Tech interview preparation

Discussion in 'App Development' started by fan27, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. fan27


    I just landed a software engineering job after not having a proper interview in about fourteen years. Having been on the hiring side of the interview table quite a bit over the last few years, I have seen first hand what trips up most candidates. It is mainly that they cannot articulate the technical details of the projects they have worked on. Knowing this, I spent about three days going over every major project I have worked on in the past 15 years and wrote down on paper exactly how I would talk about them. This included doing research and filling in the gaps in terms of certain pieces of the tech stack I was not very familiar with. You don't want to be in a situation where you are frequently saying "I don't know, I didn't work on the part". After I had everything written down, I memorized it. Of course I also looked up frequently asked interview questions and the like.

    In terms of salary negotiation, rather than saying an exact number I needed, I would say "I am looking for senior software engineer market rate for our metro area". They would push for specifics and then I would say "somewhere between $110 - $140k as this is what I have communicated to other prospects and I expect offers to fall within this range". So what I did here was not limit myself to a specific number but instead let the employer know the type of offers they would be competing against. Unfortunately, I did not have multiple good offers come in at once, otherwise I think I could have negotiated for even more at my final choice, though the offer I accepted was within my range.
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  2. ph1l


    This is great advice and similar to what I did to prepare for software development interviews before retiring.

    Be sure you can back up every word on your résumé with details. Don't claim to be an expert on anything unless you can discuss the subject well. When I interviewed people looking for jobs, I would prepare questions in advance to ask them to help decide if they were exaggerating or not. This weeded out many candidates.
    MrKJoe and fan27 like this.
  3. gaussian


    Generally ill-advised. You should come in high and let them talk you down. If you're worth 140k, you say 140k. If they don't think you are, they will offer you something lower. By giving them a 30k range you're communicating to the hiring department that you're unsure of your footing and they'll immediately either give you something in the middle, or low-ball you based on your bottom number. In tech your starting salary will basically be your salary if you're not willing to work yourself to the bone. Those cost of living raises will start to sting when you realized you could've asked for more.

    When I was interviewing I would give them a hard number and let them figure it out. I'm not here to play games, neither are you, this is what I am worth, tell me what you think I'm worth and maybe we can meet in the middle. If you lowball me I'll respectfully decline the offer, ask to exchange cards, and go somewhere where I'm paid what I'm worth.

    There are so many tech jobs offering 110k-140k they'd almost certainly pay you near the top of your range if you come out swinging. You could've lied about other offers, and given the absolute truckload of jobs available paying this range to Joe Programmer they'd believe you without question. Tech is one of the few industries where hiring managers are starting off on their back foot the second you walk in the door. Get through the intimidation tactics and bullshit theoretical questions and demand your highest ask. Let them figure out the rest.
    VPhantom, MrKJoe, guru and 3 others like this.
  4. If anyone asks to interview, I tell them I start at $300K USD and I work remote with on-site as needed. If they don't want to talk to me after that, then I wouldn't want to talk to them either.

    It's not worth it for me to waste whatever time I have left working for someone unless I'm making at least that much.
    VPhantom, MrKJoe, IAS_LLC and 3 others like this.
  5. fan27


    You bring up some good points. However, based on the type of roles I was applying for and the research I have done in terms of the going rate in my area, I landed in a good spot. Also, while negotiating a good salary was important, there are other factors at play in terms of estimated work load and location of my employer. It is important that I am not overworked and have time for my side business which I think can eventually eclipse my day job in terms of income.
    MrKJoe, trader99 and qlai like this.
  6. trader99


    My day job is not too stressful and has flexible schedule thus allowing me to daytrade and continue to develop as a trader. :)
  7. kmiklas


    What is your day job?
  8. traider


    What happened to your strategy discussions with the hedge funds? Did they raise the concern that they could be overfitted to the super bull market?
    fan27, nooby_mcnoob and guru like this.
  9. 2rosy


    nice. you're no noob
    qlai likes this.
  10. It's not a super bull market. Weekly charts below with 200 week MA. The first two below are situations where the market crashed right after the screenshot. The last is today. One of these is not like the other two. Long, long way to go IMO. BTFD until the parabolic move that looks like the first two.




    This is the what it looked like before the most recent correction. Doesn't look too parabolic but it almost was.


    Thanks, but I disagree. My strict self reliance has been detrimental career wise. About 10 years ago, I was offered a lead position on a new product at Microsoft that has been made into a core part of Windows. I could have shepherded this thing for a few years. Yesterday, I saw that developers, not managers, who have been at MS for more than 11 years (from make about $2.5 million. That is $2.5 million for being around smart people, doing shit you probably enjoy every day. I have not yet made $2.5 million in any given year so this is my high water mark. I have a friend who DID take a similar job at MS and is now head of some global thing. Safe to say he makes more than 2.5 million.

    Many years ago, as a kid, I spent a few months in a youth jail. A guard removed my mattress as a punishment and I slept on the floor for the remainder of the time as I refused to sleep on the mattress even when it was returned. The things they tried to do to break me were innumerable from burning my possessions to stealing my money to placing me in a room with a literal crazy person. For almost 20 years afterwards, I kept sleeping on the floor. It was my way of saying that no one will have control over me. That definitely affected my career choices.

    Now, I sleep on a bed, but it was only after I worked at the hedge fund that I was able to shake that mental issue. There are still times when I want to sleep on a floor, or be in a small room and sleep in there but the issue is mostly gone.

    The point is that $300K is peanuts compared to what I should have been making but it's the minimum I require to waste my time.

    And that, my friends, is why I am so fucked up :)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
    #10     Nov 27, 2019
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