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d000hg

Had my interview now...

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quote:
Well my 1st game programming interview draws close. I really want to ask, what questions do I need to prepare answers for. I'm talking non-tecnical testing q's, but what they'll say in the interview part. Here are some I can think of: "So why do you want to work at ___?" "So why should we employ you?" "What positions of responsibility have you held in the past?" "What experience have you with working with a team?" What else? Am I also right in thinking I'm likely to be questioned on my project I'm working on? Anything else? And what are the right/wrong things to say from their point of view (apart from the obvious)? I'd really appreciate any advice from those of you who have had or give interviews - I'm kinda nervous! Please don't reply unless you're experienced in this - I'll post what it was like for everyone's interest tomorrow someime though! Cheers
Had the interview now - anyone interested in it at all? [edited by - d000hg on March 5, 2003 7:17:30 AM]

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At my interview, I was asked a lot about the project I was working on at home. He wanted to know what it was, how it worked, what techniques I used. He also wanted sample source code and a demonstration of it. I wasn't really prepared to answer him enough about what I'd written...luckily I still got the job !

Also, be sure you know what type of games their company does and a bit about how they work. I found that very helpful at my interview. Tell them you are keen to develop the types of game they do. I also said that I was looking forward to learning a lot from experienced people

[edited by - gowron67 on March 3, 2003 6:03:51 PM]

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quote:

Am I also right in thinking I''m likely to be questioned on my project I''m working on?


Yes, if you mentioned it at your initial application, then you can definitely expect questions about it. Esp. in game development positions, having a private project you can show is worth it''s weight in gold. Be sure to bring a working demo on CD, including some good documentation. Show them that your project is well organized. Show them some non-critical sources, so that they can have a look at your coding style, esp. clean interface header files (very important for teamwork). If they ask you for your full project sources or similar, don''t be afraid to say no. They sometimes use that in order to check if you can keep confidential information to yourself.

As has been said, you should be well informed about their company. Simply tell them your motivations. Be honest. Good interviewers can smell lies from miles away. If you don''t know the answer to a question, tell them so. Being honest is also an important asset. Also, never bitch about their competition (ie. "I''d like to work for your company, because your competitor xyz sucks !"). This will leave a very un-professional aftertaste. Tell them, that you would like to work for their company, because it would bring a mutual benefit to both. You learn a lot, while working with a professional team. And they get a highly motivated employee. Show them that you have self confidence, and that you are confident to be able to tackle new challenges. But don''t push it too far, never try to show off.

I personally gave 3 interviews until now, so I guess I''m still a newbie at that Now this might highly depend on your respective interview partner, but the thing I personally can''t stand, is applicants trying to please you too hard. That makes them seem artificial. Just keep one thing in mind: your interview partner is not a computer, but also a human. There is a lot of psychology involved in such interviews, that tend to be more important than your grades.

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I agree with most of what Yann says but with the exception of the ''don''t be afraid to say no if they ask for source code''.


If you were to bring me a demo that you are claiming is done all by yourself, in your spare time, without the use of any proprietary technology I would expect you to give me the source code if I asked for it. If you didn''t, I would immediately assume you were lying to me about your work. I would think one of the following:

1. You are either too embarassed to show me your coding style.

2. Your tech demo is based almost exclusively on an engine.

3. Someone else coded your demo and you stole it or the code.

4. You are claiming that a demo you are showing was written by you, in your spare time when really it includes proprietary technology from a previous employer and you don''t want to violate your NDA.

I would never use the opportunity of asking to see your source code as a ''test'' of your ability to keep things secret. If you''re not willing to share the code you want me to judge your skills by, then you are going to be a horrible fit for my team. You obviously are insecure or ego-driven.

Now, on the flip side, if you are using a demo from a game you worked on at your last company whereby you don''t own the rights to the code, even if you wrote it, then I would be very very concerned if you gave out source code that belongs to another company. If you work on a product at company A, it belongs to company A. You cannot use it as samples of work when going to company B. This does not include source code released to the public domain, or game demos or games available for purchase.

