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Kelly 0:00
interviewing is hard. And while we probably all focus on primarily the technical interviews, the behavioral interviews can make or break your success. In two previous episodes, we discuss data structures and algorithms as well as the front end technical interview process. This week, we're covering the behavioral and cultural side of interviews, essentially the rest of the interview that doesn't include the technical questions. Let's get started.

Welcome to the Ladybug podcast. I'm Kelly.

Unknown Speaker 0:28
I'm Allie. And I'm Emma. And we're debugging the tech industry.

Kelly 0:33
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Using amplify you can quickly get up and running with things like hosting authentication, managed graph qL server list functions, API's machine learning chat boss in storage for files like images, videos and PDFs amplifiers built especially in a way to enable traditionally front end developers like myself to be special. cessful because they can use their existing skill set to build real world full stack apps that in the past would require deep knowledge around backend DevOps and scalable infrastructure to amplify console vent allows you to use the GitHub repository to deploy a globally available CDN with ci NCD built in, learn more, visit AWS dash Alright, so to start off this episode, let's kind of recap you know, what we talked about in the previous two episodes with the resumes and the technical interviews so we can kind of put this in an overall picture of when we're talking behavioral interviews with a non technical questions, what part of the interview process are we actually talking about? Emma, do you want to walk us through this?

Unknown Speaker 1:39
Okay, so

Kelly 1:43
I'm in a weird way and Okay, so, um, flow of a technical interview, essentially, you start this whole process when you created and submitted your resume. You were then likely contacted by a recruiter, and your first phone call with that recruiter is going to be part of the process we'll discuss today. This is going to be your first introductory interview with someone internal to the company. So we'll talk about phone screens in just a few minutes. From there, if you pass that phone screen, you'll either have a coding challenge or like a take home assessment, you might even have both depending upon the company. And if you do well with those, which we discussed in the previous episode that will have linked in the show notes, then you'll likely go for an onsite interview. And a lot of companies this onsite interview will be mostly coding, it's not unlikely to spend half a day a full day coding with Team B, you'll also encounter some non technical in terms of coding interviews, and this is what we're going to discuss today. So it'll be a combination of the phone screen as well as the cultural fit or behavioral interview that you might have on an on site. So why don't we start with the phone screen and yeah, we had discussed resumes in a previous episode, your resume, don't create it and throw it over the wall and forget what you put on there. Like please remember what's on your resume because they will likely ask you like questions about your past experiences or the projects you've listed or a skill that you might have written down. Kelly, I know you hire or like you are in a position to hire people. How how big of an impact as resume play in your first conversation with someone, it depends on the application. And like in our case, we do ask some additional questions about, you know, specific work examples and things like that. But you know, for the most part, especially when you're interviewing with companies, all you really have to go off of is the actual resume that that they're that you're sending company. So we're going to be reviewing that resume, we're going to be asking you questions about that resume, and it really it kind of forms the basis of the the questions so we can get to know who you are.

Emma 3:44
Ellie, what about you? What's your experience with these kinds of like cultural fit phone screens?

Ali 3:49
Yeah, so I think you all have explained it pretty well, but they just mostly ask about your experience and make sure that it lines up at least Roughly with the requirements, because we talked about this before, but it's kind of a waste of everybody's time, if somebody is just their experience does not line up with the position whatsoever to go through a whole entire interview process. And so it's just kind of a filter for that. And I use it as well as when I'm interviewing, because doing an onsite interview is a huge time suck. And so I want to make sure that it's a role that I'm really, really interested in before taking off a day from work.

Emma 4:29
Yeah, definitely.

Kelly 4:30
And it's quite often, you know, as, as Emma mentioned, you know, speaking with the recruiter about this, in our case, you know, we don't have recruiter, so if you want to be our project manager, and one of our developers if you're interviewing for the developer position, who you're talking to first in the phone screen, so I come in the second interview, I would say Typically, this phone interview is not going to be that high stakes, right in general, they're already taking the time to discuss with you, they're probably going to send you on to this coding channel. If your expectations are kind of equal in terms of so an example where they wouldn't be equal perhaps and you might not move forward as if you're talking to a recruiter in a different state or a different country, and you aren't willing to relocate, and they're not willing to let you work remotely, that might be a deal breaker. But if those kinds of things align, and you exhibit the skills they are looking for, likely you're going to move on to the next round. In this interview, as well, the recruiter will likely tell you about job requirements. So about the role about the product, please read the job description before you go into this because they're going to ask you, so like, do you know what this role is? Like? Do you know what our company does? And if you say no, like, I don't think it'll really affect your chances of moving on, but it does kind of make you look good. It could. It's not as likely it's a key. Yeah, moving on is like if you don't match their skill set, but it makes you look bad and it kind of like if I was a recruiter, I think I would be like, then why are you here? Honestly? Yeah,

Ali 5:55
yeah, yeah. Another thing is that really big companies Sometimes you'll just put it in a generic application. And then during this initial phone screen, the recruiter will match you up with potential jobs that it within the company that would be a good fit. I know, with interviewing at a big search engine company, that's what this this kind of was, was that I had put it or they had recruited me based off of doing a coating competition called Code Jam that they host. And then the first phone screen was just them matching me up with roles internally that might fit my background and my interest. That's really cool that you might be able to see it at really big companies with lots of roles open.

