I recently started David Perell’s course “Write of Passage”
It’s an intensive 5 week class teaching how to extract all those thoughts in your head and put them down on paper. It’s a grueling pace, where you have to write an essay every week, but I’m hoping that it’ll build help me build the habit so that I can keep it up even after the class is over and continue sharing what I’ve learned over the years.
What I wrote:
“What would you say if I asked you to design me a service capable of responding to millions of user requests every second and latency was critical?”
“Umm…that you have to solve this problem at work. But you’re out of ideas, and are looking to interviewees for suggestions”
That’s the actual response I gave the interviewer the first time I was asked a design question. He had a good laugh. But then still made me design the service.
In the decade since I’ve lost track of how many hours I’ve spent in the interview room, on both sides of the table. I’ve worked at Microsoft, Google, and Stripe, and received offers from many other companies. As I interviewed, I realized one thing: standard interviewing advice falls woefully short.
What good does it do to practice coding problems for weeks if your mind goes blank in an interview room? How can you show your “best self” if you’re too afraid to let it out? Everyone says to be wary of the recruiters, but what if you weren’t?
I tested the answers to these questions multiple times (sometimes by accident). Turns out conventional wisdom gets you conventional results. But you can do better. Interviewing is a skill and anyone can learn it.
For some reason no one talks about these challenges with interviewing. But I’ve found some principles that help me over and over again:
- Using recruiters to your advantage
- Going to real interviews for practice
- Being open to learning during interviews
- Keeping those skills sharp even when you’re not job hunting
What I’m Reading
“The impactful work I did was valuable, but also not something that I uniquely could have done. I was, at the time, solidly a high-performing L2.”
“A common theme of stories of interesting people is the ridiculous amounts of leverage, for good or ill, of presence or absence of a small amount of money or some social resource early followed by compounding. Not a new insight, but one which I think we probably underappreciate.”
“Success does not always mean making lots of money alone so keep that in mind. Success includes having all aspects of your life working together. Job, family, faith, and your place in your community.”