In the quest for next big break or opportunity out there, I have come to expect these interview questions and I have decided to blog about it.
Background – After months of relentlessly applying for jobs with mix and match of skill sets that I am eligible for, going through multiple ghost callings (I believe that’s what it is called when recruiters spend around 20 to 30 minutes inquiring everything about you, explaining the job needs, setting the pay expectations, raising false hopes and then never hearing anything back even after sending out multiple mails or messages), I was fortunate to be set up a call finally with actual person in an actual company.
Unfortunately, the interview didn’t pan out well. In terms of actual interview itself, it was more about getting to know about the current role, about the team I would be working with and then straight down to the actual interview. The first question that I was asked was the ‘Toughest challenge’ till date. It caught me bit off-guard as I was expecting some technical questions to start with before settling down on behavioural and finally ending with the expectations of next meeting. I did my best to explain things I have done but I guess it just was not good enough.
This will act as not only reference to myself but also reminder of the other ‘tough challenges’ that lie ahead that I need to face in the future.
Second and foremost reason being writing this down has been very cathartic.
Not EVERYTHING can be put on resume, so here it is then.
Without further ado, let me get to the Toughest Challenge question. Questions like this needs to be addressed via STAR system.
I am inspired to write this blog after seeing a post in my company’s Workplace talking about wellbeing during COVID times and making effective communication. As a working professional there are some ‘mantras’ that I live by and here they go
Ownership of a Production issue – If you are tasked with an issue that requires urgent attention for production need, ensure that right from start to finish you own it. This would mean assigning proper timeline to start with, upon delivery ensure it is getting tested in UAT, goes Pre-Prod and then finally getting deployed to Prod. I want your eyes and ears all throughout this process either through regular follow-up’s and ensure post production.
Look out for opportunities – Quite often apart from your regular work, you may come across some tasks that are being done following a set process following certain sequence of steps in a methodical manner. Usually the people doing it do spend considerable amount of time out of their normal routine in accomplishing this (sometimes a week or more!). That should be the first sign of opportunity to seize and automate things.
Commitment to task- Never commit to anything upfront. If anyone is coming to you with a request to deliver something urgently, take some time to pause to first analyse it. Only after proper analysis give a timeline on when it can be done. When giving an estimate consider the time for actual build, Unit Testing, Regression Testing (if needed), Design document update, Peer Review (must), Rework time.
Meetings – Always have an agenda for a meeting and circulate it before hand as it provides context for participants. Be mindful of time and do not book it after-hours just because only person is off-limits. If you feel a phone call would be easier, then by all means give a ring and get it done fast.
Technical Front –
When solutioning a problem ask yourself the following questions –
How critical is this problem?
Are there any more areas where such problem exists? If so what can be done about it?
At whole component level, is there something I can do to make the solution better?
Don’t be afraid to loosen things up and go one step further if you feel you can deliver a more robust and stable solution. Pitch for it if you are confident that you can deliver within the time frame.
Actual Fix –
Provide proper code comments in the code and even in the Fix Details so that the anyone can understand what has gone into it.
Do thorough formatting of the code to make it more readable.
Look for extensibility and scalability of the solution (how does it impact Asset)
Ability for the solution to withstand large volumes (Query Plan analysis, stastics check etc.)