This post is my experience from 2020. It was sitting in my drafts for many months and thanks to procrastination I never able to finish it. But finally today it can go out in the world.
A few days back (in 2020), I tweeted about my new career move. I was happy to see the love and support of the community. I got a few common questions about my job change and interview process. There are many wonderful resources (blogs, videos, etc) available for interview tips & preparation. So, this is not going to focus on that at all and especially "HOW TO GET PLACED INTO FAANG".
These are the questions I think are most of the time missing from those guides.
1. Why I have decided to change?
I look at this question another way - "Where I want my career to be not after 5 years but after every year."
- "Is there any new skill I want to learn and work on?"
"Can my current company help me with this?"
- "Is my finance aligns with my expenses for next year?"
"No, let's lookout." (Indian folks are aware of how unstable our economy is. Hence, every year we have to look at our salary and expenses to see where we are standing?)
- "Is there is anything new and challenging coming my way?"
"No, let's lookout."
2. Which Role I am going for?
A. I am joining as Engineering Manager
3. Why Engineering manager and not an architect?
A. In my last company, I got promoted from tech-lead to manager. It was a hybrid role, where I was doing technical, architect, and management work. I enjoyed working in the hybrid role. Hence, I decided to move to the same role.
4. Was I actively looking for a job change?
A. No, I wasn't not so actively looking for the job change as I was happy in my current company and role. But I knew that after 2.5 yrs I will go for a job change.
"I heard from many folks that at a higher level there are fewer openings and once need to search for months & years."
For me, this was the first time I was going to interview for a manager position (As I got promoted at my current place from Tech lead to EM role). I wanted to experience - manager interviews. Hence, I was open if anything comes my way. So, whenever anything came to me organically through LinkedIn or any other platform I at least decided to have the conversation.
Such as Company name, Job Description, Role, Interview process, role and responsibilities, and package.
5. When did I start applying?
A. I used to randomly apply for jobs on Linkedin. There was not an exact month tbh. (I used to apply only the jobs which have "easy apply" feature).
I applied for a few places in March 2020. Got a call from only 3 and cleared the interview of 2 companies. Due to COVID19, I thought I should play safe and do not take the risk of change. Hence, I let them go.
Then in June 2020, I got calls & emails from 5 companies. (This time I didn't apply to any of these companies).
(Fun fact, one of the company was called me in November 2019 took details & went silent, then called in March 2020 took details and again ghosted me, then they called in June 2020 and I thought they will again ghost me but this time they didn't)
6. How did you decide what you are looking at for your next company?
A: This is very important for me at least. With years of experience,
I know what person I am.
Which kind of company I will enjoy working at? (Startup, midsize company, product, service, MNC, etc)
What kind of culture I am looking at.
So, this helped me to make up my mind about what I am looking for in my next company.
1) Work-life-balance is a top priority for me?
2) As a leader for me, it is important- "Does the company understand the empathy before delivery dates?"
3) What tech they have and how much they are open to new technologies?
4) Do they understand WFH is okay or they think it is a favor they are doing to the employee?
5) Do they look for 9 hours of work hours mandatory?
6) What project I will be working on?
7) Do they have any issues with my public speaking, blogging, or community work?
8) What are the problem areas they have currently for which they need my most attention?
7. How many rounds?
The good thing about this time all Indian company interviews didn't go beyond 4 rounds including/excluding the HR round. I was going for an engineering manager role hence I have always 1-2 extra Leadership round. So, if I have to break down
4 rounds in total
2/3 Pair Programming rounds
1 Leadership round
1 HR round
1 Hiring manager round
8. How was the interview coding level?
Well, I always look up to interviews to learn from them. For sure they were not traditional interviews asking (I loved this, finally tech interviews are moving far from regular questions) :
2) What is the difference between PUT and POST?
1) Tasks-based questions. Build and discuss your approach
2) They were not at all interested in the output but in my thought process.
4) Semantic code ( I got a lot of questions around this. Eg: why X and not Y? What will happen if I use span over p? etc.)
5) Accessibility (+20points to the company who asked about A11Y). They went deep into the accessibility and also discuss how my code is meeting the accessibility.
6) Web Security: I was not having much experience in this but due to my current project I got the chance to learn about this...hence able to answer.
7) Nodejs and Database:
8) Data Structure
9) System design
10) How to do code reviews
Overall if you are working day today as a developer you will find most of the questions are doable and not so hard.
This round is very important for me as I am going to be a part of the leadership and working closely with them. As well as, there is no right answer in this round. For me, this round is always the deal breaker...I want to join the company or not by talking to the leaders (PS: I also keep an eye on the vibes interviewers are giving during interviews. I don't want to work with folks who can't make someone comfortable in an interview)
Generally, Here I speak aloud about my way of working as a manager. Such as for me empathy and work-life balance come first for my team members.
If my team is happy and comfortable to work they will go the extra mile to do their work. I don't do micro-management. I trust folks, etc...
The only preparation I did was doing pair programming and discussing DSA with my friends. Rest of the technical part I was doing at my day-to-day job.
I was not at all confident in DSA but I would say it was my luck the interviews I cleared asked only that part which I knew already.
9. Why did you decide to move ahead?
A- As I mentioned that I was already planning to start looking for a change after 2.5+ years in my current place. The reason was to get myself to extend my domains, especially in Cloud and Backend. At my current place, I was not getting this opportunity and yes the finance part was also what I expected. So, I decided to move ahead.