Red flags I saw while doing 60 technical interviews in 30 days



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Hello, Aline (founding father of here. We’re attempting something fresh. Up till now, all posts on this blog were written by workers or contractors. Why? Frankly, it’s exhausting to search out immense instruct material within the recruiting home. There’s so great fluff and defective suggestion out there, and we didn’t prefer any a part of that.

The quite quite a lot of day though, I became discovering out Hacker News and saw an editorial by Uduak Obong-Eren about how he did over 60 technical interviews in 30 days and what he realized from that gauntlet of an experience. I believed it became factual, inclined, successfully-written, and brimming with actionable suggestion. So, I reached out to him to search out if he’d are attempting to write something else. Thankfully, he did, and the article below is the inaugural post in what I am hoping will change into our Guest Author series. That you just would be able to possibly learn extra about Uduak within the bio below.

A brief say on epic of here is the main time we’re doing this. Certainly one of many issues I’m most thinking about with this fresh Guest Author series is the diversity of opinions this will simply bring to our blog. Technical interviewing and hiring is fraught with controversy, and no longer all the issues these posts contain will seemingly be in accordance to my opinions or the legit opinions of However that’s what’s immense about. After over a decade on this commerce, I *mutedon’t exclaim there’s a appropriate formulation to conduct interviews, and I feel hiring is as soon as in a while going to be reasonably a huge quantity on epic of it’s a basically human course of. Even if we don’t always agree, I enact promise that the instruct material we effect forth will seemingly be curated, high of the diversity, and written by tidy of us that are hooked in to this home.

Now, off we lope!

Uduak Obong-Eren is a Machine Engineer essentially based completely mostly within the San Francisco Bay Role who is hooked in to architecting and constructing scalable utility systems. He has about five years of commerce experience and holds a Masters in Machine Engineering from Carnegie Mellon College. He is furthermore an launch supply fanatic and writes technical articles – that you’ll seemingly be ready to thought some of his writings at He severely enjoys conducting free mock technical interviews to support other folks earn successfully at technical interviewing. That you just would be able to possibly notice him on Twitter @meekg33k.

What’s the one teach that it’s doubtless you’ll even see out for ought to you needed to be half of a firm?

Sometime between January and February 2020, I well-known to alternate jobs and became taking a see to be half of a brand fresh firm. This, among numerous reasons, led me to embark on a marathon of technical interviews – 60+ technical interviews in 30 days

Doing that many decision of interviews within the sort of brief whereas meant I had a charming mix of experiences from the assorted companies I interviewed with, every with their odd culture and values that typically mirrored within the formulation their interviews were conducted, deliberately or no longer.

Listed here, I could be sharing one of the most crucial red flags I noticed whereas I became on this marathon of technical interviews. I could no longer be pointing out names of any companies on epic of that’s no longer the intent at the support of this text. 

The aim of this text is furthermore no longer to effect you paranoid and be on the hunt for red flags to your subsequent interview, a long way from it. Reasonably the purpose is to equip you with info to enable you to appropriate away title the right same or equivalent red flags to your subsequent interview, and confidently identifying them will location you up to higher tackle them. 

Though the reports I’ll be sharing near from my marathon of technical interviews, these red flags enact no longer notice handiest to technical interviews. They notice to every form of interviews and so there’s plenty to learn here for everyone.

The Crimson Flags

Your interviewer is handiest launch to solving the enviornment ONE formulation

Within the arena of computing and in lifestyles generally, for any given enviornment, there might be in total bigger than one formulation to solve that enviornment. As an instance, given a sorting enviornment, that it’s doubtless you’ll solve it the usage of a merge-form algorithm or a heap form algorithm. 

Having this successfully off decision of ways to solve a enviornment makes it even extra attention-grabbing and the widespread expectation in technical interviews is that you’d like to contain the flexibleness to solve a enviornment the usage of your most standard methodology.

I had an interview where the interviewer requested me to solve an algorithmic enviornment. I had started solving the enviornment the usage of a selected methodology when the interviewer stopped me in my tracks and requested that I exploit yet any other methodology. 

When I probed a bit further to dangle why, it looked that the cause he requested that I mature the 2d wasn’t to take a look at my info of that 2d methodology; it became on epic of he became extra ‘cheerful’ with that formulation.

It’s miles numerous if the interviewer needs to take a look at your info of something very particular. As an instance, given a enviornment that might possibly possibly furthermore be solved the usage of iteration and recursion, the interviewer might possibly possibly are attempting to take a look at your info of recursion and might possibly possibly ask you to solve the enviornment recursively. That wasn’t the case here.

