I have my first programming job interview today (in a few hours!) and would like some advice.

The job title is Trainee Programmer and it is for a secure printing company.

I have found a lot on the internet about programming interviews, but since this is a Trainee role I have no idea what to expect.

I know that the company prefers Java and C#, and I have a little knowledge of them, but my main language is C++.

I would like:

  • Some pointers on what to expect from this Trainee interview.
  • Tips on how to improve my chances.

    • 1
      You need more then a few hours to prepare for an interview like this. You should have been spending the entire period of time you knew about your interview reading up on Java and C# so you can understand the differences between the two and how they are connected and different to C++. If your resume was honest, and you indicated your skill level with Java and C#, then they understand your primary language is C++. We cannot predict what they expect from one of a Trainee, everyone is different,in some companies like Google and Microsoft your expected to already have an advanced level of knowlege – Ramhound Jul 10 '13 at 12:14
    • @Ramhound and I did, the interview went really well! – OMGtechy Jul 10 '13 at 18:53
    • Followup question at: programmers.stackexchange.com/q/204397/22493 – Mark Booth Jul 11 '13 at 0:33

    Most programming interviews involve simple questions which infer whether or not you understand basic programming concepts like pointers, recursion, memory leaks, streams. Since you're applying for a trainee position, you may receive none of these questions, and even if they do, I'm sure it is just to get a basic understanding of your level, so don't stress it too much.

    However, if you have a couple hours time on your hands, I would read up on basic Java and C# language questions so that if it did come up, you would have an answer to simple questions. If they ask a question that you don't know the answer to, don't be afraid to say you don't know. The worst thing you could do is try to wing it. They never ask questions which they don't know the answer to already.

    That said, confidence can go a long way, so try to relax and I'm sure the interview will go just fine. A simple trick I always used was to drink a beer an hour before the interview as it always seemed to calm my nerves and take the edge off. Good luck!

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    • have been brushing up on Java and C#, think I'll sit and meditate before the interview! – OMGtechy Jul 10 '13 at 10:51
    • chose this one as the answer simply because it's more specific, however I appreciate all answers! – OMGtechy Jul 10 '13 at 11:48

    just from reading your question I think you're missing something important; it's a trainee position! They aren't expecting you to know or be able to do everything, that's why they're going to train you. They are hiring you, not your skills or knowledge.

    I would say there are two things that you need to show; that you really want the position, and that you will work harder than anybody else. As a trainee you need to show a willingness to learn and a real enthusiasm for the job. Show passion and show interest.

    Good luck!

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    • Thanks, what you're saying makes sense! :) Just worried they're going to ask me something crazy that I don't know like this classic-puzzles.blogspot.co.uk/2006/12/… – OMGtechy Jul 10 '13 at 10:39
    • Even if they do I know a couple of recruiters(for some very well known tech companies) and they ask those questions not for the answer you give, but for the way you handle being asked. Stay cool and show how you problem solve(break it down, they love that). – Jason Jul 10 '13 at 10:44

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