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My Interviews After Bootcamp: Summaries

Abe Dolinger
Frontend / React Native dev
・5 min read

As a followup to my last piece, I want to give a short (anonymized) picture of what my interviews were like while searching for my first position in the field. I sent in roughly 300 applications in 3 months. What follows are the experiences I had with companies where I got at least a phone screen (15, or 0.5%).

I hope this provides a window into some of the interview processes / questions you'll encounter, and makes you more comfortable with the idea of failure in the job search. I never totally got the hang of it - I'd still let my ego get bruised with every rejection. But it did get easier.

Every one of these - except the two companies I met at my school's career fair - was from an online application or interaction. I heard from all over that the quickest way in was through connections at meetups & events. Meetups kill my family time, so after a couple of unsuccessful startup-themed events, I retreated back to my internet comfort zone. I don't necessarily endorse this, but it did eventually work for me.

Again, this happened over three months. The first month was mostly empty, and I started to pick up steam around the end of the second month. Most of these happened in the final five weeks of my job search.

The format is:

Company industry/specialty

broad # of employees, application method
Interview type: information


Education space/video focus

50 employees, applied on LinkedIn
HR Interview (Phone): Why ********; front or backend; do you know or want to know C#
Outcome: did not advance.


Social/e-commerce

1000 employees, applied on LinkedIn
HR Interview (phone) - why ********, career trajectory, what's something at work you're proud of
Tech Interview 1 (video): Longest substring with k unique characters
Tech interview 2 (video): Reverse letter order in a string; refactor that method to be recursive; reverse word order in a string; build a hash class from the ground up.
Outcome: did not advance.


Autonomous driving

500 employees, applied on LinkedIn
Tech Interview 1 (phone): React: state management, props, data pathways; Redux state management; CSS box model; CSS frameworks (BEM, Semantic, light vs heavyweight); stackable columns.
Outcome: did not advance.


Internal chat

100 employees, applied on LinkedIn
HR Interview (phone): why ********, career trajectory, have you ever contributed to process/best practices at work
Tech interview 1 (Zoom): React: lifecycle methods, performance improvements, performant component design; role of Redux in app; containers vs. VMs; Javascript: is JS single-threaded; sync vs async; call stack vs. event stack; front or backend.
Outcome: Did not advance.


B2B candidate services

50 employees, applied on LinkedIn
Dev Interview (video): why ********, career trajectory, work style
Tech interview 1 (video): JS trivia (var vs let), innerHTML === bad.
Q1 - Given a .csv of # of clicks and a domain, give a total of clicks for each level of the domain
I.e. input: [‘90, sports.yahoo.com’, ‘10, news.yahoo.com’]
Output: { com: 100, yahoo.com: 100, sports.yahoo.com: 90, news.yahoo.com: 10 }
Q2 - Given two arrays of strings, return the longest matching streak.
I.e. input: [‘/home’, ‘/store’, ‘/blog’, ‘/contact’],
[‘/store’, ‘/blog’, ‘/home’, ‘/contact’]

Output: [‘/store’, ‘/blog’]
Onsite: 6 interviews with 9 people. Behavioral, system design, product design, programming. Algorithm question: Common ancestor in two tree nodes. Given an array of objects that represent a binary tree (each object in the format {parent: child}), construct the tree and find out if two given nodes share an ancestor.
Outcome: Did not advance.
Feedback: need more production experience.


SEM / UX agency

20 employees, matched at school Job Fair
HR Interview (in-person): Front or backend; where do you see yourself going; app demo
Tech interview 1 (phone): Given a Linux path and the . and .. operators, return a final path. Input: ”/etc/usr/../temp/./../../”, output: ”/”
Onsite: 3 interviews with frontend, backend, & lead developer. First 2 mostly behavioral, with some design questions: how would you slice up this layout, how would you solve this design problem. 3rd: high-level design of a ‘subscription purchase’ feature on an e-commerce platform, frontend & backend; app demo & minor code review.
Outcome: No offer.


Finance industry

500 employees, matched at school Job Fair
Tech interview 1 (in-person): App demo; front/backend; where do you see yourself going
Code challenge (take-home): Make a command-line executable that takes a .csv file and an optional date. .csv contains investor transactions/shares purchased. Output JSON of total cash raised, total shares, and ownership of each investor.
HR Interview: why ********, where do you see yourself going
Outcome: did not advance.
Feedback: code challenge doesn't include tests, doesn't validate # of arguments, created own date/error handling instead of using Ruby builtins.


Game/social app

100 employees, applied on LinkedIn
HR Interview (phone) - why ********, career trajectory. I asked if the position was good for a junior developer, interviewer did not know.
Outcome: Did not advance.


Web services

500,000 employees, applied on LinkedIn
Tech interview 1 (phone): Behavioral: tell about a time the status quo wasn’t good enough and what you did to change it. Internet: What happens when you type an address in the browser bar. What is SSL and how does it work. HTML/CSS: Create a mockup of an accordion: box, header, content. Tag styles vs class styles, when would you use one vs the other. JS question: given two arrays of objects with ID keys, combine the matching IDs and return a merged array.
Outcome: Did not advance.


Blockchain solutions

1000 employees, applied on Jumpstart
HR Interview (phone): What is your favorite application of blockchain
Video Interview: I missed it. Messed up the time zone.
Outcome: Did not advance (shockingly).


Backend services

500 employees, applied on LinkedIn
HR Interview (phone): Ruby on Rails experience/projects, deployment.
Onsite Interview: Rails: how to break up functions into folders. Deployment. ActiveRecord under the hood. React Native: Navigation props. Platform-specific development. Feedback: they wanted someone with more experience, but would contact in ‘a couple of weeks’ when hiring for a junior position.
Outcome: Withdrew application on offer


Frontend agency

20 employees, applied on AngelList
Behavioral Interview (video): Why ********, where do you see yourself, favorite projects, do you consider yourself an entrepreneur
Code challenge: Make and host a color browser to provided spec. Hew to layout; color cards, detail view, results pagination; color filtering/searching optional. Made Rails API backend & React frontend, hosted on Heroku/Netlify respectively. Feedback: good overall, though lacked proper routing.
Outcome: Withdrew application on offer


IoT solutions

50 employees, recruiter initiated
Tech screen (video): Chat with lead developer, React Native, Java, full stack vs frontend, TypeScript
Code Challenge: Use two in-house tools and Node.js to subscribe to a remote feed of numbers and regularly provide an averaged summary.
Feedback: Got ‘pretty far’. Maybe jumped in too quickly without full grasp of details.
Onsite: React Native: Given an array of animal objects with images, descriptions, & endangered status, show a scrolling list of cards built to a visual spec. Behavioral: client relationships, creative process, managing disagreements, learning process.
Outcome: Offer accepted.


App agency

20 employees, recruiter initiated
Phone screen (recruiter): Why an agency, experience, tools used
Phone screen (CEO): Culture fit, remote work, technology enjoyed. Feedback: worried that I’m green, but willing to do a tech interview.
Outcome: Withdrew application on offer.


Backend services

100 employees, recruiter initiated
Phone screen (Tech Prog Mgr): There was none, just wanted to schedule an interview.
Onsite: Algos/data structures?
Outcome: Withdrew application on offer


Discussion (1)

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Tae Kim

Thanks a lot for posting this! I just started my job search out of a bootcamp and this is VERY helpful.