Kelly 6:41
I had no idea that ask jeeves host coach him.

Ali 6:46
Yeah, I know right. There really.

Kelly 6:50
I also want to stay at this point, the recruiter might ask you to your salary expectations. Please never tell them. You should always respond. You know, I want to make sure this is a mutual decision or like, I want to make sure we get along. We This is going to be right for us before we discuss compensation. And we can discuss that later. Once we both recognize that this is a mutual thing that we want to happen. Never give them a number. And there are several reasons and we're going to do a whole episode on salary and negotiations and all that to someone else want to answer this like why you should never tell them your your requested salary. Yeah, from an employer standpoint, you can very much lowball yourself from the very beginning. Like let's say I'm offering $120,000 for a position and you're like, yeah, I'm looking for 60 I'm like, I'm not going to offer you 120. Now that I know that you're only looking for 60. I'm not saying I actually do that I have a very fixed way of of me with my salaries and paying developers but that is a very real thing. I will say there's one caveat to that though, because when you're working with an external recruiter, or sometimes even the internal recruiter, it could also be a like if you're giving a range or if the recruiter offers up arrange at the Beginning like this is kind of what to expect from this position. I know this, this happens in some larger companies where there will be a little like a brief discussion about salary up front, just to make sure that there's something generally in line with what to expect from from the pay. So if it's a lower paying position, you're looking for more money. I know the recruiter would rather not waste your time going through the entire interview process if it's not going to be a good fit that way.

Ali 8:29
Yeah, I have a couple different strategies on this question. And so the first is that it's actually legal in a lot of seats to ask that question. So make sure you know your rights there and can like flag that if it's a seat, but it's illegal. I would say it's probably the majority of the states in the United States. I don't know about internationally. But

Unknown Speaker 8:49
clarify. They're not allowed to ask you what you're currently making. They're not like they could ask you what you

Kelly 8:53
expect. Yeah,

Ali 8:54
yeah. Yeah. They're not allowed to ask what you're currently making. So I'm The big strategy here is to never put down a number first get them to save a number before you do. So you're not low balling yourself. But I do think that asking for a range, as a rebuttal to that question is if they ask you what you're currently making, asking what the range is for the job, I think that that's an appropriate question. Because again, you don't want to go through a bunch of rounds of interviewing if the range is like, way lower than what you make now or something that you would never consider. So I do think that that's an important conversation to have in the earlier maybe the better so that you don't have to go through a bunch of rounds when it's not going to be a good fit.

Kelly 9:39
I have to say, I have to shout out base camp for a moment here because I am trying to model my business after the way base camp operates. They're very open and transparent with their operations and there's so much that you can learn from it. One of the things I absolutely love that they do is that they don't like for all their developers, they're all getting paid the same amount. You know, it's very Based on like, you know, seniority as you move up, they have those different tiers. But when you're applying for the position, the salary is right there in the job listing, so you know exactly what to expect. And they also like base it off of I think like San Francisco salaries. So regardless of where you live, you're still good at getting paid like a San Francisco level salary. Well, now I can't pay that kind of money. But I just love that transparent I don't negotiate either. And if you're following along with our book club, our March book is it doesn't have to be crazy at work. And this is it was written by the founders of Basecamp. And they outwardly discuss the fact that they don't negotiate everyone gets paid the same. So it's a very short book, very readable, like I started this morning, I'm halfway through so I highly recommend it for anyone. But just a cup. So yeah, it's such a good book for me as a reread and to discuss it real for me and the first time I listened to the audio book, which is also really good, but um, that's a tangent of, well, it's new to me, so

Ali 10:58
I'll be the new in the conversation. I can't,

Kelly 11:01
it's still going to be good discussion. Also, I don't know if this episode is releasing before our I guess it might be releasing before there are podcast episode Really? Yeah,

Ali 11:08
it is. So read it and discuss with us put your thoughts in our Goodreads group. I

Unknown Speaker 11:16
just had a couple more points before we move forward to the next piece of this interview. But two points one, if you do get a recruiter to give you a number first, or if you're in the process of you've gotten a an offer and you're going to negotiate, the first number they give you is not going to be their highest, they always start low and there's always room for them to go up. So just be aware of that like never taken offer at face value. And there was a tweet thread going round by this woman who I believe is a lawyer. It's really really good. We'll link it in the show notes as well. And she discusses why you should always negotiate never take a face value so willing that the second is going to be that you're gonna receive different salary ranges. Between a startup and one of these tech giants so be aware of that. And also be aware of like the average pay scale for someone in your seniority level in your region because those are going to vary greatly.

Ali 12:14
I think the site to look at is the levels I Oh, right. Is that the I'm gonna make sure that that's the right URL. Yes. No, no. I was gonna say what

Kelly 12:28
some guy with four Huskies in fun anyway.

