Monday, January 30, 2023

Cracking The Behavioral Interviews For Software Engineers

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Tell Me About A Time You Had A Disagreement With A Coworker And How You Resolved It

Cracking the Behavioral Interview for Software Developers

Here is where the interviewer wants to see how you handle challenging situations with your coworkers, so you want to focus on an area where you resolved an issue with them in the past.

Even small disagreements that you have had with coworkers can be used in questions like this, but if you truly cant think of anything, you could try to shape your answer into a more general answer about how you deal, or would deal, with disagreements between your coworkers.

Example: Ill tell you a situation in which I had a disagreement with my engineering lead. The team I was on never adopted a good branching strategy. We were constantly dealing with issues where we would have half-baked features mixed with other features that were ready to go, and we would have to cherry-pick the certain commits we wanted to take into the next build. This took up a lot of time.

My manager put together a new branching strategy and presented it to us as the new path we would follow. The others on the call seemed fine with it, however, I did see a flaw in the strategy, and I spoke up about it. My manager saw the flaw as well but thought that it was still better than what we are currently doing and we should present this to the rest of the team to use for now since we have a lot of other important tasks to accomplish.

Describe A Time When You Received Insightful Feedback Why Was It Useful And How Did It Change Your Approach To Future Tasks

Candidates might give examples of feedback in the form of a peer code review, an annual evaluation or informal feedback they received from a coworker, and which helped them strengthen their skills.

For example, they might mention a time they were advised to better adhere to stakeholders requirements and requests.

Senior candidates must be able to incorporate the feedback into their coding process. Stand-out answers will show how the quality of their work was enhanced after incorporating the feedback they received.

Tips To Impress Your Interviewer

Finally, before we move on to some interview preparation resources, wed like to give you five helpful tips to keep in mind.

Tip #1: Get used to setting up the situation in 30 seconds or less

Use a timer while you practice to ensure you provide only necessary information. Spending too much time on the Situation step is one of the most common mistakes candidates make.

Tip #2: Stay focused on essential details

Interviewers hear a lot of behavioral stories a day. If you go into unnecessary details you are likely to lose their attention. Share your stories with a few different people before your interview and ask them what details they would suggest cutting.

Tip #3: Be proud and talk about YOU

This is not the time to be shy about your accomplishments. Concentrate on your impact, not what the team did. Not talking about YOU enough is another common mistake we see with a lot of candidates.

Tip #4: Adapt to follow up questions

Dont be alarmed if your interviewer asks follow up questions this is perfectly normal. Listen carefully to the way your interviewer is asking these questions, as there will often be a subtle clue about the specific skills theyre looking to assess from the next part of your answer.

Tip #5: Explain how failure made you better

When talking about failure, dont try to hide your mistakes or frame a weakness as a strength. Instead, show what you learned and how you grew from the failure.

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Tips For Preparing For Behavioral Interview Questions

  • Be ready with at least three stories with which to answer behavioral questions.
  • Practice telling the stories out loud ahead of time and cut out unnecessary details.
  • Dont memorize your stories word-for-word. Know the important information to hit and extemporize the rest. That way, your response doesnt sound prepackaged.
  • Remind yourself to keep answers short and direct.
  • Take a moment to clarify any questions that arent clear.
  • Remember: You can also ask behavioral questions to gauge the would-be employers company culture and managerial styles.

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Why Would You Read This

Everything You Need to Know About Cracking the PM Interview

This repository has practical content that covers all phases of a technical interview, from applying for a job to passing the interviews to offer negotiation. Technically competent candidates might still find the non-technical content helpful.

The information in this repository is condensed. Ultimately, the key to succeeding in technical interviews is consistent practice and I don’t want to bore you with too many words. I tell you the minimum you need to know on how to go about navigating the interview process, you go and practice and land your dream job.

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Conflict Management Behavioral Interview Questions

16. Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with another programmer. How did you handle the situation? Were you able to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to that conflict? If not, why were you and your co-worker unable to reach a mutually beneficial resolution? If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently to either prevent the conflict, or to resolve it?

17. Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person to accomplish a goal. What was the biggest challenge? How did you handle it?

18. Has there been a time on a project when you disagreed with someone? What did you do about it?

19. Tell me about when you had to deal with conflict within your team. How was the conflict solved? How did you handle that? How would you deal with it now?

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The Top Common Behavioral Interview Questions That You Should Be Comfortable Answering For Your Next Interview

While youre grinding away at LeetCode and HackerRank for your next coding interview, make sure you dont forget to prepare for the behavioral interview as well.

