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I'm an international CS master student in a German university and will finish in two months. Currently I'm writing my thesis. A lot of people are recommending me to start looking for jobs from now. I'll look for jobs in Germany of course as a junior software engineer/java developer. The problem is that once I defend my thesis I have only one week to leave Germany or to apply for a job-seeking residence permit. In order to get that residence permit one needs to put a lot of money, something that I don't have. So the only chance I have is to apply for jobs from now and hope to get one.

The problem is that since I'm writing my thesis I have zero time to prepare for technical interviews. I did my algorithms and data structure courses 6 years ago. Also the problem is that I did the coding for my thesis project in Python (machine learning stuff) not Java, so after almost one year of only working with Python I feel I became rusty with Java. Having said that, i will look terrible in any job coding interview since I have no time to prepare for anything.

I believe I'm a very bright person. I'm also very passionate about working, and doing the work "perfectly". I believe if I can get the chance to prepare for one month I can get into decent positions in good companies.

Honestly I decided to take the risk and just applied today for some positions at companies I would love to work for. My argument was if I can't prepare, then just try and shoot for them anyway since you'll probably won't get there because you can't prepare.

My questions:

1- Would it be ok to explain my situation to the recruiter? Or even to the first person who would speak to me if they got interested in my CV? Would that affect my application?

2- Was it wrong to take the risk and apply for the companies? Since I will probably lose the opportunity to apply again later.

3- Would companies/interviewers take my situation into account?

4- Any advise? Hints?

Don't forget that I will be applying for junior positions.

p.s. something else I thought about is that when someone apply for a Google job as a fresh graduate my expectation that they might be a little bit less strict in the requirements/assessment compared to someone applying to a software engineer position at Google. So I thought one has a better chance landing at Google after graduation directly (with fresh graduate position) rather than applying for a position later. So in my case I feel like I killed any chance for me to join Google since I won't succeed with their interviews at all giving that I can't prepare for algorithmic and data structure questions.

  • @JoeStrazzere yes – Jack Twain Dec 4 '14 at 13:17
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Would it be ok to explain my situation to the recruiter? Or even to the first person who would speak to me if they got interested in my CV? Would that affect my application?

It would be okay, but likely a waste of time. Recruiters are unlikely to care if you chose to prepare or not.

Was it wrong to take the risk and apply for the companies? Since I will probably lose the opportunity to apply again later.

Does it really matter one way or the other now? You decided to just give it a shot, knowing you don't have time to prepare. There's no "wrong" here - it's your choice.

Would companies/interviewers take my situation into account?

Not likely. How could they take it into account? Assume you would be better if you chose to prepare? As a hiring manager, I can never assume a candidate will be better given different circumstances - I can only judge based on what I'm actually seeing.

Any advise? Hints?

I can't believe you have absolutely no time at all to prepare. No matter how busy, there are always a few hours in a day that could be used, if it were really important enough. Think about other things that you truly don't need to do, and squeeze in a few preparation hours - at least learn something about the company to which you are applying, so that you won't come off as not caring.

Next time, get other tasks out of you way and make finding and preparing for your job your priority. A good job is worth the effort.

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Well,

  1. No, don't explain that to a recruiter at all. That just tells the recruiter that you're not serious about the job hunt, and likely to perform poorly. You have to realise that recruiters build rapport with the HR/Managers at a company, and part of the way they build rapport is to only furnish quality candidates. Putting forward a rubbish candidate (ie, you, if you're going to flunk the interview) will harm the recruiter, and lead to less leads and work from that company for him or her. In effect, you will be blackballing yourself.

  2. No, it wasn't. If you think something will fail, you might as well give it a shot - not giving a shot guarantees failure. Trying doesn't.

  3. Maybe? I don't know what your thesis is on. Maybe they're really looking to hire someone doing exactly whatever it is you're doing. Typically, they're looking to fill a need, and the person best able to argue they can fill that need will be hired. Don't make excuses for poor performance before you've even begun, and don't expect people to sympathise with your plight.

  4. Well, shameless plug, but it just so happens I'm building an app to help people memorise programming facts. If you wanted to go and give the alpha of that a whirl then check out my profile here for the link to use it. I think it is helpful, anyway. If we're talking about ways to do well in interviews otherwise, it is flashcards flashcards and then flashcards. The SCJP book by Bates and Sierra won't hurt. Nor will Head First Design Patterns, or reading Josh Bloch's effective Java*.

  5. If you're applying to google, make sure you memorise several sorting algorithms, know the game of life well enough to code it, and understand collections classes in Java.

*Java focus because you mention it. What is wrong with Python for a job though? There are jobs that want people to know Python!

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