What to expect in a job interview

Last Updated: 2023-09-19

The Format

The format is very standardized. This is what to expect:

Phone Screen by recruiter or HR

For exchanging information. 15-30 mins.

Recruiter will collect your background info(like your past experiences, your preferred technologies/languages, if you are eligible to work without sponsorship, etc) and also give you some info about the hiring teams.

These should be routine and easy, unless recruiter thinks you are a not a fit and would not even pass your resume to the hiring team. So the key here is to do some homework, know about the company and the team and tailor your self intro to it.

Online tests and/or technical phone screens

coding + basic knowledge, 45 mins to 1 hour. Sometimes multiple rounds.

Onsite interviews

3 to 5 session, half day to full day. Depend on job level, it may have coding(data structure + algorithm), system design, specialized area(e.g. machine learning), and past experiences/soft skills.


Think out loud

The interviewer's job is to collect signals, which will be used by the hiring committee or the hiring manager to make the final decision. So help the interviewer to help you. Show your thinking process, not just the answer to the question.

If You Do Not Know The Answer

"I'm not familiar with this but this is how I would approach it".

At The End Of The Interview

Check out What To Ask At The End Of The Interview.