Technical Interviewing Advice (for UCB)
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Valerie's general advice:
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Do your homework
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Read about the company. Read their press releases. Learn their lingo, how they refer to their own products, processes, and industry. Use this language with them!
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Practice interviewing!
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Ask questions when talking to HR/Hiring Manager:
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- Ask what to study up on.
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- Ask what technologies the company uses.
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- Ask as many questions ahead of time as you can to find out what to expect from the process, what kind of questions are on the written test (if applicable), etc. This gives you an advantage over people who don’t ask. Try to ask innocuously, e.g. “Is there anything you can share with me to help me prepare for the written test? How long should I expect to spend on it?”
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Personality tips
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You need some enthusiasm. It’s hard when you’re tired but you have to manage.
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Sound confident, but not cocky.
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Stay positive! Don’t badmouth ex-boss, ex-company, ex-coworkers!
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Don’t always say “we” - it reads that you didn’t do any of the actual work
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Don’t always say “I” for a team position - does not make you sound like a team player
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Onsite interviewing is physically and mentally exhausting. Do your best to prepare.
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Wear comfortable clothing, layers you can remove/add if you get hot or cold.
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Don’t be stinky! Wear deodorant! Consider your breath. You never know what you’ll be fed, could be stinky.
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Do what you can to stay alert, energized. If you need water, bring it or ask for it. Think about caffeine, blood sugar.
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If lunch makes you sleepy, don’t eat too much!
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if you need a snack every few hours, bring something with you.
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Answering questions:
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Don’t rush to answer, even if you’re nervous. Allow brief silence even though it feels uncomfortable. Take a beat. Think about your answer then say it succinctly rather than rushing and gushing.
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Try to balance every can’t with a can (ideally more cans). Interviewers remember (and report) what you (say you) can’t do because they’re looking for that specifically. Help them with remembering the pluses.
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They want to find out your limits and will ask intentionally hard questions to determine those. A limit is not a failure.
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If you don’t get the job:
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Don’t beat yourself up. Think about what you can do to improve on what you felt were any weak points.
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Companies make mistakes. Interviewers may be bad and inexperienced, they may ask poor questions.
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They may have already found a candidate and the offer is in the works.
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Companies have been known to later hire a candidate that they previously turned down.
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Companies change - you might not be a good fit now but you might be a great fit in the future.
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Sometimes the person interviewing you wouldn’t have passed the same tests!
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It wasn’t meant to be at this point in time, but you just got some more practice.
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Failure is a prerequisite to learning. (Eric Ries)
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Remember:
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They WANT to like you.
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You should like them! (Interviewing is a 2-way street)
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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. :-)
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Shortcut to this document: http://bit.ly/tech_interview_advice
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Shortcut to 2012 presentation: http://bit.ly/tech_interview_pres_2012
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