Interview Prep Putting It All Together

Slides for this lesson

Learning Goals

  • Outline questions for job shadow and create a reflection process for that activity
  • Ideate and try out solutions to improve your strategy
  • Understand how to answer interview questions through specific strategies

This Week’s Career Journal

  • Prep for job shadow
  • Reflect on job shadow afterwards
  • Create interview prep strategies

Overview

We’re a little over halfway into the module now. Review how you’ve been spending your time. Where are you right now in regards to the deliverables for this mod? What habits are effective for you? What changes should you make in how you spend your time?

Interview Prep Strategies

There are many ways to prepare for interviews. The key for all interviews is knowing who you are and how to talk about yourself. Today, we’ll go through 4 particular tips to help with this process:

  1. Answer the whole question
  2. Tell stories
  3. Know how to talk about your experience
  4. Research & prep

Strategy #1: Answer the whole question

Pay attention to what the question is asking as well as any subtext inherent in the question. Let’s look at an example:

  • How do you deal with failure?

This question is asking you to:

  • Acknowledge that you fail. You’re not perfect, you have experienced failure. Be upfront and transparent about that
  • Describe what you do after you fail. How do you pick yourself back up? What next steps do you take?
  • Give specifics. Even though the way this question is worded doesn’t ask for a specific situation, providing specifics helps

Strategy #2: Use the STAR Method

Use this as an opportunity to tell stories about your relevant experience. A great template to use to plan out your stories is the STAR method:

  • Situation: The interviewer wants you to present a recent challenge and situation in which you found yourself.
  • Task: What were you required to achieve? The interviewer will be looking to see what you were trying to achieve from the situation. Some performance development methods use “Target” rather than “Task”. Job interview candidates who describe a “Target” they set themselves instead of an externally imposed “Task” emphasize their own intrinsic motivation to perform and to develop their performance.
  • Action: What did you do? The interviewer will be looking for information on what you did, why you did it, and what the alternatives were.
  • Results: What was the outcome of your actions? What did you achieve through your actions and did you meet your objectives? What did you learn from this experience and have you used this learning since?

Example:

  • Tell me about a successful project that you’ve worked on.

In this example, focus on establishing the situation or scenario for the project. Set the stage for the listener – how many people were involved in this project? What was the timeline? What were the main technologies used?

Then move into the task/target and discuss the objective of the project. What was the purpose? Who was the user?

Then, walk through all of the actionable steps you/your team took to meet the objective of the project. What successes did you have? What challenges did you run into? What steps did you take to overcome those challenges?

And finally, what were the results of this project? What were you able to accomplish? What would you have done differently?

Strategy #3: Know how to talk about your experience

There are 2 elements to keep in mind here as you present your software and work experience:

  • Discussing your Turing experience as professional experience
  • Your previous work experiences

When talking about Turing:

  • Do:
    • Give a high-level description
    • Talk about Turing as professional experience
    • Highlight the differences between Turing and other code schools
  • Don’t assume your interviewer knows anything about Turing. That means not using Turing-specific jargon (module, inning, cohort, DTR, etc.)

Example:

Instead of saying “In Module 1, when I was working on my first paired project…” what could you say?

Consider how you would respond to this question:

“I’ve never heard of Turing. What did you focus on there? What’s the structure of the program? How did it prepare you for this career?”

For your previous professional experiences and background, unpack the transferable skills you have that apply to the job. Consider how your specific experiences make you uniquely qualified compared to other candidates. For example, have you worked with customers before in any capacity? Talk about it. Have you ever had to deliver on tight deadlines? Yes, you’re a Turing student – talk about that. Have you had to communicate with different teams? Talk about it.

Strategy #4: Research and Prep

  1. Make sure to start by researching your company (you should do this before you submit your application anyway). Know what their tech stack is

  2. Keep a running doc where you can keep track of common interview questions and specifics that you can draw from to answer these questions. Outline your stories here about projects, team situations, successes, and failures. Make sure to review these before each of your interviews.

Putting it into Practice

This week’s journal asks you to start preparing for interviews by telling stories about various experiences. You should also check out the interview resources listed here to add to your strategy.