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Ohh those interviews
Some advice and observation during the my job searching session.
Sep 29, 2020

Since I get into tech I had two rounds of job searching sessions. One in 2017 and one amid the COVID outbreak, just recently. I had quite a few interviews, progressed to the latest stages on a lot of them. It is time to write some thoughts on them, even dare to say, advice.

What is needed for a successful interview?


This goes first. We can't make anything with it except embrace it. Not everything will come down to luck, but more than we think. It plays a major role in life, just as in finding a new role.

It takes luck so that a good opportunity shows up when you start searching. It takes luck to even find that opportunity. It takes luck to have an interview with someone who likes you. Someone will like us. Someone does not.

So you can't do many things with luck. But there are scenarios where we can prepare.

As a software person, we must know our craft. Obvious, but very important. We must be prepared for the technical interview. But not just for that. We must know the things we are applying to.

That does not mean to tick every box in a job application. I think we should strive for jobs where there are things we don't know. To aim for a role where we might be uncomfortable.

But if they ask for java, for example, we should know java pretty damn well.

Fortunately, most companies are going away from the whiteboarding algorithmic coding challenges. It is good to know them but that is absolutely not the best measure to know if someone is fit for the role (unless the role is about algorithmic challenges :) ).

This might seem obvious. Also, it goes beyond interviews.

I'm not the fan on radical honesty at all, but don't lie when it would compromise your character. It will make you weak.

If that did not convince you, this will: lying is hard. You need to keep track of your lies. It takes up willpower and mental energy.

Most likely people will find out. If you lie about your technical skills, well, believe me, some smart people will figure it out.

If you are still in a doubt, let's go the next point.

Be humble. Software is a knowledge-based field. No one expects from you to know everything.

So being humble is a character trait that negatively correlates with arrogance and positively with the willingness to learn. Who you rather wanna be working with? An arrogant jerk or a humble yet confident person?

Also, be authentic. No one can beat at being you.

Being humble is not the same as being wishy-washy. Have opinions. Tell stories why you think like that. Real stories. We understand the world through stories. Use it to your leverage.

Listen to counterarguments. Rephrase it. Take a deep breath. Accept or reject. Have an open mind. Have a conversation, but don't argue.

Listen to what is being said. Be curious. Honest curiosity, not fake. You potentially will spend a lot of time of your life here.k

It sounds really dumb but just smile. Imagine that the person who you will talk with is sad, or just does not care, or depressed. Do you want wor with that person? Even just want to talk with that person for the upcoming one hour?

It makes a lot of difference. If the first thing you see is someone smiling, you made a huge difference.

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