How to Ace the Blockchain Developer Interview Process
Your resume and application are sorted, you have registered a victory against the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and now comes the most crucial as well as nerve-cracking part of the whole recruitment process. The day to face the interviewer has finally arrived. Sounds dreadful, isn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be. An interview is just a conversation where the employer and the prospective employee wish to gain a better understanding of what each party will be bringing to the table. If you maintain this simple mindset towards the interview process, then things will flow much more smoothly than you’d ever expect.
However, easier said than done. Technical interview processes tend to be lengthy, time-consuming, and intimidating due to the number of rounds involved, which test a candidate’s technical proficiency, problem-solving skills, and personality. Even though the interview process / number of rounds differs from company to company, there is some similarity when it comes to the hiring course of action for all firms.
The technical interview process usually follows the path of a pre-screening call with the HR to technical evaluation rounds to final call with senior staff. To equip you with an in-depth understanding of the typical blockchain developer interview procedure, we’ve elaborated it below, along with meaningful tips.
1) HR call
After victoriously standing out from the flood of CVs (Because you read our five tips for your tech CV), now it is your time to have a one-on-one call with HR. This is more of a calm and relaxed call where the HR representative will make him- or herself familiar with the candidate. HR will be curious to know about your background and (soft) skills comprehensively.
Some of the basic HR questions and how to handle them:
- Tell me about yourself: No matter where you are and where you’ll go, you just can’t dodge this question. Use the inevitability of this question to your benefit and present a well-crafted summary of your most significant and impressive credentials. It would be nice to practice your “elevator pitch” well before the interview, as the next questions may spring up from your own answer. Therefore, take control by directing the conversation in the desired direction.
- Your current role, work profile, and previous projects: You may be aware of all the duties that you perform in your current role but the HR on the other side of the call cannot telepathically ascertain them. Be concise and clear about your most important tasks especially considering the role you’re applying for. This will provide the interviewer with a clear picture of how your experience and expertise fits the job requirements.
- What interests you about the company and/or the role: Goes without saying that you must know what you’re getting into. You do not want to give the interviewer an impression of you just casually trying your luck with a job. Research about the company and tailor your answers accordingly. According to our experience, this is one of the most essential hacks when it comes to creating an everlasting impression by depicting your commitment to the process!
Some quick tips:
- Do your research: Research not just about the firm but also about the interviewer. LinkedIn will surely assist you here. If HR has a technical background, then your answers should be composed to promote your hard skills. However, hiring personnel not coming from a traditionally technical background will be more interested in your soft skills.
- Work on your soft skills: A lot of times, the story we cook in our head, sounds good only in our head. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to work on your communication skills and practice those “basic inevitable questions” out aloud. The recruiter has already read your CV, they now wish to evaluate what value your personality will generate.
- Keep the “interview kit” handy: The “interview kit” in this context refers to your resume, the job description, the company’s website, or the notes that you may have prepared for the interview. You can note down the important keywords or answers. All such material available at a glance will greatly assist you in easing the pressure.
A general tip for blockchain developer positions: Given that the blockchain industry is still in a nascent stage, many positions only require a certain level of Blockchain-specific knowledge, while a general passion for Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) is indispensable! Make yourself completely familiar with the general workings of the industry, especially the current trends.
2) Technical evaluation
Congratulations, you have cleared level 2 as well (first being the CV round and second, the phone screening). Now that the firm seems satisfied with your overall experience, soft skills and personality, it’s time to prove your technical prowess. The technical evaluation phase usually consists of 1) technical questions asked by an engineer during a call or meeting and 2) a hands-on coding part (either “live” coding in an interview / video call setting, or a “take-home” coding assessment).
Preparing for this round may require extra efforts – here are some tips:
- Preparing for the technical Q&A: Interviewers often rely on the same set of standard questions. As a result, there are great resources on the net that list popular questions pertaining to certain programming languages and/or roles (E.g., Front-end, Back-end etc.). Go through these resources to avoid unpleasant surprises. Don’t forget that the interviewers are not just impressed by hearing the right answer to a problem, but also care about how the interviewee structures an answer / approaches a specific problem. Therefore, it’s key for candidates to practice typical tech questions and memorize an appropriate structure of how to answer those effectively.
- Practicing for the ultimate assessment: Due to the Covid situation, the practical assessment scenario has transformed greatly. Though on-site interviews remain popular, the majority of blockchain firms prefer remote assignments, as you’ll be working remotely for a large number of these blockchain companies anyways. These assignments can either be in the form of general coding challenges or company-specific take-home projects. The time effort needed to complete these coding challenges / projects varies greatly – as a rule of thumb, companies expect candidates to invest 1–4 hours for this round.
Tips for nailing the technical evaluation phase:
- What to expect. You may be at the top of the game, but remember the freezing moment you used to experience with the teachers looking over your answer sheets during the finals? That’s where the live challenges get tricky, where you’ll have a senior noticing your every move. The only way to successfully nail the live coding challenge is to practice extensively. And to practice, you must be aware of what to expect.
- How to figure out the expected challenges: There are several strategies to address this. Foremost, practice programming problems on platforms like HackerRank, Leetcode, etc. Second, study the job description, especially the work profile which is often very descriptive in nature. This is the most authentic source of what will be expected of you. In addition to these two, utilize LinkedIn and GitHub to familiarize yourself with the work of your prospective co-workers in a similar profile. Naturally, the advanced problems will be constituted in a manner to match and evaluate your expertise against the most important skills required for the projects. Last but not least, don’t be shy to ask the HR representative about what kind of technical problems you can expect to encounter in subsequent rounds. More often than not, they will be happy to provide you with some additional insights into the further process.
- Keep the conservation going on: Clarify your doubts in the technical interview. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Display your collaborative and team-building skills as this will definitely provide an edge.
- Play to your strengths: While some programmers may prefer to talk the interviewer through the solution while working on the problem simultaneously. Others may first like to solve it and explain the “how and why” later. Opt for the practice that suits you the best.
- Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t able to solve 100%: Because no one gets 100% correctly! And no interviewer expects you to know everything. Keep in mind that the interviewers need to know what you know, and what you don’t. That’s part of the process. So don’t get discouraged if there are certain problems you’re simply unable to solve – usually there will be.
3) Final Call:
Now that your hard work has paid off, final negotiations shall begin. If it’s a startup or scale-up, which mostly is the case with blockchain firms, you’ll have a direct chat with the head of the institution (CEO, CTO, VP, etc.). After being involved in a process with the company for such a long time, you’ll naturally be more aware of how they operate. Consequently, you’ll have several questions and doubts. Do not leave them for some other day. It’s your right to know what you can expect from the company, and how the new role will help you grow both professionally and personally.
Although the salary expectation has probably already been discussed at the very beginning of the interview process, expect the topic to come up again in this final call. You might have to choose between more equity/tokens and a higher base salary – make sure to know and prioritize your options beforehand.
The on-boarding process also needs to be addressed. When will you join the company? From where will you join? Do you have the necessary legal permits to do so? And, are there any other points that deviate from the standard case and need to be pointed out in the contract? Now is the time to bring those up!
That’s it, you made it! Now you just wait for that contract to arrive, sign it and return it.
Research, Practice, and Confidence – these three hacks will assist you to nail any interview process for a technical position. And if you are here, then surely you are waiting to go on one such battle. In that case, remember these tips and hacks, till you cross that finish line. All of the best!