Victoria Vitale has always had a passion for computers, but that passion isn't what drove her to become a software developer.
It was practicality.
"I needed a job that could pay rent!" explains Victoria with a wry smile. A friend suggested she apply for a data analyst role, telling her that she could learn any necessary skills on the job. A few months into the role, Victoria realized that friend was right—and that she wanted to grow her skillset even more and become a developer.
We sat down with Victoria to hear more about how she consciously built the career that she wanted—including her current role as an engineering manager at remote design tool company MURAL, and what advice she has for other people looking to do the same.
Putting Her Hand Up
Victoria, who hails from and lives in Buenos Aires, got her first engineering job because she spoke English. She learned everything else she needed, from how to structure databases to use SQL, once she got there. When she was working her second database job, she realized she could apply the same technique in the software space.
She just had to ask for the opportunity to do so.
"I was very curious about how things worked, so I started collaborating with the [software development] team whenever I could," says Victoria. She offered to QA for them—and then had to teach herself basic programming in a week's time when they took her up on it.
"That's when I knew I wanted to focus on that," says Victoria, who adds that she absorbed all the knowledge she could from that team before eventually switching into a developer role.
She faced a little imposter syndrome about the fact that she hadn't studied programming formally (though she was doing a second degree in multimedia design and web development). "There were a lot of pieces I had to put together as I went," says Victoria. "But I stayed very curious and motivated, and I trusted my team to help me."
Scaling with MURAL
Victoria was getting coffee with a friend who just happened to work at MURAL when she met some of his coworkers. "I saw the people and how happy they were, how they looked working together, how motivated they were, and I was hooked," she says. There wasn't an opening at the time, but she deployed her characteristic patience and applied as soon as there was one.
The job she ended up getting at MURAL was as an individual contributor—a step down from what she'd been doing at her previous company, where she was a lead software developer. Victoria didn't think twice about taking it. "It was an opportunity to work on a project where, even as an IC, I would have a lot of [opportunities to give] feedback on what was happening. At the time, there were 30 of us across just two teams, and I had a chance to build the product from scratch," she says. As excited as she was to develop hands-on product knowledge, she also knew that one day she'd like to return to a leadership role: "It was always in my mind that I wanted to come back to [management.]"
While she soaked up all of the product knowledge she could, MURAL grew. First it tripled, hitting nearly 100 employees. Victoria's mentor gave her a stretch project, and when she crushed it, he asked her to be a team lead of the newly-formed enterprise pillar.
"It was a mixture of me being passionate and curious, and him teaching me, seeing that potential, and wanting to help me grow," she reflects. "That's definitely key. Even if you're super motivated and enthusiastic about growing, if someone doesn't give you the space to do it, it's very hard."
Then MURAL hit another milestone that freed up a lot of space: it grew to 700 employees. Leadership realized that the team lead role needed to be split into technical leadership and people management responsibilities, and Victoria's manager asked her which role she was more interested in. As the only woman tech lead in a group of 11, she decided to stay on the technical side to deepen her skills there.
But a few months later, when she realized that the team really needed help scaling its strategy and hiring to keep up with growth, she decided to pursue the engineering management path.
"It wasn't a hard conversation," says Victoria. "My manager said, 'Hey, you're doing this already—why don't you step up to it [in a new role]?'"
Victoria says she had lots of company support as she grew into a bigger management role. MURAL provided resources for hiring and focused on creating a truly global and remote culture where everyone could thrive.
"My growth at MURAL has been very organic. At the time I joined, I knew that one day I wanted to have another leadership role, but I couldn't know yet if MURAL would be the place for me to do it… As it turned out, as the company grew, so did I," says Victoria.
3 Tips for Engineers Wanting to Grow Their Careers
Victoria's combination of open-mindedness and determination has led her through an impressive career in engineering. Now that part of her role requires her to manage the career paths of others, she hopes she can pay that forward, starting with her advice for developers:
- Be curious! "Keep your eyes open and don't put yourself in a box," she says. "Get to know the product, the people. Doing that not only enriches you and makes you a better professional, it also empowers you."
- Be humble. When coaching her team, Victoria is careful to tell them what they're doing well along with what they need to work on. "Know your strengths, but also know what you still have to learn and what areas you can grow in. That leaves you open to learning from others," she says.
- Always teach others. Management might not be for everyone, says Victoria. She'll sometimes tell people that she thinks they'll be great tech leads and hear that they are uninterested in management. She doesn't force them, because that makes everyone involved miserable, she explains—instead, Victoria encourages them to share what they know with others, even if in a more informal mentorship or training capacity versus a full-out management role. "Pay back as much as you get from your surroundings and the people you work with," she says.
October is National LGBTQIA+ History Month—an opportunity to reflect on LGBTQIA+ rights and history and the achievements of those who have contributed to the progression of LGBTQIA+ movements around the world.
While LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workplace should be a year-round effort, celebrating LGBTQIA+ History Month at work is a great way to engage employees and continue fostering an inclusive work environment for LGBTQIA+ staff and clients.
We sat down with some of our partner companies to learn how they support and empower their LGBTQIA+ employees to bring their full selves to work. Keep reading for some ideas to celebrate, educate, and inspire inclusivity in your workplace this LGBTQIA+ History Month.
Freddie Mac– CommUNITY at Freddie Mac
"Freddie Mac is committed to creating an inclusive environment for our diverse employees. Here are some of our efforts specific to our support for our LGBTQ+ community:
- Our Pride Business Resource Group (BRG) helps create a culture of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- We commissioned a first-of-its-kind study to research the LGBT housing experience.
- We hosted a history event highlighting the achievements of individuals in the LGBTQ+ community.
- Our Supplier Diversity Program has supported LGBTQ-owned businesses for more than 25 years.
- Our Pride BRG offers LGBTQ+ networking events, programs and keynote speakers throughout the year."
Learn more about Freddie Mac here.
CallRail– Showing Up As Your Full Self
"Our plan is to focus on 'Showing up to work as your full self". We have plans to host a training from Georgia Equality, do a round table discussion wiht LGBTQ employees here at CallRail, we will have some slack events and also a virtual financial literacy course. This will all be hosted by our Women's Circle & Rainbow Coalition ERG."
Learn more about CallRail here.
Sun Life– Networking for Members and Allies
"Sun Life Pride Network is celebrating LGBTQIA+ History Month with a multitude of events. The first features Catherine Meade, VP of Social & Community Responsibility at OLG in Toronto, Canada, on her experience of being out in her professional & sporting life. There will also be a casual networking event for members & allies to discuss what it means to come out in today's world.
Sun Life Pride creates a diverse, inclusive, and supportive workplace where members of the LGBTQIA+ community can reach their full potential, bring their true selves to work and feel proud to be Sun Life employees."
Learn more about Sun Life here.
MongoDB– Sharing Coming Out Stories
"To celebrate National Coming Out Day, MongoDB's affinity groups Queeries and The Queer Collective are organizing an external blog post and an internal panel of employees who will share coming out stories. MongoDB benefits support medical services for employees who identify as Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, or Transsexual, including hormone therapy, gender-affirming surgery, blepharoplasty, and many others. MongoDB offers 20 weeks of paid parental leave regardless of gender identity and fertility, surrogacy, and adoption benefits to all of our employees globally. In addition, MongoDB offers expanded gender options as well as pronouns in our recruiting, onboarding, and internal systems, includes gender identity as a protected category, and considers intentional misgendering and deadnaming as forms of harassment in our employee code of conduct.
Learn more about D&I at MongoDB: https://www.mongodb.com/careers/inclusion"Learn more about MongoDB here.
PagerDuty–Addressing Stereotypes and Misconceptions
"As an organization, creating a safe environment is paramount to fostering belonging. Celebrating the LBGTQ+ community must be authentic, strategic and inviting to those who are seeking to be an ally. Life Group circles, in addition to Pride Month, offer an inclusive, safe and learning opportunity for people to share their stories and address stereotypes and/or misconceptions, while celebrating the freedom to express themselves openly at work. You can't choose to be an ally; you are invited in. Life Groups allow us all to learn, celebrate and be proud of our differences."
—Roshan Kindred, Chief Diversity Officer
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
CoStar Group—Celebrating and Supporting Our Employees
"In celebration of LGBTQIA+ History Month, CoStar Group's Pride Network will host its inaugural general body meeting. Scheduled for October 11, National Coming Out Day, the meeting is essentially the "coming out" of our Pride Network. Later in the month, our employees will demonstrate our collective support for LGBTQIA+ youth by participating in Spirit Day, a day on which supporters raise awareness to the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ youth.
