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    Understanding “Quality of Hire” in Tech Recruitment

    Why is the recruiting metric known as “quality of hire” so important? In the fast-paced world of tech recruitment, finding the right candidates is like hunting for treasure. You receive countless job applications, but how do you separate the gems from the rubble? In this article, we’ll explore what quality of hire means, how to assess it, and why it’s crucial for your tech company’s success. 

    We’ll also share data from past Hired research to illustrate how tech employers define it and how to create recruitment and hiring strategies to make the most of your recruitment team’s capacity. 

    What is Quality of Hire or QoH?

    Quality of hire is a recruiting metric that evaluates how well a new employee performs and fits into your company culture after being hired. In simple terms, it gauges whether your hiring decisions result in successful, productive, and satisfied team members.

    As tech workers found themselves laid off during the “tech winter” of late 2022 – early 2023, inbound applicants flooded employers’ inbound channels. As a result, TA teams found themselves drowning in applicants, but not enough qualified ones. 

    Recruiting teams also began interviewing more applicants per role. According to Hired survey data in The Future of Tech Hiring: 8 Bold Predictions for 2024, 68% of employers said they were interviewing more candidates for each role than they were a year ago. 

    In fact, 54% of surveyed employers of all sizes agreed that Quality of Hire would be their top hiring KPI going into 2024. 

    What does Quality of Hire mean? In The Tech Hiring Tightrope, Hired’s annual research study of tech hiring and salaries, surveyed employers’ top three definitions of a “quality candidate” were: 

    1) Has 6+ years of experience in the industry 

    2) Is “in-demand,” i.e. involved in the hiring process with multiple companies 

    3) Fulfills a senior-level role

    How does your organization define Quality of Hire? It may be different from one employer to another. 

    How to assess Quality of Hire (QoH)

    Assessing Quality of Hire involves several steps:

    1. Define success criteria 

    Before you start evaluating Quality of Hire, establish clear criteria for success. What skills, experience, and qualities should your ideal candidate possess? Define these benchmarks to guide your assessment.

    2. Performance metrics 

    Track an employee’s performance over time. Metrics like productivity, meeting goals, and contributing to projects are useful indicators. Compare these metrics with your defined success criteria.

    3. Feedback and reviews 

    Regularly seek feedback from supervisors, peers, and the employee. Are they meeting expectations? Are they a positive influence on the team? Honest feedback can reveal a lot.

    Hired partner Textio contributed this blog, Want To Hire More Women? Focus On Performance Feedback, check it out!

    4. Retention rate

    Analyze how long employees stay with your company. A high turnover rate may indicate a problem with your hiring process. One of the best ways to retain an employee is to, of course, start with the right candidate. 

    Because Hired provides such transparency in the tech recruiting process, it’s easier for both employers and candidates to enjoy better matches. For employers, this also translates into higher acceptance rates averaging 60% or more. 

    Related: Difficulty Keeping Your Top Tech Talent? This Could Be Why (& What to Do About It)

    5. Cultural fit 

    Assess how well the employee aligns with your company’s culture. Do they embrace your values and work well with others? 

    Note the “fit” is based on values and working styles or team dynamics. At Hired, we caution against using “fit” as similar backgrounds, networks, education, or experiences. In these categories, we recommend a “culture add,” where a candidate helps diversify your team and its thinking.

    6. Self-assessment 

    Ask employees to evaluate their own job satisfaction and performance. Their self-perception can provide valuable insights.

    Separating high-quality candidates from the rest

    In a sea of applicants, it can be overwhelming to discern quality candidates. Here’s how to do it effectively:

    Prioritize skills 

    Focus on candidates with the essential technical skills and experience you need. Use resume screening and pre-employment assessments to filter out unqualified applicants.

    Behavioral interviews 

    Conduct behavioral interviews to assess a candidate’s problem-solving abilities, teamwork, and adaptability. Ask for specific examples of their past achievements.

    Reference checks 

    Contact references to learn about a candidate’s work ethic, attitude, and contributions in previous roles.

    Technical assessments 

    Administer technical tests or coding challenges to gauge a candidate’s proficiency in their field or assess specific tech skills.

    Want to run a coding challenge campaign to tap into a new market or surface candidates with hard to find skills or for hard to find roles? We’ve got you covered from start to finish. 

    Why is Quality of Hire an important recruiting metric?

    Quality of Hire is more than just a statistic; it’s a predictor of future success and retention. When you make quality hires, your company benefits in several ways:

    Better performance

    High-quality hires are more likely to excel in their roles, meet or exceed goals, and contribute positively to your company’s success.

    Team cohesion

    They integrate seamlessly into teams, enhancing collaboration and overall team performance.


    Quality hires tend to stay longer with your company, reducing turnover and recruitment costs.

    Hired data shows candidates placed through our tech hiring platform have an 18% higher tenure with their employers.  