Ali 12:34
Yeah. So there's this um, levels, FYI. So it's that FYI not I Oh,

Unknown Speaker 12:43
the other least it was still a safer word. But at least you didn't send people to like this really not safe for workplace.

Ali 12:51
Yeah, it looks like a really fun blog. So

Kelly 12:54
it's like a digital nomad. It's a very early officially backing this blog now. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 13:01
Free sponsorship.

Ali 13:04
But levels dot FYI has the different levels of salary at the different large tech companies. So you can see all of the Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon apple and all the unicorns as well. So the hottest startups and so you can definitely check out that site to see what they pay at different roles and yeah, geographically that's going to range a lot. The middle of the country in the United States usually pays a lot less than the coast. Well,

Unknown Speaker 13:35
that's what I was wondering like, do they aggregate cross countries too because even cross country this is going to vary greatly.

Ali 13:43
I think it's San Francisco based but I'm not hundred percent sure.

Unknown Speaker 13:47
It's weird because like in the recent salary submissions, they even have like, they had one for Dublin. So it might aggregate. Yeah, there's an average but when you're dealing cross currencies like that stuff gets weird. So it's a definitely great say if you're in the US, I would definitely check it out. But if you're in Europe, I would just be tentative that like it might not be accurate.

Unknown Speaker 14:05

Ali 14:06
definitely. Especially since salaries are a lot lot different expect we did that, um, Twitter thread the other day of people's salaries. Think it was shocking how different they were from Europe.

Unknown Speaker 14:21
We could have done a whole episode on like the

Unknown Speaker 14:25
Twitter feed, like when we do our salaries and negotiation episode, we should absolutely talk. Yeah, we should. Absolutely. It's really fascinating. back on topic. So once you've passed once you've passed the phone interview. Once you've gone through the coding challenges, you should be invited to an onsite most companies will do an onsite interview day. If you're not local. They might not fly out. You might do these remotely, which is totally fine. This is where you're going to get the majority of harder questions to answer and this is where more of the preparations going to come in. There is the So when I interviewed at a few big companies, they talked a lot about agile. Actually at our current company they meet have candidates meet with our Scrum masters to discuss agile workflow. So if you're unfamiliar with agile, you might just want to go check it out. It's it's a workflow methodology, you should be familiar with Scrum as well be able to just talk about your experience with it.

Unknown Speaker 15:21
And and then we're if

Kelly 15:23
you don't have experience with it, right, right, just

be aware of what it is and, and be able to talk to it if you do have experience and just, you know, be forthcoming if you don't. But then let's talk about behavioral slash cultural fit questions. Kelly, you want to lean into this? I yeah. So this is a very important part of our interview process, because we're a very small team. And so every single person on our team has to be a really good cultural fit. So when we're, you know, when I'm doing these interview questions, this is really where it comes into interview with me as well. you're wanting to have a couple examples for various behavioral questions. And I mean, we can we can link to some examples of questions that, that are often asked in an interview. But honestly, you can do really quick Google search for it. There are a ton of really great websites that just list up the type of questions to expect. And then just to give you some examples now, you know, it might be like, tell me about a time when you were experiencing a conflict with within your team? And how did you go about solving for that? Or tell me about a time where a project didn't go as expected? And how did you recover from that? So I mean, they're they're a lot like you're experiential, kind of kind of questions that I'm being that I'm asking. I'm trying Why don't you Why don't we do a little mock behavioral interview like ask one of us ask us a question and let's see how we would answer this on the spot because I think that's useful. No, but I am scared. I mean, pull up my

Unknown Speaker 16:57
gosh, okay. So

Kelly 16:59
and this Is this is also like for them like an employer's kind of tip. I don't know what book this came from, I will find out and put it in the show notes because my husband actually walked me through this process where basically I created a scorecard for what it looks like to be a developer at the tap room. And I listed This is the mission of the position. These are the outcomes, I expect you to get a you know, to achieve, I guess, and then the professional and cultural competencies that are associated with this role. So in terms of like cultural competencies, I'm talking about being communicative, communicative, having a sense of humor, you're socially aware, you're outgoing, you find opportunities to support others, things like that. And then I i frame my questions around addressing the cultural competencies and the professional competencies. So now that I have that, let me pull up my interview questions. And I will give you an example of one. And if you don't know how to answer these questions, just take us just take a moment. Maybe be explicit about that. Be like Oh, let me think about this for just two few moments like it's not a big deal. It's actually better I would say to pause, think about an answer and kind of formulate it in your mind before you just start like word vomiting, because I've done the word word vomit thing, and then you get all flustered and it can kind of affect your performance moving forward. So just take a moment. Yes, okay. I have a Have a good one that actually one of my employees suggested adding to the interview process. So let's say you came across an issue with another developers code somebody else on your team, maybe it was a bad practice, or it wasn't performance, or it was causing other issues on the site? How would you go about addressing that with the developer?

Unknown Speaker 18:38
I would burn it all. And not I'm kidding.

