Consilience Software Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Software Developer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I interviewed at Consilience Software in January 2013.
Interview Details – Was submitted for the interview process through a technical recruiter. The first contact consisted of a phone interview set up once again by the technical recruiter. This interview had a focus on Java and SQL as that is what the job posting desired. Some of the questions about both were quite specific but they just wanted you to have a familiarity with they topics and concepts. Concerning Java they asked about everything from ArrayList to Interfaces and with SQL everything from aspects of SQL to general database questions like what ACID is. Passed this interview with knowing some of the stuff flat out and with having a familiarity with some things. About 30 minuets all told. They complimented me on my speaking abilities, which they want because you are supposed to face clients at some point.
I was then invited back for a second in house interview. The interview was mostly technical white board questions with very little other questions. Only one interviewer. The first question was, given these strings and this output, what is the method and program it. The accepted very pseudoish code. This problem I struggled with a bit but got in the end with some hints. The second problem was a maze exit finding problem with the possibility of loops. I solved it recursively and believe I nailed it. The interviewer barely indicated anything throughout the whole interview. So I have no idea how I did.
I am awaiting word on a third interview which will also have some technical questions.
Interview Question – Having a question that requires recursion is heinous I think. Answer Question
Consultant Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Consilience Software in September 2010.
Interview Details – This place brings the term nonprofessional to a whole new level. From what I could tell there was a complete lack of communication between the interviewers. The pay level is far below market and they hire inexperienced people and don't even have a formal training process. The conducted their own "background" check by checking out my name on the internet which wouldn't be so bad if I had a rare name. They seemed to be making up the questions as they went along. When I asked questions about training, continuing education, and on-going learning they seemed confused. The work environment seemed cold and everyone is put into a large room together. I picked up on this during my 30 second tour of the place. They interview people that extremely over experienced. I asked about the other job functions and they also seemed confused on why I would be asking.
Support Engineer Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Consilience Software in September 2010.
Interview Details – First of all, let me stress that this job was posted as an entry-level job on a website for recent college grads. I interviewed with a Software Development Lead from Boston with two first names. And in case you're wondering, yes, he is just as socially inept as every other person you've met with two first names--this guy does not disappoint!
Some highlights of the interview:
* The interviewer actually called me an hour after our originally scheduled interview time, saying that the different time zones confused him. Apparently practical intelligence is a not a top priority at Consilience.
* After explaining that my Java experience is based in a classroom environment using Java SE, he asked me twice if I've ever worked with J2EE. This was to become a common theme throughout the rest of the interview, by the way.
*The verbal skills test was evidently designed to be as awkward as the interviewer's personality. The questions were all over the place with quite a few questions about specific methods within java classes. (If you have the entire Java class library memorized, you should be good) Regardless of whether I answered the question correctly or incorrectly, the interviewer still repeated every question at least twice. At one point I specifically asked "Are you saying that's the wrong answer?" and he responded by asking the question a third time. Slightly off-putting, to say the least.
I was informed twice (you saw that one coming) that I was not invited back for the next round of interviews. What a relief!
In summation, if you are a Java savant and are willing to work for an entry level salary--Consilience Software is the place for you.
Software Developer Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4 days - interviewed at Consilience Software in April 2009.
Interview Details – I got direct phone interview from them..it was about 20 minutes.
Interview Question – explain abstract classes..how will u implement it Answer Question
Technical Consultant Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 5 days - interviewed at Consilience Software in October 2009.
Interview Details – I first had a phone interview with one of the Managers in Boston, MA which went extremely well. The interview had some basic technical questions in Java and centered around my experience and work ethics/philosophy. This led to being invited to an in-person interview at the Austin, TX offices. I showed up dressed to impressed in my best suit and tie and was led to a conference room to wait. Two of Consilience's engineers then walked into the room, the first one was dressed business casual and very friendly. The second interviewer actually took a pause in the door to look at me head to toe, he was wearing shorts and a dirty t-shirt. I am all for a relaxed work environment and I dressed to impress because it's what you do at an interview, especially one for a consultant position working with government organisations. The whole interview lasted about an hours and fifteen minutes, all technical. During that time, I was never able to establish rapport with the ill-dressed interviewer, in contrast, I had great rapport with the first one.
