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Tallan Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brunner

Published March 3rd, 2020 | Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.
Question 1 of 28
What do you feel are the primary features and benefits of the Java programming language?
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How to Answer
As a company that utilizes Java, Tallan and your interviewer want to make sure that you have an understanding of the Java programming language and they do so by asking this question. Obviously a language packed with unique features, talk about the features that you can speak the most knowledgeably about and tie your direct experience to.
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28 Tallan Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. What do you feel are the primary features and benefits of the Java programming language?
  2. If hired for this position here at Tallan, would you be comfortable handling overall project manager responsibilities for new software development?
  3. What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?
  4. As the onsite consultant for our clients here at Tallan, you may be privy to confidential information or data. How can we ensure that you will hold client data security in the highest confidence?
  5. If hired here at Tallan, what do you feel would be the biggest hurdle for you to overcome from the start?
  6. How do you measure the success of a data integration project?
  7. In Java, why shouldn't you use strings to store a password?
  8. In SQL, how do you explain the differences between clustered and non-clustered indexes? Can you name a time that you used each?
  9. How do you stay organized and on track when working on multiple projects or duties at the same time?
  10. How would you handle a situation where a colleague was being very difficult to work with?
  11. In your current work, what are the important steps you take in the data validation process?
  12. What is one unique personality trait you possess that would help you be successful in this role with Tallan?
  13. Do you consider yourself stronger in C++, C#, Java, or Python?
  14. Do you have experience working with different CASE tools? If so, what do you have experience with?
  15. At Tallan, we rely on a full team effort to deliver top quality products to our customers. Tell me about a time that you worked well as part of a team. Are you comfortable in a similar role here?
  16. How would you say that you would help bring sound data governance philosophies to this role at Tallan?
  17. Tell me about the most interesting project you have worked on this year and the biggest thing you learned from it.
  18. Talk about a time when things didn't go as planned on the job. What was the situation and what allowed your to persevere in that situation?
  19. The next cloud engineer that we hire here at Tallan needs to be able build a system that can handle a high amount of traffic. How would you test our system's ability to handle large amounts of traffic?
  20. Our implementation consultants here at Tallan often face conflicts with our customers while onsite during implementations. What interpersonal skills do you use to handle conflicts with clients?
  21. Our cloud computing at Tallan requires our experts to take proper security measures in their work. What security measures are you familiar with utilizing in a cloud platform?
  22. Tell me about your greatest work related accomplishment.
  23. As a consultant with Tallan, your role will be vital in gather information from our customers in building new technology for them. What would be your goals in an initial consultation with a new or existing client?
  24. If you were asked to review a colleague's code that they had written, what key things would you look for?
  25. Would you say that you are a goal oriented on the job? What would I be able to do as your manager to help you achieve your goals if hired here at Tallan?
  26. Tell me about a time that there was a delay in the project and how did you handle that delay?
  27. What experience do you have in the different types of software maintenance?
  28. How do you define success?
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Answer Examples
1.
What do you feel are the primary features and benefits of the Java programming language?
As a company that utilizes Java, Tallan and your interviewer want to make sure that you have an understanding of the Java programming language and they do so by asking this question. Obviously a language packed with unique features, talk about the features that you can speak the most knowledgeably about and tie your direct experience to.

Ryan's Answer
"When I started working with Java three years ago, the first huge benefit was the fact that the Java syntax was based on C++. At that time, I had a great working knowledge of C++ and my transition to Java was absolutely seamless. The other amazing feature that I've come to appreciate with Java is how robust the memory management is in exception handling and automatic garbage collection."
2.
If hired for this position here at Tallan, 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 Tallan. 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 Tallan. 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 Tallan 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 Tallan. 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."
3.
What SDLC models are you familiar in working with?
As a software engineer, you are very familiar with the software development life cycle. For this question, your interviewer is looking to hear what models you have worked on in the past. While there isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer to this question, try to show your flexibility to working with different SDLC models by bringing up your past experiences. Then, show you have knowledge of different models like the waterfall model or agile model. It is also a good idea to use this question as an opportunity for you to learn more about Tallan by asking your interviewer which model they work off of.