I stopped up the usage of both ways and mentioned the commerce-offs but frankly that experience left a defective model in my mouth severely on epic of that interview became with the hiring manager — my would-be manager, who is any person that might possibly severely have an effect on your occupation state and trajectory. 

Undue strain to settle for a proposal letter

It’s very involving and fulfilling ought to you wade by all preliminary phases of a technical interview, by to the onsite interview (remote or in-particular person) after which you gather that “Congratulations , we’re elated to give you…” e mail.

Alternatively, that pleasure on the total turns into short-lived when there might be a few fabricate of strain out of your rapidly-to-be employer to settle for the provide. It’s a bit extra unmanageable when the strain comes from any individual in HR or the recruiter, but when it’s from the hiring manager, that might possibly possibly furthermore be harder to tackle.

That became the case for me after I interviewed with a startup essentially based completely mostly in Palo Alto. They were a tiny firm by formulation of workers energy. My onsite interview with them had long gone reasonably successfully. I had an genuine dialog with the hiring manager and an even better dialog with the VP of Engineering, so great so that I might possibly possibly uncover that I became going to be prolonged a proposal. I requested to dangle how lengthy I needed to settle for the provide letter and I became suggested seventy-two hours.

The provide letter arrived later that night, and it regarded immense — a six-figure provide with out a doubt didn’t seem bask in a defective launch. I became furthermore at the closing stage of the interview course of with numerous companies too and fortuitously, I had ample time to negotiate and settle for the provide, or so I believed. 

Then the strain started, incessant calls from the hiring manager and the VP of Engineering, support-to-support emails, all internal the allotted time. So great became the strain that it got to a diploma where I wasn’t effective I well-known to negotiate the provide anymore. I became down the provide.

I became down the provide on epic of the experience got me thinking concerning the firm’s work culture. Had been the ideas employed by the firm to earn me to settle for the provide indicative of their work culture? Within the event that they well-known to earn something executed, how a long way would they lope? 

Now don’t earn me defective, sure the firm needs to employ you, sure the recruiting team needs to ‘close the deal’ nonetheless, it’s very critical to listen to how the firm does this. Make they live professional about it?

A firm’s values lope past what they philosophize, it shows in what they enact and how they enact it.

Now not ample clarity about your position

Among the assorted reasons why that it’s doubtless you’ll possibly also be half of a firm is your desire to be fascinated with precious work. I had the different to be half of a US firm essentially based completely mostly in Boulder, Colorado. They had shriveled a recruiting agency to support them fetch any individual to have a Machine Engineer location in their firm. 

The hiring course of started with an exploratory interview with the recruiting agency intently followed by a 2d interview with a recruiter from the firm. In both interviews, I couldn’t earn a obvious sense of the critical parts of my particular position became — what team I might possibly possibly be on, what kinds of projects I’d be working on, what the occupation state pathway became, etc. 

I take into accout that infrequently companies might possibly possibly furthermore be going by restructuring, but that didn’t seem just like the case here. It gave the impression extra bask in the firm became fascinated with completing their headcount. Though there’s nothing defective with completing a headcount, I feel there might be all the issues defective with no longer having a obvious cause for a position for a few reasons:

  • It formulation the position might possibly possibly simply no longer be essential to the firm’s core commerce.
  • If the position isn’t that critical, it might possibly most likely possibly simply imply when a layoff comes, your home will seemingly be impacted.

On a extra internal most say, I don’t are attempting to be ideally obliging a quantity. I are attempting to work at a location where I truly contain the different to make a contribution in an impactful formulation, and I recall to mediate that it’s doubtless you’ll too. So it’s critical to earn clarity about your position, for where you are this day and for future occupation state.

Consistent lack of hobby or low morale from interviewers

When taking a see to be half of a firm, one amongst the stuff you simply must care about is the team you’ll pause up working on. At the very least 25% of your waking hours will seemingly be spent interacting with that team whether or no longer in-particular person or virtually.

Interviews give you an different to experience firsthand what this will simply see recall to work along with your prospective teammates, severely since, except you’re interviewing at a friendly firm, your interviewers are inclined to vary into your teammates.

If by the total numerous phases of the interview course of, you experience a fixed lack of hobby or low morale out of your interviewers, that it’s doubtless you’ll are attempting to listen . 

When I skilled that in some unspecified time in the future of one amongst my interviews, I couldn’t precisely uncover what the cause became, but I knew something ideally obliging wasn’t appropriate. After some internal tussle, I decided to belief my gut emotions and ended the interview course of with the firm. 

