Impress your coding interviewer
There’s no doubt that the screening process is stressful and challenging — but with enough practice and preparation, you will be able to land your dream coding job. Read on for a few of our best tips to impress your coding interviewer.
Research the Company You’re Applying To
- Take the time to read through a company’s website, blog, and social profiles. This will help you get a sense of the business’s work and culture.
- Make a note of any current or ongoing projects that the company has publicized. Asking questions about these will demonstrate your interest in the company and show that you’ve done your research.
- Come up with a few company-specific questions to ask in the interview.
- If you know anyone who already works at the company, ask them about which languages they use to code most often.
Review Potential Questions
- Take practice interview tests to familiarize yourself with common coding challenges.
- Brainstorm questions that you could imagine interviewers asking you about your qualifications and skills, and answer them.
- Ask a friend to stage a mock interview to help you practice.
Go Back to the Basics
- Before you start applying to jobs, dedicate two to three hours per week to reviewing foundational skills.
- Find and solve practice problems.
- Go over old notes that you might have from previous lessons.
Choose Your Interview Language Wisely
If you’re applying at a company that specializes in a specific language — say, Ruby or Python — you may want to conduct your interview in that language to prove your competency. However, keep in mind that your interviewer may be more critical of your work because they already know the language’s ins and outs! Only take this route if you are confident in your skills.
- Find out which languages are used often at the company you’re applying to.
- Assess your skills — which languages are you most proficient in?
- Run a few mock coding tests in your chosen language for practice.
Protect Yourself Against Performance Anxiety
As you prepare for your coding interview, you need to stress-test yourself. Think of it as exposure therapy; if you can put yourself in environments that subject you to a similar level of anxiety-inducing oversight, you can acclimate yourself to the stress. Over time, your capacity for coding under stressful circumstances may expand, thereby allowing you to perform better during whiteboard challenges.
- Run mock whiteboard challenges and try explaining your processes to a friend (or even a pet).
- Don’t panic if you get stuck on a problem. Instead, make a habit of demonstrating your thought process and working toward a solution. Employers will give you credit for giving the challenge an honest try.
- Be humble, and don’t try to bluster your way through problems.
- Practice coding by hand at home; invest in a whiteboard or tack pieces of white paper to your wall.
Memorize a Quick “Sales Pitch” On Yourself
As you cycle through interviewers, you’re probably going to need to explain your qualifications and intent multiple times — so it will help to have some talking points in mind! This speech might include non-coding details such as your past employment history, soft skills, goals, and independent projects.
- Take some time to brainstorm your pitch before an interview. It may help to write out talking points!
- Try to memorize what you can. You should have your pitch down pat so that you don’t fumble or leave out important information during the interview.
- Workshop your pitch with a friend to ensure that you’re striking the right tone as you introduce yourself.
Stay Optimistic, But Prepare for Challenges
- Take time to reflect on each interview you have. What did you do well? What could you have done better?
- If a company turns you down, give yourself time to process the rejection — but set a strict time for when you’ll pick yourself up and keep trying.
- Verbally validate yourself and your skills regularly. You’ll be surprised at how much a little positivity can lift your spirits!
Clean Up Your Social Media Presence
If you want to optimize your chances of making an excellent first (digital) impression on your interviewer, you should take some time to clean up your online presence.
- Search your name on Google to see which profiles will be easily visible to interviewers.
- Do an audit of your social profiles to remove any pictures, posts, or conversations that might come off as a red flag to interviewers.
- Make a habit of creating and posting content online that relates to your industry.
Don’t Forget to Make Small Talk
- Come up with a few good questions to ask your interviewer about their experience with the company.
- Make a few jokes (if and when appropriate!).
- Make small talk.