Prepping for a Do-or-Die Job Interview

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Prep Your Simple Answers

You can spend hours discussing complex concepts with similarly-minded peers. Your initial recruiter or hiring manager, however, may not have your level of technical expertise, especially if you focus on an esoteric or especially complex branch of technology.

Before your job interview, sit down and rehearse how you’ll answer broad questions about your background and skills in as reductive a way as possible. For example, if your professional focus on Apache Hadoop, you don’t want any answer involving your skillset to plunge instantly into the minutiae of secondary namenodes, FUSE, or the Thrift API. Instead, talk about how your work with Hadoop translates into noticeable boosts in company efficiency and even revenue.

When talking about your most recent projects, make sure to touch (however briefly) on the following points:

  • Project goals
  • Project resources
  • Timeline
  • Collaborators

From there, you can broadly discuss project progression from start to finish, always emphasizing the ultimate results and steering away from excessive jargon. If a later interviewer wants to plunge into the weeds with you, you’ll have that opportunity; but for initial interviews, prepare to keep things as simple as possible unless prompted otherwise.

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