Emma 18:44
Okay, so if this were me, and because I work on an international team cross cultural I have. So we're going to link this in the show notes because I don't stop talking about this book is called the culture map. To be fair, I haven't discussed it in a while. It's called the culture maps by Aaron Meyer. She just got How different cultures communicate and collaborate effectively. And when you work with people from other cultures, they give feedback, specifically negative constructive criticism, and different ways. So just to give a high level before I get into my answer, because I work with Germans primarily, Germans are, I believe it's high context, oh my gosh, I don't know. I'm gonna butcher like the actual language. But basically, Germans are much more direct, and where other cultures fall on the scale, like their absolute positioning doesn't matter where they are, if they're low context or high context communicators, what matters is where they are relative to you. And as an American, we like to kind of rap constructive criticism and in a present, and we're not very straightforward about things. So if someone gave a presentation would be like, Hey, I really enjoyed your talk. You know, you did a really good job on A, B and C. This part you know, I was still a little uncertain maybe next time you could go into more details but overall great job and so you kind of cushion the blow with like a nice like pillow. Hug. In Germany, they're much more direct. And they would just be like, hey, next time you should be more, you know, you should go into more detail about this because it really wasn't clear. And they might not even give you a compliment. And that's fine. So if I were addressing this on an international team,

Unknown Speaker 20:18
I would try to be straightforward in a way that they're going to understand what I mean. But do so in a nice way. So first of all, I would pull them one on one I would not do this in a group setting very few cultures it's okay to publicly give someone feedback

Kelly 20:35
humiliate somebody. Yeah, I

Unknown Speaker 20:37
know some cultures that's actually a given. I think Denmark is very straightforward about giving their constructive criticism in front of a group and that's actually preferred. But in Asia, you would never do that in front of a group. It's actually very insulting so I think it's always better to err on the side of caution pull them aside just one on one and be like, hey, like, talk me through your solution here. Like what were you thinking? What was your thought process and understanding like putting yourself in their shoes can do two things. One, it might make them realize that oh my gosh, this is causing an issue and I see it now. or two, it might just let you get a better understanding of where they're coming from. And when you understand where they're coming from, it's easier for you to guide them to the better solution, right? So like, all right, if we take an example of like, non performing code, for example, let's say someone wrote a nested for loop, which we know is not a great performance runtime at O of n squared. Just say like, hey, what was your reasoning? Maybe they needed to find, I don't know, sort an array of integers? I don't know. Right? And so getting them talking about their their thought process be like, Well, you know, I wasn't really sure I had to compare every item against itself. And then you can ask them questions to guide them to the right solution and be like, Well, is there a way to break this into smaller and smaller pieces, so you're not having to do as much comparisons and, you know, potentially might be more for format, and I think that's going to alleviate this level of embarrassment they might feel if you just came at them like hey, this codes Tara Well it's not performance and it's a learning experience for both of you so I that's how I would approach is more like a teaching experiment than a public humiliation experiment. That's a Can I just like to pause for just a second because I want to kind of go back to the feedback kind of conversation you were talking about. The feedback sandwich you rap negative feedback around good feedback is terrible. The other

Kelly 22:24
way around tell is you not give negative criticism around a compliment.

You rap negative feedback around positive note, you wrap it in

negative feedback, because like, actually,

your presentation was terrible. I loved your slide design, but you're terrible.

You're awful.

Okay, yes. Let's let me fix that positive feedback, the negative feedback than positive feedback. Don't do that. There's a book called radical candor or candor by Kim Scott. She calls it this shit sandwich. for very good reason. I'm going to I'm going to add that to the show notes as well as just the the book in general, really, really helpful. And also, there is an episode. I don't remember what the podcast called work life, I think it's by Adam Grant. It's like a TED talk podcast. They, one of the first episode of the podcast is all about giving or like dealing with criticism. And he also goes more into detail about the about accepting criticism, and it's a really fascinating episode. So I'm going to also add that to the show notes. Now we can carry on with interesting thing. Well, how was My answer? I mean, it was long winded, because I gave an intro to community Oh, yeah.

You just like ate up the entire interview time for one question.

Unknown Speaker 23:40
Well, okay. But I had before I gave my answer.

Kelly 23:44
No, it was it was a very good answer. And those are the kinds of things that I'd be looking for, like, are you going to attack somebody? Or are you going to work through them? The fact that you approach it from it, let's work through this together. Let me let talk me through your thought process as opposed to you did something wrong. It shows them more or less Like a higher level of leadership and mentorship, and that is something that I would be looking for an apology fair though Kelly I would not have educated like my interviewer on the culture map that was just for our podcast listeners, like my answer would have taken a minute and a half max. Just want to clarify.

Thank you for clarifying because I was i'm not sure i want to

Unknown Speaker 24:18
Can I ask Alia behavioral interview question? Do it. I don't know if it's behavioral or just, I think it's behavioral. So you're gonna hate me for this one ready? But like, what's your biggest weakness?

Ali 24:29
Oh, my goodness. This is the quintessential question.

Unknown Speaker 24:33
I know.

Kelly 24:35
Are you just gonna talk about your tweet, Emma? Is that

why you bringing this up? What do you mean my tweet? What tweet?

