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Alphonso Interview
Questions

27 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 27

What experience do you have in the different types of software maintenance?

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Alphonso Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What experience do you have in the different types of software maintenance?

      As a reputable company, Alphonso takes their software maintenance processes seriously and your interviewer is looking to hear that you are familiar with the four different types of software maintenance. Talk to your interviewer about any work you have done in the past with corrective, adaptive, perfective and/or preventative software maintenance. Use specific examples and make sure that your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you understand the importance of proper system maintenance.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Being familiar with all four types of software maintenance, my most used method of maintenance in my current role is corrective. Based on bug reports from end users, I work through coding and logic issues to resolve issues in a timely and effective manner. In the maintenance I perform, I never hesitate to pick up the phone and contact customers to hear first hand about what they are experiencing. By doing this, they feel like they are an important part of the process and it reflects well on me and my organization."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my current role, I'd definitely say that a majority of the maintenance work that I do is adaptive maintenance. Working in banking software that is used around the globe, I help perform system maintenance for changes in currency on a pretty regular basis. This work requires research and talking with end users to help adapt the programs for their use. If hired here at Alphonso, I also have experience performing perfective, preventative and corrective maintenance on software as well."

  2. 2.

    In SQL, how do you explain the differences between clustered and non-clustered indexes? Can you name a time that you used each?

      Alphonso uses indexes to improve query performances within their software and for this question, your interviewer is looking to hear that you have a basic understanding of both clustered and non-clustered indexes. Explain the differences between the two types of indexes and be sure you can either speak to relevant times that you've used each or when would be the appropriate application to use each.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In the simplest of terms, a clustered index order records in a table the way that they are physically stored. There can only be one clustered index per table. Non-clustered indexes do not store data to match the physical order that it is stored. Rather, it can hold up to 249 indexes per table. Both types come with their own benefits over the other. In my experience, clustered indexes are suited best for programs that use primary key as an identity integer column. On the other hand, non-clustered make the most sense for programs that need JOIN and WHERE clauses within them."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "In my experience, clustered indexes are faster to read but very slow when it comes to update data within. Non-clustered indexes are just the opposite in that they are slower to read but much fast to insert new data into them. In my current role, I mostly use clustered indexes when large numbers of rows need to be retreived and when insert operations are important. Most other times, I will use non-clustered as the standard."

  3. 3.

    As you reflect back on your career to this point in your search for a new position, what would you say is your ideal work environment or culture?

      While using this question as a key indicator on how you'll fit with the team and the organization at Alphonso, it will be very important for you to research as much as you can on the work environment at Alphonso so you can match your priorities to that environment. If you have the opportunity to speak with an employee at Alphonso prior to your interview, that can shed valuable information. In the end, the culture and value of an organization are often a key indicator of long-term success in a job, so make sure that you reflect your values into what the company values.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As I begin this job search now 15 years out of college, I'm looking for an employer that promotes and encourages innovation, new ideas and collaboration among all members of the team. From what I know about Alphonso from speaking with others, you sound like a perfect match for what I am looking for in a career."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "With all of the companies that I have both worked for and consulted with in the past, I realize that a company culture is basically the personality of the company and I am looking for a new organization that really meshes well with my personality. I am a casual person that believes in hard work, teamwork and having fun on the job. As I embarked on a job search, I was so happy to see that Alphonso was hiring because I believe our styles will fit perfectly together."

  4. 4.

    In your current work, what are the important steps you take in the data validation process?

      Depending on your training and your past roles prior to interviewing at Alphonso, you may be familiar with one or two of the many trains of though regarding the steps of a data validation. Whatever formal process you are familiar with, be sure to check the boxes of discussing data screening and data verification as part of your process. Your interviewer will be looking to hear that you check those boxes as they are imperative in the software field.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As I embark on a data validation process in my current role, my first step is to roadmap a detailed plan to keep on task. I utilize benchmarks and the expectations of key stakeholders as my guide. Once underway, I validate the database and the data formatting to ensure that data is properly screened for its overall health. Then, by finishing with sampling, tests are performed to hopefully show that the data is useful within the system."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "The most important steps in a data validation process are determining the data to sample, scouring the existing database and validating the final data format. My first step is to use my best judgment to determine if I will validate a sample or the entire data set. This determination is based on overall size of the set and the timeframe that I have to work on the project. Then, I take the time to screen data in the existing database to calculate the number of unique ID's and records to come into the system. Last, I have to verify that the source data matches the schema within the targe"

  5. 5.

    Give an example of a time that you used a universal design practice in your work as a UI or UX designer. Why was it important to do this?

      In the technology, software and mobile app fields today, accessibility is a huge topic. As a designer with Alphonso, you will be expected to help create products that are as accessible as possible to as many end users as possible. In this two part question, talk about why you feel that universal design is important in the work that you will be doing with Alphonso and then really sell your ability to do this by giving an example of a time you used a universal design in your previous work.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "From a very high level, the business success of a program really relies on being universally designed. If we pigeon hole ourselves, a product will only reach a very limited group of end users. But taking that a step further, universal design is the morally right thing to do to help reach people that may not have access to the average program design. Last year, I was part of a project that utilized a voice user interface for users that were deaf or hard of hearing. This simple yet effective design was a huge win for our current customers and in helping drive new business with our groundbreaking software."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Early in my career, the best piece of advice that I receive was from an experience designer and she said that when UX doesn't consider all potential users, we are no longer working on the user experience. We live in a very diverse world and the programs that I've designed for in the past have certainly had the goal to reach a wide audience. With your financial products here at Alphonso, this same philosophy applies. Last year, based on some feedback from current customers, we switched our design to include a strong color contract to make the system much more user friendly to color blind users. This was both a simple and very effective change to enhance the look of the program."

  6. 6.

    What software analysis and design tools do you have familiarity working with?

      As a software engineer for Alphonso, your interviewer wants to hear that you have experience in utilizing tools that you make you more proficient in your work. Dig back on your past experiences and talk openly about your experiences with the different analysis and design tools that are available to help you be better in the work that you do. In the end, make sure that your interviewer understands that you are proficient in the use of these tools and open to learning and using new tools as well.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As my career and experience in software engineering has grown over the years, I've come to really appreciate and utilize these tools that are available. A great example of this would be my recent education and use of Structured English for designing insurance claim software for a large auto insurer. The simplicity of the structured decisions in the program were a perfect example of a program that could utilize the tool and the end product ended up very functional for our customer."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I have great working knowledge in creating and reading data flow diagrams. To help with both our own sales staff and with customers, DFD's have been super helpful and I consider myself very proficient in creating them. I've also recently been introduced to decision tables to aid in product testing. I was working on a new system that involved some very complicated business rules and the decision table helped outline everything perfectly for our testing."

  7. 7.

    If hired for this position at Alphonso, what leadership skills would you bring to our team?

      While this position at Alphonso may not hold the title of manager, supervisor or director, the organization firmly believes that employees that demonstrate key leadership qualities are better set for future career success. Aside from that, leadership skills help you work better as part of a larger team and with potential customers as well. Prior to your interview, think about one or two leadership qualities that you possess and talk in detail about how you've exemplified those qualities in the past.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I would say that my credibility is my best leadership skill. My openness and honesty suits me well when working among a team of individuals and this helps them gain trust in following my lead when working on projects. Another skill I would bring here to Alphonso would be my ability to lead by example. I'm not afraid to take a risk in seeking innovation and I've been commended for this trait many times by my current manager."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "If you were to offer this position to me, you'd quickly find that my positive attitude is an inspiration to those that I work closely with. In my current job, we work under the constant stress of tight deadlines and my positivity can be infectious to help others maintain their focus when negativity can easily take over in most situations. I would say that my other strong suit as a natural leader is my ability to be fluid on a day to day basis. Sometimes our world can be monotonous and when change comes, most resist that change. For me, change is a chance to break the current mold and grow as an employee."

  8. 8.

    Talk about your previous user interface design experience in detail. Why do you feel that this experience will translate well to this role with Alphonso?

      While your interviewer can get a good sense of your experience from your resume, they are looking for you to talk in details about your experiences in UI design in your previous work. While explaining your previous experience, be sure to highlight the skills that you developed that will help you be successful in designing new products with Alphonso. Prior to your interview, be sure you research and are family with the products that Alphonso puts out.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Ten years into my career out of college, I consider myself very blessed to have such a well rounded background in user interface design. I have experience designing cutting edge mobile app designs, website design, video game design and software design. Here at Alphonso, your education software would greatly benefit from my creative designs to be user friendly and appealing to educators, parents and students and I'd love to bring these skills to work for you."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "While my experience in user interface design has really focused on web design over the past five years, I think my current skill set will benefit the team here at Alphonso greatly. In my web design, I prepare mockups and wireframes for customers and have experience utilizing a lot of different resources in doing these. In the software world, I would love to use these same principles. As well, my web experience has really driven me to be user focused. In this role, a more user focused drive is required out of your user interface design and I would be able to bring that to the team here."

  9. 9.

    What is one thing that really tests your patience when dealing with your coworkers?

      While on the surface this question may seem like your interviewer is trying to get you to talk negatively about a situation, it is really more of a test to see what can potentially drive you crazy on the job in a team atmosphere and how you handle those situations. In your answer, be honest about your pet peeves when it comes to coworkers and do so in a positive light. Then, expand on your answer by talking about how you handle those situations.

      "As a person that values diversity and differences of opinion in the workplace, there aren't many things that grind my personal gears when it comes to my colleagues. The only real true test of my patience is a coworker that doesn't pull their weight in a team effort. When I've been in this situation in the past, I first seek to learn if the issue is a lack of training or knowledge. If it is, I take the necessary steps to help my colleague get on track. But if I find that it is due to a lack of effort, I talk to the person immediately in a professional manner. The sum is only as good as the effort of all of its parts and a team efforts requires everyone's maximum effort."

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As a person that values diversity and differences of opinion in the workplace, there aren't many things that grind my personal gears when it comes to my colleagues. The only real true test of my patience is a coworker that doesn't pull their weight in a team effort. When I've been in this situation in the past, I first seek to learn if the issue is a lack of training or knowledge. If it is, I take the necessary steps to help my colleague get on track. But if I find that it is due to a lack of effort, I talk to the person immediately in a professional manner. The sum is only as good as the effort of all of its parts and a team efforts requires everyone's maximum effort."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having been raised in a rural farm setting, I have always been a stickler for being on time and holding meetings to set lengths of time. While watching people show up late for meetings has bothered me internally because of how I am wired, I don't let it bother me on the exterior. We are all very busy in our lines of work and showing up a few minutes late is only normal from time to time."

  10. 10.

    At Alphonso we take pride in our ability to stay one step ahead of our competitors. How will you contribute to this trend?

      It is critical that you research Alphonso and their most vigorous competitors, before your interview. What does Alphonso do best, and who is trying to do it better? Speak openly with the interviewer about your ability to work competitively and how you plan to contribute to their continued success.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I believe the best way to stay ahead of your competitors is to pay a big amount of attention to the fine details. When you put out a great product, others will try to mimic your work, but they will cut corners because they will feel rushed to get it out on the marketplace first. I will contribute to the success of Alphonso by committing my most attentive work to you every day."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I think that the best way to stay ahead of competitors is to keep your projects as simple as possible while remaining innovative. People want simple, easy products, which they can understand. What I've seen from my competitors lately is that they overcomplicate their products. I offer clean and consistent work that your buyers would relate to."

  11. 11.

    If hired for this position here at Alphonso, would you be comfortable handling overall project manager responsibilities for new software development?

      As a skilled software engineer, you have all of the necessary tools in your bag to be a successful engineer at Alphonso. This question is allowing your interviewer to get a better sense of your project management skills and people skills if you were to join the team at Alphonso. In your answer, talk about your ability to estimate the time and cost of a project, the staffing needed and the overall scope of planning for a particular project. If you have direct experience in being the lead on a large development project, be sure to discuss that experience with your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Looking to join the team here at Alphonso directly out of college, I feel very confident in my abilities to manage the entire scope of a new development project. I have leadership experience as my campus' president of the software engineering club. In that role, I developed skills that would help me utilize staff and resources in the best way possible. During my internship, I was exposed to the planning stages of new projects and I have a very good feel of estimating the budget and length of time needed to have a fully functional system."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I would absolutely be comfortable if tasked with project manager duties here at Alphonso. In my last two roles, I have led successful projects that started with great planning and budgeting process and went through to completion with great people and processes in place under my leadership. While it's not a regular duty for me in my current role, I always welcome leadership duties."

  12. 12.

    Do you have experience utilizing Bayesian networks in designing artificial intelligence?

      Because of their ability to provide a graphical model for relationships among a set of variables, Alphonso is a firm believer that Bayesian networks are a critical part of their artificial intelligence design. To fortify your knowledge of the networks, give a high level overview of your understanding of them and also talk about any experience you have in utilizing them. Make sure your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you are able to utilize Bayesian networks in your future work with Alphonso.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I do have very direct experience in creating Bayesian networks and I've done so in the healthcare industry over the past couple of years. One that we designed looked at all of the potential symptoms and effects of heart disease and built this all into a very complicated Bayesian network. With this given, we were able to create an AI program for a health insurer that could program in known information from their insured individuals to gauge their probability for heart disease."

  13. 13.

    What unique values can you bring to Alphonso in your user experience design skills?

      While your interviewer has shown confidence in your technical abilities to succeed at Alphonso as a UX designer, this question is helping them gain insight into your ability to see the big picture in the work that you do. As you think about the unique personal values that you would bring to the role, try and paint a picture of your work tying to the end user and how you can help make it more productive, enjoyable and satisfying for them.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I have really taken pride in my ability to add value to the business needs of the customers that I work with. During any design project, I take the time to work with end users to find their wants and needs out of the program. Then, as I create the UX design, I keep their needs at the forefront and do anything possible to exceed their expectations."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As you can see from my resume, I have formal training and experience in user experience research and I know that this would benefit the work that I would be doing here at Alphonso if hired for this position. I pursued this additional training in my career because of my passion for the customer journey in the programs that I design."

  14. 14.

    What skills do you use to cope with the day to day stress and pressure on the job?

      In modern technology industries, consumer demand has led to high volume of work and high pressure situations to work on tight deadlines. To prove that you are able to handle high stress, high pressure situations on the job, your interviewer is looking to hear first hand how you handle this type of environment in your own words. As you answer the question, try to turn potential perceived stress into a positive by highlighting your personal skills that enable you to perform well in those situations. If possible, try to use specific examples in your answer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Where many others get overtaken by stress to the point that they can't function in this field, high pressure situations sharpen my focus and that helps me work through them with ease. Last year, I was assigned a high priority, short notice project for a high profile customer. My manager gave it to me because of my proven success in those situations. From the start, I created a timeline for completion and mapped out a plan to make it happen. While staying in communication with my leaders and the client, I was able to create a great system update in just a few short weeks."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I am confident in high stress work situations because of my ability to adapt, communicate and be organized in my work. These skills came in very useful a few weeks ago when our support staff were experiencing an extremely high volume of help desk calls. My adaptability helped me go with the flow and handle items on at a time. My communication skills enabled me to quickly and efficiently call on needed support. My organization skills helped me be prepared for anything on that day and enabled me to work through tickets in a quick and efficient manner."

  15. 15.

    When do you consider a project to be finished?

      When answering this question, be sure to understand what the employer is truly asking. They are looking to see where you think the project ends, whether that is when it's completed and all testing is done, or whether you think projects are ongoing and require constant work. It can be a trick question as many companies believe a project is never truly finished. Be sure to give an explanation with your answer to back up your belief.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my mind, a project is never truly finished. Once it's rolled out, upgrades will have to be performed, quality checks will have to be completed, and the product will inevitably change based on customer needs, new technologies, and trends in the market. We have to take that all into consideration when working on a project and while maintaining the product that was completed as a result of the project."

      Ryan's Answer #2


      "I should disclose to you that I have a mark on my criminal record. I have a DUI from 1998. Since then I have maintained a clean record and I am willing to comply with any form of background check that you require."

  16. 16.

    Do you consider yourself stronger in C++, C#, Java, or Python?

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  17. 17.

    What programming languages would you consider yourself fluent in?

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  18. 18.

    Do you have any unique skills or past work experiences that we can't see on your resume that would benefit the team here at Alphonso?

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  19. 19.

    Do you have experience working with different CASE tools? If so, what do you have experience with?

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  20. 20.

    How do you feel artificial intelligence could further our business here at Alphonso?

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  21. 21.

    If you were confronted with a time where you wouldn't be able to meet a deadline here at Alphonso, what steps would you take when you made that realization?

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  22. 22.

    What do you feel are the primary features and benefits of the Java programming language?

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  23. 23.

    How do you ensure that you have a healthy work-life balance in your career?

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  24. 24.

    What would you consider your technical specialty?

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  25. 25.

    What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?

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  26. 26.

    What do you feel is one of the top issues that is faced by data engineers today?

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  27. 27.

    In a technical support role here at Alphonso, we expect that you would be able to bring great customer service skills to the role. Describe your customer service philosophy in the support that you would provide.

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