4 Mistakes Made During Software Engineering Interviews

Software engineering interviews refer to interviews of an individual or a group of people that work alongside an interviewer to create appropriate solutions to their problems. Software engineers themselves are responsible for the testing, revamping, deploying and developing of computer programs, so the questions asked are mostly taking into mind their skills and judging their analytical and problem-solving abilities by giving them different problem-solving equations that they need to code.

By putting them in different situations, the interviewer can observe how quickly they can adapt to any situation. This is ultimately done to test whether you will fit into the company’s culture or will you stand out.However, mistakes are made by everyone and in this field of line many mistakes are made. They may be small blunders, but they can affect results on a long term basis.

Some of the common mistakes that are made in software engineering interviews are that participants don’t allow themselves the appropriate required time to prepare for the interviews. Their lack of preparation leads them to having communication problems, they are not able to convey their qualities and talents to the interviewer appropriately in the given time span.

Another problem that is commonly faced is that the participants don’t pay enough attention to the question that is asked and they hastily apply a code without running it through interface to make sure that it is appropriate for the situation.

These little blunders happen to cause bigger mistakes because at the end they are interlinked. Since this type of interview is a group interview, it has multiple participants with their diverse knowledge and abilities. The main focus of the group is coming up with effective solutions for the problems, hence it focuses on solution development.

The main purpose of the group is that a variety of people come together with their diverse abilities and work together collectively. It has been seen that when more than one person works together to solve problems, unexpected results can be achieved. This is due to the fact that when different abilities are combined together, astounding results can be achieved. Here the software engineers discuss the issue within the group and utilize their expertise and abilities to come up with a common ground solution to the common problem. However the interviews don’t always run smoothly and according to plan. Here are some common mistakes as indicators of that.

These minor blunders may seem minor even harmless, but when combined together they can go a long way with their negative long term effects. They will ultimately affect the results because one mistake after another piled up will make a pile of mistakes that will hinder results. That is why they need to be acknowledged and addressed as soon as possible by all software engineers being a part of such interviews. It is recommended that they are dealt with in the initial stages of the problem arising. 

1. Poor Understanding of the Questions Asked

The initial mistake that people make while giving software engineering interviews is ‘not fully understanding the question that is being asked of them and hastily jumping into writing a code for it’. When you receive a question you should first break it down into smaller, less complex parts so that you can individually understand each part.

What we normally do is that we read the first half of the question, interpret it and then answer it accordingly, but we often forget to consider the second half of the question. It is very important that you understand every part of the question before you can even think about a code that you will apply on it.

Before you can decide what code to apply, you must take into consideration the two main steps; asking yourself questions and the interviewer questions related to the statement provided and running them through proper examples. Any exam strategy requires the individuals to be keen about consideration and possibility.

You must consider that there can be more possibilities and answers to your problem. Looking at the problem from a different light may help you expand and enlighten your vision. You have to be considerate about the interviewer as well.

The interviewer might have a different perspective than you

You must take into consideration their perspective as it may be different than yours, but they may have something unique that you can use.

They may be able to help you see the problem in a different light. The foremost mistake is always rushing into the question that is delivered in front of them. Deciding on a code in itself might be extremely anxiety provoking hence it is suggested that you break down the question in your head. If necessary you can ask the interviewer other questions related to that particular question to better understand the question. Preparing appropriate examples in your brain can also help a great deal.

During an interview, the interviewer intentionally sometimes leaves out important key information such as intentionally forgets to mention the instructions of how to handle cases or how to apply codes of sample input or output data type, which can have an effect on the interviewees problem solving technique. When correct information will not be conveyed to the interviewee, the strategy and code they use will lack.

They will not be able to achieve the required results because they will be missing out on information.

Hence,that is why it is vital that the interviewee asks as many questions as possible, to the point that all queries have been solved and no more questions arise because if you do not do so it will affect your solutions and critical thinking.

