Sonoma Partners Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
Senior Developer Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Sonoma Partners
Interview Details – Be warned that the reviews below saying is exactly what you're going through. Basically, phone interview, online skills test, week assignment and then you get email that they are going with other candidates. Don't waste you time unless you have nothing to do other than their tests.
Interview Question – Prime numbers, overlapped periods etc Answer Question
Software Developer Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
Interviewed at Sonoma Partners
Interview Details – The first thing I had to do for Sonoma was a short test (I think it was around 10 questions) with basic technical questions. After that there was a phone interview with one of the development managers which included writing some code in an online notepad type thing. After this I was sent a code test to complete on my own time within a few days. The code test was a visual studio solution with 4-5 projects that each needed to be finished for an exercise in the test.
After emailing my completed test back to them I was invited for an in-person interview. The interview consisted of a wonderlic test and a whiteboard session with 2 developers where I had to explain how I would structure code for a board game. I then had lunch with 2 managers and 1 vp of development that felt pretty casual. I then interviewed with the three of them individually where they asked me about my background. They were very open to me also asking them questions about their development process and the company. It did not feel very formal at all and I thought I had a good discussion with each of them.
I was very impressed with the people I spoke to while I was there and felt that there were people I could see myself learning from if I worked there. Sonoma's process overall was much more involved than other companies I had interviewed with which gave me the impression that they have a higher standard for the people they hire - now that I work here, this definitely seems to be true.
Interview Question – The most difficult part of the interview was coding/diagramming a program on a whiteboard in front of 2 developers. Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
.NET Developer Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Sonoma Partners in March 2014.
Interview Details – Most of the ten or so interviews I have gone on in the past few months have been pretty straight forward. They all usually begin with an online test, phone call, followed by a simple personal interview. Sonoma Partners has been the only exception to this. Sonoma seems to be a very cultivated place when it comes to their culture and perhaps is the reason why their interview process is so different and involved. My experience with their interview was all in all great but ended with a "cliff hanger" of sorts. I will divide this review into paragraphs, each one being a part of the interview process.
The first part to their interview process is a simple phone call and completion of a C# proficiency test online. I can't remember the exact site that was used but it was your usual programming test. E.G. What is the difference between an abstract class and an interface etc. It is timed and there are also some workflow questions where you have to follow along by eye and choose the correct output. All in all it was fairly simple.
The second part of the interview process involved another phone call with one of the senior developers. He explained what the company did, their benefits, and asked me a few questions. After the short intro I was told to follow a dotnetfiddle link so that I can code while he watched. He was very easy going, down to earth, and willing to help you along the way. I believe the problem I had to fix had to do something with ordering datetimes and was not too difficult. The first problem he presented me with made use of the C# Tuple class which I had never seen before. He tried explaining it but eventually gave me another problem. Apparently I wasn't the first to complain about the tuple.
The third part to the interview process was another coding test. This time I was sent a project in which I had to provide implementation to solve four different problems. The problems are as follows : 1) Find the Nth Prime 2) Make a method to return a boolean indicating if a set of input dates overlapped 3.) Find the needle in the haystack (an array of strings (haystack) an array of strings (needle)) 4) Build a tree view in code using a dataset that is set for you already. They gave me a week to do it but I turned it in three days later.
For the fourth part I was told that the senior developer really liked me and that I did great on my tests. They asked me to come in for an almost 4 hour face to face interview process. I went in and first met with the VP of development who was very laid back and young. He almost gave me the vibe of a California surfboarder. He asked me to go over my resume and also tell him what my interests and hobbies were.
The second part of this interview was with two senior developers. They had me write out pseudo code on how I would go about creating the structure of a checkers game. After that they had me try and implement it in code. I did not finish but they told me that no one ever finishes, it's just meant to see how you think when you code. Both of the developers were pretty cool although they were a lot less down to earth than the VP of development.
The third part to this interview was with the principle of development. This guy was just like the VP of development, very down to earth and easy going. We basically talked about my resume and he went through a list of programming concepts and technologies asking me if I knew each one or not.
The final part of this interview was with the HR lady. She didn't seem as down to earth as the VP and Principle but she was more down to earth than the two senior developers. She asked me your average job applicant personality type questions. This was followed by a wonderlic test which they said they don't really use.
After the interview the VP, one of the senior devs, and the HR lady treated me to lunch.
I emailed the HR lady two days later thanking them for the lunch and apologizing for not saying it earlier as I get anxious on interviews. She responded with the same email that many of the other reviews spoke about. It was robotic and definitely scripted. It did not address my previous email at all and simply said they were pursuing other candidates.
All in all I would say that they are looking for "gen Yers" fresh out of college. I myself am 25 with 4.5 years experience in .net but do not have my college degree. I shared highshools with the HR lady and thought that had scored me some points but it did not. They really like the culture they have there. (I don't blame them) It seems like a really amazing place to work at. I did not see every single employee but from the employees I did see they all seemed to fit the mid 20's Caucasian profile. Some even looked like Hipsters. It is a very young company.
Interview Question – Name one thing in the past that you broke, or had a negative impact on (project wise) and explain how you overcame it. Answer Question
Software Developer Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Sonoma Partners.
Interview Details – Contacted after initial conversation at a career fair, was asked to do an online assessment, and later asked to do another, but after a couple weeks of this process... chose to take another offer.
Interview Question – Thought that the evaluation process of candidates was very strange. Answer Question
Consultant/PM Interview (Neutral Experience; Easy Interview)
I applied through other source and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Sonoma Partners in November 2011.
Interview Details – Started with an interview with HR. That was fine - very low key and questions were exactly what others have indicated with the "hr lady". Next up was phone interview with consulting director in denver office. That was a piece of cake - mostly talking about past experience. Third phone screen was with a peer from the chicago office. Was then asked to fly into chicago for face-to-face, wonderlic test and workflow presentation.
First was the IQ test via wonderlic then the workflow test. I had asked up front if i could find out my score after the test. More on this later. I was given a specific amount of time to do the wonderlic. It was easy, i almost got through all the questions and tried to because I was under the impression that answering incorrectly vs not answering is the same outcome. The workflow test was a page of if then statements (code) and it was up to me to reverse engineer this into workflow process diagram.. After this, a panel came in (mgr and two consultants) to discuss my process flow. I was told it was one of the best representations of the correct answer they had seen (could have been feeding me a line of BS for all i know) but as I was walking them through it i found an error and corrected it. Next was one on one with the mgr, followed by two consultants. The mgr questions were scripted from other interviews on this website. The first consultant came in with a list of questions (maybe 20-30) and asked them back to back (first time I have ever encountered something like this). The last consultant (the youngest) was the most personable and non robotic. Overall, this interview was not difficult at all. After this, I walked out and chatted with the Hr lady and went to lunch with everyone I interacted with. Had a nice lunch (they treated) and said our goodbyes. I followed up with a thank you when i returned to my home city. I asked again about my wonderlic results with hr prior to lunch (joked about the wonderlic and football). I received a robotic email like others have mentioned a week later stating they had moved on with other candidates. Never received the wonderlic score. Considering I was a MS company referral, Im a bit surprised with their impersonal response but then after reading other interview summaries, Im not. I wish anyone success in interviewing with them but temper your hopes for a response after interviewing.
My recommendations for anyone interviewing, read through the questions others have posted and you will know what to expect. Recommendation for Sonoma - get some new questions.
Business Analyst Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Sonoma Partners in May 2010.
Interview Details – I have to say that I was initially super excited about interviewing at Sonoma, but after the interview process, I am super thankful that I was turned down for the position. Initially I was emailed back and was told that I would receive a call from the HR lady. She failed not only to call me once or twice, but three times! Three days in a row I sat by the phone patiently waiting, and each day I emailed her after about an hour. She replied all three times saying she had an emergency (interesting that another post on here says the same). When she finally did call, she called fifteen minutes late and was somewhat snippy. A few days later I received a call from a Consulting Director from their Denver office. She was very polite, asked me a few questions about my background and told me I would hear back from the HR lady. Yikes.
A few days later I received an email from the HR lady asking when I could come in for an interview. She also sent along a few slides from which I was to make a presentation. On the day of the interview, I was running five minutes late due to a train malfunction and called her as soon as I found out to let her know. As soon as I got into the office, the HR lady met me and told me that they do not interview candidates that are late (funny since she failed to call me three times without even informing me of what was going on). She said that the team was still willing to interview me, so off I went.
