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Debugging the Engineering Interview Process

Debugging the Engineering Interview Process


International Women's Day 2024 Conferences in:

1. Almaty, Kazakhstan 🇰🇿
2. Vancouver, Canada 🇨🇦

1. March 16, 2024
2. March 23, 2024


In today's competitive job market, mastering the interview process is more crucial than ever. But before mastering the process, you need to identify your flaws, and this is where the debugging technique comes in handy.

This session dives into strategies for dissecting and improving each stage of the interview. You will:

- Analyze 'error logs' from interview feedback, even if there is none,
- 'Refactor' your interview techniques,
- 'Optimize' your approach to coding challenges and behavioral questions.

Aimed at junior engineers, this session provides the tools to 'debug' your interview strategy, approaching each step with the clarity and precision of solving a coding puzzle.

Aida Issayeva

March 16, 2024

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  1. Debugging the Engineering Interview Process Aida Issayeva Staff Software Engineer

    / Toast, Inc. Google Developer Expert for Android @aida_isay
  2. Internal Report Hewlett Packard Men apply for a job when

    they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them."
  3. Debugging Steps aka Agenda 01 Identify 02 Analyze 03 Fix

    and Validate the stages of the Hiring Process the errors in the Interview Process the errors
  4. Hiring process Application Focus on your resume and cold applications

    to companies Recruiter Call A quick 30-min chat to verify authorization, skills, job search timelines, etc. Hiring manager Call A 30-45-min chat to evaluate the communication skills & the match to the role Onsite Interviews Multiple interviews: - two coding interviews - one/two system design interviews - one-three behavioral interviews Technical Interview One 45-min initial coding interview Offer Negotiation Take home assignment
  5. Conversion Rate (it's personal) Application Recruiter Call Hiring Manager Call

    Onsite Interviews Technical Interview Offer ~60% ~75% ~20% ~90% ~40% ~2-3%
  6. Application Stage: Errors 1. Not applying at all ❌ 2.

    Low volume of applications ❌ 3. Incorrect resume structure ❌ 4. Not reaching out to your network ❌
  7. Application Stage: Fix 1. Apply, apply, apply ✅ 2. Resume

    Enhancements: a. Keep resume under 2 pages ✅ b. Move side-projects under 'Experience' ✅ c. List the skills from Job Description ✅ d. Focus on impact & business wins under each job, not duties ✅
  8. Application Stage: Validation 1. Ask for resume feedback on Blind

    and your field's communities: slack, discord, etc 2. Use resume screening websites to get an ATS score 3. Let your network know that you're open for new opportunities
  9. Recruiter Call Stage: Errors 1. Sharing current compensation ❌ 2.

    Sharing everything about you ❌ 3. Going into technical details of a project ❌
  10. Recruiter Call Stage: Fix 1. Share only relevant information about

    you ✅ 2. Share your expected compensation range ✅ 3. Be upfront about your job search timelines ✅
  11. Recruiter Call Stage: Validate 1. Research the company, role, and

    their main products 2. Practice running through your resume
  12. Hiring Manager + Onsite.behavioral Stages: Errors 1. Going into technical

    details of a project ❌ 2. Not asking for follow up questions ❌ 3. Not focusing on your most recent contributions ❌
  13. Hiring Manager + Onsite.behavioral Stages: Fix 1. Use STAR method

    ✅: a. Situation: What Happened? b. Task: What was your specific goal? c. Actions: What steps did you take? d. Results: How did it help team/company?
  14. Hiring Manager + Onsite.behavioral Stages: Fix 2. Don't go too

    deep into technical details ✅ 3. Learn to transform your ✅: • success-> impact • losses -> learnings
  15. Hiring Manager + Onsite.behavioral Stages: Validate Show that you: a.

    have a growth mindset b. have empathy c. are a team player d. are a great communicator e. are curious
  16. Technical Interview + Onsite.coding Stages: Errors 1. Not asking clarifying

    questions/gathering requirements ❌ 2. Not thinking out loud ❌ 3. Not keeping track of time ❌
  17. Listen for clues Draw an example Brute Force Technical Interview

    + Onsite.coding Stages: Fix Verification Code Walk through algo Optimize 1. Use 7-step framework to solve problems: Gayle Laakmann McDowell Website
  18. Technical Interview + Onsite.coding Stages: Validation 1. Practice, practice, practice:

    a. Set a time constraint b. Talk through your decisions out loud c. Do Mock interviews
  19. Onsite.systemDesign Stage: Errors 1. Not clarifying scope and assumptions ❌

    2. Not bringing up tradeoffs ❌ 3. Not identifying failure cases ❌ 4. Over or under communicating ❌
  20. Onsite.systemDesign Stage: Fix 1. Be the driver of the interview

    and collaborate ✅ 2. Ask the interviewer for confirmation ✅ 3. Identify and articulate tradeoffs for every decision ✅ 4. High level design first, then detailed design of a specific component ✅ 5. Specify important vs not important failure cases ✅
  21. Define the task Gather requirements Clarify questions Onsite.systemDesign Stage: Fix

    Deep-dive into a component High-level diagram 1. Use the framework below:
  22. Onsite.systemDesign Stage: Validation 1. Watch videos/tutorials, read blogs to gain

    depth into concepts 2. Practice drawing the diagrams 3. Exercise designing well-known systems & apps 4. Do Mock interviews
  23. Resources • Cracking the Coding Interview • Top Interview 150

    • InterviewBit • CareerCup Coding Interview • Mobile System Design • System Design & Product Architecture Overview • System Design Primer System Design