5 Golden Rules for Java Telephonic Interviews

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The phone interview is an integral part of any company’s recruitment process.  With some roles getting upwards of 50 CVs per eventual hire it’s important that you can impress on the phone interview.  First impressions count, and this is your opportunity to make it count.

With this in mind, here are 5 top tips for excelling in your Java Interview

1. Practice core Java questions

Most phone interviews will rely on basic core java questions. They’re standardized so candidates can be compared, they require limited thinking from the interviewer and they work great over the telephone.  You definitely want to practice question based on

  • Threading (Click for a great list of questions): In particular have a good answer around deadlocks.
  • Object Oriented Programming: People love asking questions about inheritance and abstraction. Prepare a concise answer for around cohesion and coupling. Understand Polymorphism and Encapsulation.
  • Collections (Click for a full guide to java collections interview questions). Understanding data structures is so important as a developer so any good interview will want to know you know. What are the different types? Why would I use one of the other?

Become the master of these things and you’re well on your way.

2. Have your CV in front of you

The interviewer will likely go through your CV and ask questions about interesting technologies that you have used.  A friend recently remarked to me how much they loved asking about technologies they didn’t know about to see if the candidate could explain it to them.  A lot of CV’s nowadays simply list every technology a person has ever touched.  Avoid this; if you’ve got it written down then expect to be called out on it.  Candidates who say “I only tried it for a couple of days” after listing it on their CV will lose credibility.

Make sure you’ve prepared a good answer for questions about Spring and Hibernate. These are two of the most popular technologies in Java but they are often poorly understood.

3. Find somewhere private

Have a location ready in advance of being called. Whether it’s a room at work or somewhere at home, don’t be rushing around to find somewhere when the interviewer calls. You want to be prepared and relaxed so you can do your best- get yourself in the zone!   It also gives a terrible first impression if you first words to your potential new boss are “can you just give me a minute whilst I find a room?”.  You instantly paint yourself as badly organised.  Not a great start.

4.  Pre-prepare list of questions

At the end of the interview there is always a slot to ask questions about the new role and company.  This is still part of the interview and you will be judged based on what questions you’ve asked. This is a great opportunity to impress; by asking about the development style you can enthuse about the way your new team works.  Perhaps they do Agile or TDD. If this is the case then use the opportunity to effuse about your experience in those areas, or if you don’t have the experience then you can talk about how keen you are to learn these new things.  Showing you’re eager and interested in the role is a big plus point and can absolutely swing an average interview into your favor.   That doesn’t apply for just the end of the interview.  Sound enthusiastic throughout the interview, make it clear how excited you are about the role.  Many candidates don’t do this and it’s an easy way to stand out from the crowd.  It is likely your interviewer is doing several interviews in a row, so if you can do just one thing to stand out you will greatly increase your chances of progressing to the next round.

5.  Say “I don’t know”

This might sound crazy but it really isn’t.  When an interviewer asks you a question then it is likely they know the answer. If you don’t, and you try to guess your way through it then it will be incredibly obvious.  It’s absolutely fine to say that you don’t know something.  It’s an easy way to earn respect too.  You can also add “but I’m happy to happy a guess if you’d like?”.  This way it’s clear you’re not lying about your knowledge but you have the opportunity to show off your analytical skills.  If possible though, try not to say you don’t know more than a couple of times an interview.

Hopefully with these tips you’ll be well on your way to your dream job.  Learning core java is very important (and javatechig is full of great posts to help you) but there’s a lot more to it than memorizing answers.

Sam Atkinson

A passionate technologist, entrepreneur and all round geek, Sam is the founder of corejavainterviewquestions.com.

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