Navigating frontend interviews in 2022: an overview, and how to interview your company
By Mike Chen
This is the first post in a series about what to expect in a frontend interview in 2022. We’ll talk through every segment of the interview process and some tips for how to prepare for each.
Disclaimer: Every company is different. We can’t guarantee the advice here is relevant to your situation.
You need to ask your recruiter or hiring manager ahead of time what your prospective company’s hiring process looks like. If your company asks whiteboarding or brain teaser-style questions, you’re better off with more traditional interview prep resources such as Cracking the Coding Interview and Leetcode.
Frontend interviews generally follow the same format as other engineering interviews:
- Informational phone screen
- Technical phone screen
- Offer and negotiation
Your company may incorporate its own elements, but the above format covers 90+% of interviews in our experience.
The onsite is where the bulk of the interview takes place. It’s a 4-6 hour marathon crammed into one day or (increasingly common in remote land) spread across 2 days.
The sections within the onsite will depend on the company’s preferences and your seniority, but you can expect some of the following:
- Coding challenge
- Systems design
- Culture fit
We’ll go over each of these sections in detail later in this series.
Your job during the interview is not only to impress the company; it's also to find out whether the company is a good fit for you. All good interview processes leave room for you to ask questions of your interviewers. Don’t pass these up.
- What’s your code review process?
- What does mentorship look like here?
- How do you prioritize technical debt?
- What are some of the current technical challenges the team is facing?
- What does the product roadmap look like for the next 3/6/12 months?
- What separates average/good/great engineers here?
- How does your team handle mistakes?
Asking insightful questions also shows the interviewer you care about your work environment and personal development.
- Ask the right people the right questions, e.g. if you're asking about cross-functional collaboration, ask a designer or PM rather than another engineer.
- Ask about things you're genuinely interested in. People can usually tell if you’re feigning interest.
- Ask about things that have come up in your research about the company, e.g. if they're known for a specific program like Google's 20% projects that attracted you to the company, ask how real these programs are in practice.
- Ask about the company's funding status and IPO/acquisition timelines if you're joining a startup/private company. Some people consider these topics to be taboo, but they're an important part of your compensation. If a company is unwilling to share this information with candidates, it's a red flag.
- Ask about information you can find company’s landing page. You'll seem unwilling to put in even a bare minimum effort.
- Ask cliché questions such as "What's the best/worst thing about working here?"
In the next post, we’ll explore how to research your company. Follow @frontendeval and stay tuned for more!