TIPS while taking a technical phone interview!

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Make a copy of this, turn it into a pdf, or store it on your computer. We think these are the most important points to consider when taking a technical phone interview. Read, research, and explore more to choose what’s best for you! Let us know how we did @ Good luck, you’ll do great!

Couple of days before your interview

  • Go through a lot of easy questions to gain confidence on topics you’re not-so confident about.

  • Stop solving/preparing/studying for interviews, take a chill pill for 1-2 days. Understanding the concepts is fundamentally better than solving a couple of questions.

  • Explore more about the company - teams, projects, languages, locations. You can do this on the company website, glassdoor, github, etc.

  • Look at the interviewer’sprofile on linkedin. It can be useful to know where the person comes from and what their background is like. You can start by finding common ground, it’s always nice to meet people with similar interests.

  • Read solutions!

    • Reading questions or solutions doesn’t mean just ‘reading’ them. It means understanding the core concepts used and considering how it is applicable to other problems. So if you’re reading a lot of DFS problems, then you’ll start getting a sense of things whenever you see a new DFS problem. Also, you’ll be confident + comfortable writing that!

Right before your interview

  • Listen to music and pump yourself up! Relax, you got this. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities waiting for you if you don’t get it. Don’t stress yourself.

  • Check your internet connection, keep your phone, copy, pen, pencil, and any other things you might need during the interview near you.

  • Prepare a greeting + introduction message. This can be a compressed form of your past experience + projects + hobbies. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be something that will give the interviewer a sense of who you are and what you like.

  • Prepare questions to ask at the end, in case the interviewer gives you time at the end. Examples:

    • What are the core company values?

    • How does a team function / how does your team work?

    • What kind of projects do you work on?

    • How has your time been there so far?

    • What would be some of my projects?

During your interview

Remember, you’re going to talk to a human and be hired by a human, so it’s better to have a conversation rather than robotic Q&A. Explaining the approach is much more important than writing the code. Writing code correctly is important, but its explanation must complement it. It’s very very important to talk throughout the interview. There are multiple reasons for this, the most important being -> if you’re stuck or going in the wrong direction -> the interviewer can help you! Here are some general tips that will help you more:

  • DON’T code right away. Discuss the question with the interviewer. They are there to explain it to you, not fight or argue about something. 

  • Think, think, think, and speak-out-loud before starting to code. It’s very important the interviewer knows what you’re thinking so that they can help you! They can’t help if they don’t know.

  • They’re not looking at how fast you write code. Take it easy, type in slowly, speak while you’re talking, and make sure they understand your overall solution.

  • The interviewer will always try to help you with hints, lookout for those. Think about their reaction - positive or negative, and the move in that direction.

  • There are 45-60 minutes. You CAN and SHOULD think for the first 5-10 minutes. Don’t dive right into code and mess it up. Take your time and think out loud.

  • Think of the time and space complexity when writing code, they’ll always ask that after the question is done. If you don’t know it or are confused, repeat the same drill - think out loud.

  • Always come up with TEST cases when you finish writing code - “let’s test this with some edge cases” 

After your interview

  • Follow up, even if the interview was bad. Write a simple email back saying how you enjoyed it and look forward to the next steps. It shows interest and everyone likes that. If the recruiter or manager replies, that’s well and good. If they don’t, you have nothing to lose.

  • Make sure to check in after a week or two. A lot of times, recruiters forget to follow up so it’s fine to send a friendly ping.

You’re going to get what you’re aiming for, very very soon! Keep working hard, you got this!