Good luck!

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Well, procedures obviously differ from one company to another, but if a potential employer would ask me to hand out the full source to my demo, I would directly leave the interview. Asking for that is downright unprofessional. Excerpts of the source are totally sufficient for a first quick check. And should that not be enough, then some well targeted questions about the working of the engine will reveal any issues.

The full source of a good demo can be quite big. No company is going to put a full team on your source, only to check if it is native code or not. If a company really wants your full source, then odds are they want to use it for their own purposes. Source in interviews is primarily useful to be able to determine the coding style of the applicant.

You own the copyrights to your source, and your source is confidential. You might very well use that demo in an interview at the companies competition. A professional interview partner knows that, and fully accepts that. Someone handing out full source to an unknown entity without any questions, might as well do the same to confidential inhouse source, if the competitor offers more money. Your source equals your achievements (or the achievements of your company). It''s a very precious good.

Things are obviously different, if you offer them the full source. That is ofcourse an option, esp. if you fear that they might think you stole the demo.

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Never be afraid to say no. One of my friends once,
in an interview for an Oracle Database project, was asked
how to make sql statements and basic stuff. He just left the
room of course.

The interviewer must walk the fine path of asking you what you
know, asserting that you know it, that you can make a positive
contribuition to the team, BUT without putting you through some
kind of test.

You are not obliged to hand over full source code to anything,
because that would be testing your capabilities, and, as
I said, the interviwer only has to ask you "do you know this"
"do you know that", because under contactual law, if you
say something that isn''t true, they can consider it a breach
of contract and quickly dispose of you.

If I where an interviwer (and I have close aquaintances that are)
and you came into my office, i would ask "do you know this", "how would you solve this", but i would never put you in a position where im actively testing you.

By principle, an interviwer must believe what the candidate tells him,
I hope i made myself clear about this. english isn''t my language...

I''m happy today. Using List in opengl i got a 110% boost in fps
on my multi-api demo. ;P

Also my website is up, coded by me in PHP, be shure to visit it (click my signature).

If you feel you''re a very nervous person, who sweats easily,
take one of those herbal relaxation pills. It will take effect
after ~45m, and will relax you, but won''t turn you into puddy, ehhe... Good Luck, hope you make it!

[Hugo Ferreira][Positronic Dreams]
Need [3D Artist] & [Sound Designer]
for small project. Contact me plz...

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I guess my opinions come from having people show up with little to no professional gaming experience who put forward a demo and expect that to get them the job. More and more people post messages on these forums which say "What do I need to do to get a job?". The reply is, more often then not, "send them a good demo". The more ''good demos'' I see the more I question exactly what the person did to create the demo. You are right - I don''t need to see a complete source tree, that''s rediculous, but I also feel that a willingness to be completely forthright with the source code is a good sign of a potential applicant.

Anyone who thinks that a professional game development house is going to steal their source code and use it in their products shouldn''t be interviewing with that company to begin with. If you don''t trust a company with your source code, you shouldn''t be working there. An employer-employee relationship is based, IMHO, on trust. As an employer, I''m not going to steal your source code - I want to hire you to me make our games great. You also should trust me, to provide you with a good work environment, the respect you deserve, and a good salary.

I''ve been in a few cases where someone provided me with sample code from a demo that was impeccable. It should have been the example of a perfect company coding style document. Two new-line s between every function, 10 lines of comments for every function, long descriptive variable names and able error handling. The reality is that this person has been working and reworking that piece of sample code for six monthes to make it the best example it could possibly be. Once on the job his or her skills are clearly made visible - he''s a coding slob with little-to-no orginization skills, quickly getting lost in a large code base. My guess is that, had I seen his entire code base, I wouldn''t have hired him. Does that benefit him? No, he lost his job. We lost time.

