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Re: Interview Question (response to post by Kawigi) | Reply
Got it.

Anyone can feel free to contact me directly now (with a response email address in the message). I cleared this with TopCoder reps, so no worries.

Chris Zuehlke
DRW Trading Group
Algorithmic Trading Group
Re: Interview Question (response to post by DRW_Chris) | Reply
I tried sending you a message.
Re: Interview Question (response to post by dskloet) | Reply
Thanks for the heads up about the PM's being turned off. I turned on direct member contact so we'll see if that works, if not, I'll speak with our contacts at TopCoder and see if they can hook me up.

As for the thank you, no worries. I figure it is the least I can do considering you are the ones doing all the work for the competitions. Besides, I know what it is like to be out looking for a job, so hopefully I can make any decisions you all have to make easier.

****Edit****
So here is the deal with private messages. I can accept them, but I can't send them. So feel free to send me a private message, but my response to you will come through email. Someone want to ping it to confirm?

Chris Zuehlke
DRW Trading Group
Algorithmic Trading Group
Re: Interview Question (response to post by dskloet) | Reply
Yeah, and with icpc-bill's appearance in the other thread this should mean something good for TC forums :)
Re: Interview Question (response to post by DRW_Chris) | Reply
This is the first time I see a sponsor posting on the forums. It's probably because I never look in the sponsor specific forum, but judging from the number of quick [+]'s I'm not the only one who appreciates it.

If you, or anyone for that matter, has questions feel free to PM me or just post here, I am more then willing to answer what I can.

You don't have private message sending turned on. You have to turn it on manually, but I'm not sure if unrated members can. At least unrated members can't message other members. But maybe sponsors are an exception, I wouldn't know.
Re: Interview Question (response to post by wrick) | Reply
Stumbled upon this topic while searching around, I figure since my company is sponsoring the upcoming TopCoder Open and I do a good portion of our interviewing I can probably answer this question for you.

Here is my take:

When interviewers (at least the ones that you want to work for) ask you to tell them about yourself they are trying to get at two things.

1) Is this person passionate about something. It doesn't really matter what (within reason of course), just that you are passionate about it. We see a ton of resumes and a significant amount of them look the same. What really sets people apart is passion. The way I see it, if you are driven about something that you aren't getting paid for, the potential drive you have for something that you_are_paid_for is huge. Its up to the company doing the hiring to put you in a place that you are going to want to succeed, but if you don't have that drive coming in the door, there isn't much we can do. Make sense?

2) Can you answer open ended questions. I know it is a pretty low level question, but there are few questions better at getting this point across. Think about it this way, the thing you should know most about is yourself, right? Well if you can't answer a question about yourself what does that mean for topics that you have less experience with. Playing Devil's Advocate, I'm sure a lot of you are going to say, "We can just lie". The whole, be your best self as opposed to being yourself. The fact of the matter is that the people doing the interviews have a lot of experience interviewing and reading people. Chances are, the person across the table from you can tell if you are lying or telling the truth. IMO, I would rather have someone be honest and tell me something less than impressive then for them to lie just to wow me.

If you, or anyone for that matter, has questions feel free to PM me or just post here, I am more then willing to answer what I can.

HTH

Chris Zuehlke
DRW Trading Group
Algorithmic Trading Group
Re: Interview Question (response to post by madking) | Reply
You might want to talk about being part of the topcoder community. Many interviewers will find that very interesting, because most of them doesn't have anything to do with programming contests.

I had the possibility to write problems for a HS SRM once. In two interviews the people I spoke to made me talk a lot about it, tell them a problem that I've made up, etc. In one case the interviewer decided to think on my problem, and at that time I was thinking on a problem that he gave me (so we were both solving each other's problems :)).

Anyway, topcoder is a really nice thing to talk about with interviewers. It makes them feel that you're really into programming.
Re: Interview Question (response to post by wrick) | Reply
As tolkienfan says, it is a way to frame yourself. Is there something not on your resume that they might be interested in? Is there a particular project that is on your resume that you'd like them to focus on? This is your chance to lead the interviewer to your strengths. Take advantage of it.

I almost always start an interview off this way. But when I am on the other side of the fence, it stumps me too, which is why it is critical to prepare ahead of time.
Re: Interview Question (response to post by wrick) | Reply
I try to think of that question this way:

It frames "yourself" to them for the rest of the interview, if not further.

So think up ahead what it is you would like to emphasize about yourself, and don't be afraid to repeat things from your resume. Reading about someone is completely different from hearing something from the person. Plus the interviewer may not have had time to digest the info or even read it all. I've been in that position.

The resume is a way to weed out people. Once you're in the interview, the resume is almost irrelevant.

I like to sound confident and personable, and hopefully competent. And I like to make the point that technology is a part of my life regardless of work - it's a hobby more than a job. I'd be studying this stuff if I were painting for a living.
Re: Interview Question (response to post by dskloet) | Reply
You can say that when you have N numbers, each represent on k bits it can be solved in O(N + 2^k). So it's O(N) if k is O(log N).
Re: Interview Question (response to post by d000hg) | Reply
I say just be able to read minds and be yourself. No need to be someone you're not.

Just remember this though, when people say "be yourself", they really mean "be your best self". Makes quite a bit of difference!
Re: Interview Question (response to post by Malkava) | Reply
Whether it's easy to do it in O(n) has nothing to do with constraints. You're mixing theory and practice.
Re: Interview Question (response to post by rgrig) | Reply
Depending on the constraints for N (let's say that N <= 2M) the problem is quite easy :)
Re: Interview Question (response to post by wrick) | Reply
They see loads of resumes and they will mostly look very similar. What you should be doing is probably to talk about how passionate you are about programming - you're not just someone wanting to earn a decent living but someone who loves coding. Don't be afraid to sound like a total nerd, they want people who are not only intelligent but really enthusiastic about what they do. Talking about online programming contests or personal coding projects is a real advantage. I spent quite a while talking about recent marathon contests in the interview which recently got me a new job for a fairly selective company.
Re: Interview Question (response to post by Petr) | Reply
well...if you can hash in O(1), then it's impossible to prove it's impossible =)
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