The Hardest Problem in Tech(nical Interviewing) is People: The personal skills in interviewing

Accepted Session
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 from 10:00 – 11:45am in B302/303


Technical interviews can be intimidating, but it’s easier if you have confidence in yourself and your ability to answer complicated questions. The hardest questions are not about sorting algorithms, but how you’ll work in a team, how you’ll resolve conflicts, and what it will be like to manage and work with you. This workshop exists to address the skills and theories of presenting yourself as confident, capable, and coachable.


We are extremely experienced at being interviewed and at evaluating candidates. Between us, we have participated in at least 200 interviews. In this workshop, we’ll cover the key phases of the interview process. We’ll lay out the general landscape of the tech industry and the interview process in technology specifically, including phone interviews and onsite interviews. The audience will experience hands-on practice, and can expect to learn tactics for preparing for and excelling at interviews. We will provide handouts for participants to use after the workshop and for practice.

This workshop is intended for new and early-career technologists, or career-changers. We won’t be discussing resumes or job-hunting in depth in this workshop, but instead focussing narrowly on the interview experience. We hope to provide a level of confidence and expertise that will enable everyone to enter an interview feeling prepared. We’ll cover the the human interaction aspects, as well as factual, experience-based questions. Technological knowledge is frequently less of a determining factor than convincing an interviewer that you can learn the technology and get along in the team and organization. We also want to give early-career technologists a feeling for what is normal or abnormal in an interview so that they can avoid working for companies that demonstrate a problematic culture in the interview.

The exercises and lecture portions are geared to help participants prepare answers to common types of questions and practice responding smoothly. Participants will learn how to accomplish the checkpoints of a hiring workflow, including: phone screens, phone interviews, in-person interviews, and how to accept or reject an offer. The take-home worksheets will provide types of interview questions, job search rubric, self-evaluation forms, and resources for further research.


Interviewing, career, early career, tech industry, culture, beginner

Speaking experience

Carol Smith has spoken at 24 conferences and given 6 keynote talks. She spoke at OS Bridge in 2010 on a different topic. Her speaker profile can be found here:

Heidi Waterhouse's speaker profile can be found here: