In my software engineering career I have taken 200+ coding interviews.
In this article, sharing top 10 most common blunders interviewees make in the interviews and tips on fixing them.
❌ Not understanding the problem
✅ Re-read the question until you understand constraints and edge cases.
✅ Re-phrase question in your own words and verify understanding with the interviewer.
❌ Not asking questions
✅ Clarify any detail about the problem you find ambiguous.
✅ Ask for problem constraints. Range of values, size of input, etc.
✅ Ask the interviewer if they prefer time or space optimized solution.
❌ Not planning before coding
✅ Determine starting and ending points for solving the problem.
✅ Develop a high level algorithm before refining details.
❌ Not thinking out loud
✅ Discuss solution approach with the interviewer.
✅ Walk them through your implementation by dry running code.
❌ Not using hints
✅ Acknowledge the hint and how does it help.
✅ Expand on hint and see where else can it improve the solution.
❌ Not giving brute-force solution
✅ Start by sharing simplest brute force solution.
✅ Explain why the approach is sub-optimal.
❌ Not optimizing the solution
✅ Go through the solution step by step and identify the inefficiencies.
✅ Resolve inefficiencies by using right data structure or algorithm for the task.
❌ Not speaking while coding
✅ Keep explaining to the interviewer what you are coding.
✅ Don’t speak code verbatim, also explain why you made a decision.
❌ Not knowing Big O notation
✅ Know time and space complexity of classic algorithms.
✅ Practice calculating complexity of your code.
❌ Not testing the solution
✅ Dry run the code with sample inputs and edge cases.
✅ If code doesn’t work, show that you understand why is that so.
Wrapping up 📝
Hope you will avoid these blunders in your next coding interview.
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Also, share ONE interview mistake that you never want to repeat in comments. 👇