De-Coding Phone Interviews

Phone interviews are generally your first step to your dream job. Being physically away from the interviewer and at the expense of your internet/phone connection presents its own set of challenges.

Here are some of the tips and tricks that you can use to make sure you present your best version when job comes calling -

  1. Don’t rely on last minute prep. Ideally, your prep should finish at least an hour before the actual time. Last minute reading tends to add to the anxiety and takes focus away from problem solving during the interview.

So how exactly can you make sure that basics are covered -

a) Data structures and algorithms — Prepare a cheat sheet like this and make sure all of this data is on your finger tips before the interview. Almost, like multiplication tables :)

b) Language specific building blocks — Language is a form of expression even in computer science. If you struggle with words and the grammar there is no way you can write prose. Similarly, for example, if you are not sure how heaps are implemented in python(or any language of your choice) you would not be able to implement priority queues.

Though most interviewers are lenient about syntax, it still helps to not get caught up in syntax and focus on problem solving. You can prepare your language specific cheat sheet, like this.

In this next section, we will try to elaborate a possible run book you could play by during your phone interview -

  1. 5–10 mins — Introduction, connecting with your interviewer.

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