Aline Lerner

Impostor syndrome strikes men just as hard as women… and other findings from thousands of technical interviews

The modern technical interview is a rite of passage for software engineers and (hopefully!) the precursor to a great job. But it’s also a huge source of stress and endless questions for new candidates. Just searching “how do I prepare for a technical interview” turns up millions of Medium posts, coding bootcamp blogs, Quora discussions, and entire books. Despite all this conversation, people struggle to know how they’re even doing in interviews. In a previous post, we found that a surprisingly large number of interviewing.io’s users consistently underestimate their performance, making them more likely to drop out of the process and ultimately harder to hire. Now, and with considerably more data (over 10k interviews led …

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Exactly what to say when recruiters ask you to name the first number… and other negotiation word-for-words

There are a lot of resources out there that talk about salary negotiation but many tend to skew a bit theoretical. In my experience, one of the hardest things about negotiating your salary is knowing what to say in tough, ambiguous situations with a power balance that’s not in your favor. What’s OK? What’s rude? What are the social norms? And so on. Before I started interviewing.io, I’ve worked as a software engineer, an in-house recruiter, and an agency recruiter, so I’ve literally been on all sides of the negotiating table. For the last few years, I’ve been guest-lecturing MIT’s 6.UAT, a class about technical communication for computer science majors. Every semester, negotiation is one …

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What do the best interviewers have in common? We looked at thousands of real interviews to find out.

At interviewing.io, we’ve analyzed and written at some depth about what makes for a good interview from the perspective of an interviewee. However, despite the inherent power imbalance, interviewing is a two-way street. I wrote a while ago about how, in this market, recruiting isn’t about vetting as much as it is about selling, and not engaging candidates in the course of talking to them for an hour is a woefully missed opportunity. But, just like solving interview questions is a learned skill that takes time and practice, so, too, is the other side of the table. Being a good interviewer takes time and effort and a fundamental willingness to get out of autopilot and …

What do the best interviewers have in common? We looked at thousands of real interviews to find out. Read more »

We analyzed thousands of technical interviews on everything from language to code style. Here’s what we found.

Note: Though I wrote most of the words in this post, the legendary Dave Holtz did the heavy lifting on the data side. See more of his work on his blog. If you’re reading this post, there’s a decent chance that you’re about to re-enter the crazy and scary world of technical interviewing. Maybe you’re a college student or fresh grad who is going through the interviewing process for the first time. Maybe you’re an experienced software engineer who hasn’t even thought about interviews for a few years. Either way, the first step in the interviewing process is usually to read a bunch of online interview guides (especially if they’re written by companies you’re interested …

We analyzed thousands of technical interviews on everything from language to code style. Here’s what we found. Read more »

LinkedIn endorsements are dumb. Here’s the data.

If you’re an engineer who’s been endorsed on LinkedIn for any number of languages/frameworks/skills, you’ve probably noticed that something isn’t quite right. Maybe they’re frameworks you’ve never touched or languages you haven’t used since freshman year of college. No matter the specifics, you’re probably at least a bit wary of the value of the LinkedIn endorsements feature. The internets, too, don’t disappoint in enumerating some absurd potential endorsements or in bemoaning the lack of relevance of said endorsements, even when they’re given in earnest. Having a gut feeling for this is one thing, but we were curious about whether we could actually come up with some numbers that showed how useless endorsements can be, and …

LinkedIn endorsements are dumb. Here’s the data. Read more »

Lessons from 3,000 technical interviews… or how what you do after graduation matters way more than where you went to school

The first blog post I published that got any real attention was called “Lessons from a year’s worth of hiring data“. It was my attempt to understand what attributes of someone’s resume actually mattered for getting a software engineering job. Surprisingly, as it turned out, where someone went to school didn’t matter at all, and by far and away, the strongest signal came from the number of typos and grammatical errors on their resume. Since then, I’ve discovered (and written about) how useless resumes are, but ever since writing that first post, I’ve been itching to do something similar with interviewing.io’s data. For context, interviewing.io is a platform where people can practice technical interviewing anonymously …

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You can’t fix diversity in tech without fixing the technical interview.

In the last few months, several large players, including Google and Facebook, have released their latest and ultimately disappointing diversity numbers. Even with increased effort and resources poured into diversity hiring programs, Facebook’s headcount for women and people of color hasn’t really increased in the past 3 years. Google’s numbers have looked remarkably similar, and both players have yet to make significant impact in the space, despite a number of initiatives spanning everything from a points system rewarding recruiters for bringing in diverse candidates, to increased funding for tech education, to efforts to hire more diverse candidates in key leadership positions. Why have gains in diversity hiring been so lackluster across the board? Facebook justifies …

You can’t fix diversity in tech without fixing the technical interview. Read more »

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