Notes on the Behavioral Aspect of Technical Interviews

My notes from Mayuko Inoue’s video on what most people get wrong about technical interviews.

December 16, 2021


Here are some notes I took while watching Mayuko’s video on the behavioral aspect of technical interviews.

Interview Process

  1. Phone Screen
  2. Technical Interview
  3. On-site interview

The Behavioral Side

  • The behavioral assessment that happens during the technical portion of the interview
  • One of the first mistakes people make during the technical interview is they start to code right away
    • Analogy: Imagine you hired a contractor to build a new deck in your backyard and they immediately start tearing things apart without asking any questions
  • When approaching a new problem, you should explore the bounds of the problem
    • Ask a bunch of questions
  • Start with pseudo code
    • You can work through your logic and your solution without getting bogged down in implementation-specific details
    • Let’s you check in with your interviewer
  • The most important part of a technical interview is to see how you think and approach problems
  • You need to be able to explain your solution and approach
    • Don’t go into unnecessary detail
    • Explain concisely
      • See if you can explain it in layman’s terms
  • Pull up a practice problem and record yourself working through the problem and explaining the solution
  • The technical interviewers will often be the people you end up working with
  • The role of the interviewer is to come prepared with a prompt and witness you as an engineer do your work
  • Ask your interviewer questions about direction
    • Imagine they are a collaborator
    • confirm you are going in the right direction
    • is it safe to assume for the problem that a given condition will always be true
  • When things get contentious on whether a company accepts someone for a role, it is always the behavioral side that makes the call
    • Do you produce code that is easy to reason about?
    • Do you think about how other people are going to use the code?
    • Are you able to explain concepts that you know to help make other members on your team better engineers
    • Are you a respectful and kind collaborator that people would like to work with?
  • You still need to study up on data structures, algorithms and system design questions
  • record yourself solving problems
  • study with a friend
  • do a mock interview
  • Think about the kind of engineer, problem solver, and teammate you want to be