Listen, interviews are hard. There’s just something so nerve-whacking about putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to be perceived by others (not to get existential). Engineering interviews have their own flair on top of that by being known for their technical questions that can sometimes make you have to dig into the obscure parts of your past few years of schooling.
Interviews were not something I had experienced in an online context until recently. I have just finished up final round full-time employment interviews at Apple (no response yet; fingers crossed!) and I have been awfully introspective about that process, especially when it came to considering what I could have done better. So, I’ll be sharing with you all some of those thoughts that I’ve had about how to have a successful online interview.
One, review the fundamentals of your field. As you become an upperclassman, a lot of your classes become a whole lot more niche. That’s why it’s very common for interviewers to talk about core fundamentals first before jumping into any sort of specialization; they want a baseline to effectively compare you to your peers (cough, coding interviews, cough).
Two, reflect, reflect, reflect! Whatever you have written down on your resume, be prepared to deep dive into it. This means considering things outside of a simple “this is what I did, this was the result”. Be prepared to talk about how you grew, what you learned, and what you would do differently. Be candid! Also, don’t be afraid to give context. For example, I was tossed into a research position just this past summer for the first time – explaining the context (a chaotic manager switch, the newness to the field of machine learning research) definitely landed me some more points!
And finally, it’s okay to be nervous; it makes you more human! Being frank and candid about how you are feeling with your interview is a great way to connect more genuinely with them, which is so important considering the online format.
That just about covers all the points I wanted to hit. I hope this gives some insight as to how a Viterbi such as myself is approaching and preparing for interviews!