Tips for interviewees

How to perform well in job interviews

This is mainly for coders, but most of the points are applicable to most intellectual jobs.

This is about the candidate side. See also my tips for me as an interviewer.

  • Planning
    • Know what's the right next step for me in my career. Ask for advice to figure this out.
      • Know what size of a company I want to work for.
      • Know what position. According to some feedback, even a "full-stack developer or EM" target is too broad. I should have one set as my target.
      • Know what culture and what else is important
    • Apply to companies where I understand and can explain why I'm applying to that exact place
    • Try to find love. 💘 I got hooked on [[Sourcegraph]] because I fell in love with their handbook.
  • Preparation
    • Read the Cracking the Code Interview book and do LeetCode challenges to practice for the coding interview.
    • Read Alex Wu's System design book to prepare for the system design interview. Make a cheat sheet that's available as needed.
    • Do all types of interviews to prepare for the real target jobs. I did this accidentally, but it helped me perform well in my main targets’ interviews.
    • Prepare a pitch about myself: a 2-minute summary of my professional life. Be prepared to lay out a short/long version as needed.
    • Prepare answers to the typical questions with concrete examples from my career or life. For example, a situation for a conflict with colleagues, cross-functional work, work with product people, hiring/firing, etc. Take 2–3 hours to collect vivid examples.
  • Preparation for each meeting
    • Look up the LinkedIn profiles of the people I'm talking to before the meeting.
    • Re-read the posting and previous conversations before the meeting. Keep an excerpt ready to reference things quickly. Names of people I've talked to, the job title, what the company does, the tech stack, such things.
    • Read whatever materials are available before each interview, and make notes.
    • Prepare a good set of questions. Some interviewers wanted me to lead the meeting with my questions.
    • Become honestly enthusiastic about the role by focusing on the attractive parts.
    • Make sure my camera, background, lights, mic, and speakers are fine
  • At the meeting
    • Be chill
    • Take notes and screenshots of the important things
    • Never answer compensation-related questions. Say I'm not comfortable and ask back: what's the range they have in mind? Say, “Thanks. It's workable”, if it is.
    • Make sure I know what the next steps will be!
  • After the interviewing
    • Follow up with people, and add them on LinkedIn.
    • Reach out to people I liked, for mentoring, chats, etc.