Ruby, etc

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He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy. - Fortune Cookie

Interview Prep

I recently went through this process so I thought it would be good to share what I think are good things to do to prepare for an interview.

Logistics

Arrive early, sit in your car or outside and walk in 15 mins before (I’m kind of paranoid, so I get there 30 mins before usually). Ask me about a job I didn’t get (years ago) because I was late. Hey, I had a good reason, they changed the time on me and mentioned it an attachment (not the body of the email) that I didn’t notice was there. To help with miscommunications, email your contact the day before and confirm time, date, place. Ask about parking or landmarks around the office so you can be sure you are in the right place.

Bring a bottle of water. It’s crazy, but sometimes you are not offered a drink! Always good to bring some just in case.

Bring some printouts of your resume just in case. One of the last interviews I had, they had printouts of what was on linkedin which was a more abbreviated version of my resume. Don’t know why they didn’t have my actualy resume, but I immediately regretting not having print copies. In the past I’ve had a nice folder for my resumes and pen too like this leather portfolio.

Dress up, at least with nice pants and a shirt. I think the only time I wore jeans to an interview is on a second interview when I saw around me everyone was in shorts the first time. While you are there, glance around to see how everyone else is dressed so you know what to wear on your first day. Bring a sweatshirt/jacket in case it’s cold in the office.

Expectations

Make sure you tell the recruiter or initial interviewer what you want to do. You wouldn’t believe it this, but one job I said I wanted to do Ruby and after 4 hours and 9 people, they told me they didn’t have that much ruby. I was pretty mad to have my time wasted.

Or another time, someone comes recruiting at a cojure conference, I do a code challenge (in clojure) and interview for 4 hours (including 30mins talking about my clojure code challenge) … only to have them say I was too specialized and they want someone to do python and Go. Also a frustrating experience! If they would have only asked me, “hey you are great on clojure, but how do you feel about go and python?”.

One more… one place they wanted ruby and I talked about my 11 years of Ruby and also 4 years ago I also started learning clojure for new challenges. He didn’t continue the interview process, afraid he’d hire me and I’d leave for clojure. Well, sorry for being a polyglot! I’m hoping this was just a rare case and not everyone is so narrow minded. Also, there are no clojure jobs in Austin (everyone who does it in Austin is remote!).

Yep, next interviews I clarified what I wanted to do and what they needed and tried to gauge how they felt about being a polyglot..

Coding

I know you might not use Big O Notation and analysis In Real Life very often, so even I forget it form time to time. But when you are set to start interviewing, learn it or review it.

Do some exercism or codewars exercises to review for the language you think you will be tested on. Find a friend and do some pair programming so you can get the hang of talking about your code as you write. Practice setting up a project. I remember doing a couple new Clojure apps and setting up a library and the tests for the library and getting all the paths and names correct. With ruby, setup a new project and install minitest and make sure you can make a module and a test and it just works.

Google ‘list of questions to ask at an interview’ and get some ideas. One question that I found in that manner is asking your interviewer “What challenges do you think I will face in this position?” which revealed a little more about the position than I knew before.

Don’t complain about your last job(s) .. it doesn’t matter at this point and you don’t want to look like you are a whiner. If they ask why you left your last job, go ahead and say why but keep it to facts not emotion.

Hopefully these will help you land your next job .. Do you have any tips?

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