Ryan's Answer #1
"During my training in software engineering and in my early career, the waterfall model was the standard. In this model, each phase of the development process happens in a set order and projects using this model are easily managed. But over time, as the development projects that I have led have become more complicated and intricate, I have implemented the spiral model. This model has allowed the ability of end users to give feedback early on and often during development and helps to build a more customized product to our customers."
Ryan's Answer #2
"In my current position with XYZ Company, my department utilizes the agile model in development life cycle. Since our products are so tailored to the needs of our customers, we get a working product very early on in the process and then I work hand in hand with customers to fine tune the software moving forward. It is a very effective model that has built a great reputation for our software among customers. I also have familiarity working with the iterative model and it has similar advantages to the agile model. If I were hired here at Tallan, can you expand on what models you use here in your software development life cycle?"
4.
As the onsite consultant for our clients here at Tallan, you may be privy to confidential information or data. How can we ensure that you will hold client data security in the highest confidence?
The consulting world at Tallan will put your in a position to have access to client databases, applications and directories that could potentially contain sensitive data. Consultants have a responsibility to their clients to maintain that privacy. Be sure that your interviewer understands that you adhere to that responsibility by talking about past experiences where you have been exposed to and kept sensitive data confidential. It is important to talk about your own personal morals and values in your answer to this question.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Having worked as a consultant for a large healthcare medical record software organization, I had access to thousands of medical records with each new client that we brought aboard. While often required to sign confidentiality and HIPAA agreements with each client, my own values would never allow me to compromise the secure data of a patient. If hired for this role, I would hold the confidential data with your clients in the highest regard and wouldn't hesitate to take all measures possible to ensure that data is secure."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Successful consulting relationships with customers are built on trust and I value and respect the trust that my customers show my by maintaining all policies on confidentiality with each customer. My current role in the banking industry allows me access to the software of many banking institutions when I am onsite with them. When working with staff at bank branches, I don't discuss any personal financial data that I have access to even with them."
5.
If hired here at Tallan, what do you feel would be the biggest hurdle for you to overcome from the start?
The key to answering this question with confidence starts with understanding that you are interviewing with Tallan because your interviewer feels that you are a strong candidate for this position. What your interviewer is focusing on with this question is how they could be of most help to you if hired for the job. So, take the time prior to your interview to think about an aspect of the position that would be the most difficult for you to overcome to be up and running at full speed and then take time to explain how you would plan to overcome that hurdle if hired. This structured answer will tell your interviewer that you have put thought to your potential shortcoming with a plan of action.

Ryan's Answer #1
"As you can see from my resume, I don't have any direct working experience with the financial industry and I would see that as my largest learning opportunity if offered this position. Like I did with my current job in the healthcare industry, I would take the time to learn the basics of the industry that would help me design the most intuitive user interfaces in the products here at Tallan."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Being a team player by nature, I've always considered my first challenge at any new company to be the task of getting to know my colleagues, their work preferences and their work styles. In the same breath, I want them to know who I am and how I best work as part of a team with them. To accomplish this, I would take the initiative to set one on one meetings with individuals that I didn't get to touch base with during my orientation process to get to know them better."
6.
How do you measure the success of a data integration project?
Similar to evaluating any project, measuring the success and impact of any data integration project should rely on goals that were defined at the start of the project. In your answer, be sure that you speak about the consideration for the people involved in the project (i.e. customers, sales, IT, engineering) and how success was measured in their eyes. Another great point to touch on in your answer is using the SMART method for setting goals to assure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time oriented.

Ryan's Answer #1
"With any large data integration project that I have managed in the past, success starts with setting realistic yet high standard goals for the project. To do this, I need to make sure that I get input from all key stakeholders in the project. With a recent project, we measure our success in a few different ways. Because of the need set forth by our sales force to be more competitive with our competition in the market, we measured timeliness of the system pre and post integration. Then, to measure the financial impacts of the project, we measured our end of project costs versus what was budgeted. Because our goals were measurable, it was easy to see that the project was a huge success."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I think that I can best demonstrate this by talking about a recent data integration project we worked on in creating new banking software. At the beginning of the project, we clearly defined the end goals of the project in the data we wanted converted with a set deadline for completion. Our design team added their expectations on their desired workflow following the data conversion. One integration was complete, our goals were easily measured for the project to be considered a success."
7.
In Java, why shouldn't you use strings to store a password?
While this may seem like a rudimentary question regarding your knowledge of Java, your interviewer is looking to ideally hear that you understand the principle differences between string and character arrays. Asking about the storage of passwords within a system gives you the opportunity here to point out the differences between the two. In the end, while explaining the differences, be sure to tie it back to the original question on why strings shouldn't be used to store passwords.