    Positive reputation

    Consistently making quality hires improves your company’s reputation in the job market, making it easier to attract top talent. This is one facet of employer branding, a long-term strategy for companies of all sizes.


    In conclusion, “Quality of Hire” is a vital metric for tech hiring managers, engineering managers, and recruiters. It helps you identify candidates who not only have the right skills but also align with your company’s culture and values. By prioritizing Quality of Hire, you can ensure the success and longevity of your tech team and your company as a whole.

    See how Hired helps employers find the right candidates, right away, from around the world. Request a demo. More

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    Why You Should Ask for a Reverse Interview (& How to Prep for It)

    Job interviews are typically seen as a one-way street – employers asking the questions and candidates providing the answers. While your primary goal in an interview is to advance in the hiring process, it’s also an opportunity to evaluate whether or not the job is a good fit for you. This is where a reverse interview comes in. It empowers you to take a more active role in the conversation. After all, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.

    What is a reverse interview? 

    A reverse interview, also known as a “reverse job interview” or “candidate-led interview,” is a type of job interview where the candidate asks the questions. The purpose of a reverse interview is for the candidate to gain a deeper understanding of the company, team, and job role, and to assess whether the organization is the right fit for their career goals and values.

    During a reverse interview, the candidate typically asks questions that go beyond the surface-level information provided in the job description or initial interviews. These questions are designed to uncover important details about the company’s culture, expectations, and work environment, as well as to assess whether the company aligns with the candidate’s professional and personal aspirations.

    In a reverse interview, you gather information that goes beyond what is typically found in job descriptions or company websites. This proactive approach not only demonstrates the candidate’s genuine interest in the position. It also helps them make informed decisions about whether the company and role are the right fit for their skills, values, and career aspirations.

    By engaging in a two-way conversation, you gain valuable insights into the work environment, expectations, and growth potential within the company. Ultimately, a reverse interview is a powerful tool for both the candidate and the employer, fostering a more transparent and collaborative hiring process where both parties can assess if there is a mutual fit and alignment of goals.

    The benefits of a reverse interview

    Showcasing your interest

    A reverse interview is a golden opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest in the company and the role. By asking insightful questions, you convey that you are not just looking for any job but are invested in finding the right fit.

    Assessing cultural alignment

    Culture is a crucial aspect of job satisfaction. A reverse interview allows you to delve into the company’s values, work environment, and team dynamics. This insight helps you evaluate whether the organization aligns with your professional and personal values.

    Understanding expectations

    Flip the script and ask about the day-to-day responsibilities, project expectations, and success metrics for the role. This not only shows your proactive approach but also ensures you have a clear understanding of what is expected in the position.

    Gaining insider perspectives

    Engaging in a reverse interview provides you with valuable insights from those on the inside. Ask about the challenges and opportunities the team faces, and listen for cues on how the company addresses these aspects. This firsthand information is priceless.

    How to prepare for a reverse interview

    Research extensively

    Before the interview, delve into the company’s culture, recent projects, and any news or updates. This knowledge equips you to ask specific and informed questions, showcasing your dedication and preparation.

    Craft thoughtful questions

    Prepare a list of questions that go beyond the superficial. Inquire about the team’s collaboration style, the company’s approach to innovation, or any recent successes. Thoughtful questions demonstrate your strategic thinking and genuine interest.

    Related: Best Reverse Interview Questions; How to Offer Reverse Interviews 

    Tailor your questions

    Customize your questions based on the role and industry. Tailoring your queries to the specifics of the position not only showcases your understanding but also highlights your suitability for the role.

    Practice active listening

    During the reverse interview, practice active listening. Pay attention to the responses and use them to guide follow-up questions. This not only demonstrates your engagement but also allows for a more natural and dynamic conversation.

    Related: Want to Ace Behavioral Interviews? A Guide to Prep Jobseekers 

    3 examples of questions to ask in a reverse interview 

    There are many questions you could ask to learn more about the organization, the company culture, the nature of the work, and measures of success in the job. Here are a few questions to shed some light during the reverse interview on what it might be like to work for that employer.

    Related: What Questions to Ask Your Interviewer During Your Employer OnSite

    1. What decisions can I make without approvals?

    It’s important to know how much autonomy you’ll have performing your job function. It’s even more important to ensure your expectations are aligned. The details can be worked out after you start the job, but it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Will you be working for a micromanager or someone who gives you direction and lets you run with it?

    A more senior role may come with more autonomy, while a junior position will have less. Countless decisions can range from expenditures to resource allocation to agreements with vendors and other partners, depending on the specific job function. The important thing is to get an understanding of the degree of autonomy you will have in the context of the job role and level of seniority.

