The Hired Interview Guide: Initial/Non-Technical Screen

Many interviewers like to precede the coding challenge with some discussion about your previous jobs or projects. Some companies may ask you some high level general technical questions just to get a basic understanding of your level of expertise.

This is the best time to determine if the role and company will be a fit for you, so use this time to ask questions to the interviewer as well.

They’re usually looking for the following:

  • Metacognition about coding. Do you think about how to code well?

  • Ownership/leadership. Do you see your work through to completion? Do you fix things that aren’t quite right, even if you don’t have to?

  • Communication. Would chatting with you about a technical problem be useful or painful?

  • Why are you looking? Where are you in the interviewing process?

The questions are often open-ended, so they can catch you off-guard. It’s helpful to have something in mind for each of these standard questions:

  • “Tell me about an interesting technical problem you solved.”

  • “Tell me about a time you used a ‘hack’ to save time implementing a feature.”

  • “Tell me about an interpersonal conflict you overcame.”

  • “If you could start $specifc_project over again, what would you do differently?”

  • “I see your favorite language is $programming_language. What’s something you really like about it? What’s something you’d change about it if you could?”

  • “Tell me about a time you showed leadership or ownership on a project.”

Read more tips by Parker Phinney here: