Question: Tell me about a time when you faced obstacles while working towards a goal? What was it? How did you handle it?

Situation/task

The candidate described a situation where he was working with a software used in data collection for audiologists; this software contained representation needed to be parsed. Probe location and a stimulus location, the data were depicted as columns L L R R. It was unknown which L/R was for probe location or stimulus location.

Action

The candidate looked at the documentation of the software library that was being consumed and compared it to how the end-users were entering data and found discrepancies.

Result

To ensure that this issue would not occur again, he wanted to modify the documentation but was not able to. Instead, the candidate wanted to annotate the fields to be more verbose to distinguish between probe location and stimulus location.

Q: Did you have to make any tradeoff?
A: Timelines had to be pushed back, had to make the right decision – if the data was backwards, there would be data inconsistency. This would have required a data migration to fix the issue.

Q: What lessons did you learn?
A: Different people use the software in different ways; if it’s released, it’s hard to change users’ behaviour.

Analysis

Leadership principle asserted: Deliver results

Vote: 👎

The candidate described a scenario where data was being entered by end-users, which was contrary to how vendor documentation expected the data. The result he delivered was to suggest that the code be documented better.

Lesson

While the answer was very well structured, the example doesn’t raise the bar when it comes to delivering results.

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