Interviews: the good, the bad, and the (sort of) ugly

Now that I am pretty much off the interview treadmill, I just want to quickly write down my experience in the last 2-ish months. Hopefully some of this will give recruiters/HR/someone a bit better understanding of what I (and hopefully other developers) look for during an interview.


The good

  • One of the company give very clear goal on what they want to validate from the code challenge, and I think that is a very good thing. It ensure I spent my time and effort in the right place, and it probably also allows them to ensure all the code challenges are reflecting 1 specific criteria.
  • Face to face/more personal code challenge allows both sides to know more about what it’s like to work with each other.
  • Code challenges and interview questions that actually related to what the position will be about is awesome. For mid to low level Android Developer, you will probably be spending most of your time dealing with just lifecycle issues, tweaking UIs, and high level business requirements. It would be awesome if you are good at algorithms, design patterns, architectures, etc., but they are not a deal breaker if you are not familiar with them. And for senior to lead developers, especially when you are working with a team of people, it will probably be exactly the opposite, since your job will probably involve a lot more management(-ish) tasks. Most companies seems to be able to get that right.

The bad

  • Lack of transparency in the process. I know this is how it’s been done for generations, but it does not make it feel any better. At some point I really want to work in much more transparent environment, including open salary. (For more information, just Google how GitLab works, and an episode of Adam Ruins Everything on workplace thing, but I forgot the episode number right now)
  • Vanish. After going through a couple of steps, if you think I am not suitable/qualify/whatever, just send a quick email to let me know. That is not hard to do, right? I am not asking you to reply to every single application (although I think that should be more and more possible with automation), just reply to those who got rejected from the short list.
  • A very small amount of them basically over-sell the position. Basically they over-hyped it, and when it missed my perception/expectation, it basically go straight to the trash. This is more of a personal thing I guess: I prefer honest and even under-hyped over “you are not lying as long as you has the intention” kind of hype, but that is a whole other topic on it’s own.

The ugly

  • Random recruiters that looks like they are just collecting profiles for some reason? I got a couple of messages with somebody else’s name, a few with the most generic message that you can imagine, and a few that doesn’t even sounds like they know what they are looking for. Is this what the recruiting industry is doing? Why?
  • There is 1 company in particular that confuses me the most. No details on who they are, what they do, or just steps in the process, but in general I am still not sure what position they what me to fill when they reach out to me in the first place, and I end up doing multiple interviews, some of them probably are not what I am looking for. I definitely should have let them know about this, so let’s call it 80/20 ok?

Is there any takeaway here? Probably not much. Looking for a job is always going to be hard, tedious, annoying, etc, and I also understand that recruiter/HR/whatever’s job is also the same. Maybe if we all have a better understanding of how each other thinks, we can do it in a more collaborative way and make both of our life just a bit easier.

Louis Tsai

Louis Tsai

if someone can give me a lesson of how to adult that’d be great thank you.
Berlin