These events celebrate the individuality of our employees, and their friends and families. They also underscore our commitment to a diverse workforce, equitable practices and an inclusive workplace culture."
Learn more about CoStar Group here.
Riot Games–Sharing Gay Rights History
"To celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month, Rainbow Rioters, our LGBTQIA+ employee resource group is engaging Rioters all month long to share the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements. Coinciding with LGBTQIA+ history month is National Coming Out Day where Rioters have traditionally shared stories of their own coming out with players and the public. Our goal is to let the world know that they aren't alone in their gender identity or sexual orientation. Check out our video to hear stories of Rioters coming out, sharing their own journeys of self-discovery, and advice they have for anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation."
Learn more about Riot Games here.
Automattic–Supporting Queer Employees
"Automattic's Queeromattic ARG is a community space, resource hub, and advocacy group for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. We're all about helping and supporting our kindred queer folks working here, providing likeminded spaces, sharing resources, and finding ways to lift queer voices however we can. Recent support activities include public-facing queer support and content from Queermatticians, posts for Pride month, and a salute for Transgender Day of Remembrance."
Learn more about Automattic here.
Waters Corporation–Providing Best-In-Class Benefits
"At Waters Corporation, we believe diversity is a statement, but inclusion is an act. That's why we celebrate the more than 120 members of our employee-led Pride Circle and embrace new additions when the time is right in their individual journeys. Waters provides gender transition guidelines, holds information sessions for allies, encourages the sharing of pronouns, ensures the availability of best-in-class benefits for LGBTQIA+employees, and upholds a Supplier Diversity Policy. We eagerly partner with qualified businesses owned by underrepresented groups, and we know that harnessing the totality of our employees' perspectives, beliefs, and backgrounds drives our performance."
Learn more about Waters Corporation here.
Smartsheet–Hosting Employee-Led Panel Discussions
"At Smartsheet, we're committed to providing an open and supportive work environment consistent with our company values. The Rainbow Collab, our LGBTQIA+ ERG, regularly hosts employee-led panel discussions and events. Our HRIS system includes 13 gender-identity options (including the option not to identify), as well as 11 pronoun options (including the option "Ask me about my pronouns"). Our standard company email signature was also updated earlier this year to automatically include employees' pronouns based on their selection in our HRIS system."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Relativity–Using Inclusive Language
"It's our goal from day one that LGBTQ+ employees in every department and on every team feel comfortable being their authentic selves. Some examples are that everyone is encouraged to display, use, and respectfully inform of personal pronouns. Inclusive language matters. It's on Relativians to hold each other accountable. This year we had a companywide panel discussing LGBTQ+ Representation in Media and Why It Matters. We have Slack channels and community forums dedicated to discussing LGBTQ+ topics and issues. Personally, I make it my mission to do my best to make sure everyone feels supported and proud to be both a Relativian and, most importantly, themselves."
—Ken Diedrich – Senior Software Project Manager & Co-Chair of RelPride (Relativity's LGBTQ+ community resource group)
Learn more about Relativity here.
Collins Aerospace–Raising the Progress Pride Flag
"Through many Pride ERG events, sponsorship of Out and Equal Workplace Summit, raising the Progress Pride flag at 35 sites, and visible C-suite support, Collins Aerospace continuously evolves to create an atmosphere where all employees can bring their best whole self to work. Our Gender Transition Guidelines and Gender Transition toolkit ensure that when an employee shares their intention to transition, they have the support they need from human resources and leadership. Sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity are all part of our anti-discrimination policy.
Our parent company, Raytheon Technologies, is proud to score 100% on HRC's Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality."
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Helix–Holding Intimate Conversations
"At Helix, we encourage every employee to bring their full selves to work. We do this in many ways, including fostering open discussions about intersectionality and respecting each other's choices and beliefs. Recently, we hosted a month-long event, 'Intersectionality in Identities: How who we are affects how we work,' where we invited employees to attend a Journal Club, a Happy Hour and an open discussion on the topic of intersectionality. We had intimate conversations, lots of laughs and built camaraderie through both our shared adversity as well as celebrating our differences.
