Community, GHC15

Handling the “thanks for interviewing with us” post GHC

This week marks week two post GHC! I hope at this point, you’ve made contact with others you happened to meet at the conference and have established a connection. This week, we will focus on post GHC interviews.

At this point, companies should begin contacting (if they haven’t already done so), applicants with whom they’d like to move forward with the interview process.(1)  If you are one of the lucky applicants, congratulations! Keep doing what you are doing! For all those who might not fare as well, this one is for you!

I’ve had my fair share of interviews (for both internships as well as full-time positions) throughout the years of attending GHC and have gotten the “Next Steps” email as well as the “Thanks for interviewing with us” email. One of the best things that struck out to me my first year attending GHC was the career fair. I recognized early on, it was probably my only chance of getting some face to face time in front of some of the best companies in tech. These tech companies simply didn’t recruit at my school and a lot of times, I was certain if I had applied online, my resume probably never got seen in a flurry of thousands of applicants competing for the same job.  The upside to that though is at GHC not only do you have the potential to get one interview- you can get many.

The downside however is the potential to get several thanks but no thanks emails. Interviewing is tough and it takes a lot out you. Here are some things I did throughout my job hustling years to get past those ‘you just weren’t the perfect fit’ type emails.

  • It is totes okay to binge eat any or all of the following post email: junk food, the whole bag of skinny pop, chicken wings or anything your normal diet simply doesn’t allow.
  • It is okay to not know every single answer.
    • One time I got asked about sets in python. Problem was, I forgot sets don’t allow duplicates then and there so that question was bust. I don’t recall a lot from that interview-just that I didn’t know the correct answer. What did I do? I went and looked in Python docs until I found my answer. You bet your butter I never forgot that sets don’t allow duplicates in python.  
  • Comparison will lead to self-terror and should be avoided at all costs.
    • In school, we’d always talk about how the internship/research hunt was going and there’d always be one or two people who’d boast about having 3-4 offers. Stay away from those people. I’m not saying don’t talk to them but don’t compare yourself to them. There will always be someone who can code better than you, faster than you or bust out more robust code than yours. Celebrate their successes but recognize how awesome you are.
  • You might need to alter your mindset…just a tad.
    • It ties in with the comparison bit. It is easy to beat yourself up when you go through periods of nos. I actually had a running list of things written down of things I was good at. The list had comp sci related things as well as other things like: yo-yos, dodge-ball,eating. I would add 3 things to the list every time I got a rejection email and would reread my list. It helped me from getting too down on myself.
  • You can learn from every interview in some way.
    • As I mentioned before, only you and your interviewer know how the interview went.
      • Skills missteps
        • I’d like to say that my python blurp was one of the worse things that ever happened to me during a technical interview. Nope. You know what I did do? Get help on those things post interview. My late advisor sat down with me and gave me 3 problems to work on and report back with my answers. Every week.
        • Program program and program. You’ll never get better if you don’t practice. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it will build confidence.  
      • Behavioral missteps  
        • Sometimes, it’s difficult to ask for assistance during programming interviews. I tried to focus on solving the problem-quietly. Problem was, I figured out being quiet doesn’t help you during an interview. It actually hurts you. Engineers probably don’t want to hear silence…especially when it’s apparent you are struggling. It’s an interview-not an awkward first date. Be vocal about your thoughts or the route you are taking and talk through it. Sometimes, you’ll figure out your error by vocalizing it or your interviewer may step in and guide you in the right direction.
  • Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again.
    • We don’t win them all but remember you are smart, talented and driven. Could’ve should’ve would’ve doesn’t help you. At this point, focus on what went wrong, write down a plan to fix it, execute and keep on interviewing.

Rejection is tough. You have to move forward though. Remember to stay healthy, exercise and unwind once in a while. You’ll find a great place to work or conduct research.

(1) all companies are different so YMMV