Notes from my developer job interview experience in 2021

By Kristofer Palmvik ·

Before changing job I interviewed quite a few different companies to learn more about them. Here are a few notes from my experience during the last months.

There is definitely no lack of jobs for developers at the moment. But finding a really good company, where it is fun and challenging and exciting to work, is still not that simple.

🪁 Remote work

Everyone talks about remote, but what it really mean clearly varies. “Flexible remote” can turn out to actually be “we expect to see you in the office at least 2 days a week”. Being clear from the start simplifies the process for everyone.

🦄 Empowered teams

Surprisingly, some companies still think of developers as just code producing entities without any interest in how the product is used. Programmer tasks are specified by a CPO or product owner, or in some case even sales, and then added to a magic backlog. No product teams responsible for both discovering and delivering solutions to real customer problems aligned with the business goals here. Sad, really.

🧭 Partly continuous

Almost all companies I have talked to have a modern approach to continuous delivery. Trunk based development, (varying levels of) automatic test coverage, and frequent deliveries to production seem to be then norm, at least where it is appropriate for the business. However very few companies seem to think in terms of continuous discovery, with weekly touch points with customers etc.

💰Compensation

What is the correct salary level when you can work from another location than where the company is formally based? Should the compensation depend on where you live, where the main office is located, or on the value you can provide? It is definitely not an easy question, and something that companies seem to struggle with a lot at the moment.

🎙 Interviews

The process should ideally give an insight into what the everyday work in the team would look like. If you solve daily algorithmic problems on a whiteboard, then this is the perfect thing to spend time on. Otherwise you might want to focus on something closer to real life. Done right, the interview is a fantastic opportunity to promote the company while still understanding the interests and competence of the applicant.

🥸 Job description

The competition to hire is apparently fierce, and this drive some companies to pretend that they offer a role that is much more interesting than it really is. Only later in the process it is clear that the job description doesn’t live up to reality.

👻 Ghosting

While definitely not a common behavior, I have encountered ghosting from more than one company. The conversation simply stopped in the middle of the process and I haven’t heard back since. If you don’t want to hang out anymore that’s cool, but why not just say so?

As always your mileage may vary and you may have a completely different experience or requirements.