    For an engineering or technical role, understand:

    the limits of your authority to determine the course of a project

    the approach to solving a particular problem

    when and how to engage with other parts of the organization

    2. How does the team communicate?

    Effective communication is a critical factor in the success of any organization. Work has become increasingly collaborative, especially in engineering and technical fields, and communication styles can vary widely among managers. Exploring how team members communicate with each other and with the manager will give you an indication of the pace of work and team dynamics.

    Technology has given us a wide range of communication and collaboration tools for real-time messaging, document sharing, and audio and video conferencing. Which of these tools are in use within the organization, and which ones the manager prefers to use, is an important element of the work environment. Is the role remote? If so, it’s even more critical to understand integration into team meetings and the daily flow of communication.

    Do they prefer written or verbal communication?

    Do they like to meet face to face when possible?

    Do they want regular updates, or do they only need to know when something deviates from the plan?

    Think about how these communication styles compare with your preferences. Consider how you might accommodate any differences.

    3. How do you bring out the best in people?

    It goes without saying: you’ll present yourself as a self-motivated and driven professional during the interview. But a good manager understands the importance of creating an environment for each individual on their team to flourish. How an organization views this aspect provides insight into their values and working for them.

    Do they take an interest in the professional development of their team members?

    How do they remove roadblocks and protect the team from internal and external demands that distract from the true priorities?

    To what extent do you have opportunities to be mentored or coached?

    Discussing these topics shows you how supportive you can expect this person to be.

    Use reverse interview questions to find the right fit

    Asking for a reverse interview is not just a bold move; it’s a strategic one. The interviewing process is all about finding the right fit, and this applies equally to the employer and the jobseeker. Is the job a good match for your skills, interests, and values? 

    If so, there is a foundation for a good working relationship and you are more likely to be a productive and successful employee. By actively participating in the conversation, you position yourself as a candidate who is not only qualified but also deeply committed to finding the right professional home.  More

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    Reverse Interview Prep Checklist for Tech Hiring Managers

    While a traditional interview places candidates in the spotlight, a reverse interview turns the tables. Here, candidates or even current employees can ask questions, diving deep into the aspects of the company, culture, and role that matter most to them.

    This is a more formal part of the interview process, not a quick “Do you have any questions for me,” in the last five minutes. Interviewers need to offer time during each interview or stage for questions, but a reverse interview is planned. It signifies the importance of a good match for both parties.

    When should you use reverse interviews?

    Reverse interviews are ideal in a final round or post-offer but pre-acceptance. It’s a time when candidates consider their options and need deeper insights to make an informed decision.

    Why should you use reverse interviews?

    This approach empowers candidates, ensuring they comprehensively understand their prospective role and the company. It’s a tool to ensure fit and boost commitment, as employees feel more invested when they know exactly what they’re walking into. Besides, it allows everyone to focus on the long-term aspects of job satisfaction and employee loyalty, instead of dollar signs and benefit packages. More

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    How to Recover After a Bad Interview

    Don’t stress over a poor interview – use it to improve

    So you don’t feel great about an interview you just had – now what? No matter how much you prepare, some interviews simply go terribly. Like so many obstacles life throws your way, it’s up to you to choose how to react. So, what are the next steps? Use these pointers to guide you through any stumbles and recover from a bad interview.

    1. Take a step back and reflect

    Before rushing to any action, take some time to reflect on – but not obsess over – what actually went wrong in the interview. It’s important to cool down from any frustrations or anger you feel immediately after. Avoid over-analyzing each answer. The key here is to be as objective as possible. It’s entirely possible to recover from a bad interview. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how you handle setbacks too.

    Say you made more minor mistakes such as being too vague about your weaknesses or forgetting to mention a volunteer experience on your CV. There’s no point in stressing over it. It doesn’t make sense to bring this up to your interviewer after the fact.

    Christy Rosen, Certified Career Coach and Interview Professional, tells interviewees, “Don’t beat yourself up. Reflect and figure out what happened. This is key to understanding what went wrong. If you feel like the interview didn’t go well, more than likely it didn’t. So what did you do wrong? Did you investigate the job description and know everything? Specifically for this job, did you take the time to prepare for the interview?”

    Related: Want to Ace Behavioral Interviews? A Guide to Prep Jobseekers 

    2. Ask for feedback 

    Christy is a big advocate of asking for feedback. She loves it when people ask because it shows:

    They want to be better

    They are willing to take constructive criticism

    “In a follow-up email, post-interview express how much you appreciate the interviewer’s time. This is also a good opportunity to address any blunders. Say, ‘I love this question you asked me. Quite honestly, there are some elements I neglected to tell you that I would like to share here.’ (Keep it concise.) This is a great way to showcase your ability to self-reflect.

    In an interview, I recommend asking for feedback at the end. You can say, ‘I enjoyed our interview. Do you have two or three points of feedback for me about how the interview went for you?’ This opens up a professional conversation at the end and is another way for you to stand out.”

    3. Attempt damage control, elegantly

    If you made a mistake that might seriously impact the interviewer’s decision, such as failing to mention your only relevant work experience to the role you’re interviewing for, it’s worth at least considering a shot at damage control. In short, if you think it’s a mistake that would likely turn a ‘yes’ to a ‘no,’ you’ve got nothing to lose by trying to patch things up.

    The easiest way to bring up additional information is generally in your thank you note after the interview. Interviewers will already expect it so adding in a few additional sentences wouldn’t be odd.

    First, figure out exactly what you want the interviewer to take away from your note. Then, find a concise way to write it. Try to avoid making it sound like an apology. You’re simply adding new information to what was discussed during the interview, not admitting to a mistake.

    If, in the worst-case scenario, you had an incredibly off day (perhaps you were ill), it might be worth asking for a second chance entirely. The worst that can happen is they deny it. But if you already think you bombed the interview, there’s no harm in asking. This is particularly true if you really want the job. Don’t make a habit of this though and make sure your second interview is miles better.

    4. Learn from your mistakes

    Perhaps most importantly, a bad interview is a good learning experience. Each mistake helps to better prepare you for future interviews. Use your mistakes as learning material to prevent them from happening again.

    Analyze your mistakes

    Start by identifying all of the mistakes you made, then determine what the main cause was. Perhaps your missteps were a result of nerves. This is common and results in fumbling over answers or rambling.

    Or, if you were underprepared for the interview, you didn’t anticipate the interviewer’s questions. If so, you may have not prepared solid answers or forgotten to mention relevant experiences.

    Taking the reflection piece a step further, Christy says, “Think about what to hone in on for the next time. Focus on the learning piece. What will you do differently? How will you better prepare? How will you boost your confidence?”

    5. Practice for the next time

    If nerves are your issue, practice is your friend. Ask a friend or family member to mock interview you with their own questions. This helps you be more comfortable thinking on your feet and answering questions on the fly.

    In addition, practice your answers to the most standard interview questions. This may include why you want the job, why you’re passionate about the company, and your strengths and weaknesses. 

    Christy emphasizes practicing a lot for the “tell me about yourself” question in particular. “If you nail that, you’re going in the right direction for the rest of the interview. It’s one most people mess up. Confidence in knowing what you’re doing in the interview is crucial to setting the stage.” 

    It would also help to write down the questions you had in the interview (reflecting on what you said) and preparing for future interviews based on these learnings. What would you ideally have said?

    Related: 30 Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Be Ready to Answer 

    Another helpful tip as you practice is to remember to breathe. Reflecting on her coaching experience, Christy explains, “Breathing helps your brain work. It’s also important to pause. You can ask: ‘Do you mind if I think about that for a second?’ Most people don’t do that. They just start talking and figure out the answer as they go. The interviewer sees and hears this. It’s a bit of a ding against you.”

    Related: Who (And How) to Ask for a Job Reference 

    Give yourself a fair shot

    If you were under-prepared for the interview, ask yourself whether it was because you didn’t spend enough time beforehand or you prepared for the wrong questions.

    It can be frustrating to feel you spent a lot of time getting ready for an interview that went in a totally different direction. But you can use this experience to better gauge the types of questions to expect in the future.

    If you simply didn’t spend enough time preparing, ask yourself why that is. Perhaps you weren’t motivated by the job in the first place and you shouldn’t have pushed it to the in-person interview stage. Maybe you couldn’t find time in your schedule to prepare or it took longer than you expected. If so, budget extra time for future interviews. 

    Regardless of how bad you feel after a poor interview, remember that it will never be your last chance. That is, whether you ask the same employer for another shot or use your blunders to fine-tune your skills for the future. Someday you’ll (hopefully) be laughing about terrible interview stories. Maybe you’ll use your experience to coach someone else on how to recover from a bad interview.

    About Hired 

    Hired is the most efficient way to find a tech or a sales role you love today. With unbiased insights, DEI tools, skill assessments, and dedicated Candidate Experience Managers, Hired works with over 10,000 companies around the world to connect thousands of active and qualified candidates to employ their full potential. After registering, platform jobseekers match with top employers thanks to better data, preference curation, and compensation transparency. Backed by The Adecco Group, Hired is rated by G2 as a leader in Recruiting Automation, Job Search Sites, and Diversity Recruiting. 

    Originally written in April 2019 by Napala Pratini. Updated by the Hired Content Team in January 2022 and December 2023. More

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    System Design Interview Survival Guide: Tips to Navigate Interviews

    System Design Interviews are challenging for many developers because they aim to test not just technical knowledge but critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well. The focus is not on your coding proficiency. Rather, your success in a System Design Interview depends on your ability to reason through and defend trade-offs in your design. 

    We asked our partner Educative to give software engineering jobseekers a look into what they should know about getting prepped for their next System Design interview. Here’s what Educative advised.

    Preparing for the System Design interview

    When preparing for a System Design Interview, you should focus on mastering three key areas: 

    Start with the basics of System Design, like data durability, replication, and partitioning. Then, study web architecture topics like N-Tier applications, HTTP, and caching. Finally, apply this knowledge to design real-world systems. 

    Educative offers comprehensive courses to help you build these skills, including our popular Grokking Modern System Design Interviews for Engineers & Managers, which was developed by former systems engineers from Facebook and Microsoft. With focused preparation, you can approach these interviews with confidence.

    Top System Design interview questions

    Here are some tips to help you answer questions during System Design Interviews:

    Start by listing required features, expected problems, and traffic estimates to show your planning skills.

    Discuss trade-offs at each decision point and ask clarifying questions when asked vague questions.

    Highlight your awareness of emerging technologies like machine learning and emphasize your understanding of modern microservice architectures.

    Try answering these top questions:

    Design a chat service

    Design a ride-sharing service

    Design a URL-shortening service

    Design a social media newsfeed

    Design a social message board

    Design Instagram

    Design a file-sharing service

    Design Google Docs

    Design a video streaming service

    Design an API Rate Limiter

    Design a web crawler

    Design a proximity service

    Design typeahead

    Design Google Maps

    Need a handy template to approach System Design problems? Let’s use “Design a ride-sharing service” (i.e. “Design Uber” or “Design Lyft”) as an example.

    An Uber System Design question focuses on creating a ride-sharing service. The system should have a plan for scaling to accommodate growth.

    Key functional requirements include location tracking for drivers and riders, displaying nearby drivers, initiating payments, and providing real-time ETAs and trip updates.

    Non-functional requirements include system availability, reliability, scalability, and consistency.

    Challenges include minimizing latency, efficiently pairing drivers and users, handling lost connections, and storing cached location data.

    Tools like the S2Geometry library can help in location-based calculations, and distributed storage can help you manage user locations.

    Recommended resources

    Worried about your upcoming System Design Interview prep? Or just want to build a working knowledge of foundational System Design concepts? Educative is a great place to get hands-on with System Design fundamentals for interviews and beyond.

    Educative’s interactive courses are designed to show you how to solve real-world System Design problems. Created by industry experts, this course provides detailed walkthroughs of essential System Design concepts and example questions you will likely encounter in interviews.

    If you are ready to invest in System Design prep, here are some helpful resources: More

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    6 Things to Avoid in Your Interview Follow-Up Email

    After an interview, it’s generally a good idea to send a short but thoughtful interview follow-up email to your interviewer(s). It’s an opportunity to thank them for their time, reiterate why you’d be a good fit, and remind them about where you shined in the interview. These thank you notes are generally pretty innocuous and considered a formality. However, there are a few ways they can go wrong. Keep reading for five things to avoid in your interview follow-up.

    Keep the focus on expressing gratitude in the interview follow-up

    First things first: The follow-up emails should generally focus on a thank you. Begin your follow-up email by expressing gratitude for the opportunity and the interviewer’s time. Reference a specific moment or discussion from the interview to add a personal touch and make it more memorable. You can also reiterate your interest in the role and the company, plus how your skills and experiences align with the job.

    1. Don’t make spelling or grammar mistakes

    This should go without saying, but just because you had a strong interview doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve gotten the job. An oversight like a spelling error or the wrong company or role (if you’re sending multiple thank you’s) could signal you’re not very detail-oriented. Or perhaps worse: you don’t care much about the outcome of the interview. Before you hit send, triple-check your note for any errors to avoid coming off as careless.

    2. Don’t focus on apologies or excuses

    Thank you notes are not the place to make up for poor interview performance. If it didn’t go well, the reality is either: 

    the team will make the decision not to proceed with your application, or 

    they’ll choose to ignore your mistakes or weaker answers because of your other answers and qualifications for the job. 

    Further, bringing weak points up will just draw attention to them. After all, the team is evaluating the various candidates you’re competing with for the role. Instead, focus your messaging on where your application stands out and any unique qualities you will bring to the company.

    3. Don’t discuss major salary, timeline, and role concerns

    Even if you’re concerned about what the salary offer might be, it’s best to reserve this conversation until after an offer has been made. Bringing it up before then might push the team to extend an offer to a different candidate who might be more accepting of a lower salary.

    The same goes for things:

    start date

    contract length (if it’s not a full-time role)

    any concerns about the suitability of the role (unless they’re significant enough to make you question the role in the first place)

    One exception might be if you receive another job offer with a set decision date. Including this shorter timeline in your thank you note may help to push the decision forward. Companies will generally understand the situation is out of your hands.

    4. Don’t ask questions you could have discussed in the interview

    The exception is if the interviewer encouraged otherwise. You should always come to an interview with a list of questions about the role and company. If you couldn’t think of any or didn’t come prepared with questions, the follow-up email is not an appropriate way to make up for it. Interviewers want your present engagement and curiosity during the call – not in the post-interview email.

    Related: Need Help with Job Interviewing Skills? Watch this Coaching Session (VIDEO)

    5. Don’t send the same note to multiple interviewers

    It can be tempting to copy and paste the same note to all of your interviewers. This is particularly true if you’ve spent a day interviewing and meeting multiple people. But it’s not uncommon for teams to share the follow-ups they receive internally. So, take the time to personalize each message. 

    If you send multiple thank-you’s, not every note has to reiterate why you’d be great for the job. Perhaps you bring up an interesting point one interviewer made. Maybe you remind another of a specific skill set or experience that makes you a strong candidate. 

    That said, don’t use the extra time needed to personalize thank you’s as an excuse not to send them to all of your interviewers. Even if you have one key contact such as the hiring manager or a recruiter, anyone who took the time out of their day to meet with you deserves a short follow-up email. 

    6. Don’t include any other superfluous information

    An interview follow-up should serve as a thanks and a reiteration of your skills and excitement for the job – period. Other information, such as sending over references or asking about reimbursements for interview expenses (if this was agreed upon in advance) distracts from the key points. 

    Additional issues or questions can be addressed in future emails or phone calls. Keep your immediate communications clear and focused on the take-home point: The strength of your application and interview. 

    Originally written in June 2019 by Napala Pratini. Updated by the Hired Content Team in December 2023. More

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    Phone Interview Tips: 19 Keys to Landing a Second Interview

    Phone interviews are the first step to getting hired – and it’s a daunting first step for even the most seasoned jobseekers. These calls are typically with a recruiter and aim to determine whether a candidate meets the minimum qualifications of the role. Here’s our checklist of 19 game-changing phone interview tips for before, after, and during your phone interview.

    Before the phone interview

    1. Practice your elevator pitch

    You can (and will) always go into more detail about your work experience in follow-up questions from the interviewer. But you should first and foremost prepare an elevator pitch for your career. Once you’ve written out a compelling (and brief) professional narrative, test it on friends to make sure it’s as clear and captivating as possible.

    Related: Why Your Career Narrative Is Just as Important as Your Work History 

    Tailor the pitch to the job description and be sure to give examples of alignment. For example, if you have experience in the role’s industry, highlight that. If you know a specific product type or technical skill, share that.


    2. Prepare projects or examples of your work to share

    Another way to up your game is to have examples or projects specific to the company or job.Example phone interview questions:

    Describe a project or position you held where you used Python

    Describe a project where you collaborated with other people/teams. What was your biggest hurdle?

    We recommend preparing the answers as stories following the STAR or SAIL frameworks. Choose these stories based on what’s most relevant to the job description. Don’t try to pick too many. Instead, focus on the most impactful ones.

    3. Draft answers to common behavioral questions

    You’ll also want to prepare what you’ll say to questions that touch on soft skills. Also known as behavioral questions, they help interviewers get to know you better and whether you’re a good fit (or add!) to team dynamics. 

    Example questions include:

    “Describe a time you faced a challenge.”

    “What do you consider your biggest weakness?”

    Related: 30 Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Be Ready to Answer 

    4. Make a brag list

    In addition to rounding up examples of your work, make a list of all of the results and projects where you drove the most impact – especially as it relates to this new role. You might be really proud of a project with no relevance to the job you’re applying for. We wouldn’t recommend bringing it up in the interview in that case.

    Talking about how and why you are good at what you do can feel awkward and overzealous. This will help remind you to highlight your successes and also, by documenting your wins, keep them top of mind. Bonus points if you have metrics, such as “My suggestion shaved 22% off our timeline, which helped us hit our goals 10 days early.”

    5. Take Hired Assessments

    Speaking of bragging, if you’re a jobseeker on the Hired platform, Hired Assessments are a great way to show off skills. In fact, high-intent candidates who earn technical assessment badges are 3X as likely to get hired! 

    6. Research the company and the person interviewing you

    Before the interview, research the company’s mission statement, recent news (type the company name into Google News), product/service offerings, and funding history (on Crunchbase). 

    You should also take time to research the person interviewing you. Look up their LinkedIn profile and find their posts, blog or other published writing. Take note of the words they use to talk about what they do. How can you mirror their language to describe what you do in a way that connects with them?

    7. Always have questions prepared to ask the interviewer  

    Having trouble thinking of questions to ask or did your interviewer answer all of your questions by the end? Make sure you do not say “No, I don’t have any questions.” This might signal to your interviewer a lack of interest in or curiosity about the role. In this situation, you can always ask the person interviewing you “Why do you like working at XYZ Company?”