The tweet that just centered up on programmer humor. The rebase

Unknown Speaker 24:45
Oh, no, I was gonna say chocolate was mine. Chocolate is my biggest weakness.

Unknown Speaker 24:50
No, actually, I do know what I would say to that question. And it would just be the fact that I over commit to things because I'm too excited and that it's a positive weakness, right? Like I'm excited about stuff but I overcome it and then my work quality suffers, that would be my answer.

Kelly 25:04
That's a good one. If you give answers like, I just, I love my job too much, and I'm too dedicated to it. Please don't do that.

I can give an example of one of mine. Not that I have many weaknesses or anything like that. from a management standpoint, I really struggle with delegation, I can get things done a lot faster doing it myself, then teaching somebody else

how to do that. And there's something everything that's Yeah, me too.

That is something I'm working on.

Unknown Speaker 25:30
I'm right there with you. I don't like letting go. But what I would say when you're answering this question, because you probably will get this, spin it as a positive or not spin it as a positive necessarily, but indicate to them that you're aware of this and you're taking steps to mitigate it, right. So like, for me, it would be like yeah, I overcome it. Two things. So I tried to limit the amount of things that I will commit to in a month so I don't take on any more than three active things at a time. Kelly, yours might be

Kelly 25:59
Yeah, I don't know, management books to

read it. No. I mean, I will say like trying to spin this question as a positive I, as an employer, I can see right through that, well

Unknown Speaker 26:11
not as a positive, but like just make, like, make it known, you know, like that you are aware and working on

Kelly 26:17
it. I want I want transparency. I want honesty, I want that I want to know the fact that you you know, you've been thinking about these kinds of things and how you can better yourself.

Ali 26:26
I think mine would be along the lines of, I think, is probably might as well saying yes to everything, especially last year, but trying to be really good about like saying no to things and prioritizing what I actually want to do and what's the most important for me to accept for my major goals. But then the other one is that I can be I can kind of just go along with things and not necessarily assert myself as much in some conversations. And so that's something that I'm working on, as well. But I am also not interviewing and very far outside of the interview game. I haven't done a job interview and maybe four years or something like that. So I don't have these questions prepped.

Kelly 27:15
I also want to be clear that interviewing is a skill. It is something you get better at with practicing not only on the being the interviewee, but also being the interviewer. So you can definitely tell when you go into an interview as like a candidate, and you're talking to somebody who is very new to interview,

Ali 27:32
we can maybe talk a little bit about our strategies for preparing when we're interviewing. So when I was interviewing, I had written responses to a lot of these just in order to prepare myself like if I get a question similar to this, because there's some talking points that I could use here some stories, here are some examples of things that I've done that I could kind of lace into these answers to these questions. And so having those anecdotes Word ahead of time that you can use when you're in that situation, I think can be really valuable. Definitely,

Kelly 28:04
in researching the company, researching the role, seeing the past work the company has done especially visit like an agency setting, things like that. I like you know, having that kind of background knowledge at the company going into that. Also, you should, you should have at least two potentially three stories that you can kind of regurgitate when you're asked about like, preferably stories that can be used for multiple questions like, Yeah, tell me about something. Tell me about a project that succeeded and you were really proud of versus Tell me about a time where you know, a project didn't succeed and how you handled that, things like that. If you're answering the same question for when a project didn't succeed when it succeeded. I would love to see.

Ali 28:50
No, I also want to make a quick clarification Before we continue, that there are kind of two parts of the human interaction You. The first one is behavioral and behavioral interviewing actually has a specific meaning. And I want to thank Andrew certain, for dming me about this and what behavioral interview really means because I kind of got this wrong in a Twitter thread a while ago. So at Amazon where he works, they use these to assess their leadership principles. And they normally start these with Tell me about a time when. So tell me about a time when a project failed. Tell me about a time when a project did really well tell me about a time when you messed up or you did something awesome. These kind of questions that we've been talking about those fit into the behavioral interview, but that's kind of one segment of this. And then the other part is cultural fit. And culture fit, I think, has kind of a red flag tone in my head to some extent because I think that there is some problematic to that idea and maybe that Think of culture fit as like, will this person play ping pong and drink beer with us? Are they going to be a culture fit to our Silicon Valley startup within the most stereotypical way, but it is important that somebody would integrate into your team and would work well with other people. So maybe some other term other than culture fit would be better. But it is something to assess that somebody is going to fit well onto the existing team that they do well work well with other people and assessing all of those things. But the idea of culture fit I think, has historically been something that people used to like discriminate against people who are from a backgrounds different than the people that make up the majority of the team currently, which leads to under representation of certain demographics, which we talked about on here a lot.

