover that he felt I had botched it because I had only solved the problem he gave me, and spent the entire 30 minutes on what he considered a medium, 10 minute problem.
Should I continue getting ready to show how communicative I should be, or should I focus on burning through problems as on a quiz in these phone interviews?
( 4 months ago )
It'll take about 20 seconds out of your allotted time to ask up front.
Do you want me to hack this out on my own, or are you ok with us discussing the approach and solution that I'm thinking of?
That gives the interviewer the choice as to whether to sit there picking his nails while you work, or for you to demonstrate your communication and analysis skills.
The ball is then in his court and he won't be able to complain about your methodology.