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Ace the Programming Interview: 160 Questions and Answers for Success by Edward Guiness

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Chapter 2

Handling the Phone Interview with Confidence

I once nearly shot an interviewer in the head with a rubber band. I was nervously fiddling and it slipped and went sailing just over his head. Somehow he didn't notice, but it settled my nerves because it was kind of funny.

This technique was effective for me, but I don't suggest you try it. Your aim might not be as good as mine.

If you pick up a generic book on interviewing and flip to the chapter on handling nerves, you can find a lot of helpful-sounding advice, like remembering to breathe, imagining interviewers in their underwear, and role playing the interview with a friend.

If that kind of advice works for you then go for it. But if you've tried those kinds of things and they haven't worked, here is some advice specifically for programmers.

What you need to realize is that programmers are special. If you take away the project manager, the tester, the document writer, the business analyst, the systems analyst—even if you take away the UX expert and the architect—a programmer can still write code. Maybe it won't be as good as if all those experts had pitched in, but the point is the programmer on the team is the one who writes the code. The others help.

Now imagine that team of people without a programmer. See? That coder-less team might produce an impressive set of PowerPoint slides, or a shiny mock-up of what the product might have looked like, but it takes a programmer to write code that compiles and does something useful. ...

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