Treat your Mock Technical Interviews as a real interview

So you just graduated from a Coding Bootcamp! Congratulations! That is a big achievement and not an easy one to accomplish. After all the intense learning and project building, you’ve come to a point where you start studying for an interview. Definitely do that, but remember to also polish on the basics of what you have learned.

“But I know JavaScript like the back of my hand!”

I’m glad that you are confident enough if you think this way, but being overly confident about something can be your downfall. When it was time for me to ask my interviewer a question, I asked him about what can I improve on more besides my coding skills as someone new to the industry, he then told me about a newbie coder who was too overconfident in their abilities. Even if you have great design skills and your project looks great after walking through your application with your interviewer, it doesn't mean much when you’re asked:

“So what is the virtual Dom and what’s the difference to a real one?”

“How do you start a counter after the page loads?”

“Show me how to clear a setInterval in React!”

and you pause or don’t have a clear answer to that. While your project shows that you have some skills in building a good application, it also tells the interviewer you are still lacking in the basic fundamentals of the programming language you are working on. Anyone who has access to the internet can learn to build an application, but do you learn from it?

There are a lot of resources on interview questions, I did mine on React.js. There’s a list at the bottom of this page if you are interested and want to read more in-depth answers.

When you’re thinking of an answer or a strategy to write down your code, let your interviewer know your thoughts. What I mean is to let him/her know you are thinking of a method to go through the problem, so your interviewer doesn’t assume that you don't know the answer.

If you are taking too long without saying anything, your interviewer will start giving out hints and ask questions that could lead you to a solution, when you actually have a strategy and just needed more time. Let them know! It will be better if you can solve it yourself. Oh, you will get bonus points if you are able to fix mistakes when they point them out on your code!

Most interviewers will give you a hint when you’re stuck, or going down the wrong path when they ask you to code something. When that happens, it helps to do some pseudo-coding (Writing a code in plain English to help you understand what you want to code) or plan out what you’re going to write first.

If you are stuck entirely, do not hesitate to ask for a hint. Not everyone can remember every single syntax for the language they're working on, so don’t be afraid to ask, nicely!

My interviewer made it clear that I can google something during the code challenge, but not to read any notes that I wrote myself or sneak a peek from codes I wrote previously. They are looking at your ability to figure out and solve problems yourself. Practice your googling skills!

If you are being interviewed by someone in a role that you are looking to apply for, definitely ask for questions and feedback! You don’t want to miss the opportunity to know more about what it’s like being in the role, what the culture is like, and working in your dream company.

Flatiron School gave their graduates a token for an interview through SkilledInc. , so you’re supposed to get written feedback on the website from your interviewer. I recommend also asking for feedback during the call! I received more feedback than the one my interviewer wrote for me.

Even if it is a mock interview, it is good etiquette to send a thank-you email to the interviewer. You never know if you might need to get in touch with this person in the future, especially if he/she works in a company you’re interested in. You might also get additional learning material, which is always appreciated.

Sources:

Aspiring Software Engineer, currently a student at Flatiron School Software Engineering Program

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