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Crucial Steps for Interview Preparation

Published 1/29/2016

In today's episode, we will discuss the sunk cost fallacy and 3 traps that lead to the sunk cost fallacy that you should avoid.

Mentioned Or Relevant To Today's Episode

Today's episode is sponsored by Linode! Head over to Linode.com/developertea or use the code DeveloperTea20 at checkout for a $20 credit towards your cloud hosting account! Thanks again to Linode for your support of Developer Tea.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Develop4T. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and in today's episode I'm going to be talking to you about two crucial steps that you need to prepare for when you are about to go into an interview. Now when I say about to go I mean weeks in advance or as far in advance as you possibly can. Today's episode is sponsored by Linode. Linode is an SSD Cloud Service Provider. We will talk more about what Linode has to offer later in today's episode but first let's jump straight into this discussion about how to prepare for an interview and specifically about these two steps that I think everyone should take. This is a unilateral recommendation. Anybody who is looking for a job can listen to this and get some benefit out of it I think. The hiring process can be a strenuous one for everyone involved. A company spends resources looking for candidates for particular positions and they have a ton of them to go through usually. They have a lot of people to compare and developers looking for a job often are balancing a variety of things. For the company it's difficult because over the course of a few hours it's their job to assess whether a person has the proper mix of professional and personal characteristics for that particular job in the long run. We have just a few hours to determine if you're going to work for the next five to ten years perhaps. For the person that is being interviewed they have only a few hours to convince the company that they have those exact skills but not only that they have those exact skills but that if they were compared to another person who has all of the same skills that they are rising above that other person for any number of various reasons. It can be incredibly difficult to stand out from the crowd especially without doing something over the top that you quite honestly might not have the time to accomplish before the interview. How do you stand out? In my opinion it all starts with preparation particularly when it comes to interviews you must do your homework when participating in a job search. In a traditional job search the company is seeking employees whether you do this through a job ad a personal connection or something like hired it almost always ultimately comes down to an application and an interview. In today's episode we're going to talk about a few ways to prepare more holistically for this particular process the application and more specifically the interview itself. We aren't going to be talking about personal skills in the interview or speaking skills and those are important topics and I think that everyone can benefit from looking at those topics and actually doing a little bit of research as it relates to being able to talk correctly you could even go and do a little bit of research about dressing well and matching your clothes properly. This is stuff that isn't necessarily obvious and it can have a major effect on the interview process but we're going to talk about something a little bit higher level and a little bit more removed from the specifics of interview skills. We're not going to talk about how firm of a handshake you should have or how to keep eye contact throughout the interview. This is going to be a little bit zoomed out away from that level of granularity. Specifically we're going to be talking about how to present your different skill sets and which skill sets to present and the first crucial step the very most important thing I think you can do is to show that you can care about what your employer cares about. Show that you can care about what your employer cares about and in this scenario we're saying that your employer is your potential employer, your future employer, the person who is sitting across the table from you interviewing you. If you are applying for a job at a company that is known for their performance for example you should show an emphasis on performance implications when asked about any specific algorithm or maybe if you're asked to do a demo or some live coding. If you know that the company that you are interviewing with that they care about performance deeply then you should show in your actual demonstration that you care about performance. If you are applying for a company that is laid back in its attitude they're famous for being laid back. You may be shooting yourself in the foot if you come in and you're incredibly rigid. This could be seen as potentially stifling for that company's culture. Something that they took a long time to build up this culture of being laid back together you could possibly come in and stifle that by being too serious and that particular thing may transcend all of your other skills. That particular factor may be a negative point. Conversely if you come in and you're underdressed or perhaps the company that you are interviewing with is more focused on a professional environment and more traditional professional environment then you may raise flags of unprofessional behavior. And really what this comes down to is doing a little bit of research on the company and the type of people they have hired in the past the type of culture they have in the office, the working culture but also the things that they value as a company in large. People who make the hiring decisions very often end up coming back to the larger scale questions. Is this person going to fit in for the long term? They very likely are not going to be talking about whether or not your skill level is two or three points better than the previous person. And of course there are bounds to this, there are limits to this. If you do not have the minimum necessary skill set then no amount of culture fit will make up for that. But certainly if you and another person with the same skill level apply then whoever's going to fit better with that team. Whoever is most like the team that already exists and isn't going to create overhead of assimilation those people are more likely to get hired. And this is just a psychology metric. This is simply how the human brain works. And so