Update on the interview: the first one went amazingly well! I didn't get the job.
The second interview (for another company) didn't go well at all, and was ended early.
I'm still applying and interviewing for others. If anyone needs an entry-level software engineer who is particularly good with Rust, please let me know. I'm willing to provide my CV and talk with you.
Appreciates everyone's input in this thread! I can't thank y'all enough for the advice. I might have been lost otherwise. 🙂
@roadriverrail Friday. I'm interviewing for "Founding Rust Engineer" for a startup.
It's ambitious, and I'm fully prepared to be considered underqualified, but at the very least I'll get experience in an interview.
I've also applied for a couple other similar jobs, in case this falls through.
@josias I say all of this as a person who gives a lot of senior staff level interviews. First thing, RELAX. Being interviewed is no guarantee, but it means they already like you. Interviews are a crap shoot, but you have good odds. Second, they'll likely use Coderpad, so get familiar with its UI today. Third, for what to wear, you can't beat a button-down shirt and no tie. Fourth, spend today re-familiarizing yourself with the company, the product/project, and the role. 1/?
@josias Fundamentally, job interviews are a sales process, and the best sales pitch here is a calm "Sounds like you need <this kind of person>. Here's how I can help." So you need to speak to the role and not just be "I'm so good. Hire me." Fifth, make sure to bring up your projects and prior successes, but don't dwell on them or croon over them. Just make sure they're mentioned and shown as relevant to the role. 2/?
@josias Sixth, when the coding question comes up, be sure to talk as you work. Explain your process. Say what your intuitions are. If you change your mind, say that and say why. Interviewers can't hear your thoughts, and while we want to see some kind of decent code at the end, we also need to see how you get there. At the end of the day, the coding question is there answer the question "Can I see myself pairing with this person on a problem?" 3/?
@josias Seventh, if something in the coding question flusters you, don't worry. Relax, take a breath, and either ask a clarifying question about it or say, "So what I'm trying to do is...but I'm not sure that's the right approach." In an interview, I once bought myself time with a hard question by asking for a copy of the K&R C book, and I had the answer ready when they came back with it. Eighth, when they say "Do you have any questions for me?" you need to have some, so here are some: 4/?
@josias "Over the next 3-6 months, what do you see as your biggest opportunities and your biggest challenges?" Whatever they say, calmly find a way to show interest/enthusiasm in those things. "Let's say you decide to make me an offer and I accept it. I'm here on day one. What are some things I could do to make your day better? How about those of my immediate team?" Again, meet their responses with interest and enthusiasm. 5/?
@josias "Interest and enthusiasm" is actually pretty easy to fake in this context. It's leaning in, nodding, giving a slight smile, saying "that's a good idea" or "that's interesting" or "oh, that must be a challenge" once in a while when the other person reveals information.
Finally, regardless of how you think it went, smile, thank them for their time, and tell them as genuinely as possible that you really enjoyed the conversation and hope to see them again. Always end positively. 6/6
@josias Not remote specific, but: Be willing to admit when you don't know something. You can make educated guesses, but feel free to say it's a guess if you aren't confident.
I always love to hear interviewees say "I don't know" rather than confidently (arrogantly?) give a wrong answer. You can even turn it into a chance to sell yourself: "I'm not sure about that, but I know this similar thing works like this..."
Always happy to answer any other questions/concerns you may have! Good luck!
@josias I've been on so many, I got laid off during the first year of the pandemic and I'm a software engineer. Some places will do coding tests via special tests while others will just talk to you about technical concepts, go over your background, ask you questions about what you've done, etc. Every place handles this differently. I'm senior/lead so I run from timed coding test interviews but at entry/jr/mid lvl software engineer they're to be expected but not 100% guaranteed.
@josias My recommendation is to be honest about what you know and don't, emphasize what you do know as well as your strengths, etc. If you're a developer they'll very very likely go over things like programming principles, OOP, ask you anything about what you've studied in school and what you learned, likely will ask questions on concepts more than anything. things like big O, recursion, etc
@josias I used to do interviews for interns who were still in college or just coming out, and we dove into a little of everything to get a sense of a person's background and also interests.
@josias Oh yeah and questions like how would you debug a web app, stuff on basic security (preventing things like SQL injection and such), validation, that sort of thing.
@josias Sorry I wrote a book and kept thinking of stuff to add, let me know if you have any questions 💜
@josias Familiarize yourself with the company's products and services, the 'story' their marketing tells, etc. If it's something like a nonprofit then maybe the organization's mission, recent initiatives, etc? Good luck!
@josias it is super important to describe your thought process while doing whatever task they ask of you.
A simple preface up front of "this isn't my main domain of expertise" is fine - don't dwell on that; just describe your mental model of the situation and what you're thinking.
Be personable and talk, but make sure to leave space for the interviewers to keep directing the interview, too.
All this applies for normal interviews, but is more important when remote.
@josias find a buddy and do a rehearsal. if you don't know the answer to a question TELL THEM THAT and then TELL THEM HOW YOU FIND OUT and don't dismissively hand-wave and say something about google.
if it doesn't come up before they ask if you have questions ask them where the team is situated organizationally. where's your team in their org chart? if you get an offer that involves equity ask for more and HR will be told no way and they will give you money instead.
@josias er sorry a lot of that is security specific and i assumed that is your field sorry if that is all irrelevant 🤷🏻♂️
1. Do a bunch of practice problems if you haven't already. Some resources: Cracking the Coding Interview, hackerrank, leetcode. Don't worry much about getting the trickiest problems. People these days usually ask more practical questions and fewer trick questions.
2. I've heard interview.io is a good place to do practice interviews. If you love this potential job, try to schedule other interviews before it so you get some practice in the leading up days.
3. Be up front if there's a connection issue, etc. Interviewers want you to put your best foot forward. If you can't hear them or something, they'll do their best to figure it out.
4. Make sure to ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand the problem. It's a sign of good problem solving. Think out loud: it helps them better understand your problem solving.
(Done, I think. I probably have more tips but I feel like this is a good start unless you want more).
@josias I work as an interim consultant. In general for a remote interview: Make sure your webcam is high enough. Place your laptop on a box if necessary. Otherwise you’ll be looking down on them. Test the view of your background from another computer. Look at your attire.
Remember that it is not only about knowledge. It is also about working together. Do they see themselves working with you and visa versa. Get a conversation going. Clear the air if you can. Good luck!
@josias Note: this is coming from someone who has yet to do an actual interview
Research the company a little before the interview (shows initiative and enthusiasm)
If they ask you questions, try following the STAR (situation, task, action, result) approach to answer them.
Try to show a range of skills in your answers… But don’t lie. Experiences where things haven’t worked as expected can work too - talk about what the issue was with your approach and what you would do differently next time
Open body language and smiling (even virtually)
Water on hand…? Useful to give you time to think
@josias Be yourself. People can learn skills, but it's hard to unlearn being difficult to work with, so give them a true impression of yourself.
@josias As someone who has a remote software developer position,all I can recommend, in addition to what would happen in a normal interview, is to try and bring out your remote interpersonal skills. These things that you would use to go about and foster community. I brought up was "do you have a random channel?" or whatever their collaboration system uses. Then say "good, I try to post every Monday or Friday general humor that is inoffensive in a workplace". At least that what I said and do
@josias I would say, look for some formal interview advice, follow that, make sure not to fidget around or stim or whatever too much, and do a dressy casual look. I typically go for a button down shirt at least, if I wanna dress up, I put on a tie, and if I wanna dress down, I wear a polo and a sweater.
@josias you have a lot of good advices already, one thing you can find out what the company does, and when they ask you do you have any question, you could ask, What’s the next step? How big is the team?
@josias Don't sit too near camera, get a good microphone (HyperX SoloCast 46 euro?). If there's any question you don't know the answer for feel free to ask technical person for answer, be curious. When you get to point where you ask questions ask about their regular day at work, what do they use for project management, anything that's interesting for you. Get a reminder for basic stuff like filesystem permissions on unix, HTTP, etc.
@josias Relax. Something will likely go wrong, especially for remote interviews. Roll with it.
Also, remember that you're interviewing them as well.
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