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On Location Interview

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I'll preface this by saying I've been doing a bunch of research on what to expect.

So I've passed the written quiz and a technical phone interview with a couple engineers on the team, and now I'm at the on location part of the process.

This is for a junior level position on either the gameplay or engine/tools team (a spot is open on each).  I won't go into specifics for obvious reasons, but it's a fairly well known studio in a city area.

The HR manager gave me a list of 4 people I will be meeting with and said the interview should last about 2 hours.

 

So I fully expect a couple things from my research:

1)  More technical stuff including being given problems and being asked to write them out or give slightly more in depth answers.  The phone interview was more high-level overview stuff.

2)  General professional level interview questions.  Your typical stuff like tell us about yourself, strengths/weaknesses, where do you see yourself in x time, working with teams, overcoming challenges, etc.

3)  Included a bit with 2, but obviously they want to see if I'm also a good fit on a personal level for their company.

 

So, I've done research and brushed up on my technical stuff, answers to typical questions, and also making sure I'm familiar with the company and their games.

 

Is there anything else I've missed or anyone would recommend based on personal experience?  I just want to make sure I have all my bases covered.  This would be my first job in the gaming industry, and I want to do everything in my power to give myself an edge.

 

Thanks!

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Sounds like you've got it covered.  

Be prepared with well-rehearsed answers to the standard questions: Tell me about yourself, tell me what you've done, why do you want to work here (what specific about the company, not just to get a paycheck).

They'll ask some basic questions about you to see how they fit in the company culture.  Not fit in as in "white young male", but fit in as in creative, intelligent, and have social graces fitting in with the company's culture.  (For example, use of profanity, odors of smoking, can understand your speech, etc.)  They will also be mindful of how you handle the stress of an interview, including the stresses of answering questions you may not know.

They'll ask some technical questions. They'll probably have you write a simple piece of code and there are many examples of those online you can search for.  Reverse a string in place, sort something, search for something, etc. If they want to know about a specific topic they will ask questions about that topic. They will dig deep, probably deeper than you know on the topic. They'll ask questions you won't know the answer to, be prepared to handle that.

 

After that, realize it is a two-way communication.  They want to get to know you, to decide who among the candidates looks like they'll fit in best and do the job best. You should also be asking questions and making observations, since there are companies that are an amazing fit and there are companies you should avoid. Those details vary by company and by individual, one person may love an environment another hates.  Be prepared to stick with the job for a few years, so pay attention going in.

If they want to hire you, and possibly even if they don't, they'll ask about salary requirements.  Know what you are worth. Don't overbid or underbid. If you ask for too much they may not hire you or they may explain a few things. If you ask for too little there are unscrupulous companies who will pay you as little as you ask instead of fair wages. There are plenty of books about negotiating salary, and as you move up the career ladder the skill becomes increasingly more important.

Relax, don't bother cramming since it rarely helps beyond a quick review, and have fun at the interview.

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Sounds like you've done your homework. I'll only add this:

Be particularly prepared to talk in detail about the last major project you worked on. If this is a first industry job, pick a university project (preferably a group project) and be ready to talk about that instead. At least one interviewer is going to probe into your past projects in depth, with an emphasis on how you solve problems, and how you deal with conflict with coworkers.

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One general hint I would add, that occurred to me after we interviewed a particularly awkward candidate: if you're asked how you would X, and you don't know the right way to do X, what I expect from you is this:

  1. If you suspect there exists a 'correct' or near-optimal approach, and you don't know it, say so. I want to know that you are aware of your limits, and will do research or ask for help when needed.
  2. Explain how you might try and come up with an approximate solution, or which approaches you might test, and what limits you might bump up against (CPU, memory, complexity, whatever). Sometimes we just want to know how you'd approach something when there is no one right answer, or how you adapt to needing to find alternative solutions.

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@Kylotan's advice is a good one. I also, when it comes to interviewing somebody, I prefer to hear a simple "I don't know" if one really doesn't know. Believe me, you can tell if someone tries to hide any lacks in knowledge. Of course, it doesn't have to be just "I don't know" but it may transform into "I don't know, never encountered this problem, however if I did I could..." and so on. Showing that you have the ability to admit you don't know something is very important from the point of view of the employer. No one wants to hire a person who's afraid to admit that and will be working on something for ages, going nowhere, and at the end of the day will bring problems to the project and whole team. I worked with such people, they are usually quiet and really put effort into solving a problem, but sometimes the solving problem may require additional help and admitting that is a good thing. Nobody knows everything and nobody expects you to know everything ( although it's good if you know :D ).

Edited by j_uk_dev

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