John Mann

John Mann

Interviewing 101


I have hired many people in my career and have interviewed at least 5 times that. Now with the remote working being more common place. I think interviewing has changed quite a bit. I thought there were some common best practices for interviewing but I want to explicitly give you guidance on things to do and what NOT to do to get ready for your interview.

Let's start with the what TO DO.

Days before the interview:

  • Clean up your github - Make sure you have pinned your best work, make sure you have ReadMes in your repo
  • Learn about the company, what they do, who works there, what their goal is
  • Brush up on your coding basics, design patterns, algorithms (sorting/searching), data structures
  • Practice coding (by cleaning up your github (see above))
  • Know where you are going if in-person, if online, make sure you have a camera and working audio (mic/speakers).
  • If online, make sure you have the link to join the call, and you have the appropriate software installed

Day of interview:

  • Be at least 5 minutes early, no more than 30. If you arrive on time, you are already late.
  • Go to the bathroom before you enter the office, or get on the zoom call
  • Eat something light before the interview
  • Listen and answer the actual question, not what you want to talk about
  • Be polite (this varies on individual, but never yell at the person interviewing you)
  • Dress appropriately, depending on the environment but don't show up in biker shorts and a mesh t-shirt

Some actual experiences I have encountered:

  • Wearing pajamas to an online interview
  • The no-call no-show, and getting an email a few days later asking if they can reschedule (no reason given)
  • Connecting to a zoom call with no video or audio, and spending 10 minutes simply getting audio only working.
  • Showing up to the interview with their lunch and asking if mind they eat while I interview them
  • Asking a coding question and the response was, "That's not what I do, let's move on to the next question."
  • Answering their phone in the middle of the interview

The goal of a technical interview is to learn several things:

  • What is your work ethic like, do you keep pursuing a solution, or do you give up easily?
  • What technical chops do you have, can you solve the basic problem, and can you come up with multiple solutions and identify the best one?
  • Are you good communicator of both technical and non-technical skills?
  • Do you take pride in what you do?
  • Can you do the job and would you enjoy working here?
  • Would the team enjoy working with you? - THIS IS CRITICAL. Technical can be taught, personality is harder to change.

You want a simple head start for a successful interview, do those things. You will be amazed how much that matters. You can always send a follow-up email also, which demonstrates your interest and your desire to be part of the team.

Thats my 2 cents for today.

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