Behavioral interviews can look a lot different depending on your background, experience, and the company youre interviewing with.

These interviews are designed to get to know your personality, understand your resume more deeply, and do a deep dive into your background.

One of the most important ways to prepare for this interview is to ensure you can talk about each section of your resume in detail. Both the technical and non-technical aspects of it.

I am sure most of you know about this book, I highly recommend checking out Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell if you havent already. The book does a good job of describing the behavioral interview process at a high level.

For this article, Ill give the top 8 behavioral interview questions that I have personally come across and real answers that I have given which helped me nail the interview.

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What People Are Saying

“I wish I had read this book 90 days ago. I wouldn’t have blown a great job that I really wanted. This book goes beyond the usual answers to questions likely to be asked. Instead of telling you what to think it teaches you HOW to think. If I had read this book first and knew what was coming I think I would have nailed it.”- J. Braun, Amazon.com
“Bought this book 3 weeks before interview. Read the book twice with careful hand-writing practice on each question. Got Amazon offer. The interview had 4 questions and one was in the book.”- Larry, Amazon.com “This book is a must-have for any interview candidate. Not only does it give practice problems and detailed answers, but it also gives you good advice about how to approach the problems as well as what to expect. I used this book to prepare for my interviews with Microsoft, and Gayle’s insight gave me a great idea of how to prepare and how to ace the interview. I recommend this book to anyone who has a coding interview in their future.”- Michelle, Amazon.com

What The Interviewer Is Looking For

How to pass the Amazon Behavioral Interview | Software Engineer

Answer this question honestly!

This common interview question is one where the only wrong answer is no answer at all. The interviewer wants to get to know you better. Obviously, some answers are better than others , but as long as you can talk passionately about something you do outside of work hours, you should be in good shape. For example, you could talk about how you continue learning in your spare time even with a busy schedule.

Behavioral interviews can be intimidating, but at the end of the day, recruiters are looking for authentic, honest answers.

If you cant think of any specific situation or challenge in response to a behavioral question, say so and explain why. Humility, openness, and professionalism will go a lot further than trying to make something up to sound impressive.

For more advice, insight, and tips for finding a software development job, head back over to the Arc blog!

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How To Answer This One

No one is perfect, and if you pretend to be, youll be giving a recruiter a reason to distrust your answer. Rather than give a non-answer Im too organized make an effort to walk through a project that went wrong, what you learned in the process, and how youve overcome your shortcomings.

Recruiters are looking for candidates that are responsible, open to feedback, and can learn from their mistakes. Perhaps give a time when you struggled with cross-cultural communication on a remote team and how you handled it, for example.

Facebook Behavioral Questions: General

First up are the general behavioral questions that may come up for any role. Here your interviewer is looking for an overall view of your past experiences and how you will perform as an employee at Facebook. Youll see that regardless of the role, Facebook is curious about your resume, your motivations, how you handle difficult situations, and why you want to work for them specifically.

These are good questions for you to demonstrate your alignment with Facebooks core values. Show your willingness to take risks, lessons learned from past mistakes, a bias for action, and other qualities that Facebook is looking for in a candidate.

Practice demonstrating those values using the questions below.

Example behavioral questions asked at Facebook: General

  • Tell me about yourself / your past experience
  • Tell me about a past challenge or conflict you handled
  • Tell me about your skills and interests
  • Tell me about the greatest accomplishment of your career
  • Tell me about a time you failed and what you learned from it
  • Tell me what others would say about you
  • Tell me about your biggest accomplishment
  • Tell me about the area where you have the most to learn
  • Tell me about what do you want to do in the future
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Walk me through your resume
  • Why are you transitioning from your current position?
  • What makes a good / bad ?

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Do You Have Any Questions For Me

This is another one that you can really easily prepare in advance. If you have specific questions, this is a good opportunity to learn a bit more about the company.

One of the important things to think about here is the fact that even though youre asking the questions, it is still part of the interview. Your interviewer will be evaluating you based on the sorts of questions you ask. Therefore, make sure you have good questionsand dont ask about things like vacation days, since its not really a good first impression.

Here are some questions to get you started. I love opinion questions because you get interesting answers and can ask everyone the same question. Dont be afraid to ask about the negatives too:

  • Can you share more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this position? Whats a typical day like?
  • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the job?
  • Why did you decide to join Company X?
  • Can you tell me about the opportunities for career advancement at Company X?