Emma 30:47
They used to be like this circulating question of like, what I want to be stuck in an airport overnight with this person and like that's not a good gauge of culture. Like that's not a good gauge of whether you should hire someone like There are plenty of people I wouldn't want to be stuck in an airport with overnight. Or like I wouldn't wanna be stuck in an airport overnight overall was really but, but like, that doesn't determine whether or not I enjoy working with this person. And yeah, like Ellie mentioned this this unconscious bias at its greatest I'm reading a book right now called bro topia that examines the Silicon Valley like bros club essentially. And I would say it had a lot of the same sense sentiments as our February book club, invisible women, but it's more like a narrative than facts. And she discusses the fact that you know, in the beginning they were hiring this one archetype of a programmer which was, I don't know like what you consider like a white male assist white male. And then this whole culture fit idea perpetuated that and soon we were surrounded with a plethora of sis white men. And that's how this culture in Silicon Valley came to be known. So yeah, Sally's point. culture fit is kind of it's a cat. catalysts for unconscious bias, I guess, or the other way around unconscious bias as a culture fit thing.

Kelly 32:06
It's also an interesting question to ask the interviewer as well, how would you describe this company's culture? Good point, I have an answer for for the tap room, which because it's it's part of, you know, when I'm when I'm looking for somebody as I, as I mentioned before, like I'm looking for people who are going to be supportive, who are going to be innovative and collaborative. And those are the kinds of things that I'm I'm measuring how how successful you're going to be on like integrating with the team. Yeah, that sounds good. So when you're answering these types of questions, I think specifically the behavioral questions, the star technique is a really great technique for doing so. And this is where you can practice ahead of time and write down two to three situations using a star technique that will exemplify the behaviors you're looking for. So the first it's an acronym so the first letter is S for situation described, the situation that took place to you is task described the task You were asked to complete and if there was a problem that you're trying to solve, describe that. The third is action, explain what action you took to complete this task or solve the problem. And lastly, explain the results. And often results are the most important part. We talked about results and outcomes and our resume episode, because that's what people want to hear is what actions Did you take and what were the the achieved? I'm sorry. Now, don't focus on your actions so much as you focus on the results that you've achieved. I will say like this is great for great for practicing for, you know, to have I covered all my bases in answering these questions, but when like when you're in an interview setting, don't feel like you have to specifically go through it in this order, because you're going to feel like you're trying to like recite something from memory. And then if you get stuck or forget a certain point, you're going to kind of stumble, you're over your own words. So it's good for preparation, but don't feel obligated to like follow this exact path when you're actually answering the question and interviews anytime you're not reciting a sonnet, like you're just kind of reiterating what that be like, please tell me about a project that went wrong in Limerick form. Yes.

Unknown Speaker 34:14
I can imagine.

Kelly 34:17
Kelly, have you ever had a situation during the hiring process with a candidate where they answered something in a behavioral interview? And at that moment, you kind of knew it wasn't going to work out? Like, are there any red flags? Oh, absolutely. I'm talking about a time when a project didn't go as planned and how you went about doing it, the candidate decided to tell me about how another developer overstepped on their boundaries and decided to tell them how they needed to do their code or how they were, how they're supposed to be writing their code. And that it was, you know, completely inappropriate to be to be telling you how to do my job. You know, I have a different boss that I report to I don't report to you and I'm like, okay, Let's take a step back and calm down and take a breath because you just got super combat over a question I just asked. And clearly there is a, you know, there's there's some ill feelings there that they're still working through. I've also had certain questions, I don't know if it's just because I have a background in social work. So I'm a trained therapist, but there are a lot of situations that come up in my interviews, right, almost feel like they're really opening on you to a level Yeah, it is like it becomes almost like a little bit of an uncomfortable situation. And this same person was telling me about how they're, you know, how they're really struggling through, you know, a certain issue in the workplace and then they like actually started tearing up during the interview about it, and I just like, I I don't know how to handle this. Gosh, yeah, yeah, I just want to say never blame someone else for a problem at work like when you're reiterating this to someone who you are. Hoping is going to hire you. They want to see, at least from my experience, they want to see ownership of, like, if you messed up like own up to it, but also explain what you did to mitigate that. never blame someone else. Don't throw them under the bus, it's going to make you look awful. And it's going to make people not want to work with you.

And also don't snap at the interview.

From experience here, yeah, um, I was, you know, one of these these situational questions that might require a little bit more thinking, or, you know, when I ask, do you have any additional questions for me at the end, and there's some silence, you know, I let them know, you know, it's, it's okay, if you don't have anything, you know, anything more to ask. And I sent that to somebody and they're like, I'm still thinking about it. Oh, no.

And I'm like, all right, you go ahead and think about it. I

Unknown Speaker 36:52
think I don't have to think anymore about this. So

Kelly 36:55
yeah, I've made my decision.

Ali 36:57
I think that's a good transition into talking about some of the Basic professionalism, things to think about when you're interviewing anywhere. So being polite to your interviewer is a big one. Another one is like maybe not being super negative about past employers, I think it's fair game to like, say why you're leaving somewhere. But if you're just like, completely shifting on them, and going off on why it's an awful place to work and all that, like, that's not going to look super good. And it's going to be like, you know, maybe they're going to talk about me this way at some point or something along those lines. So I would definitely think about that. Another one is, and this is an interesting conversation we have is how to dress for tech interviews. And that's a big question that I see.