I''m not saying that I won''t consider hiring someone if they don''t give me the source code to their demo, I''m just saying that it effects my opinion. Often I would rather someone NOT have a demo and simply write the coding test and answer my questions instead of provide me an EXE and a packfile full of images. At least he is trying to get a job simply with his skill-set and not with a demo that he''s relying on so strongly.

Just my opinion, anyways.

PS. the suggestion for using an herbal relaxation pill is a good one, I''ve used those before myself.

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quote:

I guess my opinions come from having people show up with little to no professional gaming experience who put forward a demo and expect that to get them the job. More and more people post messages on these forums which say "What do I need to do to get a job?". The reply is, more often then not, "send them a good demo". The more ''good demos'' I see the more I question exactly what the person did to create the demo.


Yes, I fully understand your point. My own interviewing experience so far is limited to people with already a few years industry experience. In such a context, asking for source is almost an insult. Also, I think (although I''m not entirely positive) that asking for source, and denying the job because the candidate refused to give it out, is illegal over here. He has the right to refuse the handing out of copyrighted material, and you cannot take that as a point against him.

quote:

Anyone who thinks that a professional game development house is going to steal their source code and use it in their products shouldn''t be interviewing with that company to begin with. If you don''t trust a company with your source code, you shouldn''t be working there. An employer-employee relationship is based, IMHO, on trust.


Absolutely. But unfortunately, an interview is the first really personal encounter between a possible employee and his future employer. If there is something fishy about the company, then this is the moment you might be able to feel it. Also unfortunately, some companies do actually try to hire people because of the technology they might bring in, and not because of their skills. It might be a lot cheaper to simply hire an additional programmer (thus gaining access to his technology) than having to license it by normal means. Although this is highly immoral, it is legal. A friend of mine had a very bad experience related to this. The company was an extremely large, very well known multinational, (which happens to sit in Redm... You guess the rest).

quote:

Once on the job his or her skills are clearly made visible - he''s a coding slob with little-to-no orginization skills, quickly getting lost in a large code base.


You have to be very careful, if the material presented is just too perfect, esp. when dealing with an industry beginner. If there are a few flaws in his organization, that is perfectly normal. But if everything seems perfect from the beginning on, I would personally think that something is wrong.

As a conclusion, the best thing is to specifically create a demo where you can safely release the source. Just put it onto the CD with the exe. Problem solved. The problem is that people with industry experience will often use some novel technology in their demos, in order to get a leading position, and bring in the technology at the same time. Asking them for source before the contracts are signed, equals losing them to the competition.

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What if you''re demo or project, is entirely open source? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

The employer could go on the web and grab a CVS snapshot of it in a heartbeat, but is it the same as asking for the source?



Gamedev for learning.
libGDN for putting it all together.
An opensource, cross platform, cross API game development library.

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quote:
Original post by d000hg
Well my 1st game programming interview draws close. I really want to ask, what questions do I need to prepare answers for. I''m talking non-tecnical testing q''s, but what they''ll say in the interview part.

Here are some I can think of:
"So why do you want to work at ___?"
"So why should we employ you?"
"What positions of responsibility have you held in the past?"
"What experience have you with working with a team?"
What else?

Am I also right in thinking I''m likely to be questioned on my project I''m working on?
Anything else? And what are the right/wrong things to say from their point of view (apart from the obvious)?

I''d really appreciate any advice from those of you who have had or give interviews - I''m kinda nervous!

Please don''t reply unless you''re experienced in this - I''ll post what it was like for everyone''s interest tomorrow someime though!
Cheers




A nasty question type which gets asked a lot:

"Tell us your three main weaknesses"

Any "I don''t have any, I''m perfect" answers don''t create a good impression!

Some places will also ask things like "what other hobbies do you have" - they''re trying to see how well rounded you are as a person - don''t lie, you''ll get caught out if someone in the building happens to be expert on that subject.

Some places will ask very direct questions about recreational drug use and illegal activities - there aren''t necessarily right or wrong answers to those - judge per situation, but be prepared to answer - some companies have directors who take drugs for example, some have directors who are very anti.

