Check out a free preview of the full Introduction to Data Structures for Interviews course

The "Common Interview Mistakes" Lesson is part of the full, Introduction to Data Structures for Interviews course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Bianca describes what employers may be looking for in a potential employee, and the most common mistakes in a resume or job application, the coding challenge, the recruiter phone screen, the technical phone screen, and the onsite interview.


Transcript from the "Common Interview Mistakes" Lesson

>> Bianca Gandolfo: I get a lot of questions about at particular steps of an interview, why people bomb, and also a lot of people don't know why they bombed. A lot of times you won't get that feedback, right? There are a lot of reasons for that, maybe the recruiter is busy, maybe it's a liability thing.

So you may not get the feedback that you want when you're dropped off at a particular step. So let's talk about each step, so the resume, looking for relevant experience. Why that might not have gotten through is maybe you're not highlighting the relevant experience. So think about what particular, and this can be hard if this is your first software engineering job, to find out which experiences are the most relevant.

So you can work with a friend or a mentor to kind of draw out those tidbits. Say like you worked in a retail job, maybe you could draw out some sort of data analytics piece, and maybe you did some inventory. Or you could kind of just, even though that's not what you did all day, you did do that.

Or maybe you did some sort of something a little more leadershipy, where you got an award. So you just draw those pieces, and I can highlight your relevant experience. So if you don't have technical experience, think about, okay, what do I have in my experience that is roughly technical or shows that I am some sort of over achiever or a leader in some way?

Also grammar, if you have grammar problems in your resume, that's gonna be an issue. So the coding challenge, maybe your code wasn't clean. Maybe you didn't understand the problem correctly, so you solved the wrong problem. This happens a lot, where people have assumptions about, so you see a lot of the same problems, same challenges, over and over again.

And so you start to form an intuition and assumption about what they're asking. However, this can really, really come back to haunt you when you just jumped to a conclusion. You're not actually fully understanding what the problem is that you're solving, so you're solving a different problem. And so that's the correctness, right?

You're solving the wrong problem, it's incorrect.
>> Bianca Gandolfo: So the recruiter phone screen,
>> Bianca Gandolfo: It's probably unlikely, if you get a recruiter phone screen, it's unlikely that you won't,
>> Bianca Gandolfo: It's unlikely that you will move forward. As long as you seem excited and polite and you have relevant experience that you can talk about.

So if you don't do those things, that's probably a reason why you bombed. Maybe you don't have the relevant experience needed for a particular role, and that wasn't clear on your resume. Maybe you offended your interviewer on accident. Things like that can be a reason that you fail.

But typically, the recruiter phone screen is just to see if you're nice, if you have relevant experience. They're not technical, so it's not a technical issue, it's more of a marketing yourself issue. Similar with the resume, marketing yourself appropriately. And then the technical phone screen, this is where this course and the future courses and the last course come in.

And reasons why you bombed is you didn't know all your basic data structures and algorithms. Not that you even really need them on the job most of the time. However, it shows that you didn't prepare, right? If you didn't study a linked list and you go into an interview, they ask you about a linked list.

You can't just say, well we don't really use linked lists in React or whatever you may be doing. It just shows that you're not dedicated, you're not cramming the night before with your cracking the coding interview. Trying to figure out what a linked list is again. So maybe they asked you about a project and you weren't able to articulate your contribution on it.

So that's like a flag that you might be lying on your resume, so be careful. So any bullet you have on your resume, make sure that you're able to discuss it. At least one thing about it, like a challenge you had, or an interesting thing, or just the specifics of how you went about doing it.

Like what libraries you may have used, and maybe even why would be great. So similar skills needed for the onsite interview, except with more perseverance, right? So reasons you might have bombed this one is, maybe you stayed up too late and you're really tired, by the end of it you got burnt out.

Again, your data structures in algorithms, you won't personable, you didn't communicate well during your interview. So maybe you got stuck, and instead of talking through why you were stuck, you just stared at the white board and just blanked. Instead of communicating, like hm, I was thinking of going down this route, but now I'm seeing that maybe we can't do that because of x, y, z.

So I'm just gonna take a moment and think about what other options I have. So this is showing, this isn't just you just like, deer in the headlights like this. Your communicating clearly, it shows that you're able to collaborate well, even in a hard time. It gives your interviewer an opportunity to give you a hint as well.

So those are some reasons that you bombed and some skills that you may need. Kind of my brain dump to you.
>> Bianca Gandolfo: Yeah, and if you ever get frustrated, that's a red flag, so be mindful of your emotional regulation. Especially, it's a high pressure environment, just so you know, you don't wanna get frustrated.

Learn Straight from the Experts Who Shape the Modern Web

  • In-depth Courses
  • Industry Leading Experts
  • Learning Paths
  • Live Interactive Workshops
Get Unlimited Access Now