Question: Tell me about a time when it was hard to communicate with a peer? How did you handle the situation?
Answer: Two developers were opposed to things that took away from development time and added overhead.
Q: How did you persuade them?
A: I showed documentation about the best practices. One person was very stubborn but liked seeing things that are proven. Scrum is not a new concept, so I assume he was aware of it. I showed him that it made the project better for everyone.
Question: Tell me about a time you and your manager had a tough conversation.
Answer: Working under a senior engineer. I had joined only two weeks ago. He told us that we have to do a big localization project in Australia. He gave me the task of localizing phone numbers, but he is a “strange person” who doesn’t like libraries. I wanted to use a google phone library; they’re familiar with edge cases. Because of time pressures, I went with what he said, and my regex phone formatter worked until it was replaced.
Q: How long to build the regex?
A: A week.
Q: How long to integrate the library?
A: I’m not sure.
Q: Do you have an estimate?
A: Probably 2-3 days.
Q: How long did it work before being replaced?
A: I can’t recall.
Question: We all make mistakes, tell me about a time you realized your idea wasn’t as good you had thought.
Answer: I was creating an API to update many parts of a site. Could leverage existing APIs (but they weren’t compatible with our existing paradigm). I wanted to do a bunch of function calls (switch statements, call many of them). Someone else suggested a dynamic function call, and it worked well.
Q: What’s better about a dynamic call?
A: It was getting long, like 13 cases.
Competency asserted: Earn Trust
Job title: Software Development Engineer (SDE II)
The interviewer had a concern about how he described other engineers at the company, such as “they were using angular 1.4 and didn’t know what they were doing” (not quoted in this example) or another engineer is a “strange person who doesn’t like libraries. The example of receiving feedback was limited to a small code-review choice about passing data – more SDE I than SDE II.
Think of an interview as an opportunity to problem-solve and talk with a colleague. The way you talk about your experiences reflects your way of thinking, your level of consideration of others and your ability to reflect on specific situations. Blaming others rarely pays off. Be the hero of your story without diminishing others. Refrain from talking negatively about past employers.