What would you recommend if you run into a problem where you do lay out a high-level implementation and approach, but once you're in the code writing phase, you either come up with new edge cases or possibilities and then end up second-guessing yourself and going down a rabbit hole? The same question can also be extended to mistakes. Given how competitive the market still is for software engineers, it feels like the margin for error is lower than ever. Before, you could be more collaborative with the interviewer, but nowadays, it feels more of a lone-wolf activity, and sometimes even adversarial based on the general pressure to find that unicorn engineer.
This was a question I wanted to ask Edbert, but I had an obligation that took me away from his talk.
There's a lot to go through here, but I want to address the following point first:
Before, you could be more collaborative with the interviewer, but nowadays, it feels more of a lone-wolf activity, and sometimes even adversarial based on the general pressure to find that unicorn engineer.
I actually think it's the opposite: You should be more collaborative with the interviewer. However, I think where a lot of candidates get confused is that they equate "collaboration" with "fishing". I cover this here: How To Handle Hints In A Software Engineer Interview Without Failing
I know that the market sucks, but it doesn't make sense to see the interviewer as an adversary for so many reasons:
I also don't really think there's a "pressure" to find that unicorn engineer; it's just that any solid company will have a unicorn engineer applying to their open roles because the market is so competitive right now with all the layoffs. It sucks, but that's unfortunately how it is. But hey, you have Taro on your side: There's no reason why you can't become that unicorn engineer. 😊
On top of that, here's the other ground I want to cover.
I also recommend this playlist if you haven't gone through it already: [Taro Top 10] Effective Interview Prep
I would not factor in the state of the market in terms of how you approach an interview. Sure it's not a favorable market for candidates, but a good approach to solving a problem doesn't change.
The same principle applies for people. The principles around relationship building and having a health interaction doesn't change. Reciprocity will always play a factor, where open-mindedness and making a genuine effort will be rewarded while hostility will likely be met with hostility.
I think you're overall approach is good where you validate at a high level before diving into details. The improve is not agonizing over small inaccuracies (especially live during the interview), but having a calm, measured response to it. Don't beat yourself up over an edge case, instead be glad you discovered it and make the most out of this new information.
Journal on your interview after it's done. Go into detail about what you think when well vs. not play-by-play. I find the more detail you put on paper, the more objective you can be about what's actually happening.