Client interviews used to be typically done by managers with less technical focus. But, in the past few years, things changed due to variety of reasons and the focus has been shifting towards technical emphasis and clients are having technical interviews too. This post will focus on the variety of technical aspects clients focus on. This post is continuation of the series Everything you need to know about How to get a Job & face interviews in US
Difference between Technical interviews in India vs. US client :
Based on my encounters with technical interviewers from India, I believe, the Indian technical interviews are focused on or geared towards testing your technical capacity to write code or do technical tasks. Indian technical interviewers focus a lot on minute details or fundamentals of that language or package. It is more bookish. It is like what you would learn in a coaching center with list of fill in the blanks or multiple choice questions. You by heart the stuff and you can get through…Say for instance,
- “ what is the length of integer ?
- what are the components in a particular project type ?
- what is function to do this ?
- what is the transaction code to do this operation in SAP ?
- What do you do to set path in Java ?”
The idea is, they tend to focus on the very details and too much technical aspects on how to code stuff.
On the other hand, US client interviews are focused on your technical expertise to solve a business scenario. They want to test if you are capable of translating the business requirements to a functional spec and then send it to someone back in India or some other part of world to write code. They focus on your understanding of the technology and what are the capabilities the technology or language has over other language and how can you implement to solve their business problem. Say for instance, they might ask you questions like,
- “What is the framework you are going to use for this project ?
- Why would you want to use MVC architecture to solve the situation ?
- What capability of Java or .NET can be used to solve the project ?
- We have situation to pull the total sales by region based on these conditions and what capability in Java can be used for aggregation ?
- What can you do to improve the performance of application load times ?
- What is the backup and recovery strategy ?”
The goal is to make sure you understand the technology clearly to be able to apply to the business the client is in and make the technology work for them. You will not be asked on bookish questions or multiple choice questions as we read in books or get trained in Indian coaching centers. There is a small catch here, if you end up getting an Indian interviewer in the client side, you can be tested on the small details like above. So, you have to know the interviewer’s list to be prepared.
Difference in Technical interview – Implementation Vs Support Projects:
The interview approach for implementation projects is very different from Support projects. If you are going for an implementation project, you are tested on the capabilities of the technology in application to their business scenario similar to above more focused on stuff like,
- “Can we do this with Java ?
- What should we use for solving our Taxing structure issues in Europe ?
- Will using .NET instead of Java help us with better integration ?
- How to implement Workflow in a marketing scenario with SAP ?
- What are the third party tools that can be used with Java for solving or integration ?”
On the other hand, if you are tested on a support based project, you might be asked on real time support scenarios. For instance,
- “ What do you do for communication failure between database and web server ?
- How would you debug a situation when you have a database overload ?
- What is the first step you do when you have a system crash ?
- What is the change management system your old company used ?
- How was the support infrastructure in your old projects ?
- What do you do if the User management engine is hacked ?
- What is the most common issue for logs to become large ?
- How do you recover if there is a disaster and system crash ?”
The above are some of the most generic questions; you should get an idea based on the type of questions. Most of the coding work is outsourced and primarily the functional stuff is not because of the interaction with business users. Based on the project, you would have to do both. You should be prepared with both parts to be successful and lead your offshore team at times.
How to answer the questions:
You will have to be realistic and better know what you are talking. Do not over promise if the task is difficult. Guess what, if you overpromise it is going to on your back as soon as you are hired. Also, if it is tough task, be realistic don’t try to sound you are too smart. If you say something is easy though it is a difficult task, they know you are telling lies and you are fake. Be honest and try to answer. You can always say, I have not done that particular thing in previous implementations, but I have learned the technology and know how to do it. In fact, being honest and realistic is good for you. You have to be careful if you have less experience. You have to talk very diplomatic, you should sound that you have the technical gut to do a task though you have not done exact same thing and have done similar stuff. Overall, I can say be careful whatever you answer or promise in interview. If you have less experience, talk to someone who in the field and get their suggestions. Ask them how to answer these kind of questions.
Coming up next “What questions are asked in typical Client interview from Managers? What to respond ?”