Here are a lot more possible questions you can ask:

How Do You Explain Technical Challenges To Stakeholders Who Do Not Have Technical Knowledge Or Backgrounds

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Businesses form software development teams to solve problems for real people. Being deeply immersed in development, its easy to forget this. While some engineers may wish to be provided software requirements and work uninterrupted on a project until its ready, its important to remember that stakeholders in non-technical departmentslike customer success and marketingmust plan around the development. Unforeseen obstacles often present themselves in one form or another, requiring a conversation on how to best solve the problem. Employers want to know that you are able to clearly communicate these obstacles to non-technical stakeholders, ensuring all parties are fully informed when decisions are made.

Example:When confronted with an obstacle, I dont feel it is my job to unilaterally alter the project scope or tell stakeholders that something cant be done. The quality of software is often a matter of balancing scope, cost and time. That balance is a business decision as opposed to a technical one. Rather, I come up with some potential alternatives and present their impact on that balance. For example, if an impediment may significantly push delivery beyond what was projected, I might present an alternative that can meet the current timeline with much of the same scope but will likely diminish the quality and degrade the user experience.

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Facebook Behavioral Interview Questions

Now that youve gotten an idea of what to expect during the Facebook interview process, lets jump into some example questions.

To help you prepare strategically for your job interview, we have used Glassdoor data to identify the real questions asked in different Facebook interviews. The questions weve chosen come from our research on five Facebook tech roles: product manager, software engineer, program manager, product designer, and data scientist.

Youll notice that weve divided the questions into the following categories:

Weve added these categories to make the list of questions easier to understand, starting with the general questions that apply to any job. Each category tests a different quality that Facebook is looking for in its candidates, and the frequency of each question type will vary depending on the role. For instance, interviews for managerial roles will include a higher number of leadership questions.

How To Answer This Important Behavioral Interview Question

Can they talk about others and how they were impacted by them? How were they influenced by somebody else? What are the skills they picked up? Because thats what I want, said Cotten.

I want somebody that will be able to collaborate and see the good in each other. And we all have somebody thats kind of lifted us up and believed in us when we didnt a hundred percent believe in ourselves.

Many people may be tempted to make this question all about themselves. Try to strike a balance between talking about someone who inspires you while still relating your answer back to your approach to the role for which you are interviewing.

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Not Answering The Question

This one also comes down to preparation. If you dont adequately prepare for your interview and have some stories in mind, it can be very difficult to come up with real answers to the questions. Remember that you dont want to sound like a politician who is avoiding the question.

Especially if there are areas that you know you dont have as strong answers for , take some extra time to prepare what you will talk about if you get asked questions in those areas.

If you keep these mistakes in mind as you prepare for your behavioral interviews, youll avoid most of the most costly missteps that people make when answering behavioral questions.

Amazon Behavioral Questions: Learn And Be Curious

Behavioral Interview – How to pass the behavior interview (for software engineers)

Leaders are never done learning and always seek to improve themselves. They are curious about new possibilities and act to explore them.

Amazon demands constant improvement in every part of their business. Youll want to show that you are interested in learning new things and exploring new ideas that can be applied to the job. Some examples listed here are general interview questions, but they provide a perfect opportunity for you to address this principle.

Example behavioral questions asked by Amazon: Learn and be curious

  • Tell me about a time you taught yourself a skill
  • Tell me about something you learned that made you better at your job
  • Tell me about your biggest career failure and what you learned from it

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Non Technical Interview Questions And Answers For Software Developers

But wait theres more!

A subcategory of the behavioral interview involves non technical interview questions for engineers. These are questions that the HR department might use during a phone screen, even before the technical interview or the behavioral interview, and might include non coding technical interview questions.

Here are examples of scenario based interview questions for software developers:

  • How do you approach setting professional goals?
  • Describe your leadership style.
  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • What do you hope to accomplish in your senior role for our company?
  • How will your experience help you contribute to our goals?

Maximize Your Chances Of Being Shortlisted

Do you still have trouble getting shortlisted at some or all of the top tech companies? Your resume could be the issue.

Your resume is the single most important entry point to getting shortlisted in major tech companies like FAANG / MANGA. After getting shortlisted, your past achievements become markedly less important as compared to your coding interview skills – which as we know, can be methodically learnt. Being able to frame your past achievements well enough to get through the screening stage is hence very important.

Unfortunately, even the most qualified candidates I know personally don’t know how to write a good resume and fail to get shortlisted. The truth is that when many of us don’t get shortlisted at top tech companies like FAANG / MANGA, we tend to think that we were under-qualified – but in most cases, it’s probably just the lack of good framing.

If you want to learn how to write a good software engineer resume, I’ve written a step-by-step guide here on software engineering resume preparation for companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, with examples for your reference as well.

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