Recently a frined who was looking for a dev job approached me before an important interview. He said one thing that I just had to share. he said “They're going to test me on my knowledge, what if I don't know the answers?”
The first point is that nobody knows all the answers to all the questions, so get used to it. In fact, I remember several interviews at which I felt pretty stupid. I'm sure most developrs have.
Second of all, getting good questions which you didn't even consider is one of the best things for you career. They are big red flags (in most cases) telling you what you really need to know in order to be regarded as someone who knows they're stuff. After the interview, try to remember all the questions you were asked that you didn't know the answer to. At home, go through each one and learn the topic until you can answer the question in your sleep.
Here's something that's happened to me, in more than on occasion. I came in for a job interview at this place, and I had very little experience in .Net. But I was eager to learn and had great confidence. The interviewer asked me these questions, it kind of went something like this:
Q: So, do you know what reflection is?
A: um.. no, not really. but I learn really quickly.
Q. hmm.ok , have you done anything with attributes?
A: um.. nope.
Q: what abot remoting?
A: sorry - didn't get a chance to.
And so it went on and on. At the end of the interview I had quite a list of subjects to go through.
First thing I did was buy Ingo's remoting book (still one of the best I've read in a technical sense) and study it until I could tell people I knew what remoting was. Than I studied all the other questions I had no idea about.
2 months later, if I had gone to that same job interview, I'd pass with flying colors.
Another one, from a different interview:
Q: You have 3 hours to make a winform application that recieves data from the DB and shows it in a form with a master grid and detail controls, all updateable (3 tables in the DB).
A: 3 hours later, I did it, but not completely. It was quite a nightmare working with datasets and the .Net datagrid at that time. needless to say I had zero experience working with databinding in winforms at that time, so It was a nightmare. Doing things the old VB6 way in .Net proved quite a challenge.
Q: You didn't get the job. You are still stuck in the past - working too hard. You have no idea how to do proper databinding with master detail records in .Net. This same job could be done in 20 -40 mins.
Oh, I knew that I blew it long before I got the answer. I knew something was terribly wrong with what I did.
So, the weeks after that I made myself do this same project over and over until I did it the proper way with data binding and all. BTW - that's how I wrote the little article: Winform Data binding lessons learned.
So what I'm saying is - treat job interview as an opportunity to do some industrial espionage - Learn from the interviewer what you need to know for the next interview. These are the opportunities you are given. don't miss them.