I was given several Java problems to code on the white board. What was unsettling is I was asked to give simple solutions to problems and later, once the solution was on the board my interviewers criticized that they would not be efficient given extremely large data sets. Had I been told that ahead of time, my solution would have been different. I was also asked database related questions which were formulated in order to avoid the use of DB keywords (how to ensure integrity of a database) and made them extremely confusing, launching me on a complex explanation about normalization. In retrospect I realize that the person asking that question was looking for me to answer "Make a certain column "REQUIRED"" but they had gone to such great length to avoid using the word "required" that the question made no sense. also, had they had any understanding of DB normalization, they would have understood the situation, alas they did not.
I felt like I had done well despite the unsettling nature of the code tests but was obviously not retained. I later learned from my recruiter that I was the 30th candidate that the company had interviewed and they had only retained one before me. All in all this experience has left quite a bad taste in my mouth, one that will last. I am highly unlikely to refer anyone to them.
Interview Question – Provide an algorithm that traverses a matrix of interconnected nodes and returns the one marked "end". View Answer
Consultant Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and interviewed at Consilience Software.
Interview Details – The interview process consists of several rounds of interviews. The first one was on the phone where I was asked a set of basic Java questions. The second one was an in-person interview where I had to demonstrate my Java, SQL and data modeling skills. Then the last one with an executive where I was asked additional Java and SQL questions. I also had to submit some codes.
Interview Question – The most difficult question I was asked required me to submit a search algorithm. Answer Question
Entry Level Java Developer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Consilience Software in September 2012.
Interview Details – A couple of days after submitting for the position, I got an email asking a few questions about minimum salary, willing to relocate, etc... After answering, I got an email with a date and time for a phone interview with someone from the software department.
He was nice, asked questions basic questions about Java: Overloading, overriding, aspects of OOP, some specifics of the Collections, nothing too difficult. Also some questions on SQL. He seemed happy enough with my answers even though I got tripped up on a couple.
A few days later, I got another email detailing date and time for a WebEx interview where I'd be sharing desktops with another interviewer and that it would be technical in nature. The interviewer seemed frustrated with the WebEx software, but was otherwise patient and nice. It consisted of a couple of programming problems where I was required to develop and implement an algorithm to solve the problems. Made some headway with the first, but didn't solve it. Didn't get very far on the second, but I haven't done any programming in several years, so I'm very rusty. If I did well enough, I'd be invited for a third interview.
Interview Question – Name two Java Collection classes and what they could be used for. Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took a day - interviewed at Consilience Software in January 2012.
Interview Details – Initial 30 minute interview with the software team lead. Asked basic Java/SQL questions such as overriding vs overloading, goods/bads of indexes for databases, use of synchornize keyword. Technical questions were very one-after another read from a list, after a bunch of these (~15 minutes for me, didn't really have to think much for each question though), I got to ask questions. From what I heard structure is pretty flat, not much management but there are mentoring program. An individual might be responsible for everything from requirements gathering to testing, or they might be in a small team of 3-4. After the interview the interviewer said I'd hear back within 2 weeks. Interview on Friday evening and recruiter got back to me Monday afternoon informing me that they had already hired some people for the open positions and aren't looking anymore at the moment. The interviewer seems pretty friendly, work culture he said people are willing to help also for suggestions and insights.
Interview Question – An example of why synchronization might be important View Answer
Applications Developer Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at Consilience Software in April 2010.
Interview Details – I gave these guys my resume at a Job Fair. They stressed they were looking someone with Java experience, and I said I had some. Was contacted via email by an HR Person to schedule a phone interview. We set a date for the following week and I was contacted by their Lead Development Manager. The phone call was all business with him just rapid-firing technical Java questions at me, mostly the standard stuff you can find online. I studied prior to the interview so I was able to handle a good amount, but I struggled on a few as Java is not one of my top skills. He gave little in the way of feedback, but did clarify a bit when prodded and ended the interview asking if I had any questions about the position.
The whole matter was fairly brisk and there didn't seem to be much of a connection. I was not surprised to find I was not invited to a second round interview. If your Java skills are shaky or don't deal well with handling technical questions fired off in a high-pressure atmosphere, this is probably not the company for you.
Interview Question – Just google "Java Interview Questions" and study what comes up. Over half of the questions asked I ran across on the internet in one form or another. Answer Question