Question: Name an instance when you couldn’t make a commitment.
Answer: There was a lot of turmoil in that project. The owner really pressured for an earlier date than what was reasonable. We reduced the functionality. The owner wanted an interactive interface so that the users could add/input. We reduced to just a view. The next iteration would allow for interactivity. The owner was willing to drop the project! The team proposed a lesser time/resource. The owner liked it. We did everything we could, still felt what was delivered was valuable.
Q: How do you know it was still valuable?
A: We collected verbal feedback and other data.
Question: Give me an example of tough feedback you received.
Answer: I don’t get lots of reviews/feedback because I am a contractor.
- QA can be harsh.
- I worked for a notorious stock photo website.
- The CSS animation didn’t work on IE. It was challenging to test when working on Mac.
- Process / difficult to simulate errors.
- Push to staging to test.
- Worked on the QAs machine to test.
- Noted high level of issues involved with CSS animations.
- Ultimately got a working version in IE. It took a lot of iterations, though.
Competency asserted: Earn Trust
The candidate initially struggled to understand the question I asked. After clarification, the candidate provided an example where the contract work owner was pressuring for a date much sooner than was feasible for the work required. The initial proposed work included enhanced functionality in which customers could add/input additional data, which would require more time than was allotted.
The candidate noted that her team proposed they drop this interactivity in favor of just displaying raw data, and iterate on making it editable in the future. Unfortunately, the candidate couldn’t bring the story to a conclusion as her contract expired, but she did note that the owner accepted the lesser functionality.
I further asked if they had any learnings, which the candidate noted that the team gathered customer feedback and collected “other data”, deeming that the drop in features was acceptable. While she gave a story that provided both conflict and learnings, it was hard to get the candidate to discuss her direct role in the matter. Due to that, I attempted to gather another data point to allow me to pivot towards Invent And Simplify.
The next question was, “Give me an example of tough feedback you received.” She struggled with this question a bit and replied: “as a contractor, I don’t get reviews or feedback that often.”, which gave me minor concern. I tried to frame that the question didn’t have to be specific to performance reviews or feedback, but something as simple as receiving comments on a code review. She then provided a story that revolved around working with QA, specifically on a browser compatibility issue caused by a CSS animation. She stated how difficult it was to test due to the work environment, and that her overall solution was to deploy code and then test on QA’s machine continually. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get what I was looking for from earn trust from her responses, so I pivoted to invent and simplify.
The candidate mostly spoke as “we.” It’s hard to understand what she contributed to vs what the team did. “I” is the distinction of “We.” Advocate for yourself, don’t let your team take credit for what you did.
I remember that candidate; she was personable, gentle, kind and overly humble. Interviewing is about selling yourself.