What I learned from my first in-person interview yesterday

What I think I did well on:

  • I answered a few questions well, and I prepared for the interview for what I was going to say.

  • I stayed calm and tried to have fun with it.

  • I brought a pencil and notebook to take notes on who was interviewing me and what we discussed so that I could remember important points later.

What I could do better next time:

  • Multiple people interviewed me, so I should have asked for business cards so I could email them all individual thank you letters. I was able to email only about half of them.

  • I was really nervous, so I didn’t give myself time to think for even a second on how to answer a question before I started talking. Next time, I will really stop and think before I answer a question I’m not sure how to answer.

  • I was too self-critical. There’s a fine-line with being honest and drawing attention to your weaknesses. For my next interview, I will definitely be more positive about my progress, my achievements, and my goals.

So if I don’t get the job, I’m going to practice describing myself in a more positive and confident way. I think that was my biggest mistake.

Hope my lesson helps you on your job search as well!


Hope it works out for you; sounds like you really benefited from the experience anyhow.

Please would you mind answering a few more questions about the interview?

Like, was it a class room setting where you had to go up and use a chalkboard ( or similar )?

Were you asked to live-code? Inspect code? Explain code-related concepts, such as, “what’s the CSS box model?” ( I don’t mean to assume this was a Front End position. But was it? )

Thanks! :slight_smile:

It was for a front-end developer paid internship at a SaaS company. Fortunately, they let me know exactly what to expect before I went in. It was a 3-part interview. The first part I had to talk about a project I did. The second part was an interview with two engineers about my technical knowledge. The third part was about their company’s core values and to see if I would fit in with their company culture.

So if you were going to have the exact same interview, this is what I would recommend:

  • For the first part: Go over one of your free code camp projects and practice going over the code. Explain how the code works, how you would improve it, what you would have done differently, etc. You have to walk through your project to show you know what you’re doing. I didn’t practice this enough, I got a little tongue-tied.

  • For the second part: They wanted to see that I was passionate about software engineering, that I am the type of person that would learn quickly and continue to improve and get better. I think this is the part where I was too self-critical about my tech skills.

  • For the third part: Think of accomplishments in your current job where you shared same company values. I think I talked more about how I felt about the company values as opposed to talking about how I actually demonstrated in the past how I shared the same values as its employees.


I think that a lot of us tend to have the same “too self-critical” problem. (It doesn’t help that they ask BS questions like “What are your weaknesses?”) What I try to do is follow every weakness with how I overcome it.

Real world example: “I have a tendency to beat my head against a problem for too long before asking for help. That’s why the team dynamic is so important to me. Can you tell me about how people on this project tend to interact? Do developers work closely together?”

When possible, I try to lead my response into a question for the interviewer. I have had my best experiences when I am interviewing the employer as well as being interviewed.


“You should be a programmer,” they said.
“You won’t have to deal with other people,” they said.
Oy vey! :cold_sweat:


Thanks @elisecode247, very interesting.

@ArielLeslie, I’ll try to remember that, thanks.

@elisecode247 I think it is great that you share with us the job-search process as it happens. Please keep us posted on how your application process goes. Based on what you write I think you have a good chance to get the job of course. And if not, will the company have any feedback for you?

@ArielLeslie I like your approach to the “greatest weakness” question. I believe the motivation behind that question is to spot whether the interviewee is a reasonable and mature person open to learn or full of themselves. Imagine working day by day with a person that is convinced they are perfect in every way, What horror! Anyway when I get this question I see an opportunity to shine during the interview…

Software engineers aren’t people. They’re just extensions of their computers. :grin:

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It’s too easy to be self-critical about coding. There is too much to know.

I didn’t get it, and I’m not surprised by that based on what I wrote originally. I really underplayed my skills and didn’t articulate my knowledge well. The main reason why I posted this thread was to work through my feelings of disappointment. By the time I got my rejection email, I was okay with it. They didn’t say why they went with another candidate, and I didn’t ask because I’m pretty certain why. If any future interviews I get rejected and not know why, I will definitely ask for constructive feedback.

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