Thoughts on interviewing software engineers pt 2
When chatting with people, sometimes it is immediately obvious that that person is not someone that you want to work with. They may rub you the wrong way, not understand your social abilities, or just not connect on a personal level. I’ve found that when this happens to me, I have a major detraction from the company that is interviewing me. Even in the face of these problems, it is important that you keep your cool and do your best to sell yourself. Regardless of whether or not the company gives you an offer or if you accept or decline that offer, you never know if you may run into people from that company again (or someone from their network).
It also does not to justice to yourself or the company if the interviews that you have are too narrowly focused. If all the tech questions are focused only on say, algorithms or CS fundamentals, then the more seasoned you are in the field, the greater difficulty you will have competing with college grads that just took an exam on that same material 3-4 months ago. This is even more concerning if a company continually harps on a specific technology or platform (such as NoSQL, REST, Spring, etc). It is important that you sell yourself as a candidate that is moldable as well as capable to pick things up quickly. Say for example, your background is in databases, performance scaling, or software design and architecture….then you need to relay your abilities in that area(s) to the company you are chatting with even if they do not probe those skills directly in their interviews.
If you have been in the industry for a while, you might also find that your prior positions may actually hurt your marketability with other firms. If you code daily in shell scripts, someone looking for a Java developer may discount you when you are being evaluated even in the face of a solid interview. To help combat this, it is important to try to open source as much of your other work as possible to give a clear picture to companies about the work that you are capable of. A strong portfolio that highlights your abilities can carry a lot of weight if it is impressive.