In a technical interview, when the interviewer "does" you, how can you "anti-routine" go back?

In a technical interview, when the interviewer "does" you, how can you "anti-routine" go back?

Selected from medium

Author: Amber Wilkie

Machine Heart Compilation

Participation: Li Shimeng, Wang Shuting

Whether it is a student who is about to graduate or a talented person who has already entered the workplace, a job search strategy is an indispensable thing. We used to have a job search strategy on how to answer questions, now, learn how to ask questions!

I just ended a six-week interview for an intermediate software development position in Amsterdam, where talent is scarce. This means that I participated in a lot of interviews. In order to figure out which company is more suitable for me, I want to ask a lot of questions. You must find the right balance between you and the interviewer.

If you are a junior job seeker, you may not care about the answers to these questions-after all, you just want a job. Even in this case, you should think about what are the red flags for you and ask the interviewer some questions that can get relevant information. In this way, you can understand the discrepancies with your expectations before accepting the job.

The general interview process

According to my experience, the interview format and process are roughly as follows:

  • Phone screening (invisible on-site interview). This process is generally completed by HR. If a technician is responsible, this process is generally very short (not a good time for you to ask questions).

  • Technical interview. You will conduct this round of interviews with actual developers, during which they will have an in-depth understanding of your knowledge background.

  • Technical evaluation/homework programming/pair programming. For me, if a company's interview has pair programming, it is definitely a plus. I can also understand homework programming, but in most cases this is a waste of everyone's time, and it is impossible to correctly assess the technical level.

  • Final interview, meet with other members of the team. If this is a small company, you may be facing the founder(s) in this round of interviews.

  • Make an offer.

Of course, every company will be different, this is just the general process you may go through in the process of finding a job.

Questions to the telephone interviewer

The first round of interviews is usually led by non-technical personnel. It's not appropriate to ask them a bunch of questions, because they may not know what you are talking about-even for small companies.

Most of the content of the telephone interview should be you introducing yourself. Although they already have your resume, they still want you to introduce yourself-make sure you can tell your work experience concisely. You need to repeat these things again during the interview.

What is the recruitment process?

They should discuss this with you, but if not, you have to find out the specific recruitment steps of this company yourself. If you are just testing the waters here, but they want you to build a complete app, then it's best to skip this company and go to the next one.

Ask something about the technical team.

How many members are in the team? How many junior and senior technical staff is made up of the team? Are there other levels of members on the team (such as CTO or product owner)? For HR, these issues should be easy to explain. If they can't answer (especially for large companies), that's okay.

Make sure you know what to do next before ending the phone interview.

Questions to the technical interviewer

Most of my questions are about this part. When they evaluate you, you are also evaluating them. Let your interviewer lead the conversation, but it s okay to ask one or two questions in the process. At the end of the interview, they should ask you if you have any other questions. You can ask the following questions when appropriate.

Don't ask questions that you don't care about the answer. There is no point in wasting everyone's time to discuss issues that cannot help you decide whether to accept the job.

These questions are sorted according to the degree of my concern. If the interview process is pleasant, I may not ask the last question; if the interview process is not so pleasant, then I may ask all the questions and hope to build a better relationship with other members of the team.

What is the ideal candidate for this position?

I really like this question because it interprets the recruiters' expectations of you in a new way. If your interviewer could create an ideal candidate to fill this position out of thin air, what kind of person would it be? Sometimes they will think you are ideal, but sometimes they will also talk about candidates who do not match your background, skills or preferences. You can get a good understanding of whether you are suitable for this company in this way.

For example, a company says they want people who "do not need a lot of help." For me this is a red flag. Anyone who has just entered a new code base needs someone to help him understand the business logic, even if this person is very good at writing code in this area. I really dislike the developers who resist the learning environment.

On the other hand, I often hear about people who want to work "independently" and "self-reliant". These are good signs for me. I think that I am such a person. I don't want to have too much critical and coercive structure in my work. These two answers may mean exactly the same thing, but their framework may have a big impact on your working environment.

What is the biggest challenge in this job?

The answer to this question depends largely on what you want to do. This is a good way in all situations, in this way you can learn about hidden information that is not involved in the interview. Pay close attention to what they think is the most challenging part of the job to determine whether you can handle these challenges.