if you can show that you care about what your employer cares about particularly the things that your employer cares about in the projects that they are doing and then secondarily in the culture that they've created in their company then you're likely more likely to get hired than if you can't show that you care about those things. I'm going to give you the second preparation tip right after this quick sponsor break. Today's episode is sponsored by Linode. Linode allows you to instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in Linode Cloud. You can get a server running in seconds with your choice of Linux distribution, various resources and the location of that node. Now they have eight data centers. Their plans start at $10 a month and you can get a server running in under a minute. They have hourly billing a monthly cap on all plans and add on services including backups, node balancers and long view. You have virtual machines for full control. You have root access. You can run Docker containers, encrypted disks. You can even run a private get server if you wanted to on Linode. And they have native SSD storage. So it's super fast. It's inside of a 40 gigabit network and they run Intel E5 processors. So if you are worried about performance as we mentioned previously in today's episode, then Linode may be a perfect option for you because of that speed, that internal speed. So let's say you try Linode and you end up not liking it. Well, they have a seven day money back guarantee. So you can sign up now and in seven days, if you don't like it, you can just get your money back. And on top of that, if you are a Developer Tealistener, Linode has provided a very special deal for you. There is a promo code Developer Tea 20 that gives you $20 of credit on your Linode account. When you sign up, you use that code to check out. You get a $20 credit immediately applied to your account just for being a Developer Tealistener. Of course, you can click a link in the show notes that will immediately apply that code to your cart or you can use that code directly. The show notes can be found at spec.fm. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode. So we've talked about the first crucial step. And that is to show that you can care about what your employer cares about. And that's holistic. You show that in code examples. You show that in the way that you present yourself, the way that you communicate, the way that you dress. You need to show that you can care about what your employer cares about. And the second crucial step is to show your specific interests and expertise that you are developing in a light that could benefit the company. Let me say that again, show your specific interests, things that you specifically are interested in and your expertise, the things that you have learned better than most people around you. Show those things that you are developing in a light that could benefit the company. So if you have a background in traditional computer science, you could talk about, for example, the fact that you know Java, even if your job doesn't necessarily require it, that you know Java. If you have a background in theater, then maybe you can talk about the fact that you understand communication theory. Or perhaps you are particularly interested in a subset of technology that the company already uses. Maybe you're very interested in encryption or in login systems. Or maybe you're interested in machine learning or functional programming. There's a ton of different possible avenues that you can go with this particular tip. But you need to show these specific interests, not just as interest of yours, but as potential competitive advantages that you can provide to the company. This is kind of a bonus section when you can show that you are actively learning and building your authority in a few more narrow topics than the average developer. The person interviewing you will begin to construct scenarios where that expertise comes in the play. Obviously, this is more valuable if you happen to be cultivating expertise in an area that the company is either weak in and needs to balance out or an area where the company is strong and needs to maintain a competitive advantage and continue growing in. And you can show that this is a particular advantage for that company by citing specific places where those skills may apply in the company's current offerings. Don't simply say that you are interested in encryption, but let the company know that you're interested in encryption and you think it would be an incredible opportunity to work on doing encryption-related things in a particular product that that company offers. When you establish authority in a particular expertise like this, you're doing multiple things. First of all, you are showing that you are a self-starter and that you're motivated in the work that you do. If you don't have motivation, then you probably are not going to stand out as the most positive candidate for any job. Secondly, being an authority figure in any subject provides you with leverage. And the reason for this is because people will respect the things that you say, they'll respect the words that you have to say about a particular subject, and it provides a unique value when deep, difficult to solve problems occur in that particular domain. They know exactly who to come to, and having a go-to person is highly valuable for any company. So again, let's recap both of these crucial steps. The first one is show that you can care about what your employer cares about. If your employer is focused on something specific, then show that you can be focused on that thing as well. And number two, show your specific interests and expertise that you are developing in a light that can benefit the company you are applying to work at. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea today. Hopefully this has been enlightening, especially for those of you who are on the job search and you're participating in interviews. Thank you so much for listening again. And thank you to Linode for sponsoring today's episode. If you want a $20 credit for the Linode Cloud, go to spec.fm and click on that special link, or you can always just use the code directly. That's Developer Tea 20 when you check out at linode.com. Thank you so much for listening. Of course, as always, subscribe in whatever podcasting app you use, and don't forget to leave a rating for the show. These are the two best ways that you can help Developer Teacontinue doing what we are doing. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.