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Boanerges Aleman-Meza, Computer Scientist
 

Interviewee and interviewer in the same week

tldr; I believe that interviewing people does not improve my technical skills.

The other week I did a phone technical interview with a company that is one of top 5 in its category. Here’s what I consider top tech companies and why, in no particular order:

  1. Google – potential for growth and they still do not do everything well.
  2. Twitter – this company will have an influence for decades to come.
  3. Facebook – they capture family relations better than any one would dream of.
  4. Amazon – they sell stuff but they are going to grow much more in future.
  5. Microsoft – I think they are the underdog now.
  6. Apple – I would like to work in something new they do and ‘secret’ enough that I would not be able to mention it to my partner.

On the same week, I was the interviewer for a handful of candidates for a six-month internship at my workplace. It was clear to me how to prepare for the technical interview. However, I could not give any precise advice on how to prepare for the interview to join our lab. When I reflect back on the interviews, I realize that interviewing people does not improve my technical skills. The people I interviewed are undergrads in biology area. I would think that the person that interviewed me had a chance to improve his/her technical skills because I was asked programming questions. It is likely that the interviewer learned nothing new, but the chance is there.

I did enjoy talking to candidates to the lab where I work. It is good that all have a high level of knowledge and are likely to do well professionally.

The books that I browse for preparing for interview were:

  • 60 seconds and you’re hired (by Robin Ryan). Summary: reply with short answers (no more than 60 seconds)
  • Programming interviews exposed (by John Mongan, et al, 2nd Edition)
  • How would you move mount fiji? (by William Poundstone)

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