Years ago I had an interview at a company who made flight simulators - they had a novel way of getting honest answers - they made me fly a plane on a very sensitive setting and then started firing interview questions at me while I was concentrating on the sim!
-- remember that if they get you to play one of their games or go down to the pub for a few pints that time spent there is really part of the interview - though if they do that they expect you to loosen up and want to see how you get on with people in a social sense (i.e. not a loner, not a nutter etc).


Definately be prepared for questions about your demo/project - you don''t have previous experience for them to ask about so they''ll want to know about the next best thing!.


Whatever you do, try and relax, try and have fun etc - the people interviewing you want to know two sorts of things:

1) can this guy do the job ?
a. Technical skills (+potential)
b. Work to deadlines
c. Doesn''t need someone to hold their hand (self starter)
d. Isn''t afraid of asking someone more skilled for advice
e. Can work as part of a team and be delegated to

2) is this guy going to fit in with who he''s working with ?
a. no loners
b. no psychopaths
c. no lazy people
d. no a*s kissers
e. no prima donnas/arrogance


unfortunately nerves can make you come across badly for things in point 2 and mean you don''t sell yourself properly for point 1 - relax as much as you can - they''re just normal people who are likely as nervous as you are!

If you got to the interview stage, then you ARE suitable for them on paper (if you didn''t lie), they wouldn''t waste their time (and thus money) if you weren''t suitable - the interview is a final check that there aren''t any holes/problems with what they saw on paper.

2x500

--
Simon O''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

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quote:
Original post by Yann L If a company really wants your full source, then odds are they want to use it for their own purposes.


I think it''s highly unlikely a professional company will be looking to use source code from an applicant who''s experience and skill level may be well below current employees.

I would say saying no to an employer asking to see your source code is a pretty big no-no. You want them to employ you as a programmer. Chances are you want to be employed more than they want to employ you. They have a right to see how you program before they hire you. And only seeing excerpts from the code is not enough to see how you put together a bigger project on your own. But that''s just my opinion.

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Went OK, the coding+physics test was very easy. I showed my demo and they did ask to see source; I left a copy with them. They did ask if the complete source was there but since they''re a world leader in their field (which probably doesn''t use heightmapped terrain) I''m not worried - only about my code quality!

I can give more details about the interview if you''re interested...

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How long did they interview you ? Mine took 8 hours. I was pretty dead tired when I walked away from building and I had a 7 hours car-drive home in front of me. NEVER undergo such a long road home at evening (I arrived home at about 3 am) after an exhausting interview. They squeezed everything from me. Did they also exhaust you that you felt like shit after it was finished ?

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Well I tried to before but it was bust! Here we go...

I got there and was sat down by myself with a cup of tea and some tests. 1st there was a self assessment form for various programming skills like assembly, C++, Win32, D3D/OGL, playstaion programming, network, ai etc - rate yourself 1-10 on each. Then I had to answer in writing some questions such as:
"What do you look for in a job?"
"How long do you want to work with us?"
"How long would it take you to make a significant impact to the company?"
"What do you find most difficult about a job?"

Then there was a single-sided programmnig test. eg:
How much space does a 320x200x16bit image require, including 20byte header?
What ranges of values can be stored in signed/unsigned data types?
How many bits required to store a number in range -16 to +15

Then a simple physics test e.g
What''s the distance between 2 points, what''s newton''s 2nd law etc

Then 2 guys came in and quickly went through it (seemed impressed) and read out what the recruitment company said about me (VERY complimentary!) They took me next door so I could demonstrate my projects to them - worked fine though very ropey IMO. Looked very briefly at my code, asked some trivial questions.

Next I was shown round the company and took the chance to ask questions about the setup and atmosphere of the company.
After this I met the two guys again and we discussed my demo a bit, when I was available, salary structure & benefits etc.
Finally I filled in a psychometric test and that was it!

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