Types of interview or how to prove the applicant

Types of interview or how to prove the applicant

The author is looking for work

Hello Habre!

I’ve had quite a few interviews in my career, and I’d like to share my experiences in the form of short stories. I will not describe standard interviews, but only those that I remember particularly vividly.

Sloths or admission to Harvard University.

We often see advertisements from large companies that promise to receive an offer in three days, but how true is this? Let’s figure it out.

To begin with, let’s define the portrait of the company in question: suppose it is a fictitious large company that provides taxi services, food delivery and has its own search engine.

Life as it is…

The process begins with an introduction to the HR manager, and everything goes very smoothly and professionally. You discuss your experience, company projects that interest you, work tasks and salary expectations. Then the date of the first interview is set, and the HR manager provides you with preparation materials. At first, everything looks fast and efficient, but then many stages begin, which drag out the process.

And what awaits you at the first stage with our big company? Meeting with a random developer from the company and an expert on litcode tasks. This interview is in no way related to your current experience or technology stack; only one thing is important – algorithms. You are given a few simple algorithms to implement and 1 hour to write the code in any language.

It’s a hard life to be a specialist

We are not so simple, and we easily solve the tasks given to us, successfully passing the first stage. There is a feeling of awakening a certain strength and confidence. You already want to go to the next stage and discuss in more detail your skills, job expectations, as well as pass a standard interview on your experience and technology stack.

However, it should not be forgotten that we are not just looking for a job anywhere, but strive to get to the very top, to one of the most prestigious companies in the country, one might say, to the Harvard of the corporate world.

After receiving feedback from the examiner, our HR manager contacts us and assigns the second stage, clarifying that it is a continuation of the first, but with more complex tasks. He expresses his hope for our success and wishes us success in passing this test.

And so the long-awaited second stage comes, but the miracle does not happen, and the familiar scheme awaits us. A random developer from the company is ready to thoroughly test our knowledge of algorithms with a code, but others. It resembles another dry exam at the university: I studied the topic, came, passed it.

Please don’t want…

Since the second stage represented the same as the first, we successfully pass it and move on. However, a seed of doubt begins to grow in the soul: having already held three meetings with the company, we do not see interest in our experience. These stages are simply a bureaucratic sequence of actions and it begins to seem that you can be a foreman on a construction site, and you will also be invited and guided along this path.

After receiving confirmation of the completion of the stage and an invitation to the next one, the HR manager and I discuss the details and set a time. At the same time, we are sending resumes to other companies, because we can’t wait any longer.

There is no surprise from the third stage. This is again an exam with a random examiner from the company who will conduct the test on Data Structures and Algorithms. At this moment, memories from the university immediately come to mind, when we did laboratory work, passed coursework, absented couples and so on. However, we return from illusory fantasies to reality and successfully pass this stage.

Explanation of the red-black tree by the author

Everything that is happening begins to seem like some kind of raffle, where at the end a person will jump out and say: “It was a prank, and you got caught, here’s 1 million rubles.” However, instead, the HR manager writes to us and informs us about the successful completion of the stage, and agrees on the time for the next one.

We are already realistic and do not expect anything from the fourth stage. Everything turns out as usual. We are met by a random employee from the company who will conduct the next stage on operating systems and the theory of programming languages. Without much enthusiasm, with a creak, we complete this stage.

After receiving feedback after the fourth stage, our HR manager reports doubts and questions to the examiner. It is suggested to pass the fifth stage, where “Theory of programming languages” and “Application memory management” will be discussed in more detail. If this stage is successfully completed, the next steps are as follows: stage six – meeting with product managers, stage seven – meeting with team leaders, and stage eight – final meeting with the leader of the selected team.

The author is tired of interviews

As a result of all these stages, a simple thought emerges: the company does not need new employees, but is simply working out its search process. This provides work for HR managers and supports the functioning of the process, but currently there is no particular need for new employees. I’ve only seen a couple of similar companies on the market and I wouldn’t recommend going there if you’re looking for a job urgently.

