Cracking the coding interview

Example interview questions

Sample coding challenges

Helping you land your dream job

Geektastic’s guide to landing your dream software engineering job

Your palms go all sweaty, your field of vision narrows so you think you are going to pass out, your increased heart rate thumps in your chest, your legs go so weak you want to sit down and your brain goes to mush.

No, we’re not talking about your first date (although we could be) this is the feeling you can get heading into your coding interview.

We’re going to help you get through the next hour or two that sits between you and your dream job, but before we do, first let us congratulate you for getting this far - Kudos to you!

5 things you can do to help prepare yourself for your coding interview

  1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before - every hour you lose will hit your ability to think on your feet
  2. Don’t drink coffee before the interview - it increases anxiety which will cloud your thought process.
  3. Avoid alcohol the night before - this is obvious but a hangover is not going to help you get through an intense interview
  4. Preparation - do your research on the company and on the individuals that will be interviewing you. 
  5. Hydrate - even low levels of dehydration can lower recall and negatively affect memory (but not too much otherwise you’ll be needing the WC)

5 things to thinking about during the coding interview

  1. Turn off your mobile - with all the excitement of getting into the interview you can forget to turn off your phone (and certainly please don’t use it - that would be an instant fail)
  2. Be friendly - try to build a rapport before the interview gets going, if all else fails there’s always the weather to chat about.
  3. Breathe - don’t forget to keep breathing - it’s amazing how a nice deep breath can help relax and kick start the brain cells.
  4. Keep smiling - people enjoy engaging with and tend to remember positive people. 
  5. How can you help the company - stay focussed on how you can help them rather than them help you.

Coding interview preparation

Example tech questions you might get thrown at you

  1. Why did you decide to take a particular route during your take home coding challenge?
  2. Talk me through what happens when you enter a web address into a browser it loads up a web page?
  3. What things should you think about when setting up a database server? 
  4. How does one particular role within the development team interact with another role?
  5. What kind of working environment are you looking for?

Why did you decide to take a particular route during your take home coding challenge?

Lots of companies will ask you to complete a take home challenge first to gauge your skills - well congrats you must have passed otherwise you wouldn’t be sitting there in the interview. 

These take home challenges are great for a deep dive into the solution you wrote. 

It’s always a good idea to re-read the solution you provided and think about any feedback they gave on your solution.

If they are using Geektastic’s review team you will have detailed feedback and some questions about your solution or pointers to third party websites to read up on. It shows a strong aptitude to learn and react positively to feedback if you have read these and can refer to them during the interview.

Practice code challenges

There are plenty of sites where you can practice code challenges - Geektastic for one, but just to show we are not completely biased we have listed a few more.

With Geektastic you can complete two types of Code Challenge. 

We have Express Code Challenges, these are short multiple choice challenges which take around 4 minutes each to complete.  These are used to benchmark your skills against the rest of the Geektastic global developer community and get access to the real deal, our peer reviewed take home challenges.

Peer Review, Take Home Challenges are real world, 1-3 hour problem solving code challenges that you can complete in the comfort of your own home, using your IDE, that are then reviewed by one of our expert review team (who work at companies including Google, Amazon and Capgemini). We use these to assess the skills of developers joining our review team and our clients use them on their candidates to assess their suitability for their team.

Other places you can practice code challenges

Coding interview - Questions to ask your interviewer 

Almost every interviewer is going to ask whether you have any questions. This isn’t the time to clam up and think about making a fast exit.

Here are some suggestions (although clearly don’t ask any questions that have already been covered during the interview, that’ll give the impression you weren’t listening)

  • What is a typical day like at {name of company}?
  • What are your expectations of the team?
  • What sort of manager are you like?
  • What is the office/team culture like?
  • How does the company keep everyone updated on wider company progress?
  • What are your biggest challenges working here?
  • How does working here compare to other companies you have worked in?

Good luck!

Ever wondered how Geektastic is different to other assessment platforms like Codility and HackerRank - we wrote a comparison piece here

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