At times, the interviewer may be vague and not clear on purpose, that instead of giving detailed instructions, they may have briefly mentioned something earlier without putting much emphasis on it resulting in you not understanding it or not giving the information enough recognition.

Therefore, due to these very reasons it is important that the interviewee ask as many questions from the interviewer as to make sure all misconceptions are dealt with effectively. Clarification can be gained through mentioning examples that can help you understand the problem more. Once your mind is all clear, you must know exactly what you are going to write down before you can even start coding.

Thus, you must follow the following steps to acquire appropriate results. We are wired in a way that we don’t ask questions because in an exam we are advised that any question asked will not be answered. In that same way when we go for an interview we hesitate to ask the interviewer any questions, but in the real world you learn from asking questions and experiencing new things.

It is not necessary that the question presented in the interview is a close ended question. At times there might be a certain requirement from your side to prompt the interviewer for details. The best way to do that is to be aware of what might be the perfect time for asking the question. It is also essential to understand that asking the most appropriate subject for prompting is the key. It might be the case at the time the interviewer would give an ambiguous statement for you to figure out.

In such situations, the interview looks for somebody who is efficient enough to know how to understand a certain question through prompts. While using follow up questions one should also be highly considerate of the fact that they don’t want to appear as troubled or confused. The perfect way to be moderate while prompting is to ask a multidimensional question that covers multiple aspects in one go.

It is also a possibility that you might come off as unprofessional if you ask the similar type of question more than twice. So it is suggested that you appear confident with your concepts and your methodologies.

The interviewer can also go for follow up questions if they doubt that you still have certain misconceptions about the initial question. The follow up question could either be to test you or to trick you or simply just to make you understand the point better. Remember it is not always the interviewer’s aim to trick but it is to see how efficient you are at dealing with stress. Instead of getting anxious we suggest you appear to be more confident with your body language.

2. Poor Communication 

The second mistake that is made in software engineering interviews is the ‘poor communication’. The true basis of an interview is for the sole purpose that the interviewee showcases their talent and convinces the interviewer why he is fit for the job.

However, that chance can be threatened by your own incompetence of not being able to convey your knowledge to the interviewer correctly. That is why it is vital that you have appropriate knowledge and communication skills that you are able to convey your message. It is even best if you discuss with a friend prior because talking about technical topics such as explain how a certain algorithm works and so on, you are able to expand your knowledge and share, this way you will receive constructive feedback and it will help you brush up your own communication skills.

3. Not Testing Your Codes - Before Hand

The third mistake that is made in software engineering interviews is ‘not testing your code’ which means that when you are already working on a code it is necessary that you test whether it works or not before. This applies for interviews as well, time is of the essence and at that moment you do not have time to write down full tests. Neither do all companies provide you with an interface through which you can check your codes. In these cases, you should take one or more simple inputs and edge cases and use them to go through your codes respectively comparing the following results.

This way you can find the respective code that you need for your respective results as well as bugs in your code that you weren’t expecting. 

4. Not to be Prepared 

The last most common mistake that is faced in software engineering interviews is ‘not being prepared’. This is a common mistake because most people think cramming in information will help them ace the test or in this case the interview. Thus, they study the night before or a few days before the interview, but if you want to excel in this field, you require months of proper intensive preparation. If you are not fully prepared you will most definitely need hints to solve the problems.

Hence, it is advised that you study beforehand

As per the above mentioned, it can be observed that these common mistakes can occur for anyone especially if they are at a beginner’s level. It is always advised before an exam that you read and understand your question before trying to attempt it and the same goes in this case. You must first fully understand the question before even trying to attempt it, but that can only be done when one has full knowledge of the subject at hand. 

You are expected to have a hold of the knowledge and a proper understanding of all types of examples that will be used. However, all of this can only be achieved when the other person is willing to open up. Communicate with the interviewer because they are sitting there to facilitate us and help us with our questions. By asking them what we don’t understand, we will be able to grab hold of the required knowledge and then implement it in the required places leading to the wanted results.