DEV Community

Cover image for Not all developer job interviews are the same
Chris Bongers
Chris Bongers

Posted on • Originally published at

Not all developer job interviews are the same

Looking around in the tech scene, I see many articles on how to nail your interview assessment.

Diving deeper into these articles, it looks like a 4-year course to even apply for a job. I just wanted to write down this article to show you there are multiple sides to tech interviews.

First of all, these high-end interviews exist, don't get me wrong. Most FAANG/Big/Corporate companies will make a selection like that.

However, it might not be what you are looking for.

As for me, I'm one of these people...
I perform well in middle-sized companies 25-75 people.

I like to be responsible for multiple aspects of the job, some examples:

  • Have discussions with the design
  • Partially responsible for server architecture
  • Have a say in languages being used
  • Know the team
  • Direct contact with the CEO

And there are more, I genuinely enjoy those aspects over perhaps working for a big corporate where you might only be responsible for a single specific point.
You never get to meet the CEO and don't have a say in things.

What other interviews can I expect?

Funny interview gif

Well, this is very difficult. These small-to-medium types of companies are very liberal when it comes down to interviews.

I've tried to split out some of my own experiences.

1. The social interview

This is by far one of my favorite types. When you have a social interview with often the CEO, perhaps accompanied by a tech person.
The interview isn't about solving a tech query.

These people are looking for a team player, someone who knows how to get the job done.
Often they'll assess your personality fit for the company.
The tech person might ask you some basic knowledge: Do you understand and use Laravel, Ionic, or React?

2. The die-hard coding interview

This one comes closest to the above-described interview methods, except this is often a single assignment for you to do at home.
It's often a representation of what will be your day-to-day job.
So please think about how you feel about this assignment/work when doing the assignment.
You might come back after this to present and defend your solution. Sometimes there will also be a survey with some tech knowledge questions.

These companies are looking for a super skilled person, someone they can give hard to solve queries. You might even find you will need to manage some existing employees.

3. The triple interview

By far the most common assessment I've seen.
It's a three-step combination of the above.
The first step is a general non-tech interview with either an HR person or the CEO.
The second step is a tech interview with potentially a tech assignment.
And the last chat is a combination of presenting and seeing if you're a fit.

When applying to these companies, it's all about finding out if you feel good with them and they feel good with you.
I like this approach since it gives you a good image of the potential workforce you'll join.

4. The odd-ball interview

Yeah, there is always that odd-ball one.
Let me know what your odd-ball experience is.

It must have been when I got asked by the CEO of a startup to come in. (At this time, I was happy at my current job).
I went in just for a chat, and they literally on the spot offered me double my salary and a signing bonus, no code is seen, no fancy talks, nothing...

Even though it was a weird experience, I did take the offer.
At that time I could well use the money since I just bought a house.

However, the startup lasted only a year and ran out of money...

5. The nurturing interview

This one often happens when you enter the interviews through recruiters.
They somehow act like your mom, from when you were 8.
They want to control every step and freak out if you directly had contact with the company.

Don't get me wrong, I do get it. It's their job and commission on the line.

But from the person applying, it's a bit of a mixed feeling and hassle kind of way.

Stick to your guts

Interview succesful

Well, these are my experiences and the types of interviews I encountered.

Some overall advice when applying for jobs:

  • Don't sell yourself short
  • Stick to your guts (Doesn't feel right? Don't do it)
  • It's ok to say no
  • Negotiate! The first offer is never the best
  • There are many companies out there, have a look around

Keep in mind when applying for a job, you need to feel good at this job.
It's useless to work somewhere if you don't enjoy it.

As a closure:
Have fun, and good luck!

Thank you for reading, and let's connect!

Thank you for reading my blog. Feel free to subscribe to my email newsletter and connect on Facebook or Twitter

Top comments (6)

leob profile image
leob • Edited

Interesting article - actually a lot of my job interviews have been like "1. The social interview" - having a chat with the future employer to get a feel for - will I fit into the team, what am I going to bring to the table ... stuff like that.

For me it feels pretty shocking that nowadays would-be devs have to endure technical interview sessions where they're being grilled with endless "algorithm" tests and whatnot - for me that would be a big reason to "skip the employer" and go freelance, or set up my own business.

But, I do understand that for many people that's not really an option and they have no choice but to participate in the rat race and to suffer the technical interview pain.

dailydevtips1 profile image
Chris Bongers

Yep, exactly why I wrote this one.
I have never done one of those algorithm tests and probably will never do one.

It's not a representation of my skills, nor what I would like to do in my day job πŸ˜….
I totally get your freelance part, I even gave that advice to a friend of mine recently.

leob profile image
leob • Edited

The way I see it, these algorithm tests are a lazy and easy way for employers to apply a "sieve" to the job applications coming in - they don't need to think about what they really want or need, or to spend time at critical assessment ... it's the "large numbers" approach where they end up with the last 5% out of the candidate pool who are probably not significantly more qualified than if they'd simply have drawn straws ;-)

bendev12 profile image
Onayngo Benard • Edited

This is particularly true, Most cases developer don't even make it past the technical interview. Self taught developer like my usually don't even have a CS background. But that doesn't necessarily make them not stand a chance in the tech industry.

dailydevtips1 profile image
Chris Bongers

I have an IT degree as well, like Haris, but in ICT Media Design.
Where a lot of the tech stuff like algorithms is skipped.

It does focus a lot of web development, an area where I feel you don't even need that stuff at all.

_hs_ profile image

That's not only for non-CS people. I have a background in IT but not CS, mine is quite literally one of the rare case Bachelor of Information Technologies. However some points to take is that some companies should do this as they should have best of the devs they can get due to their projects. Sadly all other companies do this as well thinking they actually offer something. Now so far I usually fail on s"social" or "informal" interview where I quite know the reason although they never tell it's that I'm "not a cultural fit". This means they understand that I won't calp hands and pretend everything is great while there's a pile of problems or/and sacrifice my personal family time for poor team buildings meant for pictures for social media. Toxic positivity and patter funtional interviews are in all time high while actually nothing is offered back. I say thank God that I don't pass those and maybe it's good for others(you) as well