Question: Tell me about a time when you took on something that “wasn’t your job”?
Answer: I was fixing a report that had rounding errors. This was a new system, and clients wanted a fix out ASAP. I found an additional anomaly. It wasn’t showing the correct insurance company. I created a ticket and brought it up with project management. It didn’t include it in a hotfix.
Q: Did the bug get fixed?
A: Yes, prioritized in the next sprint.
Q: Do you have an example of something you had to advocate for more strongly?
A: The logic of invoice calculation was getting complex: a million little bug-fixes. My task: address a specific bug. I decided to refactor and re-write so that it was more consistent.
Q: How did you know that your refactored code didn’t introduce more bugs?
A: I compared data on the old one and relied on unit tests.
Competency asserted: Ownership
Job title: Software Development Engineer (SDE II)
Interviewer role: Software Development Manager (SDM III)
The candidate refactored some code with reliable testing. We expect SDE I to do this; this is not bar raising for SDE II.
The candidate’s story does not demonstrate a strong sense of ownership. And there is no measurable impact. If you don’t have a lot of work experience, it can be a school project or any situation in which you demonstrated ownership.