    Questions also offer you a chance to demonstrate your competency in a particular role or domain. If you can use your past experience to ask more probing questions, you’re demonstrating another way to show off your qualifications for the role. These questions will heavily depend on the role but here are a few examples: 

    “In my past role, we ran into XYZ challenge. Is this something this team is facing? How are you handling it?”

    “How is this team evaluating XYZ new technology?”

    For these types of questions, keep in mind that if the call is with a recruiter, they will likely be unable to answer so many in-depth questions about the specific team or work.

    Lastly, at the end of the interview, consider asking: “Is there anything else I can clarify for you?” or “Are there any concerns about my background thus far?” These closing questions show engagement and the ability to self-reflect, helping you end the interview on a good note. 

    8. Ask what you need to bring/prepare

    You should also ask the interviewer or recruiter what to expect or prepare for before the call. Ask your contact what you should expect generally during the call and if you’ll need to have any materials handy. This is a good time to figure out if you’ll be asked any technical questions or need to address specific technical topics.

    9. Double-check contact information

    Make sure the company has your correct contact info. The contact info on your resume, in your signature/emails, and on your application should all match. Verify the company is initiating the call and how they are doing so (phone, Zoom, etc).

    During the phone interview

    10. Find a quiet place with few distractions to take the call

    If your phone interview is during the workday, plan to work from home and take the call from there. If you have to be in the office that day, find a quiet place nearby (outside of the office) to do the interview. Friends who work nearby might be able to lend you a conference room. Or look to a rentable workspace like Deskpass or WeWork for privacy. Sometimes libraries have conference rooms to reserve. 

    Reliable phone reception and/or internet is super important – perhaps most important. You don’t want to have your call drop or struggle to make out what your interviewer is saying. Do some due diligence and make sure you have good service in the location you plan to take the call.

    Keep in mind that the phone screen might actually be a video call. This is all the more reason to find a quiet and private area to do the interview. Be mindful of what’s in the background or if you’re using a Zoom background, it’s appropriate. 

    Related: Video Interviews 101: How To Impress In The Digital Age 

    11. Get an energy boost

    Make sure you have an upbeat tone to your voice, which can be accomplished by simply smiling through the phone during the conversation. Because the interviewer can’t see your facial expressions or body language over the phone, your voice is your only way to emote. 

    Practice with a friend to figure out how to most effectively sound cheerful – without sounding maniacal. To help build that energy you can also try getting (physically) big before a call: Move around and stand or sit up straight.

    12. Keep materials to reference on hand

    Have your resume and the job description in front of you during the call. Other helpful information you might want close by: the company’s about page, the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile, and the company’s Crunchbase or Glassdoor profile. Maybe even make a cheat sheet with this important info as part of your preparation process. That way you don’t have 10+ tabs open during the call!

    13. Take notes

    These will help you retain the information and ideas discussed. They will likely come in handy when you’re writing your follow-up thank you notes too. If you’re pausing while writing or typing, simply say, “I’m making a note of that,” or “Let me jot that down.” This is especially helpful on a phone or video interview, when you may seem or look distracted otherwise.

    14. Try not to interrupt

    Wait for the interviewer to finish speaking before you speak. Practice active listening. This is common sense but worth keeping top of mind. It’s easy to get excited during the conversation and want to interject with brilliant insights or ideas. Remember your mantra: cool, calm, collected (at least on the outside).

    15. Avoid negativity

    It’s important to put a positive twist on all of your responses. Even if you harbor hard feelings or had a bad experience it’s important to provide a tactful answer. Avoid speaking negatively about your previous employer or coworkers – keep those thoughts to yourself. 

    Related: How to Handle an Employment Gap on Your Resume (Flip the Script!) 

    For example, the interviewer asks, “Why did you leave your last job?” (This could also be phrased as “Why are you looking to leave your current job?”)

    Positive answer: “The position did not offer the growth opportunities that I am looking for and I want to be in a more positive and collaborative environment.”

    Negative answer: “My last company didn’t appreciate me and everyone was very standoffish. I also want to make more money.”

    16. Stay focused and on topic.

    Pro tip: Write “talk slowly” on a Post-It and keep it in front of you as a reminder. Here’s an example of an answer that keeps it short, but tells a powerful story:

    Q: “What would you say are your strengths & weaknesses?”

    A: “My strengths are that I’ve worked as a frontend and backend engineer making me a valuable teammate and effective collaborator. My weakness is that I can get very focused on projects and procrastinate on smaller tasks, but I am quick to remedy any oversight so that I do not miss deadlines.”

    You should also include examples of this in action to paint a clearer picture of how this is true. It’s also nice to describe actions taken to remedy “weaknesses.”

