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Discussion on: Describe the Best Interview You've Been In

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

My favorite interview was one where I was able to bring my own laptop to do a code exercise that was mostly communicated ahead of time. They also allowed me to use any tools that would be accessible to me in the real world: other developers in the room, Google, Stackoverflow, etc.

This is pretty close to my favorite interview. I really felt like I got to shine. There was pressure but no big rush especially.

In thinking about this, I'll contrast it with one of the worst interviews I was a part of: It was a two part interview:

  • The part where someone asked trivia questions about how HTTP works off a piece of paper.
  • The part where an engineer from the team who is clearly reluctant about hiring someone and basically saying "I like to keep my headphones on and do my own thing, that cool with you?"

After not getting much right in the random HTTP trivia portion, I never heard back from them, which was good.


Back to the good one. We've recently tweaked our interview process to be a bit more like that one that you're describing.

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yechielk profile image
Yechiel Kalmenson

...We've recently tweaked our interview process to be a bit more like that one that you're describing.

But are you hiring? 😉

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Ben Halpern

We are actually not at the moment, but things change quickly. The next time we hire I think we'll do so fairly publicly.

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yechielk profile image
Yechiel Kalmenson

I'll be looking out...

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Antonin Januska

I like the contrast. I'll throw my worst interview in. The dev that actually did the skills assessment was great and he's working on huge things now having left that company (I was supposed to be his replacement). So the weird things that happened were non-technical:

  1. during offer process, company decided they wanted to hire me for a lesser role than I wanted.
  2. during offer process, their salary "ceiling" was completely different from their posting/what they told recruiters (and by different, I mean $40K!). It was lower than their "minimum" bracket for the lesser role they offered.
  3. a part of the interview process was a discussion with a former CTO who was non-technical and had no position at the company anymore. He was related to the CEO.
  4. During our brief discussion, he tried to be as intimidating as possible for some reason. Lots of talking about how he's still involved behind the scenes.
  5. Part of the interview required on-site PAID programming for "market rate" for a day. After I declined the offer, they were reluctant to pay, and ended up paying me half of what my starting rate was when I had less than 1 year of experience. This was for a senior/lead role.
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edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

I had an interview once, Google I think, where I was asked how I could send an email if I didn't have an email program. I think they assumed people would fail that question, and weren't excited that I used netcat and manually typed the SMTP protocol... :)

I dislike trivia questions in interviews. I dislike tricky algorithm questions (common stuff like stacks, binary search, should be okay, but nothing novel). When I give interviews now I let people make up functions if they want. Sure, just assuem you have a shuffle function, or just type the arguments in any order and I'll assume it's correct.

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Yechiel Kalmenson

I had an interviewer on a tech interview ask me why manhole covers were round... 🙄

quora.com/What-is-the-most-useless...

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ben profile image
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eljayadobe profile image
Eljay-Adobe

I liked this answer the best for that question...

sellsbrothers.com/12395

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agm1984 profile image
Adam Mackintosh

I actually learned that before at water and sewer technical school, LOL. It's so the lid can't fall down the hole :)

A good opportunity to start talking about system physics and foresight.

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yechielk profile image
Yechiel Kalmenson

Lol yeah, I happened to know that answer.

You can see the Quora answer I linked to for the whole story :)