Interviewed by over 50 companies in 1 month
Invaluable advice for your next coding interviews.
In my last job search, this year January - February, I interviewed at between 50 to 100 companies. I tweeted that I was looking for a job, and it went viral. I also applied to numerous companies I found cool.
I have shared a bit of that experience with friends and people around me.
In this article I want to share some highlights and lowlights, not all of them of course, then also learnings and give advice to those who are currently interviewing and looking for either their first or next developer job.
Grab some popcorn, and I hope some of the stories will inspire you and make you laugh.
Make sure to take notes of the advice in the end.
When interviewing many companies, you will meet different people, be interviewed in different ways, be spoken to differently, and be challenged differently. It is an interesting journey, especially when you interview with a ton of companies, a lot of interesting conversations could happen, even podcast-level type of conversations.
Self Respect (Google)
When interviewing at Google, the interview only lasted 4 minutes and 20 seconds. I knew that Google's interview process consists of numerous rounds where they will test you on things that don't matter. I started off, before even introducing myself, asking both recruiters what the process would look like after this interview. They explained it would be another 6 - 7 rounds, where among the stuff I'd do would be Data Structures & Algorithm problems.
I actually thought for like 30 seconds, it was just quiet and awkward, then I said that I'm not interested in joining Google, thanked them for their 5 minutes, and left the meeting.
I thought for 30 seconds, about whether it was worth going through the whole process, and suddenly out of nowhere be grinding on Data Structures & Algorithm problems in my spare time. I still think I made the right decision because I'm 100% sure I ain't wasting my time, not even for Google. So many rounds of interviews, and on top of that ground in my spare time to actually nail those rounds, HELL NO!
I value my time and energy quite strongly, where it is being put into in my life. Life is short, use your time wisely and intentionally my friend.
Paid home assignment
This one made me feel respected. I was interviewing at Liveblocks. The people there are amazing and their product is really cool! They paid me 200 dollars to do their home assignment. It made me feel like they are valuing and respecting me because they know that time costs and is invaluable.
I love them and the people over there, I try to support them today as much as I can, and I hope to meet some of them IRL whenever the time comes, great & positive people.
Cash is king
This one was funny, it didn't proceed after the first round but I was interviewing with a Web 3 start-up that had raised 2.2 million dollars. The CEO/Founder whom I chatted with was super chill, I think he was like 23. Our conversation could have literally been a podcast episode. We chatted about money, working hard, succeeding in life, and other stuff. He also showed me the problem they are solving and the vision they have, which was quite cool.
I really enjoyed our conversation, the energy and motivation were high, and I could tell how hungry he is to succeed.
We ended up discussing money and its importance of it and ended the conversation with Cash Is King.
Man, I missed the guy, he was so fun.
I won't mention the companies out of respect. I have mentioned them to friends though when telling these stories.
Does money matter?
Ok, this one was basically my worst interview ever. I was interviewing at a start-up where the CEO and his assistant joined. I and the CEO started off chatting, and he said "Well, I don't know your skills, all I see is your resume and how well you have sold yourself.". It kind of annoyed me because if he had looked into the links and stuff on my Resume and checked my Github at the time, he would've known I wasn't writing down bullshit on the resume. To mention, he claimed he had been coding for over 30 years, hence I was surprised he didn't dig into my Github and other stuff.
He eventually asked me for my motivations for leaving my last company and asked me if it was because of money. When I said yes and before I could even proceed to explain, he interrupted me asking if money matters to me. To be honest, I got quite pissed off and told him that money definitely matters to me, and with more money, I can help my family and those around me. Before it exploded I told him that this won't work, and I'm out, then I left the interview.
I could've easily gone for hours telling him why money matters. I bet the people that work for him get paid shit.
Being at court
Well, this company was weird. The recruiter was basically reading off a script like you could tell they were reading from a paper, and even tried to make sure they read every sentence. It felt like I was being interrogated at a court or something since when I tried to have a normal conversation, they would like try to keep it short with some generic answer.
I cut the interview short and said that I'm not interested in joining them anymore after hearing more. I thanked the recruiter for their time and quit.
Senior engineers with outdated code
This was a bit of a funny one. This medium-sized start-up had been writing their whole codebase using classes in React, which is the old way of writing React, right now you should be using Hooks. It was funny because the VP of Engineering kept referring to his "senior" engineers and how they all had been arguing whether to keep writing classes or hooks. I found it funny because it LITERALLY says in the React documentation why you should be using Hooks.
I ended up re-explaining it to him since he asked me why we should prefer Hooks over Classes.
Honestly, I should've cut that interview short, I just ended up realizing that the company is definitely not one I want to work for.
Also, considering I was gonna do a 3.5h online test on some random website I've never heard of. They were just super weird.
I'm practical, and I will give you the advice and approach that have worked best for me.
Make sure to ask questions. This shows that you are curious and care about the company you're joining next and that you aren't just looking for any company to join.
You're also asking questions for yourself, to see if the company is a fit for you.
Questions you could ask:
- How could I grow in this company?
- How have people evolved and developed in this company? What roles were they and what roles are they working as at the moment?
- How do you make sure that what you're developing actually delivers value to the customers?
- How many teams do you have and how are they structured or divided?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What goals does the company want to have accomplished?
Notes & Improvements
After each interview, make sure to take notes and assess yourself. It is good to look back and reflect on areas where you were weak and had a hard time answering. Then take action and make sure to improve, it will be quite clear to you where you need to improve.
This way you improve between every interview, and hopefully, continue growing consistently. So every interview you attend, you're better than the last interview you attended.
Interviewing is a journey. You will meet people, you will see areas you need to improve on, you may experience fun or boredom and it is different for each company.