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Interview preparation - What's a good strategy for it?

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Anonymous User at Taro Community8 months ago

I recently found myself in a fortunate yet challenging situation due to a layoff. I have been granted a two-months period plus optional month(s) in lieu of severance, to secure my next job as I need a visa sponsorship. I aim to land a senior mobile developer role here in the UK, in any non-big tech company (tier 3/4). Considering the urgency of securing a visa, I am open to exploring any roles with sponsorship.

To make the most of this time, here is how I am spending my time so far, I would appreciate any input and suggestions to make the most out of this situation.

  1. Dedicate 2 hours daily to solving easy LeetCode problems - some tier 3/4 companies do ask some easy/medium questions

  2. Spend 2 hours daily applying for jobs on LinkedIn, Dm'ng connections, seeking referrals etc

  3. 2/3 hours Develop a side mobile app project to practice and familiarize with recent patterns - most likely needed to succeed in take-home tests.

  4. Behaviour and system design - study and practice only when I have those rounds scheduled.

I wonder if there are any other aspects I should optimize for during this period. Are there any specific areas or resources you recommend focusing on to maximize my chances of success?

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(5 comments)
  • 14
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    Software Engineer @ Tesla
    8 months ago

    Hey! Looks like a pretty solid plan.

    I would narrow down your target list to only companies that sponsor. Don't waste your time with companies that do not have a track record of sponsoring or are not open to the idea. I would have this conversation with them as early as possible.

    I know many candidates who try to hide that they need sponsorship until the last minute, DO NOT DO THIS. Be as upfront as early as possible to weed out any misaligned prospects.

    https://www.myvisajobs.com/ I believe this is the website I used to look at a company's history of sponsorship. I'm not sure what visa you're on but most of the time they need to be e-verified companies. When you're doing your research, make sure they are sponsoring the SPECIFIC ROLE.

    If you're working on side projects, I would also try to post about them on LinkedIn to gain visibility and position yourself as an talented expert and a key contributor.

    Finally, I would not discount behavioral interviews. You want to be absolutely solid on why you are the ideal candidate. Do your research on the company and practice. It seems like you have the technicals down :)

    I am sorry to hear about your situation but there are definitely some positives!

    Good luck!


    (Dear reader, please drop a like if this was helpful in any way, I'm trying to improve the format of my responses)

  • 4
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    Anonymous User [OP]
    Taro Community
    8 months ago

    Don't waste your time with companies that do not have a track record of sponsoring or are not open to the idea. I would have this conversation with them as early as possible.

    I know many candidates who try to hide that they need sponsorship until the last minute, DO NOT DO THIS. Be as upfront as early as possible to weed out any misaligned prospects.

    Thanks for your reply, I should have mentioned I am based in the UK, but the process of getting a sponsorship is similar.

    My thinking is if they can sponsor, I do not bring it up until asked. If I manage to get an offer they are more likely to go through the visa process. Often time, companies can sponsor but they don't want to for whatever criteria they have set, more so in this climate where they have a lot of options. I believe it's good to bring it up early, to avoid going through the time-consuming process, which could have been used elsewhere. Part of me also wants to do an interview first with companies who can not sponsor/low on my list, so I am better prepared/positioned when going through the companies who can sponsor ?

  • 5
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    Senior Software Engineer [SDE 3] at Amazon
    8 months ago

    I would also recommend selecting the "Open to new opportunities" (not the badge) option on Linkedin and optimizing your Linkedin profile so that you rank higher in searches done by recruiters. Also, put effort in your resume which you send out to recruiters to increase the chances of getting a call.

    Best of luck!

  • 9
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    Software Engineer at Statefarm
    7 months ago

    This advice assumes you're already in the interview loop, in which case, I would min-max your focus towards gathering intel and preparing for your interview.

    Here are some high leverage activities:

    1. Check Glassdoor for interview questions. Look at the most recent feedback. Figure out what problem types you might face, and then practice those questions for your upcoming interview.
    2. If no good info available -> do a cold reach-out to someone on LinkedIn and grab feedback on the type of questions you might get asked e.g. is it LC style, design-based? Ask for the difficulty level of the question(s), and what things you should look out for to best prepare. You can also ask them how they prepared to best succeed for the interview itself. Make your request as direct as possible to make it easier on them to answer.
    3. For behavioral questions, have a list of common questions/scenarios that you'll be asked, and record yourself answering them. Continually refine your answers down to the essentials, and make sure they're purposeful. Things to think about:
      1. Why are these questions being asked of you?
      2. What signals are the interviewer looking for?
      3. How familiar are you with your resume? If someone drilled down on each bullet point, and asked you to clarify/justify your experience, how would you address them?
      4. What type of person are they looking to hire for i.e. what archetype are they looking for? How does your story fit in with their envisioned role? Can you exemplify the role they are seeking to fulfill -- by demonstrating relevant example(s) of what you would do if you were in XYZ situation?
      5. How should you best answer their question to best highlight your impact/value based on what they are looking for?

    At the end of the day, behavioral questions are meant to:

    1. Mitigate risk on their end
    2. Select for certain behaviors/attitudes that would bring value to the team.

    It's really meant to proxy "what would it be like to work with this person?" and "could I sustainably do so given the way they carry themselves?"

    Sometimes it also means, does this person carry characteristics that would embody the values at our company? -- your answers should reflect this.

    Hope this helps.

  • 18
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    6 months ago

    Overall, this strategy looks good! However, I feel like this strategy is a bit inverted (I could be wrong though as I have almost 0 clue what the interview landscape looks like in the UK):

    • I would personally do LeetCode more reactively as so many companies in this current climate don't ask data structures and algorithms (DSA) questions. Even in your question, you mentioned that "some tier 3/4" companies ask them. So it seems like it's not ubiquitous and it's for companies you're not super excited about anyways. I would reduce LeetCode down to 30 minutes a day or do it completely reactively.
    • For system design and behavioral, these are pretty much everywhere from my experience for Senior+ roles (and the hiring signal from them is more important for L5+ engineers). I would actually spend 1-2 hours a day practicing those instead as those are more guaranteed and fundamental. The tricky part is that they're harder to self-study.

    I wonder if there are any other aspects I should optimize for during this period.

    Something I tell all job seekers, especially in this economy, is that you need to be fluid and dynamic. There isn't some neatly packaged routine you can just follow where you study X for Y hours a day, do A for B hours a day, and then just magically get the job. You need to be constantly adapting to your situation. Here's how:

    1. When you have very few interviews, apply a lot - There is no point preparing for a problem that doesn't exist. If your applications aren't even getting you the call, the problem is probably your resume, not your LeetCode skills. Conversely, reduce the amount of applications if you have a ton of interviews - You need to pass them! And if you fail all those interviews, flow back into applying again.
    2. Adapt your study based on interview type - If you have a lot of startup interviews, it's probably better to invest more in side projects to prepare for practical coding. If you're somehow able to get a bunch of Big Tech interviews, allocate more time for DSA.
    3. Carve out some buffer relaxation time - The most frustrating part of the job search process is applying to a million places and constantly getting rejected as you have nothing to work off of. Don't forget to live your life during the process. When it's crunch time (e.g. you have a FAANG interview coming in 2 weeks), you can shrink that relaxation time as you now have a very concrete objective to work towards. And of course, if you get put back into the struggle phase, you can expand this time again to preserve your sanity.

    Are there any specific areas or resources you recommend focusing on to maximize my chances of success?

    We have a ton! Check them out: