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Senior Software Engineer Interview

Senior Software Engineer
Los Angeles, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at UCLA in June 2013.

Interview Details – Saw a job posting for a senior software engineer position at one of the research labs at UCLA. Applied and received an email asking me to give them a couple of availability to go on-site for the interview. I showed up at the agreed upon time all ready to go.

The person I had been in contact with was not available that date. Another staff member there asked me to wait so she can find someone to interview me. After 10 minutes or so, one of the software engineers came out to greet me and took me to a conference room.

He started out by asking some standard questions like the type of work I've been doing and that type of software I've been working on. Towards the end of this part of the interview, he asked me what kind of salary was I looking for. Their job posting had a range from 80k to 150k and my range was right in the middle of that. I was pretty honest about what I wanted and what I'm making right now. He then threw out a number was way lower than my range and lower than what I am making right now. He then went out to explain because I didn't have Spring Framework experience, they couldn't offer me the senior software engineer position (by the way, Spring Framework wasn't even mentioned in the job posting). I came back by saying that it would be difficult to take a pay cut to take another job.

The atmosphere turned sour pretty quickly. He ended the questioning part by saying that he wanted me to write some code on paper to solve a graph problem. I sat there working on my code while he stepped away. I turned in my code after 15 minutes and had a little discussion about the part that I didn't get right. He then gave me a test consisted of 16 questions on paper and asked me to work on them, again, while he stepped away to do his things. At that point I felt like it wasn't much of an interview. It for sure felt like I was back at school taking a test. I answered all the questions, but didn't put too much efforts into making the answers as best as I could. I had a feeling that I wasn't going to get the job anyway and taking that test was just a formality. Maybe he needed something on paper so he can show that he did performed the interview.

I turned in the paper and thanked the interviewer for his time and that was the end of the interview.

The next day I wrote thank-you emails to both the person who initially contacted me and my interviewer. In the thank-you email to my interviewer, I wrote some addendum to my answer to one of the 16 questions, trying to make that particular answer more complete. Less than 10 minutes after sending that email, I got a reply from my interviewer basically saying that I wasn't a good fit for the position because I didn't answer all the questions right. But if I'm willing to accept a lower position (more importantly lower pay), he'd willing to continue the interview process. The person who initially contacted me never replied.

Again, I felt the entire process didn't show a lot of respect to the interviewee. There was no discussion and focus on my leadership and project management skills. The job description on the posting was either misleading, or my interviewer didn't know what they are. Another example: the post mentioned that PHP is one of the language that will be used. And I was told by my interviewer that PHP won't be used.

Interview Question – What are the 4 core components of J2EE.   Answer Question

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