Hello everyone, my name is Max Kravets and I am the CEO of the Holyweb outstaff company. I decided to talk about job interviews because the job market is changing. Developers are forced to look for a new place because their employers are leaving Russia or cutting staff. In recent months, a lot of mobile, frontend and python developers from large companies have come to us for interviews – and we see that not all candidates cope with self-presentation, even very strong ones.
In the article I want to talk about how interviews with a client in outstaff (and not only) take place and how a developer feels confident and not afraid of interviews.
Before the interview
If we are talking about outstaff, we mean that the customer has already pre-selected you from the proposed candidates and trusts your employer company. His goal is not to arrange an exam for you, but to make sure that the choice is correct. They will look more at how you react to unexpected and non-standard tasks, how comfortable it is to work and communicate with you.
The team will evaluate you, and you will get to know the team and the interviewer (usually the project lead). No one wants one of the parties to find themselves in uncomfortable conditions.
What do you need to know about the project before dating?
Before the conversation with the client, your account manager will tell you exactly what to pay attention to and will be present at the interview. You will have full information about the project in advance: versions of languages or frameworks, team structure, description of organizational processes, data on the availability of legacy and documentation, tests.
Study everything that the manager has given you and prepare the questions that you would like to clarify. Interviewers sometimes ask, “What do you know about our project?” An answer in the spirit of “I don’t know who you are and why I’m here” is unlikely to please your interlocutor.
How can I tell you about my experience?
Many people have problems with self-presentation and get lost when they hear the question “Tell us about your latest projects”. It is ok. To sound more confident, prepare in advance a text about two or three projects that you have recently worked with, according to this template:
- General description of the project (2-3 sentences). Chart display system…
- Problem / feature (2-3 sentences). What you were doing directly. There was a plug with that…
- Decision. Implemented with…, used tools…, learned… , other results.
The cheat sheet will be useful to you at the interview.
Five minutes before the start
Check the operability of your equipment in advance and connect to the meeting with the camera turned on. Visual contact is important.
During the interview
What will the client appreciate and what to talk about?
At the interview, you will most likely be asked about the latest projects you have worked on. Even if you are completely immersed in the problem and are ready to re-write the code, even if you wake up in the middle of the night, it is easy to fall into a “stupor” at the interview, not knowing where to start the answer. Therefore, do not hesitate to use the pre-prepared cheat sheet, which we talked about above.
If it seems to you that you have already answered the question in detail and are afraid that you may say too much, do not hesitate to ask if such an answer is enough.
All interviewers have a positive attitude to questions about projects, clients, technologies used, so do not hesitate and ask — the overall impression of you will be more pleasant. Specify how the work on the project is organized, what tasks you need to solve, which libraries and tools will be used. This way you will understand how this project meets your goals and skills.
What will be superfluous at the interview?
It is worth mentioning carefully about freelancing and solo development. Sometimes these words can devalue a cool experience. Practice shows that such an experience is rarely appreciated, but you can be recorded in “non-team players”.
A small life hack to avoid bias — do not use the terms freelance / side / pet. It is better to focus on technical solutions on projects. Mention specific brands, names of projects and products in the development of which you participated, do not hesitate to name them if it does not contradict the NDA.
Developers are real people, everyone has the right to their own opinion. Some technology may be liked more, some less. But leave the discussion of your preferences for later, do not scold any technologies, even if you really want to. Firstly, it may well turn out that your interlocutor holds opposite views. And secondly, bias towards any technology characterizes the developer not from the best side. Remember, your goal is to demonstrate knowledge and learn about the project, not to change the opinion of the interviewer.
In a conversation with a client during an interview, you may encounter a situation when he refuses to clarify the details of the project, because he is under an NDA. This is normal, and you should not put pressure on the interlocutor — he still has no right to disclose details, but the negative from perseverance will not benefit either the interview or further communication.
Finally, remember that you are interviewing on behalf of an outstaff company, so all organizational issues are resolved through management. There is no need to discuss working conditions, schedule, size and payment method with the client — your direct employer is responsible for this to you.
What to do if you are asked about something you are not sure about?
If you are asked a question, and you cannot immediately give a specific answer — do not fall into a stupor and do not be silent. Think out loud: “I use such tools in these cases, I would implement this task in this way …” So your interviewers will understand that in addition to real knowledge and experience, you are able to reflect on a given topic and look for solutions. This is a good soft skill that is really highly appreciated.
Most often, the fact that you will need a screen broadcast or life coding during an interview is reported in advance. But sometimes the very course of the conversation pushes for this, and you need to be always ready for unexpected tasks. If you are asked to confirm your skills in real time, saying, “We didn’t agree that way” is the shortest way to fail the interview. Be flexible and ready to meet the customer halfway.
After the interview
So, this important stage is over. What’s next? The answer depends on the outcome. If the client realized that you are exactly the developer he was looking for, and you are interested in the proposed tasks, then you will find the process of onboarding into a new project, acquaintance with a new team. But the contact with the outstaff company does not stop: she continues to support the developer, helps to resolve disputes and provides a comfortable atmosphere for work.
What happens if you don’t fit the client?
The first and most important thing is that failure at the interview does not affect your assessment as a developer in any way. It’s just that sometimes people don’t fit together, that’s normal. Your task is, together with the account manager and team leader, to talk through and analyze customer questions and your answers, find weaknesses and identify growth points.
Negative experience is information for understanding and self—improvement. If you are ready to work on yourself, a new client and a new project will not keep you waiting.
After the interview, the outstaff company usually asks the customer for a detailed feedback on each item. It is used to finalize an individual development plan for a specialist.
Max Kravets from Holyweb was with you. Do you have any questions or have your own tips on how to pass an interview with a client? Write in the comments or directly to me in telegram.