Behavioral Questions

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The primary aim of the behavioral questions is to know your personality and understand your resume more deeply. It should start by knowing yourself and learning more about your resume. I will show you how to prepare for a behavioral interview.

Go through the projects on your resume and ensure you know the details about each project. Filling out a grid like this may help:

Common QuestionsChallengesMistakes/FailureEnjoyLeadershipConflictWhat you do differently
Project 1
Project 2
Project 3

You don’t need to fill all the grid, just fill if the project satisfy the criteria most challenging project, what project you enjoy, which project show your excelency in lead the team, and etc. Using simple keywords or short story should be enough to help you recall what happen in the project.

Just explain the real weakness not tell arrogancy in disguise such as `My weakness is work too hard, blablabla”. So avoid become arrogant or won’t admit your faults. A better answer convey a real, legitimitate weakness but emphasizes how you work to overcome it.

For example:

My great weakness is public speaking. I’m very nervous in the front of many peoples. But I enforce myself to regularly talk in tech meetup to overcame my weakness”

In the end of interview, most of interviewers will give you chance to ask them questions. There are three general types of questions

  • Genuine questions. The questions you actually want to know the answers to. For example questions about day-to-day life in the company, culture, development team, and etc.
  • Insightful questions. These questions demonstrate your knowledge or understanding of technology, this require advance research about the company tech stack.
  • Passion questions. These questions are designed to demonstrate your passion for technology to show your interest in learning and will be a strong contributor to the company.

If you have many project to talk about, you should focus on two or three project that you should deeply master. It should be following criteria:

  • Most challenging project ( beyond just “learning a lot”)
  • You are main contributor or have central role
  • You can talk at technical depth

Usually the interviewer asking about the most challengine project and ask more about details, mistakes, lesson learned, and any technical questions related your project. So be prepared. :D

You can answer freely but following this advice can help you answer the question more clearly and impress the interviewer

  • Arrogance is a red flag, but you must make yourself sounds impressive. Be specific without being arrogant.
  • Stay light on details and just state the key points and explain the impact
  • Focus on yourself not the team
  • Give structured answes. Give the explanation using S.T.A.R (Situation, Task, Action, Result) approach.
  • Explore the Action from the S.T.A.R, if possible breakdown actions into multiple parts. For example “I did 4 things. First, I…“. This encourage sufficient depth
  • Focus on the personality attributes when answering questions
    • Initiative/Leadership: Try to resolve the situation by addressing it head-on.
    • Empathy: Understand what was happening to the person.
    • Compassion: Empathy led to compassion
    • Humility: Able to admit his own flaws.
    • Teamwork/helpfulness

Impress the interviewers through good introduction and summary everything in your resume in concise way. Here the most common structure:

  • Current Role (Headline only): I'm a principle software engineer at Feedloop, where I've been leading the Qore Console Team
  • College: My background is in computer science. I did my undergrad at Brawijaya University. you can add working experience while in college, join hackaton or any other activity that related to current roles.
  • Post College & Onwards: After college, I was working on software agency in Indonesia-Singapore and Malaysia for 6 years with various project with domain Electronic Medical records, GIS, and more. After that I join Bukalapak to get some exposure. I learned a ton about large system design, learn devops workflow and toolings.
  • Current Role (details): One of my friends recruited me out to join Feedloop, which was what brought me to the current company. Here, I did the research technology in one product line qore pipeline then did the initial system architecture of qore console which simplify provisioning k8s resource and deploy new project. I do manage a team of three, but my role is primnarily with technical leadership: architecture, coding, etc.
  • Outside of work: Outside of work. I've been regularly speaking in tech community meetup, working on my pet project and active writing blog about go and software engineering.
  • Wrap up : I'm looking for something new, and your company caught my eye. I really want to get back to a bigger environment.

When you can thin about your pitch, think about what different aspects of your background that shout out about “amazing of you”. You can drop in some highlight (awards, promotions, being recruited out by some one you worked with, etc.)

That’s all my summarize about behavioral questions from the books “Cracking the coding interviews by Gayle Laakman McDowell”. I hope this simple article can help you landing to your dream job.

career software engineer interview