Coming in for an interview is the most intimidating part of the hiring process. In just three short hours, you have to answer questions, solve problems, and convince five or six interviewers that you are the person they need to hire. It starts with proper preparation, but even the most prepared candidate can mess it up in the actual interview. To help make sure this doesn’t happen, our interview team has compiled seven tips to help you ace your engineering interview.
1. Be Confident, Energetic, and Interested
When you are apathetic, it shows. Nobody wants to have a teammate who lacks energy and passion. At Lucid, one of our core values is “passion and excellence in every position.” During the interview, you have three short hours to demonstrate that value. Be earnest, excited, and passionate about the position.
It’s amazing how many candidates come in acting like this is a funeral. They are clearly uncomfortable and worried. As interviewers, we will do whatever we can do to help you feel comfortable, and you will probably notice us trying to smile back at you. It’s really hard if you keep a stone-cold look on your face the whole time. At least pretend like you are grateful for our time and are enjoying the opportunity to interview.
3. Think Out Loud
Related to working at the whiteboard, when you are answering questions, defending a solution to a problem, or trying to work out a model or algorithm, let us know what you are thinking. There is nothing worse than spending 10 precious minutes of our time together in silence. You have a short couple of hours to leave a lasting impression—take advantage of every minute. We want to know your thought process. We want to be able to help guide you if you are really off base. When you are standing there silently, we don’t know if you are thinking about the problem or having a nervous breakdown because we asked a hard question.
4. Start With the First Solution That Comes to Mind and Then Refine
It is better to have something than nothing. Overall, the goal of the interview is to understand how you work through problems. We are not trying to just test that you can spit back the right answers — we want to know that you understand how to arrive at them. Start with something, and as you see improvements, make them. We want to know what is going on in your head. Even if it’s not the perfect solution at first, it shows that you quickly understood the problem and had a solution.
5. You Will Get Stumped
One of our goals in the interview is to push you. We want to stretch you to the limit of your knowledge. In each section, the questions we ask will get progressively harder. We want to know how much you know and how you react when you are faced with a question you don’t know the answer to.
6. Answer Personal Questions in the STAR Format
Many candidates struggle to answer “tell me about a time” questions. They ramble, skip details, or simply just can’t think of an example. We will ask these questions, so come prepared with answers that are clear, detailed, and appropriate.
7. Send a Follow-Up Thank You Note
In our experience, only about one in 50 candidates do this. It will bring you back to the front of our minds and guarantees that our last interaction with you is a positive one. A thank you note communicates sincere interest in the opportunity and conveys a thoughtful, classy, and gracious character.
The entire interview process can be an intimidating, unforgiving beast. Hopefully, the tips from the last two weeks can help you become more prepared to ace the engineering interview.