Quickly ahead to two months after, two of my interviewers (would-be teammates) had left the firm and joined yet any other firm (no I wasn’t stalking, I ideally obliging checked on LinkedIn). 

Now I’m no longer announcing that in some unspecified time in the future of the interview course of, there won’t be one or two of us, who on epic of of their busy schedules, would contain most standard to be doing something else reasonably than interviewing. Yet, when all the interviewers don’t are attempting to be there, you absolutely are attempting to listen to that.

A scarcity of hobby or low morale will seemingly be pointers to a combination of any of the next:

  • Your prospective team-mates will seemingly be experiencing burnout.
  • Some internal dissatisfaction with firm — culture, insurance policies, something, something else.
  • The team isn’t that in you (exhausting tablet to swallow?), possibly they don’t gape you as a lengthy-term rent.

Or it might possibly most likely possibly be for reasons that I truly contain no longer included here, but I implore you to no longer ignore this red flag ought to you gape it to your subsequent interview.

Your interviewers aren’t ready for the interview

Private you ever been in an interview sooner than where the interviewer doesn’t seem to contain any inquiries to ask you? Have confidence me it’ll earn truly awkward.

That became my experience in some unspecified time in the future of a technical cell telephone-display cloak interview with an academic abilities firm essentially based completely mostly in California. The interviewer wasn’t ready for our interview and didn’t contain any questions at hand. He wasn’t even effective of who he became interviewing and what position I became interviewing for. It wasn’t a friendly experience.

I take into accout that there are a myriad of reasons why interviewers might possibly possibly simply no longer be ready for an interview. A pair of of which embody:

  • Lack of lawful planning by the HR/recruiting team.
  • Final-minute adjustments on the interviewee.
  • Busy schedules for the interviewer.
  • The interviewer ideally obliging wasn’t ready.

I in total won’t act on this red flag in isolation. I could be taking a search numerous red flags in a lisp to manufacture a cluster of patterns sooner than making any decision.

Lack of a obvious route on where the firm is headed

It’s fulfilling to be a bit of a firm that is fascinated with essential work that creates impress for its customers. Becoming a member of the sort of firm would imply that it’s doubtless you’ll contain the contain to make a contribution  in helping the group meet its dreams. This invariably formulation the group must contain some dreams appropriate?

I became contacted by a startup essentially based completely mostly in San Francisco by AngelList. I had a first introductory call with a recruiter from the firm, intently followed by a cell telephone display cloak technical interview. 

In both interviews, even though the interviewers shared some critical parts concerning the firm, there became a form of vagueness and concerning the firm’s route and where the firm became headed. 

I severely undergo in thoughts that one request I requested at the time, became about how the firm would take care of its rising competitors. Sadly, the solutions I got didn’t seem convincing and the firm later got obtained by the competitors.

Whenever you occur to are interviewing to be half of a firm, you are promoting bigger than ideally obliging your abilities, but furthermore your self — your odd experience. While it’s critical to enact that, I feel it’s equally critical that the firm ought with a thought to sell you on its imaginative and prescient and what it hopes to attain.

When I feel of joining a firm, I portray myself in that firm for the next 2–5 years. If my imaginative and prescient for where I are attempting to be in my occupation doesn’t align with the firm’s imaginative and prescient, that might possibly possibly be a mismatch that shouldn’t be no longer successfully-known.


We infrequently point of interest extra on securing the job and even though which might be very critical, even extra critical than getting the job is staying fulfilled on the job. For me, fulfillment meant joining a firm that had a obvious imaginative and prescient of where they were headed, working ready that became essential to the firm’s commerce whereas being outfitted with a form of state alternatives

Confidently, these red flags I truly contain shared will equip you to effect better selections on what companies you to contemplate to develop your occupation with. I’d generally no longer say making a decision essentially based completely mostly on one or two red flags, but ought to you gape a cluster of red flags, you shouldn’t ignore them. I wish you basically the most attention-grabbing to your occupation stagger.

In case you ever need any individual to enact a mock interview with you, truly feel free to schedule one here otherwise that you’ll seemingly be ready to attain out in an instant to me on Twitter @meekg33k.

In closing, ought to you’d bask in a list of issues to ask companies whereas you’re interviewing that might possibly possibly simply enable you to title these red flags (and others!) sooner, dangle a see at this one.

And, ought to that it’s doubtless you’ll contain something to claim about your adventures in interviewing or hiring, write a customer post on our blog! Please e mail me at to earn started.

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