I went into a conference room and there was an interview panel made up of four people plus the HR lady. Now, I have never been to an interview with the HR lady standing in, but hey, I guess this place really is different. I went to show my presentation, but they hadn’t even set up the room, and the connection for the projector was not functioning, so I passed out the slides that I had printed out (it’s good to be prepared). I went through my presentation, was asked questions about it and then was interviewed one by one by all four interviewers. Afterwards, I was told to do a skills test, followed up by creating documentation for five features in Microsoft Word. Once that was over, I was asked a math question and had to explain my thought behind why and how I got to my answer. After that I was asked by all four interviewers plus the HR lady what I would do with $500,000. The interview was finally over.
A few days later I was told that they were pursuing a different direction. I thought to myself, what a waste of time. Looking back, barely any of the questions I received during the interview were related to the Business Analyst position I was applying to.
My biggest advice to them: Get a new HR lady… if she expects people not to be even a second late to her interview, then she shouldn’t be three days late in calling to set up the interview in the first place.
Interview Question – I don't remember the question completely, but it was something about a 2 guys on one side of a lake, having to walk across a beam with something in the middle, each guy weighing a certain amount, how long it would take for them to get to one side as fast as possible. View Answer
Business Systems Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
The process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Sonoma Partners in June 2011.
Interview Details – I received an email from the HR Director requesting a time to setup a phone interview two weeks after applying for a Business Systems Analyst position. A phone interview with the HR Director was scheduled for the following week. The phone conversation lasted approximately 20 minutes in which the HR Director asked questions to gain a better understanding of why I was leaving my current employer, why I was interested in working at Sonoma Partners and what my salary expectations were. The HR Director allocated time at the end of our conversation for me to ask any questions I may have.
Approximately 2 days later I received an email from the HR Director stating I would be moving on to the next phase in the interview process. The second phase consisted of a phone interview with the Consulting Director. This conversation was scheduled for the following week. The Consulting Director’s goal was to gain a better understanding of my technical experience. He specifically asked questions regarding my involvement in the projects listed on my resume, the SDLC, and my experience with CRM applications. The Consulting Director allocated time at the end of our conversation to provide me additional information surrounding the company’s organizational structure, short and long-term goals. I was informed the HR Director would notify me within a week if I would proceed to the final stage of the interview process.
The next day I received an email from the HR Director informing me that I would proceed to the final stage of the interview process. My onsite interview was scheduled two weeks out. The HR Director Cc’d the Office Manger on the email. The next day the Office Manager emailed me a 7 page case study instructing me to prepare 6 PowerPoint slides to present at my onsite interview. Obviously, the scheduled my onsite interview two weeks out to give me ample time to prepare for the presentation.
After arriving onsite, I was taken into a back room in which they had me setup to complete a Wonderlic Aptitude Test online followed by a workflow test. They allocate about 30 minutes to complete both test. The 50 question Wonderlic Aptitude Test was to be completed in 12 minutes. Upon completion I was instructed to jump into the workflow test as draw my response on the board in the room. After 30 minutes management entered the room, introduced themselves, and asked me to explain the workflow I drew on the board. Afterwards I pulled my 6 PowerPoint slide up on the computer and walked management through my though process in constructing my slides. Afterwards two of the managers left allowing me to meet with the Consulting Director 1 on 1. I also met with the other two managers 1 on 1 for about 30 minutes each.
I felt good about the interview process from my first conversation with the HR Director. However, I became skeptical about receiving an offer after I was informed the HR Director was in the office during my onsite interview. Had she been there I was told I would have had the opportunity to meet with her 1 on 1. Three days later I received an email from the HR Director stating they were not filling the position at this time but when they do they would like to speak with me again. I went above and beyond to prove my worth and I don’t understand why an organization would spend a month interviewing someone if they knew they weren’t filling the position anytime soon.
Business Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Sonoma Partners in June 2011.
Interview Details – Phone interview with HR.
2 Separate phone interviews with Managers
Very Difficult Interview
CRM Project Manager Interview (Neutral Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Sonoma Partners in October 2011.
