Experience Deep Dive

259 2018-07-20 11:54

Intended Audience

Moderate experience or less, or anyone who was not in a leadership or design position (either formal or informal) in their previous position

Question Description

Describe one of your previous projects that was particularly interesting or memorable to you. Followup questions:

What about it made it interesting? What was the most challenging part of the project, and how did you address those challenges? What did you learn from the project, and what do you wish you had known before you started? What other designs/implementation methods did you consider? Why did you choose the one that you did? If you were to do the same project over again, what would you do differently?

Interviewer tips

Since the goal here is to assess the technical communication skill and interest level of someone who has not necessarily ever been in a role that they could conduct a crash course in, you should be prepared to keep asking them questions (either for more details, or about other aspects of the project). If they are a recent grad and did a thesis, that’s often a good choice to talk about. While this question is in many ways similar to the Resume Questions question from phone screen one, this question is intended to be approximately four times as long, and should get into proportionally more detail about what it is that they have done. As such, the scoring criteria are similar, but should be evaluated with both higher expectations and more data.

Scoring

A great candidate will

  • Be able to talk for the full time about the project, with interaction from the interviewer being conversational rather than directing

  • Be knowledgeable about the project as a whole, rather than only their area of focus, and be able to articulate the intent and design of the project

  • Be passionate about whatever the project was, and able to describe the elements of the project that inspired that passion clearly

  • Be able to clearly explain what alternatives were considered, and why they chose the implementation strategy that they did.

  • Have reflected on and learned from their experiences

A good candidate will

  • May have some trouble talking for the full time, but will be able to with some help and questions from the interviewer

  • May lack some knowledge about the larger scope of the project, but still have strong knowledge of their particular area and pieces that directly interacted with them

  • May seem passionate, but be unable to clearly explain what inspired that passion

  • May be able to discuss alternatives to what they did, but not have considered them in depth

  • Have reflected on and learned from their experiences

A bad candidate will

  • Have difficulty talking for the full time. The interviewer may feel as if they are interrogating rather than conversing with the candidate

  • May lack detailed knowledge of the project, even within the area that they were working. They may not understand why their piece was designed the way it was, or may not understand how it interacted with other systems

  • Does not seem very interested in the project - remember that you are asking them about the most interesting project that they have done, they should be very - interested in whatever it was

  • May not be familiar with potential alternatives to their implementation method

  • Does not seem to have learned from or reflected on their experiences with the project. A key sign of this is that the answer to ‘what did you learn’ and ‘what would you do differently’ are short and/or nearly identical.

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