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  • Game Dev Career Night: Level Up Your Job Hunting Skills

    - Anthony Ritchey

  • Here were the highlights of the panel discussion:

    What should a good resume contain?

    • Your resume should tell the story of your career and education. It should show your attention to detail and a willingness to collaborate with other people and other teams.
    • Resumes should show that you're serious about getting a job. For entry-level candidates, that could mean anything from showing school projects to passion projects that are relevant to the job and show you're curious about developing career-applicable skills.
    • Make sure that projects emphasize skills that are relevant to the job. "Believe it or not, the same problems you ran into on your student project are the same types of problems you might run into at Bungie!"
    • Does your resume show that you can engage with other departments and people?
    • Make sure your resume is proofread and succinct.

    What are resume yellow/red flags?

    • Red flags: Resumes that are confusing to read, contain irrelevant information, or don't show a clear career path.
    • Yellow flags: Resumes that have spelling mistakes.
    • Long resumes: "Unless you're a PhD, or have years of relevant experience in the field, cut it down to one or maybe two pages." Use a service like LinkedIn to provide your entire career history.
    • Entries that are a rote list of tasks like you'd see in a job description. Cut, or reword, any entry that doesn't show how you added value or reduced costs to a project or job duty. Focus on showing the specific results that you enabled through the work you provided.

    Why are there so many "weird programming questions" in interviews?

    "The Interviewing process tries hard to avoid false positives, at the cost of resulting in many unintentional false negatives."

    • Interviewing helps ensure that a candidate's resume correctly matches their skill set.
    • This means that the questions shouldn't be easily found online and studied before the interview.
    • "Answering these absurd problems will help you for the real world."

    There are three specific qualities of any good interview question:

    • The question must be difficult.
    • The question must be relevant to the position and what you'll actually do on the job. For example, if you're interviewing for a programming job, the interview questions must rely on fundamental Computer Science concepts to properly test a candidate's proficiency with the material.
    • The question must be solvable within a reasonable amount of time. Many candidates that show a good understanding of the process but don't solve the problem would still be considered.

    An audience member later practicing answering a whiteboard question. Photo by Tim.

    Why do we still use "whiteboard questions" as part of interviews?

    What are whiteboard questions?

    • Whiteboard interviews are where you're given a problem on a physical whiteboard or a computer and must identify the solution.
    • Examples could range from pre-written code that can't execute to being asked to write a simple script around certain parameters.

    Why use the whiteboard questions?

    • Whiteboard questions "aren't great, but [answering them is] an important skill to have," because they help the interviewers see your thought process when handling a problem.
    • The interviewer isn't necessarily looking for a correct answer or a 100% completion of whiteboard questions. If you're not sure of the answer, feel free to talk the question through out loud. If they can understand your logic and thought process as you attempt to solve the problem, sometimes that can be enough.
    • Answers to whiteboard questions can either be broad or specific, depending on the team and the role for which you're interviewing. The questions might be more rigorous if the tools you're being tested are market-standard tools and will be used immediately on the job.

    What are some good attitudes to have toward interviewing?

    • "Don't let interview questions get you down."
    • "Stay positive and just go with it."
    • "I embrace a neutral mindset, like stoicism, when I go into interviews."
    • "You should always be learning about interviewing techniques."
    • "Learn from your mistakes with prior interviews. Use that to your advantage."
    • "Rather than focusing on the negatives, celebrate that you did your best in the interview."
    • "They aren't just picking you. You are also picking the company."
    • "If you make it to an in-person interview, they likely want to hire you. Be positive, but not overconfident, and show them the best you have to offer."

    How can we deal with the anxiety of interviewing?

    What is anxiety and how can we recognize it?

    • Anxiety is an emotion involving feelings of worry and fear.
    • Anxiety can be characterized in the short-term, such as worry over doing well in an interview, or long-term fear over any situation.
    • People that suffer from anxiety have used breathing techniques and focusing on specific positive elements of a situation to overcome panic attacks.
    • Interviews are full of anxiety. You'll feel anxious as an interviewer, meeting new people, and putting your best foot forward to get the job. Your interviewers will feel anxious about making the right hiring decision.
    • If you recognize you are feeling anxious during an interview, proactively address the stressful feelings, you can do well.
    • Anxiety can be reduced by preparing for the interview. Fear of the unknown can be a trigger of anxiety. Giving yourself enough time ahead of the interview to study interviewing techniques.

    General tips for tackling anxiety during interviews

    • Control and redirect the negative energy, especially when you're stuck on a tough question, to break the question down into something more solvable.
    • Don't think too much about a question that is too challenging.
    • Try to reset your expectations to better address the next question.
    • Don't let negative self-talk bother you during the interview.
    • Focusing on the next question.

    Overcoming anxiety related to difficult questions

    • Ask the interviewer questions that clarify a point or question.
    • This is useful in general, but specifically, if you're not sure or feeling overwhelmed.
    • The difference between that anxious unknown and something you understand might just be one rephrased question.

    Speak the question out loud, in your own words, if you're not sure

    • "Think out loud," almost like you're having an external monologue with the interviewers, to avoid silence.
    • Talking through the problem out loud will help the interviews gauge your level of understanding with the material and your thought process.
    • They may give you hints to unblock you. When you repeat your understanding of their question out loud, if there was a part you misunderstood or assumed, the interviewers may help guide you along.
    • The interviewers may also help guide you along through the problem. Especially if you're thinking in a direction that might be close, but isn't quite what they're looking for, in order to solve the problem.
    • "Interviewers can't read your mind!"

    General tips for tackling anxiety after interviews

    • Remember that interviews are full of anxiety for all parties.
    • Interviewing is costly for the company to set aside time for its employees to interview people. Everyone involved is taking time out of their jobs to interview and they often times need to get back to work.
    • Most interviewers aren't full-time interviewers.
    Prepare for high false negatives.
    Interviewing well and yet not getting the job happens to good, qualified people.
    Don't let a rejection letter make you feel bad.
    • Send a polite thank you email or letter to everyone you met, especially if you received a business card. This will help you focus on the positives of the interview and you'll reappear positively in the mind(s) of the interviewer(s).

    Audience listening in to the panel of professionals give career advice. Photo by Tim.


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