Soulful or honest conversation of professionals

I like this type of interview the most, because your previous professional experience is fully taken into account, and some things happen on the basis of trust. However, recently, with cases of fraud in resumes becoming more frequent, such interviews are becoming less frequent.

Let’s define the portrait of such a company: it is not a very popular bank on the market, which serves a narrow circle of customers. They have a lot of legacy, and almost all business logic is written in stored procedures. There are red tape issues and you will most likely have to work through a remote machine with limited rights.

It all starts with a meeting with the HR manager, who, after listening to our salary expectations and talking about his experience, agrees with us on the date of the technical interview. Having previously told who is needed for the project and why.

At the interview itself, we are met by very friendly people: the team leader and the team leader. The atmosphere is very relaxed, you can even calmly pour a cup of tea or open a can of beer and share your work experience, as well as talk about life. Next, we listen to how they have everything arranged, and they warn of a lot of lag on the project, which is planned to be rewritten, but the old one will still have to be maintained. Also, all work will be carried out through a remote connection to your machine in the bank office.

The manager and the team address the author

After the completion of the stage, HR contacts us and already provides an offer for the amount slightly more than you asked for, and offers to fill out a questionnaire for verification of SB. This attitude is very addictive, because literally in 3-5 days you already have a job offer in hand. Not everyone likes working with legacy, but overall, if you need work, it’s not the worst deal.

A technical rap battle, where you are in the role of Oxymiron, and the company is in the role of Glory of the CPSU

This type of interview can undermine a specialist’s self-esteem in a few hours and cause impostor syndrome. The purpose of such interviews is not so much to find a new employee as to invite the candidate and emphasize his shortcomings, especially the lack of some exclusive and rare knowledge.

The company’s profile can be quite ordinary: it develops and maintains custom software and provides its services to other companies. The company strives to be in the trend of all modern technologies, but does not necessarily move the industry forward.

The conversation with the HR manager is standard and the time of the technical interview is set, which will be attended by: a developer from the team, the head of the development department, the team leader and the company’s service station.

The interview begins with standard technical questions, which we calmly answer. However, questions suddenly start coming in with a trick from the chief technical officer. We enter into a battle where everyone present at the interview tries to explain to us that we are wrong and that their experience is really better. Even if we agree, it can go to our disadvantage, because we have to think like them, and there are no other cases.

The interview team wonders how you don’t understand obvious things

Then the interview turns into a team discussion where you are redundant. They do not show any interest in you, rather they are having fun and discussing their issues among themselves. The CTO asks the other developers interesting questions, and when they can’t answer them, his face breaks into a childish and completely happy smile.

The author is tired…

The developers, offended at the main SRT because it undermines their authority, mention us again and transfer the interview to the next stage – “interesting author tasks”. They want to play back, defend their honor and defeat us. At this stage, we no longer have a particular desire to sit and struggle to solve these tasks, but we still try.

We manage to complete only 4 out of 8 tasks, which again causes peace, joy and smiles on the faces of interview participants. After all, they see our imperfection, think that we did not manage, but they are brilliant professionals in their field and cool guys.

One of the developers opts out of the interview, saying he’s tired and skips our questions section, thus expressing his attitude about your wasted time. But it is no longer interesting, they ask you, but you yourself cannot ask the developer anything, because he is tired.

After the STO, he explains why we are wrong and is happy to tell everything, how and what to do. He also assigns us a grade of middle and says that we are a very bad developer and do not know much and at all so far.

STO tells you that your place is in the garbage

Approaching such an interview, especially if you have little experience of passing it, it can greatly undermine your self-esteem. You were disrespected and underestimated. However, if you already have offers from other companies, you can just think: “What gifted guys” and calmly live on.


Many companies strive to improve this process, given the shortage of personnel in the market, but some, on the contrary, resort to inadequate methods. Although tasks like changing the color of a button in the UI or creating a simple CRUD API, there is no need to subject the candidate to tedious algorithmic tests. In general, it is important to find a candidate with the skills needed right now for the project, rather than selecting Olympians who may be ineffective at solving simple tasks, despite their excellent knowledge of algorithms.

Thank you for attention!

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