Chapter 15. Nontechnical Questions

Most technical interviews include some nontechnical questions. Some of these questions are asked early in the interview process to determine whether your experience, education, and goals make you appropriate for the job in question. There's no point in proceeding with the technical interviews if you're not the kind of candidate they had in mind. Others are asked after the technical interviews are over, to help the company prepare an offer that is acceptable to both parties. While you won't get an offer on the strength of your nontechnical answers alone, a poor performance on nontechnical issues can lose you an offer you otherwise might have had, so don't assume that the nontechnical questions are unimportant.

Nontechnical questions are important! Treat them that way.

Despite what you might think, nontechnical questions are often challenging in and of themselves, because they have no right or wrong answers. Answers are unique to each person, and different interviewers may expect different answers. Many books have been written about how to interview well, including how to answer nontechnical questions effectively. Rather than rehash what these books say, this chapter focuses on a few nontechnical questions that are particularly common in programming interviews.

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