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The Interview Process

The interview process will change depending on the company and team that is hiring. There are five steps you can prepare for in the event the company follows this process.

The Hiring Process:

Step 1: The Job Search

The Job Search is your starting point; this is where you apply for positions.

Here are some other portions of the Handbook that you may find helpful,

So what are some of the Dos and Don'ts during the Job Search Process?

  • Stand-out
    • Use your resume, LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. to show off your skills and experience
  • Be consistent
    • Use consistent wording and a consistent picture wherever possible, so employers know they have the right person
  • Say the important stuff first
    • You have limited time to grab an employer's attention.
    • Start with the information they need as early as possible.
  • Be honest and be exhaustive for bots/scrapers (keywords)
    • Use various ways to list your skills experience, such as JavaScript, React.js, and Node.js, if you have experience in various related areas. If you list one, you might miss out on opportunities that relate to positions.
  • Put contact info on your resume
    • Having your information on your resume will ensure that an employer can get a hold of you during the entire process
  • Let numbers/stats speak loudly instead of Highlights
    • If you have percentages, dollar amounts, or other stats to help support your accomplishments be sure to use them
  • Make sure you have a clear hierarchy and use whitespace wisely
    • Use bullet points over paragraphs
    • Have a resume that is easy to read, identify areas of importance, and easy to scan
  • Use cliches, gimmicks, or objectives:
    • Avoid overused phrases such as "passionate", "go-getter", "ninja", "warrior", and "unicorn".
    • Stay away from resumes printed on unusual objects or delivered in a theatrical way
    • Avoid objectives that don't show your skills, such as "To secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learnings, knowledge, and skills."
  • Use a lot of space/words
    • Make sure you have a clear hierarchy and use whitespace wisely
    • Use bullet points over paragraphs

Step 2: The Phone Interview

The phone interview is often the first step after selecting you as a candidate for the position. An internal recruiter or a member of the development team usually conducts the phone interview. In many cases, this call helps screen your soft skills and get a foundation of who you are.

So what are some of the Dos and Don'ts during the Phone Interview?

  • Be on time, in a comfortable location
    • Avoid taking the call from your car; you won't be comfortable, and it will show
  • Have a laptop or notebook for taking notes on things you find interesting or don't know
  • Do your homework
    • Find the company's narrative and gather background info about what they do
  • Use a professional, but casual/ interested tone
    • Show you interest in the position and company
  • Tell a (short) story
    • Describe experiences and learning opportunities that helps the interview team learn more about you
  • Badmouth a previous job/ competitor
    • How you talk about past employers or competitors gives a peek into how you might talk about the company/team you are interviewing with should you get hired and one day leave.
    • After you leave an employer, try to find positive aspects of working there. Consider talking about how the experience helped you grow vs. why it was a bad experience.
  • Talk too much/too little
    • Having too many moments of silence, or someone who doesn't let anyone else talk can lead to an awkward and very uncomfortable interview
  • Hold out for one company, interview as many as you can
    • You are not the only applicant they are interviewing so don't let them be the only company you are pursuing

Step 3: The Technical Interview

Technical Interviews can come in many forms, whiteboard challenges, remote coding challenges, and even full days of onsite interviews.

So what are companies/teams looking for during a technical interview?

  • Interviewers want to know how you tackle real-world problems.
  • Technical interviews also help determine your level of understanding and experience.

What are the Dos and Don'ts for Technical Interviews?

  • Be on time, sit in a comfortable location if you are interviewing virtually
  • Do your homework
  • Walkthrough the solution before you code
    • No matter what the issue or what answer you choose, make sure to think out loud! If you have different ways of solving the problem, talk through the options before deciding which to use.
    • Talking out the problem helps the interviewer see and understand your thought process.
    • Also, the interviewer may recommend one solution over the others because he or she knows that the others may have certain pitfalls or may be outside of the scope of the interview.
  • Ask for help as needed, and accept it as given.
  • Try to write the best code of your life
    • It's better to give a simple answer that the interviewer can follow and help with than create overcomplicated code
  • Try to impress the interviewer(s) with your skills
    • Trying to use every trick in the book can come to give a wrong impression
    • Often times it can highlight things you don't 100% understand how to use properly
  • Stay silent or talk over the interviewer(s)
    • If you don't speak, they don't know how your mind solves problems
    • When you talk over interviewers, it can give the impression that you are not a team player or think you know more than the interviewer

Resources to help you prepare for Technical Interviews:

Step 4: The Face-to-Face Interview

The Face-to-Face Interview is an opportunity for you to interview the company/team as much as they are interviewing you. You will also have a chance to see the office location and possibly get a tour while you are there.

What are the Dos and Don'ts for Face-to-Face Interviews?

  • Be friendly with everyone you meet
    • Whether it is someone you bump into in an elevator or the receptionist, you want to make sure you are giving a good impression.
    • You don't want to make the wrong impression that could get back to the interview team
  • Dress one notch above the culture but be sure to feel confident
    • Ask what the team might wear on a day-to-day basis and take it up a notch.
    • If they wear shorts and flip flops, don't show up in a suit and tie, try simple slacks with a button-up shirt or t-shirt with a jacket.
  • Ask about their culture and hobbies to show interest and learn about the company/team at the same time.
  • Clear an extra hour in case they like you
    • If all goes well, they may ask you to lunch or to stay to chat with them longer. You don't want to have to skip out right away and miss out on an opportunity.
  • Send a (short) thank you email after the interview
    • Mention something that impressed you about the company/team
    • Highlight any takeaways you have from the interview
  • Don't undersell your value and knowledge but be truthful.
    • If you have read an article or watched a video but don't have experience try saying "I've heard of it"
    • If you have followed a tutorial or tried creating a project on your own try saying "I've played around with it I've built things with it, but not production level"
    • If you have used it for a few times try saying "I've used it on a few projects and had a _____ experience because _____ ."
    • If you have contributed to an open-source project say "I've actually contributed to that projects" and then watch the excitement in their eyes!
  • Show up an hour early/late
    • Respect their time
    • Companies may not have a place for you to sit if you show up an hour early, if that happens, find a local coffee shop to sit at until it is closer to your appointment or worse case, stay in your car.
    • Arriving 10 - 15 minutes early is fantastic!
  • Have strong opinions
    • Do you hate Angular? The interview is not the time to voice that opinion, companies/teams want to know you are flexible and willing to work with multiple languages.
    • Strong opinions might set off flags
  • Show and tell all the stuff you've built
    • Wait for them to ask to see your code before you try to show off your projects.
    • The interview is not a place for show and tell

Step 5: The Offer (or not)

Whether you receive an offer or not, you want to be gracious in accepting the news or during negotiations.

  • Play hard-ball or be evasive with your pay
    • You don't have to give an exact salary, but have a range that you can accept and keep your number in the middle
    • Understand not all companies are able to negotiate salaries for every position
    • Be ready for a company to walk away if you come off stubborn or unwilling to work with them
  • Take it personally
    • There's nothing worse than a job candidate who tries to justify a salary negotiation due to their personal situation
    • Companies must keep it about the industry standards, the responsibility level and your qualifications
  • Beg for a second chance
    • Accept the rejection graciously, they said no for this position, but if you made a good impression there could be an opportunity if you apply again in the future.

Resources about Interviews and Thank You Notes

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