Ryan's Answer #1
"To store a password, character array is the obvious best choice because character arrays are mutable. If a string was utilized to store passwords, a definite security risk would be present to anyone that would have access to the memory dump from the system."
Ryan's Answer #2
"This question simply boils down to a string being immutable. Because strings are a sequence of characters represented as a single data type, the system requires garbage creation to fully get rid of it out of memory. In my time designing software, I have used Char array and its mutable features to store passwords for the security of our end users "
8.
In SQL, how do you explain the differences between clustered and non-clustered indexes? Can you name a time that you used each?
Tallan 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."
9.
How do you stay organized and on track when working on multiple projects or duties at the same time?
In this role with Tallan, you will likely be expected to manage multiple projects at the same time. Your ability to plan, manage deadlines and handle high needs items that come up on a regular basis will be essential to your success in this role and your interviewer is looking to hear how you plan for success. Whether you utilize an electronic tool or a written list, there are no right or wrong answers as long as you can prove in your answer that this method works out great for you.

Ryan's Answer #1
"With any project that I am working on, I make sure to set benchmarks to meet deadlines ahead of time and set early personal deadlines to allow for some wiggle room. To do this, I am a proponent of using the Microsoft Outlook calendar and tasks functions to help keep me organized. I find that this method helps me stay on track with multiple projects while also leaving me wiggle room each day to fight the high needs fires that do come up in this job."
Ryan's Answer #2
"For me to stay on track, I make sure to take ten minutes at the end of each day to recap what was accomplished, what new came up on my task list and re-prioritizing my work for the next day. Then, upon arriving the next day and working through emails from the previous evening, I can adjust my task list for the day if needed. I tend to set aside two hours per day to work on long-term project needs while focusing a majority of my time on the short-term needs."
10.
How would you handle a situation where a colleague was being very difficult to work with?
In the team based atmosphere at Tallan, departments with different skills and backgrounds can often see things from different points of view and these situations can cause some internal conflict between coworkers. With this question, your interviewer is looking to hear how you handle situations where you are working with someone that can be seen as difficult. To give them the sense that you are able to work through conflict in a professional and sensible manner, try to talk through how you handled a conflict at work previously in the past and highlight the interpersonal skills that you used to help make it a positive situation.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In all honesty, any great work atmosphere that I've been a part of in the past has involved conflict between colleagues. In situations I have witnessed, conflict has stemmed from very open-minded people giving their two cents in particular situations and two people not seeing eye to eye. This happened recently to me in the planning phases of a new project. On of our UX Designers and I had a disagreement on the final layout of a new software roll out we were planning. It worked best for both of us to talk about our ideas and list the pro's and con's for our ideas. I kept an open mind to learn from her point of view and she did the same to me on my end. This led us to come up with a great compromise in the end."
Ryan's Answer #2
"Last year, we had a new engineer join our team that was hired on from his internship with us. From his first day, he made it very evident that he would only handle certain tasks within our team and only work on certain projects. As his mentor to help get him up and running, I sat him down and discussed the expectations of each of our engineers as part of our larger team. I explained to him that our approach was not to pigeonhole ourselves into smaller tasks, but rather be well rounded engineers that could handle any project and be able to cover for each other if needed. He really appreciated this approach when I explained the benefits for his long term career goals with this approach. This example shows my approach to being very direct with people that I have a conflict with in the workplace and doing so in a very professional and educational manner."
11.
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 Tallan, 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"
12.
What is one unique personality trait you possess that would help you be successful in this role with Tallan?
This question is allowing you to have the floor during your interview to wow your interviewer with something they might not know about you yet from your resume or time so far during the interview. Think about a strong, unique trait that you have that has led to prior success in your field and explain in detail how this will help further you in your career with Tallan. If possible, be very unique in your answer to draw a direct line between your personality and success in this role.