    After the phone interview

    17. Send a ‘thank you’ email

    Include the person and/or people who interviewed you right after the interview or before the end of that working day. Thank them for their time and reiterate why you’re excited about the position (bonus points for referencing something that came up during the conversation!). This is also an opportunity to “correct” or clarify an answer from the interview if you don’t think it went too well, or if you have an additional thought you didn’t get to share. 

    18. Do a post-mortem

    Basic project management, right? This is also a valuable time to reflect on what you think went well or didn’t go so well in your interview. Interviewing is a great way to get better at interviewing, of course. But it can also help you learn more about what you want and don’t want out of your next job.

    Write down as many interview questions you can remember and your responses. Make note of what you think went well or areas you might change or improve next time.

    19. Be patient

    It’s tough to be patient after an interview while you wait for the company’s feedback. Make sure to give the interviewer three to five business days after your interview to get back to you. 

    At that point, if you haven’t heard back, it is acceptable to write them a quick note. You can let them know you’re still interested in the position and look forward to hearing back from them soon. On Hired, we encourage companies to respond within two to three days.

    Originally written in November 2019. Updated by the Hired Content Team in November 2023. More

  • in

    Interviewing for an Engineering Manager Role? 15 Questions You Should be Prepared to Answer

    We break engineering manager interview questions down to work history, the open role, and behavioral situations.

    Congratulations! You have an interview to become an engineering manager. That’s great news. There’s just one problem – interviewing to become an engineering manager is probably going to be quite a bit different from your previous interviews.

    Here are 15 common engineering manager interview questions every candidate should prepare for. If you thoughtfully consider them and have good answers for each, you’ll be well on your way to nailing the interview.

    Related: Interviewing with the CTO? 3 Strategies to Help Prepare

    Basic work history questions

    These questions are among the most basic, but can still be very hard to answer if you’re not prepared for them. Be sure to know your resume and cover letter inside and out. I find it helps to think of your career as a series of short “stories.”

    In addition, this is a golden opportunity to really put your best foot forward. Take control of the interview, delving into what you think is most relevant to the job. Take this opportunity to connect them to your strengths.

    If you think of your interview as a movie, this is the trailer meant to get people excited about going to see the movie.

    Example questions for Engineering Manager Roles on work history:

    Tell us about yourself

    What was your role with your previous employer?

    Why did you leave your last role?

    How many direct reports have you managed in the past?

    What’s the largest budget you’ve ever managed?

    Questions about the open role

    These questions probe how interested you are in the role and how hard you worked to learn more about it. It’s also an indirect gauge of how your previous experience has helped you to understand what the role requires. If you’re able to glean interesting insights from the job posting that others can’t, interviewers will notice that.

    When I interview someone for a position, I want to know how invested they are in getting the job. I want someone who’s eager. A good way to parse that out is to determine whether they’ve done their homework or not, and it’s these kinds of questions that I use to determine just that.

    Example questions for Engineering Manager candidates on the open role:

    What can you tell us about the role you’re applying for?

    Which aspects of the role do you anticipate are the most challenging?

    What can you tell us about this company?

    How do you think your skills match our needs?

    Behavioral questions

    Behavioral questions are very common for engineering management interviews. These questions demand that you be quick on your feet. Again, it’s important to remember your stories and to be able to draw from them to apply them to the question at hand.

    If you know your stories, you likely don’t need to imagine what you would do in a given situation, you can discuss what you really did do and how you might do things differently in the future given what you’ve learned from your experience.

    One useful framework that I’ve learned for answering questions like these is called STAR:





    When answering behavioral questions, try hard to:

    Cover what exactly happened (Situation),

    What you had to do in that situation (Task),

    What you did as an individual (Action), and

    How things played out as a result (Result).

    Related: What is the Star Method and How to Incorporate it into Interviews

    With this approach, you clearly define what happened and how you personally contributed to its resolution.

    Example behavioral questions for Engineering Manager candidates:

    Tell us about a time you made a mistake. What happened and what did you learn from it?

    Share an example of when you faced a conflict.

    Tell us about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma.

    How did you handle it when a project was coming down to the wire – what did you do?

    Related: 30 Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Be Ready to Answer.

    Closing questions for Engineering Manager candidates

    When going into an interview, it’s important to consider what you want to learn from the employer and the things you want them to learn about you.

    In the past, I’ve gone as far as bringing lists of things to learn and communicate into an interview and crossing things off as they were discussed. This is important because in the end, you’ll get a critical opportunity to deal with any items you haven’t yet crossed off.

    Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

    Do you have any questions for us?

    It’s likely that the engineering manager interview questions you face will be different from anything else you’ve experienced before. If you go into your interview prepared to answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to taking the next big step in your career.

    Finally, before starting salary negotiations in an engineering manager interview, be sure to check out:

    Originally written by Patrick Sweet in April 2019. Update by the Hired Content team in October 2023. More