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5 Types of developer interviews and how to deal with them

If you are reading this, chances are you are applying to developer jobs or you have applied to one and have received a call for your first interview. If you are planning to apply, a general word of advice would be to apply everywhere. Don’t downplay yourself and act as a roadblock to your own journey. Once you have decided to plunge into the life of a developer; here are the 5 types of interviews you may come across and need to prepare for

Whiteboard:

White board interviews entail the interviewer handling out a problem that you have to then solve on a white board. This could either be an Algorithm related problem or an architectural one; you will be tested on your knowledge of data structures, sorting algorithms, recursion, time/space complexity analysis as well as pattern and edge-case recognition or you will be asked to design a system such as a car parking system, chat messenger etc. The key to ace this is to ask questions and think out loud so the interviewer can know how well you can articulate problems and solve them. 

Mockups:

These types of interviews will include some real life scenario such as you could be asked to build a sign up form with validation, or build a responsive navigation bar etc. Another common scenario could be the interviewer asking you to find bugs and patch them which in all honesty, is difficult to prepare for. The best you can do is practice beforehand as much as possible. Another common mockup interview is the pair and programme where you will be paired with a fellow programmer in a developer environment and given a list of tasks much like in the real world. Unlike the whiteboard interview, syntax here matters so make sure you are well prepared and know your language and environment inside out. The best way to go handle these types of interviews is to not fiddle with optimization, write your code and explain to the interviewer how you would do it differently in production.

Take-home challenge:

This type of interview involves a coding task that is time-bound. Always try to speed things up, the quicker turn-over you demonstrate the better. Remember to master your set-up and practice. Some example challenges that you can practice on can be: 

Build a tic-tac-toe game

Build a pinterest clone

Build a Wikipedia viewer etc.

Domain and operating systems:

The test of the domain is a tricky one because it will depend a lot on your past experience and knowledge. Even though programming is pretty much the same across different languages, this interview focuses on the aspects that cannot be transferred between languages and frameworks. 

Behavioral/culture:

These types of interviews are usually always paired with the above mentioned ones in which the interviewer will ask you a set of questions bound in a certain scenario such as how do you deal with failure or how do you deal with conflict. Companies put huge emphasis on this because this determines how well you will adjust to and perform given the role. Be genuine; Don’t be afraid to talk about your weaknesses and how you effectively manage them because in reality we all have some. Demonstrate your ability to take initiative and remember to always show passion for your work.

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