What is asked in the 3rd step of a job interview?
November 26, 2009 8:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm applying for a programming job. I've had two steps of interviewing so far. What are they going to ask in the 3rd step?

This is for a firm which has historically done all of their development through contractors. The first interview was with a HR person and someone who seemed like they would be my direct superior; they asked mostly general personality-based questions (why do you live in this foreign country, would you work overtime, how do you want your coworkers and superiors to act). The second was a phone interview with a consultant who asked entirely technical questions. I have a scheduled third interview with the vice director of the firm on Monday. What would they possibly ask?
posted by beerbajay to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If nobody's asked you the goal-oriented, big picture stuff, or what makes you want to work for them in particular, it'll probably include that stuff. Otherwise, it may just be a rehash of other questions, in my experience.
posted by cellphone at 8:28 AM on November 26, 2009

Depends on the size of the company and what they do, but generally the HR person is there as a filter, and checks off that you have the correct set of credentials. The hiring manager then screens you for your skillset and your personality. And the team members interview you to go deeper on your specific skills and compatibility.

If you're interviewing with someone at the Vice-whatever level, I would assume that this meeting is the one where they want to make you an offer, or judge whether you could manage a small group or project on your own, or possibly whether you'd be suitable for a group other than the initial one you interviewed with.

On the other hand, some companies, the founder/CEO/director interviews every serious candidate.

At the very least, you are a serious contender for the job.
posted by zippy at 9:01 AM on November 26, 2009

At places I've worked at (as a programmer), it's generally:

1. HR person does 1st interview, makes sure you're not insane, etc.
2. Technical person (Team Lead, etc) does a more technical interview and recommends you get hired (or not)
3. Technical person's boss meets with you so they feel comfortable with who you are, extends the offer.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:26 AM on November 26, 2009

You may be asked to rough out some code for a specified problem, on the spot - e.g. print the first n terms of fibonacci series or maybe a sort, either in pseudocode or in whatever language you're familiar with. They'll be wanting to see how you relate as a person, because every programming job needs some degree of teamwork, so you'll probably meet other employees as well as the VD. Try to enjoy the process, because of two people with equal skills the more likable person will probably get the job. Also of course it's an opportunity for you to assess the company.
posted by anadem at 9:32 AM on November 26, 2009

Exactly as blue_beetle describes.
posted by klanawa at 9:50 AM on November 26, 2009

Yep. blue_beetle is right. I've been the hiring person for step two quite a few times. Sounds very likely that if you don't freak out Mr. VP at step three he/she will extend an offer. Congrats and good luck.
posted by Babblesort at 10:58 AM on November 26, 2009

A little extra info: The first interview was very short, 30 minutes. The next one was a bit over an hour. I didn't write any code here, just answered "do you know what this is?" "how does this work?" "why would you choose this over this?" "are there disadvantages to this?" style questions.

For this 3rd interview, they've scheduled me for 1 to 1.5 hours, which seems like more than a "don't weird me out and I'll hire you" meeting.
posted by beerbajay at 2:39 PM on November 26, 2009

If they don't make you a job offer in the third interview you should write it off. You will be talking to the manager and several team members while you tour the facility. Make sure you know how much you're worth when you walk in the door because money will be an issue. This is also your opportunity to hire the company. Make sure it smells right. You really don't want to be telling them that this is just not working out after 2 weeks. Congratulations.
posted by ptm at 4:47 PM on November 26, 2009

If you are scheduled to meet with a senior manager then you probably have a good shot at getting an offer and being hired.

However, given the length of time, I wouldn't be too surprised if you also meet with another senior programmer to do a face-to-face technical interview as well as meet other employees. Most senior managers don't have 90 minutes free to spend with a programming candidate.
posted by kenliu at 5:31 PM on November 26, 2009

No technical questions. Mostly a rehash of other questions, with some variation. Seems like VD was selecting out of a group of final candidates. No offer; will get back to me.
posted by beerbajay at 5:13 AM on December 1, 2009

posted by beerbajay at 4:16 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

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