Just had my first technical phone interview scheduled...not sure what to expect any advice?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by Dookieman, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. Dookieman macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2009
    So, I applied for some jobs a couple of weeks ago and got a call back from a Fortune 500 company. I passed the initial feeler interview and now have a technical interview scheduled next week. I'm really nervous as I'm not sure what to expect as I've never done anything like this before (I'm self-taught and have an app in the App Store). I would likely be coming in as a Junior developer (I hope), so if anyone provide some insight on what to expect, I would appreciate it!

  2. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    In my experience (I've had dozens if not hundreds of these phone interviews before), 90% of interviews will either ask you about manipulating, comparing, and looking up strings (I.E., you have a list of words and another word, not on the list. Find the 10 closest matches to the word from the list of words.), or they're about binary trees.

    Of the remaining 10%, a lot will ask you to define words and terms. ARC, Hash Map, Linked List, Object Oriented, Delegation, Inheritance... Just a few random things I've been asked about before.

    They'll want to know why you applied to the company and what interests you. Be ready for that, as in, spend at least 15 minutes looking over their website.

    They might also ask you what the hardest thing you've ever done was. Be prepared to explain what made it unusually difficult and to explain how you overcame it.

    Or they might be utterly incompetent and unable to interview you at all. Not usually the case, but sometimes that comes up. Not a lot of fun when it does. The ones who know nothing about programming at all but need a programmer will need to see your portfolio. They'll think of you as a wizard that they throw money at for you to perform magic. Make sure they come away with the impression that you're the wizard they think you are. They don't know anything about back ends. Just show them a UI and dazzle them with it.
  3. Dookieman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2009

    Awesome, thank you for the tips. I'm familiar with string manipulation as I've used it in previous projects. I'll need to bone up on my general CS info. I use Object Oriented, Delegation and Inheritance frequently but if someone asked me to explain it, I would fumble my words for sure.

    Here is an example of a difficult problem/bug I came across and was wondering if you knew this. When you use UISearchController in your project, it presents itself on the ViewController stack?

    I had a bug where I used the UISearchController to search for data online and wanted to display the users selection modally, but the app kept saying that "Attempt to present <blah blah controller> on <blah blah controller> which is already presenting". I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out wtf it was talking about. No matter what I did I couldn't get it to display properly. Turns out, you need to set the UISearchController.active = NO; in order to present the next view modally...


    Thanks again for the reply.
  4. PhoneyDeveloper, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015

    PhoneyDeveloper macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2008
    As it happens I'm also job-hunting. (My company decided to replace me with three guys in either Vietnam, India, or St Petersburg Russia).

    Few odds n ends.

    Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile. Get your mother, er, everyone you've worked with to endorse you. You'll endorse them of course.

    There are a lot of articles posted on LinkedIn about interviewing and job hunting so read a few.

    Programmer interview questions is an endless topic. You can start here


    The more competent the interviewer is in iOS development the less likely they are to ask more general questions like about binary trees and linked lists. They're more likely to ask questions like: what is a category? Explain the view controller life cycle. Explain the various methods for implementing concurrency on iOS. Explain the various methods that objects communicate with other objects on iOS.

    Look here


    The non-iOS technical interviewer is likely to ask about Design Patterns.
  5. Dookieman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2009
    Thanks for the tips. After talking with the recruiter it sounds like I'll be talking with someone in the iOS team as the job description asked specifically for that experience. My background is a B.S. in Biology but have been programming in me free time. They know this so I hope they don't ask anything to deep into CS as I've focused solely on iOS/Objective-C .
  6. VanMac macrumors 6502a


    May 26, 2005
    Rampaging Tokyo
  7. Dookieman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2009
    Well apparently lol. I just got an offer tonight. It took a long time but well worth it!
  8. grandM macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2013
  9. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    What did they ask about out of interest? (These threads can be useful for others going into the same situation :) )
  10. Dookieman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2009
    Well I signed an NDA, so I wont go into specifics. I'm assuming this isn't a one shoe fits all and probably much different than most peoples experience.

    I had two phone interviews, 1 with recruiter, 1 with engineers I'd be working with. After that, I had a small project assigned to me which took a few days to complete and was reviewed by the head guy. After that I went in for an in person interview and they asked iOS specific questions, some questions were difficult because they were obscure, others I had knew well. After a few days they let me know!
  11. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    This is way better than the technical I had with a studio from North Carolina. I had an initial interview, which I did well with. Then they scheduled me for a technical and assured me, repeatedly that it wouldn't be some algorithm or traditional "computer science" type of question. That it would be an interview based on designing applications.

    The *** hole developer they assigned to give me the interview calls me and he literally asks me no questions. He just goes "Yeah... Okay..." and when I talk on my own, he would just go "Uh huh... Okay let's get to the whiteboard." I felt like he didn't care at all about interviewing me and more or less decided before he chatted with me that he didn't want to give me a good interview.

    The question was, to write a method that accepts an array and creates a histogram from it and print a VERY specific NSLog combination of strings that looks like a VERTICAL histogram, like this:
    And it even had to have titles on the horizontal and vertical axis.

    So not only did I have to think of a way to iterate through the array, create an NSDictionary with KVP's for value and occurrences, I had to think of a way to custom print a histogram line by line in vertical way.

    He said afterward, smugly, that they thought of four or five different ways to do it, one using NSSet. I thought... How many apps have you guys made for clients that required you to write this? "Hey we need a ride sharing app that finds a user's location and calculates the distance from pick-up to drop-off with fare estimated... We also want you to iterate through an array of a driver's rides and print a log to the iPhone's console that shows the histogram of ride distances... And also do fizz buzz in the console."

    Like, I get it, you want to know that someone can solve a problem thinking like a programmer, but even when I figured out how to iterate over the array (without using auto complete code because I didn't have a Mac, I had to remember Apple native methods by heart) and append values to a dictionary to create a dictionary of the values and their occurrences, it wasn't enough for smug interviewer.
  12. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    Not meaning to be rude but iterating through an array is something that you should learn on your first day programming. Its literally 101 basic stuff. Creating a dictionary and appending values isn't hard either.

    Try doing some Project Euler ( https://projecteuler.net/archives ) questions and practice simple programming questions that are quite likely going to be asked in interviews. That is what I am doing since I have a technical interview next week. Also don't rely on auto complete it'll make you a lazy developer.
  13. t0mat0 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2006
    Do they cover map, filter, and reduce ala Swift arrays?
  14. Essenar macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2008
    Most likely they don't, because map is just an elaborately written for loop with string concatenation.

    And filter is just an if statement in a for loop. You should really know how to do it pragmatically just because I imagine the interviewer won't care so much about you knowing map/filter as they will care that you know how to solve the problem.

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13 August 19, 2015