Interview Details – I applied for the position through the company website and received an email from the HR Manager about a week later asking to set up a phone interview with her. She was supposed to call me but I never heard from her so 40 minutes after the time we set up I called and left a message. She later emailed me to say she had an emergency and couldn't call so we rescheduled.
The phone interview went over my resume and she asked me questions like what my favorite and least favorite parts of the software lifecycle were, why I wanted to work there, why I was looking to leave my current position. She then told me about the company, their structure and answered my questions about next steps, training, and travel.
3 days later I received an email telling me they wanted me to continue with the next stage in the process and wanted to know when I would be available to have a phone interview with the consulting director. When they responded to the times I provided they asked me instead if I would could meet the Consulting Director instead. That interview was set up for 3 days later.
I met with the Consulting Director and was asked to go through my resume and then was asked questions about why I was looking for a new opportunity, what interested me about this position, etc. I was told the HR Manager wasn't in the office that day so I would hear back the following week. However, that afternoon I received an email saying they wanted to fly me to Chicago for another interview. That was set up for 2 weeks later. The HR Manager sent me a case study I had to prepare 3 to 6 Power Point slides for. She also asked me to fill out their job application form, give them permission to do a background check, provide my W2 from last year and my college transcripts.
I flew into Chicago that morning and had 30 minutes to get from my seat on the plane to their office. I sent an email from my phone in the cab saying I was going to be late. When I arrived 2 project managers met me in the waiting area and we went out for lunch. We then returned to the office. One of the Project Manager's inteviewed me for 20 minutes and then I was given instructions to do an online Wonderlic test. When I finished with the test, they told me to continue on to the workflow test. That consisted of a screenshot of a Microsoft CRM form screen with critieria in it. They asked me to create a workflow diagram on the white board. When I had it on the board 2 Consulting Directors, 2 Project Managers and the HR Manager came in and I went over it with them. I was then asked to review my slides to explain to them my though process behind why I included what I did for a project kick off meeting presentation. They didn't want me to role play, they just wanted me to explain why I did, what I did.
After that was done I met for 30 minutes with one of the Consulting Directors and then for 30 minutes with another Project Manager. A lot of it was going over my resume. They asked me questions like what do I think is more important in business - creativity or efficiency. They also asked me if I was given $500,000 to start my own business what would it be.
Finally, the HR Manager came in to finish up, asked me how I had found the process, asked me again about my salary requirements and then walked me to the front door telling me she would contact me the following week.
4 days later I got an email from the HR Manager thanking me for going through their interview process and telling me at this time they were proceeding with other candidates. Although I don't expect them to give me a lengthy explanation, I do feel after all of the time and energy I was asked to put in to the process that I could have been given more than a thanks, but no thanks response.
- If I gave you $500,000 to start your own business what would it be? Answer Question
- How long do you think a Project Kick Off Meeting should take? Answer Question
- If we wouldn't have limited you to 6 slides for the case study, would you have done anything differently? Answer Question
- Since we often have meeting with clients on the phone and you can't see their body language or see their facial expressions how do you go about establishing rapport with them? Answer Question
- What is your biggest strength and weakness? Answer Question
Very Easy Interview
Business Analyst Interview (Negative Experience; Very Easy Interview)
The process took a day - interviewed at Sonoma Partners in May 2011.
Interview Details – Someone from HR emailed me, asking if a particular time was good for a phone interview. I emailed back yes, and the interviewer eventually confirmed the time. The interview lasted all of 11 minutes. I am qualified for the position, responded to questions well, and felt that the interview went well. It was incredibly rushed. After I answered the phone, the interviewer jumped RIGHT into basic questions without even trying to get to know me, or without trying to talk about the company or the position. Like another submitter said, it was like the interviewer had already made up her mind before interviewing me. The interviewer's emails were also incredibly brief and too the point. The questions asked during the interview were way too vague and the answers wouldn't really lead to any idea of the qualifications of the candidate.
The only thing I can think of is that they are trying to hire on the cheap, and that someone like me with an MBA would want more money than they would offer. She said the salary range was from 60k to 80k.
Sonoma, if you guys are listening, I would seriously add some structure to the first interviews.
Interview Question – Why don't you have a job yet? View Answer