Unknown Speaker 37:44
I don't even know I only work Rep. Thompson and George George. I worked

Ali 37:52
to my very first startup interview and then they made fun of I ended up working there but they made fun of me about it for like, you after the fact,

Kelly 38:02
okay, but that's a really important point to make. Because a lot of a lot of companies have a very casual dress code. That does not mean that you should show up for your interview completely dressed casually as well. You know, it's all about the professional presentation too. I'm not saying but I've also heard both. So like, I've heard dress like you're already working there. So like they want to see that you can fit in but also be appropriate about it. So dress smart, I think is coming out of this like yes, exactly yet. Don't wear your prom dress from 2011 and don't show up in a bathing suit like dress smart as the British would say. For me what that looks like is generally like a pair of nice like, trousers. I don't like that word. It sounds old. Throws those like nice. Like slacks I guess what is the word for like fancy pants? I wear my

good like um, we're not going to talk about the word pants. So because that also has many different meaning.

Unknown Speaker 38:56
Whatever Kelly, we're not in the UK. Okay. My fancy pants. I know so generally I'll wear like high waisted fancy pants with like a tucked in dress shirt, and then like some lower heels, but also like I could wear a dress if it's a little bit nicer up and don't wear a mini dress and don't wear something you're going to be uncomfortable in just like we talked about this in our conference episode. Don't wear something you're going to be uncomfortable in because it's going to affect your subconscious like thought process. Yeah,

Ali 39:19
I again, I'm more of like a startup person. And so I would normally wear nice jeans and a nice shirt and then like nice shoes. So maybe a step down casual level. That being said, if you're interviewing at like government places or at more corporate settings, so like a Deloitte or Booz Allen or something like that, I would dress professional for that wear like a suit or more professional attire because even though you're working maybe a technical position, those companies still are more conservative and they're not like traditional tech startups or tech companies where it is more casual, so Want to put that out there?

Kelly 40:01
It really goes back to the company. You know, knowing who you're applying for. If

Unknown Speaker 40:04
you're really uncertain, just ask your recruiter like ask them for advice. They're going to know

Ali 40:09
I was just also going to put in there treat everybody with respect. This is something that I've seen as an interview or is people directing questions to men that are at the same level as me or like, acting like I'm each are or even saying like, Oh, are you like the HR person? And I'm like, No, I'm like an engineer. And I even had one where somebody, he shook all the men's hands, but not the women's, which I think is a religious thing, which is definitely understandable. But if you have some sort of constraint like that, I think explaining it like I don't shake women's hands out of respect for my wife or something like that. Like I think that that goes pretty far instead of just like awkwardly shaking the men's hands but not the women's.

Kelly 40:58
I think it also like insulting or like being rude to a reception? Yeah, that's a good one people talk within the company

Unknown Speaker 41:05
yeah had in California, our receptionist actually told us that she reported into senior leadership about a candidate and how they treated her and she had a guy wants treat her terribly, and she didn't get the job because he was treating her horribly. You never know who someone is or who they could eventually be to you. And also just like people or people would be nice to them. I don't know why, even after.

Unknown Speaker 41:31
Yeah, exactly.

Kelly 41:32
It doesn't matter who someone is or what their title is, or if they're going to be in charge of your, your acceptance or not, like, just be nice to people. I don't see a problem with that. Yeah, I have one more thing to add in here. There are situations where things can go wrong when you're trying to show up for an interview. Like you might show up late. For example,

Ali 41:51
nobody wants to show up late for an interview, but it does occasionally happen. Please, if that happens, explain why you're late. Like you can't as well. Lock in 20 minutes late to an interview we like all right, let's do this. You know, I want to know, you know, just uh, you know, I'm sorry, I got stuck in traffic or I missed I missed the first train, I had to take the next one or something like that, like that goes a long way. And then just assuming if at all possible be in contact with your point of contact, like email them on the train, like my train is running really late. But prepare ahead of time I okay, I'm a little bit Taipei, but I've even had it where I've like driven the day before to the place where I'm interviewing so that I know for sure how long it's going to take and where to find parking. If you're like in a city. That's something that I've definitely done as well, which is maybe a little bit too much, but it might be worth it.

Unknown Speaker 42:46
Don't lie. Like here's the other thing. Like if you're going to be late because let's say you overslept, don't tell them your train was late. That's something they could easily look up. I feel like like if you're like just just be honest, like if your alarm didn't go off, just be honest. about it and you know what's the worst that happens there, you know, it is what it is. But I would say don't lie because that's not starting off on a good foot. One last thing I want to touch on is body language. So that you know when you're sitting in a room with someone, it's for me personally, I fidget a lot. I play with my hair a lot. It's unconscious. I don't realize I do it. But interviews like trying to fidget, try to sit up straight. If you get thirsty, like typically, they'll have drinks there for you. Try not to spill it on yourself. I have trouble with

