In this two-part blog series, we look at the interview process from the perspective of a senior developer. While you’ve interviewed successfully in the past, the process may have changed since the last time you looked for a job. In part one, we share our thoughts on what’s different in how you prepare for the interview and how best to present your qualifications as a developer to a potential employer. In part two, we will look at the importance of fitting in with the company culture and how your use of social media can help or hurt your chances of getting an offer.
It was a simpler time. Show up in your best suit, resume printed on thicker paper, ready to discuss your background and how your skills and experience will help your potential future employer. This was the cookie-cutter interview process that we knew. As with much of life, things change, and we, as potential candidates, must adjust. Below are trends in the interview process Genesis10 has identified and tools to help you get the offer.
What’s Changed: Interview Prep
How to Adjust: Leverage Your Access to Information
It was never a deal breaker to walk into an interview with limited information about the company or the individuals that you were interviewing with. We didn’t have much information because we didn’t have access to it. The Internet and social media has changed the world as we know it. Now, there’s LinkedIn, Facebook, and business news readily available online. If you don’t leverage these tools, you are setting yourself up to fail and make a mediocre impression at best.
Before every meeting, I prepare notes on the person I am meeting—their professional experience, education, connections we may have as well as recent company news. I leverage these talking points to make the conversation warmer, and will say, “I did some research and saw on LinkedIn that you’ve worked with _________.” Doing something similar is a great way to show that you are prepared and interested in the individuals and the company.
What’s Changed: Developer Interview Processes
How to Adjust: Role Play Whiteboarding/Coding Scenarios
Recently, we’ve seen an uptick in the complexity of the interview process for developers. No longer is it enough to speak in depth about your previous experience and how you contributed to the team. Now, companies ask candidates to whiteboard how they would code or invite them to code multiple scenarios on a computer. With the rise of “bait and switch” candidates, as well as candidates embellishing their skills, companies want to make sure the candidate is who they say they are and can demonstrate the skills listed on their resume.
Before you submit your resume to a recruiter, I encourage you to do a quick “once-over” of your resume. Evaluate it honestly. If you list that you have “expert knowledge” of a technology, you better have it and be able to recall how to do something on the fly. If you’ve used the technology for only two years, adjust your resume accordingly to accurately reflect your experience because today companies will ask you questions on it or take a test during the interview to demonstrate your experience.
It’s better to be honest then painted into a corner when your future employer learns that you aren’t who you say you are. I’ve seen many talented developers lose positions because they were really mid-level with a technology rather than expert. I suggest taking 30 minutes to practice coding scenarios that encompass the four top technologies developers use in the role. It will help knock your interview out of the park. And remember, prepare for the interview. Practice coding scenarios but also do your homework – research the company and the individuals that you will be meeting with.
Next time: A look at the importance of fitting in with the company culture and how your use of social media can help or hurt your chances of getting an offer.
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