Next week I'll be interviewed for a Trainee Software Developer position. It's gonna be my first real interview after I got my degree and I'd like to understand more how things work.

Is it polite/allowed asking about the interview's details by email to the company? If so, how should I approach this?

  • The answer to these questions is different in every and each company. These are not standardized in any way or form. – Oded Jan 19 '13 at 17:48
  • @Oded and often different with each and every interviewer. – Steve Jan 19 '13 at 18:19
  • @Stephen - True, meaning this is not really answerable. Distributed - it would be great if you could make this question more general, as it stands it cannot be answered. – Oded Jan 19 '13 at 18:22
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    @Oded big edit done. Let me know if you think this way is better – distributed Jan 19 '13 at 18:26
  • I would add that almost all parties want the interview to be successful. Yes, the whole idea of the interview is to ensure that they do not hire someone who's unqualified, but if you are qualifies, and bomb the interview because of some kind of surprise, nobody wins. It's in everybody's interest that you are able to put forth you best possible showing. – JohnMcG Jan 21 '13 at 22:04

You should definitely ask for details about what the interview will entail. This shows that you care enough about the job and respect the interviewers enough to want to be prepared to make a good impression in the interview.

If an interviewer decides that somehow this breaks some unwritten rule they have about interviewing or feel that you're somehow cheating by asking this, then maybe this isn't the job for you and you should look for an employer who respects your desire to use the tools at your disposal to be properly prepared.

Whenever I asked beforehand, knowing what to expect made me feel more prepared and confident in the interview, which effectively killed two birds with one stone:

  • I looked confident and knowledgeable in the interviews.
  • I showed the interviewer that I wasn't afraid to speak up and do some investigating and preparation beforehand.

In my experience, in all of the interviews I've had, I've either asked the interviewer him/herself what he/she expects me to bring to the interview, or I've asked one of the recruiting agents what I should do to be prepared. In all instances, they were very helpful and provided me with much more information than I expected, and in those instances, I usually got an offer for employment after the interview.

As far as how to approach the interviewer with your questions, it may be easier to do over the phone, since you could then probe for more details without a lot of unnecessary back and forth emails. I'd start with "Could you please tell me what I should expect during our interview on X date?" and then go from there. If the interviewer is vague, you could ask a few more follow-up questions and then thank him/her for his/her time. If they're really detailed, then pay attention and take notes, as the interviewer is setting you up for success.

  • Thanks for the answer. Can you also give me some tips on how to ask details about the interview? I'm gonna do it by email, and I'm wondering how much generic my question should be. For example: "Could I have some details regarding the interview?" or something more specific like: "Could I know if during the interview I am supposed to solve problem?" ...I'd go for the generic question, what do you think? – distributed Jan 20 '13 at 10:00
  • see last paragraph – jmort253 Jan 20 '13 at 18:03

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