Ryan's Answer #1
"From what my parents have told me about me as a young child, passion has been a personality trait that has driven me my whole life. When I tackle something in life, I need to be passionate about it for it to be a success. From my time as a young child up to today, I have been passionate about physical fitness and this has driven me to participate in running and biking races across the country. This same passion in the pursuit of excellence has translated into my career as a software engineer. From tinkering with computer hardware at a young age and learning the internal components of a system to learning how to create and design software, you'll quickly find that my passion to engineer the most unique software here at Tallan will be extremely beneficial to your team."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I would have to say that my humility has been instrumental in getting me to where I am at today in my career. Having worked with one of the largest software companies in the world, egos were certainly high with a lot of my teammates and I have always used my humility to let my work do my talking for me while remaining a friendly and curious colleague to all."
13.
Do you consider yourself stronger in C++, C#, Java, or Python?
Before your interview, do some research to understand what tech stack Tallan uses so you can best prepare and highlight your expertise. If you aren't as strong in one of the skills you feel is necessary, be sure to explain how you've used it and how you are growing your knowledge to become better. Be sure to be honest in your answer, as the company will likely test your strengths.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my last company, we had a bit of an outdated tech stack and used C# and .NET. I found myself fully immersed in those technologies, but had a strong desire to learn more and become more familiar with modern technologies and how I can apply that in my career. That's what has me so interested in this role. Over the last year, I've taken courses in Java and C++, which I noticed you prefer. I've become proficient in the skills and in side projects, applied my increasingly strong knowledge. I'm probably strongest professionally in C# as that has been where my experience lies, but my passion and dedication is on the Java and C++ side, as I feel that's the more modern alternative. I'm excited about the possibility of applying that knowledge in a role at Tallan."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I am motivated and excited about this new opportunity because it will challenge me to grow in my (X) skills. I love soccer and enjoy spending time with my teammates. I am interested in continuing my education by studying (Y) to further my career."
14.
Do you have experience working with different CASE tools? If so, what do you have experience with?
The world of software engineering has greatly benefited from advancements in computer aided software engineering tools. Because Tallan is at the forefront of the industry, your interviewer will be looking to hear which tools you have experience with. Make sure not to concern yourself with providing a correct answer here, but rather focus on your flexibility to learn new aides when needed while explaining what you have experience with.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In my current role, I regularly utilize both diagramming and web development tools. The diagram tools assist our software projects by outlining the system data and components in a graphical form for us and this saves us a great amount of time while also being very reliable. The web development tools greatly help me visualize site changes that I am making because I don't have a deep background in web development. If hired for this position, I'd look forward to learning other CASE tools for prototyping, quality assurance and maintenance."
Ryan's Answer #2
"During my career and in my experience with CASE tools, most of my experience is in the lower CASE elements that focus on coding and testing the software after initial development. CASE tools have certainly made life as a software engineer more efficient and effective and I'd look forward to learn any new CASE tools if hired for this position here at Tallan."
15.
At Tallan, we rely on a full team effort to deliver top quality products to our customers. Tell me about a time that you worked well as part of a team. Are you comfortable in a similar role here?
While this potential role with Tallan will require your to be an independent worker that can think on your feet, you will also need to work as part of a larger team that is working toward one common goal. Because of this fact, your interviewer will want to hear that you thrive in an environment where you work with team members from other disciplines than you are trained in. In your example, stress to your interviewer that you have excellent communication skills and that you fully understand that every person on a team plays a vital role in the organization's success.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Throughout my career, I've always enjoyed working as part of a larger team on the job and this personal enjoyment started with my love of and participation in team sports like baseball and basketball. Growing up playing sports, I learned that each team member brought a unique skill set that could help us achieve our goals. Through a great coaching staff that knew how to make these individual skills shine, this same philosophy holds true for a team that is looking to design a new software system. I know that my skills as an engineer are just part of the final product and I work very well with designers, architects, analysts and sales to help build the greatest system possible."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I am a people person by nature and my current role has me working very closely with our engineering and design staff on writing technical manuals for our products. While I certainly can handle long days at my computer in solitude, my desire to work hand in hand with others really sets me apart from my peers in this field. I have excellent verbal, listening and written communication skills that, if hired here at Tallan, your entire team would appreciate from my first day on the job."
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