General Software Engineer interview process

This course will go over the general interview process for Software Engineers in Tokyo.

1. Screening call

After you apply for a job many companies like to do a screening call, often conducted by the HR or someone from the Talent Acquisition (TA) team. Often your interviewer is not a technical-person themselves and the call itself focuses on the job description and a brief introduction about yourself.

This process is a little more transactional, where the HR/TA makes sure that you have the must-have skills/requirements listed in the job description. Here, you will have an opportunity to learn more about the company and ask any questions you may have. Before going into this call, prepare a list of questions and do a research on the company

2. Technical Screening

Before you proceed to actual interview stages, most companies have a technical screening as well, in the form of an online coding test, coding assingment, or a whiteboard coding. If you invited to a technical screening, you often have a deadline of 1-2 weeks until you have the complete the given task.

The most popular form of technical screening is online coding tests. Online coding tests are usually timed tests, focusing on algorithms. Any programming languages can be used and there is often a time limit of 1-2 hours until you have to submit your answer.

Codility is the go-to platform for coding tests, but HackerRank and CoderByte is sometimes used as well.

Another popular technical screening is a take-home coding assignment, where you are given a set of instructions and resources. You will have to build a simple application/prototype and share your project. The quality of your code, presentation, and efforts will be graded.

A less popular, but still sometimes utilized form of technical screening is a whiteboard coding test. Whiteboard coding tests take a lot of time so it is often reserved for more senior roles. Whiteboard coding tests may be conducted by an in-house engineer or conducted through a 3rd party such as Karat.

We recommend you prepare primarily for online coding tests and coding assignments.

3. System Design interview

Upon passing the technical screening, you will be invited to a system design interview, asking you to design things like Dropbox, Facebook, and so on.

We will cover how to prepare for system design in more depth in later topics.

4. Final Interview (Behavioural-based interview)

Upon passing your system design interview, you will have a final interview often with the Engineering Manager or VP of Engineering, focused on behavioural -based interviews. The focus on this interview will be on your career motivations and how your values align with the mission and the value of the company.