Today’s interview: not bad.

Part 1 was a multiple-choice test about Excel VBA, C#, derivatives in general, and interest rate derivatives. The VBA questions were easy, things like “Which one of the following is the string concatenation operator in VBA?” and “By default, parameters are passed a) ByRef b) ByVal c) ByUse d) ByDefault”. Anybody who cannot answer these should not engage in further discussions about a VBA job.

The C# questions took more work, but I got most of them right as well – some because it’s so similar to VB.Net, and some because I’ve been reading C# code on various .NET blogs. I’ve occasionally wondered whether I might be wasting my time reading them – I guess the answer is no.

The general derivatives questions were not as basic as the VBA questions, but not particularly hard either. They were all about fundamental concepts and analytics, so even though I haven’t done much with derivatives in the last year and a half, I could dig up those memories and manage them well.

The last part was hard, because I’ve never worked with interest rate derivatives. With common sense and some lucky guessing I got just over half of them right. From his comments it sounded like the wrong ones were at least close and not too badly wrong.

Part 2, the interview itself, was relaxed. I would have been a tougher interviewer myself, definitely. The only hard part was when he started asking more technical questions about .NET, things like garbage collection and COM interop. I sort of know how these things work, but not well enough, and that was probably pretty obvious. But even there I obviously did OK, because he said he wanted me to come back for more interviews. He also asked me what bugs I had discovered in Excel, and at that moment I couldn’t think of a single one…

My own first impressions were somewhat mixed. He was obviously knowledgeable and experienced, but I didn’t sense much enthusiasm at all. Maybe he is just that kind of guy. Or maybe it was because this was late in his working day. But I’m used to working with people who are excited about what they do, and I quite like that. I’ll have to see what the other guys are like.

Now, off to read about memory management and garbage collection in .NET!