Step-By-Step Guide To Prepare For Any Software Engineering Interview

Alex Chiou
5 min readNov 8, 2021
This is your life interviewing as a software engineer

So I wrote an article almost 2 years ago about “How To Prepare For A Software Engineering” interview. I have since realized that it’s not sufficient to answer all the questions we get in Tech Career Growth community about #interview-prep as it’s really just about the studying portion. I have since renamed that article to reflect this and am now writing this one to cover the interview preparation process more holistically. Step-by-step guides are also nice, especially for folks who are just starting out, so hopefully this makes the content more digestible.

Step 1: Ask Your Recruiter What The Interview Is Like

Software engineering interviews are extremely expensive as they require engineering time. If the company you’re working for has any semblance of sense, their goal should be to bring out the best in you. That will not happen if you are kept in the dark about what the interview is like, and you just get demolished with an ambush of surprise questions.

The recruiter in particular should be a huge champion for your success. Don’t be afraid of asking them something like “Can you tell me how the interview is structured, what kind of content will be covered, and how should I prepare?”. If you feel like their answer isn’t sufficient, keep asking clarifying questions politely until you get what you need or the recruiter says they can’t divulge more. As long as you’re not asking, “Can you tell me the exact questions I will get?”, you should be good. It is extremely unlikely that you will be kicked out of the interview process for probing too much, so you shouldn’t optimize for this edge case. If you do this properly, this is actually a good signal; it shows that you are very excited about company and care deeply about the opportunity.

Step 2: Check The Internet To See What The Interview Is Like

Glassdoor is the major tool here, especially for Big Tech. The more recent the data, the better. My rule of thumb is that if I see a question mentioned 2+ times in the past 6 months for a company I’m interviewing for, I will make extra sure I know that question inside and out. If you have the luxury of uncovering lots of data here, you can even go…

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Alex Chiou

Empowering thousands of engineers @ Tech Career Growth. Ex-Robinhood, Facebook, Course Hero, PayPal. Built apps with 2.5 million+ installs for fun.