Thursday, February 14, 2019

How do I prepare for my tech job interview?

A candidate reached out to me today to ask for advice on how to prepare for her job search. After sending my reply, I realized that this is not an uncommon question engineers ask themselves. The resources out there are good and bad, so I thought I'd share what I said. For some reference, I'm coming at this after reviewing thousands of resumés in the last 12 months and conducting hundreds of first touch phone calls and technical assessment coding calls.
  1. Stay very focused during the open dialog. Pause every few sentences to ensure the other person is still following and that you're staying on topic. 
  2. Run through some practice algorithms & coding questions. Maybe Project Euler or Hacker Rank. This will just get your brain used to solving the types of things you'll see in an interview situation. Typically, once you're past the first phone assessment, it's less "Problem then Solution," and more architecture / big picture. 
  3. Pick a few industries or companies that you'd love to work at. Do some research on them. Then make a special version of your resume for those jobs. 
    1. If you're still not getting any traction, figure out who the hiring manager is and see if they have some blog articles or public presence in the industry and then add something about that to your cover letter -- don't be creepy about it! but you can typically find something that resonates with you and make a remark on it. 
  4. Cover letters do make a difference. Short & sweet.
    1. Just get the point across that you read the job post, 
    2. Five (no more than five!) sentence elevator pitch about yourself. 

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