There is nothing more terrifying than an interview, especially one you are not prepared for. In this blog post we’ll discuss the different kinds of interviews you can expect as a software developer and ways to prepare for them.
Phone Screen Interviews.
The first interview we are going to cover is phone screens. This gives the company an opportunity to ‘screen’ potential candidates before deciding who to bring in for a face-to-face interview. At this stage you will need to show the employer that you are technically competent. So expect some basic technical questions as well as a few personality questions. Often the interviewer will be a non-technical person who will ask you a standard set of questions. Try not to read too much into their responses. Give as much detail as you can, because it will be more difficult to screen you out.
Online Technical Interview.
The second kind of interview we will be covering is the Online Technical Interview. This is much like the phone screen but rather than over the phone, it will take place over video chat. Here you will be asked to solve some programming problems or conduct pair programming with your interviewer. This technique is used to assess your talent and your interviewer will learn pretty quickly whether or not you actually know how to code. The second variation to this type of interview includes being given a coding assignment or programming assessment. This is where you will have a time limit to complete the tasks at hand. For these interviews, you’ll want to make sure that you have a good grasp of solving algorithm-type problems in your programming language as well as a good understanding of data structures.
Face to Face.
The most common interview type is those which happen in person and is the one you can really prepare for. You will generally be asked a series of technical questions and in most cases the questions are quite straight forward. The reason for this is because most software developers who are asked to interview someone aren’t HR people and don’t tend to have a lot of interviewing skills. Which means the questions are standard, usually relating to primary technology or programming languages. One tip we can give you on how to prepare for this kind of interview is to Google some common programming questions for your technology and answer them.
Finding out if you’re a good fit.
When a company wants to find out if you will fit in with the team personality-wise, a cultural fit interview is usually conducted. This generally happens in smaller companies but don’t panic. It usually involves a casual lunch date and some questions about you and your past experience. What they are really wanting to find out is if you have a personality trait which could disrupt the team. So it’s hard to know exactly what the interviewer is looking for. Our best advice would be to relax and be yourself and if it doesn’t go as planned maybe it is for the best.
In this interview style, you will be interviewed by a panel who take turns asking you questions. Expect lots of note taking and a mixture of technical and personality questions.
Here, you’ll be asked to solve some algorithm problem by writing some code on a whiteboard without the use of an IDE. Try to be well prepared as writing code under pressure can be nerve-wracking especially if you’re not sure about the problem. Many companies such as Microsoft, Google and Apple are all adopting these kinds of interviews. So if your dream is to work for them, you’ll need to be ready to go through this. Our advice on how to prepare would be to practice, practise and practice some more.
All or half-day interviews.
These types of interviews can be pretty tough. You need to be prepared to go through a day of multiple interviews including lunch interviews and a panel at the very end. In this scenario, keep in mind that just because a company is willing to fly you across the country to spend all day interviewing you, that you’ve already got the job. As that’s not the case.