Unknown Speaker 43:31

Unknown Speaker 43:33
What are some other things in terms of body language,

Kelly 43:36
I can definitely tell when you're, you know, like sitting there with your arms crossed, your arms crossed as a sign of like you're protecting yourself. And I get that it is a is an interview and it's not really a great comfort or, you know, great, comfortable situation. But you know, keeping you know, as you said, You fidget like keeping your hands on the table or you know, talking like this as opposed to like sitting there with your arms crossed. We're talking I mean, I, I pick up on those kinds of body language things as well. Maybe eye contact to eye contact. And it kind of varies culture to culture. I'm going to be honest, I didn't realize that, um, different cultures will maintain eye contact differently. But in general, if someone's talking to you, and you're talking to them, like just look at their face, look at their eyes. Infrared, I know somebody who gets really uncomfortable when she's like, making eye contact with people. So she looks basically like right in the middle of like, their eyebrows essentially. So it looks like you're looking at them, but they can't actually tell you're just like staring at their eyebrows and it makes her feel a whole lot. Well, yeah, because you can't actually make eye contact with both of someone's eyes at the same time. Like you have to pick one to look in and the other it's really weird. Have you ever tried that? freaks me? Yeah. And your eyes just like bouncing? Yeah, it's like your eyes. Okay. On that note, I think that we're decently thorough. This I think don't take these for granted as the big takeaway like you, these are still interviews that you should be prepared for, you aren't gonna have to study as like hard as you would for a coding interview. But don't take this for granted because they can make or break your ability to get a job offer. Awesome.

I think we could go ahead and transition into shout outs. And Allie, do you want to go first,

Ali 45:24
mine is the total curveball, but society six, I just moved into an apartment and I've been buying like all the art on there. It's pretty affordable, so good. It's so good. It's such like every type of art that you could ever imagine. And it's pretty affordable and really pretty. And you can even get like framed stuff because I'm too lazy to go get framed separately. So this is like hashtag not sponsored, but really big fantasy society six.

Kelly 45:50
How about you? I want to shout out to all the amazing people who took the time out of their busy lives to review my friend masters course that I'm going to be giving you In like a week and a half about design systems, so Yeah, seriously, like it was so cool to tweet and be like, Hey, is anyone interested in checking this out and have the creator of or like a core team member from the storybook JS team and the max who created style components review this course because those are the technologies I'm using to have the people who like built these tools, the review it was so humbling. That's awesome. That's my shout out. Why don't you Kelly So mine is a book that I read while I was on vacation. It is called Bad Blood. It is by john kerry Rue. I don't know how to say his name. It'll be linked in the show notes. So if if you're unfamiliar with the story of theranos they like their their goal was to basically create this this blood tests using like a tiny little bit of blood from the prick your finger and test for like 300 different things. And it is such a fascinating story of the train wreck that was that company

Unknown Speaker 47:00
Like their rise one of the largest scams of all Yeah.

Kelly 47:03
Yeah. Like they never actually had a working product and they had so many investors that they were so

Unknown Speaker 47:08
good. Yeah, because she was she was actually like, I don't know what the correct term is, but she was totally fooling everyone even from the way that she's physically spoke like her voice

Kelly 47:18
her She looks like Yeah, she changed her voice in an unnatural way.

Unknown Speaker 47:23
Yeah, just because she you know, it was like, oh, people take you more seriously as a woman if you have a deeper voice, so that's why she did it. It's like totally crazy. I definitely recommend it.

Ali 47:30
Yeah. Yeah, that I did the audio version of it and it was great. And then watching the documentaries afterwards was really amazing as well because then you actually got to see her speak and hear the latest updates on it like in the case and all of that so highly recommend.

Kelly 47:47
She's still like changing her voice. I

Ali 47:50
don't think so. And she's on trial right now too, which is fascinating.

Kelly 47:54
She is on trial now. Yeah, um, yeah, but spoilers. It is a train wreck of a company and It is like reading the book. You're just like, why is this happening? Why isn't just like somebody please notice this? And they like We're shutting down like anybody who even said anything negative because you're not dedicated to the company and they were firing people like left and right. They had prototypes in what Walgreens CVS like, they were massive. They got Yeah, really far. And they did not have a working it was actually quite dangerous, because they would tell people they had certain blood conditions that they didn't and people were freaking out, or they wouldn't tell them they did have a blood condition. Ridiculous.

Ali 48:28
Yeah. And people even like died from it too, or not directly because of it, but because of their diagnoses.

Kelly 48:36
In that, yeah. Test. Yeah. Testing. And yeah, so definitely read that book.

Unknown Speaker 48:41
We should do an episode on like tech scandals in the tech industry like those,

Ali 48:45
like a true crime podcast for an episode.

Unknown Speaker 48:48
Right? How fun would that be super fun. Yeah,

Ali 48:51
I like that idea. Well, if you like that idea, tweet at us. So again, if you liked this episode, tweet about it as well, sir. Tweet about if you want a bad blood episode, or if you just liked this episode, Either one works. Pretty much we like to hear what your thoughts on things and talk to people. People are nice. We like them. We love to hear your feedback. We'll post new episodes every Monday so make sure to subscribe to be notified and leave a review

Kelly 49:23
until next week.

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