Who is planning in the company?

This question is mainly aimed at long-term planning, and we can talk about some issues about target growth. What makes me feel most dangerous is that they don't know how to answer this question. If this is a small company, then "founder" is a good answer; if it is a large company, then "board of directors" or "management" are both good answers. At best, everyone thinks they are creating a better future. But if you ask this question and the interviewer is speechless, it's terrible-you have to work for a company that knows the direction of the future.

How do you measure the success of the development team, individual or company?

This is another process problem. I want to know how my work and the work of the team will be evaluated. If they cannot answer this question, then change their minds and ask them how they judged that they were not doing well. In my opinion, if you can't see what you have done well and only see what you have done wrong, then this is definitely a red flag. If you don't know what success is like, how can you succeed?

What is the most fascinating (or frustrating) part of working here

This question can be asked repeatedly to many people. It can be divided into two questions according to positive and negative (I prefer to ask the positive aspects). You will often find patterns-everyone will worry about the same things. It is difficult to discuss negative issues in interviews, but I find that people cannot avoid this issue.

They will not tell you about the big systemic problems in the company (and sometimes they will tell you), but at least you will feel the existence of process/personal/bureaucratic problems at work.

Describe the code review process

The answer to this question is quite brief-they can conduct a colleague review on Github or elsewhere to pull requests (Pull Request, PR). Learn more about what reviews they have to do, the average time to merge and submit code, etc. Are they very picky? Still not very strict and missed a lot of errors? Do they really care or are they just showing off their knowledge? How about the test? How often do they publish it?

An idea is how to enter the product backlog from "going to the world" and finally into code and product (show me the function development process)?

I want to know where new ideas come from-by observing data and then building on existing ideas? Or does the founder have an idea and everyone works hard to realize his idea?

This question is very similar to the previous one about "planning", which can be used as a follow-up to that question. When you have a plan, how will you describe the actual functions and code these functions? I think this is very similar to "What kind of experience is working here?", but with a different question, and I won't get a clich answer.

Explain a technical challenge you recently encountered

If they find it difficult to answer the above questions, then this one will be simpler-I would like a specific example of their recent work. Do team members cooperate to complete the task, or does one person solve the problem on their own? Have external resources been introduced? Has the development of this function been completed? Again, this question helps to understand the company's daily operations.

Additional question: What is the entry plan for new employees? How do you integrate new recruits into the team?

Unless you are seeking a job for the first time, I think these questions should be placed last. Those who are looking for a job for the first time need to understand important entry plans and training plans. But the old fritters can also learn their answers through these questions. I want to know how they will help new developers get started. Have they thought about how to make it easier for newly hired employees to integrate into the new company? Of course, if the company does not have these plans, it does not matter, because most companies do not.

Similar questions are whether they will hire junior developers and how they will work with these developers, but the premise for asking this question is that we have been working for a while-we are not novices in the workplace. I have been working for almost three years, but I don't want to give anyone any advice. Senior engineers can ask this question, they are not easy to be mistaken for rookies. So they can know how this company views the value of its employees.

Questions to the final interviewer

In the final round of interviews, you may already have to talk about salary and entry time. If they give you an offer, then you have to learn more about the content in the notice-bonuses, pensions, equity, holidays, and entry time, etc.

You may want to ask such a question, but be careful before asking, pay attention to the room atmosphere:

Is there any department that needs my special attention?

In large companies, they think that the "sales" department needs special attention. They will let you know that sales are like the gods here. Don't annoy them. In smaller companies, they will tell you that there is nothing to pay attention to in this regard. Through this question, you can understand some things to know about the first day of work-who is actually giving the order? Are there any projects that some people think are not worthwhile but that some people like very much? If they don't mind telling you some secrets, this will help you in the first few weeks of your employment. This question also means that you really want to be part of the company and want to communicate appropriately with the people around you.

Ultimate tip

All of the above issues will trigger discussion. You don't need to ask questions one by one. Start with the most important or most informative question and expand according to the conversation. It is much better to discuss carefully than to ask questions one by one.

When evaluating a company, I only ask myself two questions-will I be happy if I work here? Will they want to hire me? No matter what the dialogue in the interview process is, it will bring me closer to the answers to these two questions. These tips are just to help you better achieve your goals during the interview.

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