In a traditional workplace, there is often an expectation of being "professional" which, to someone who identifies as queer, is perceived as "gender conforming". But Helix is anything but ordinary. At Helix, our authentic self is not only encouraged, but celebrated."
- Brian Nguyen, Compliance Project Manager at Helix
Learn more about Helix here.
"Moody's is committed to advancing the cause of LGBTQ+ inclusion. The recent name change for our LGBTA ERG to "Moody's Pride BRG", reflects Moody's ambition to enhance inclusivity and show solidarity with the Trans and Non-Binary community, as well as all minority groups. The mission of the BRG remains unchanged and will continue to be focused on advocating a work environment that respects, welcomes and supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and non-binary individuals, and enables them to perform to their fullest potential as well as continuing to promote the concept of being an ally."
Learn more about Moody's here.
JW Player–Encouraging Proper Pronoun Use
"At JW Player, we believe that diversity fosters a better workplace. In fact, it's embedded in our company culture as one of our six core values. We strive to cultivate an inclusive environment where everyone feels safe and comfortable to come to work as their most authentic selves. Since 2020, we've had an active committee dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion which organizes events, shares news and information, and works with our executive team to institute change when needed. JW Player's DEI committee has been responsible for encouraging pronoun use and communicating stories on LGBTQIA+ issues year-round. We are committed to continually educating ourselves, valuing each other's perspectives, and acting in ways that have positive impacts on the company and our wider community."
Learn more about JW Player here.
Cummins–Hosting a Lunch and Learn
"Cummins supports LGBTQ+ community:
- The first Pride Affinity group was launched in Cummins in 2005
- There are now 15 Pride Employee Resource Groups in existence globally set up to foster a safe, equal and inclusive environment to support and empower LGBTQ+ individuals
- Pride ERGs provides quarterly learning series, lunch and learn events, safe leader training and has a Pride Ally program.
- The group aims to provide a supportive, safe and caring environment for all
- Cummins received two recent honours for its support of LGBTQ+ employees and for diversity in general"
Learn more about Cummins here.
Expedia Group–Creating Community-Driven Action
"We at Expedia Group recognize that both inclusion and equity are needed to ensure employees feel safe and encouraged to bring full selves to work. In addition to our LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group creating community driven action, we have launched initiatives driving systemic change and equity including a Transgender and Gender-nonconfirming Inclusion Advisory Council. Members of this council advise on multiple company programs, one of which is global benefits. We have also integrated pronoun, gender identity, and preferred name options into our HR platform and company-wide applications to foster global engagement about gender diversity."
Learn more about Expedia Group here.
ServiceNow–Promoting Action About Culture Change
"At ServiceNow, we champion an inclusive workplace for all LGBTQ+ employees to be their authentic selves. With our Pride Month campaign this year, ServiceNow created dialogues to promote allyship and activate employees around key issues facing LGBTQ+ employees and the work that needs to be done. Through our Pride at Now Belonging Group, LGBTQ+ employees and allies have a safe space to be themselves at ServiceNow. Together, this group focuses on making an impact and promoting action around culture change and inclusive global practices and policies.
Learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion here."
Learn more about ServiceNow here.
Facebook–Advocating for an Equitable Space
"Facebook believes in the power of community and driving action to help make Facebook and the LGBTQ+ community stronger. Facebook honors and supports the LGBTQ+ community by continuing the progress of advocating for an equitable, safe, and supportive space for our LGBTQ+ team members.
In support of National Coming Out Day, Facebook's employee resource group Pride@ hosted it's 4th annual Pride@ Development Summit, a virtual event for internal employees who identify as LGBTQ+ rooted in the theme of "All of You. All of Us". Pride@ members united to learn and commit to taking bigger & greater actions to change the world for All of You and All of Us. You can learn more about Life at Facebook by clicking here."
Learn more about Facebook here.
Mural–Helping Our Community Feel Valued
"We encourage employees to bring their full selves to work by ensuring that community and belonging don't stop at the PRIDE ERG. The work continues in meetings during which we use murals to put each voice on equal footing, during pay and promotion conversations when we ensure LGBTQIA2+ people have representation, and when we train our managers to ensure each of our employees can thrive across our business. We also have mindful allies across the organization who also help members of the Community feel valued."
—Alecia Page, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Program Manager
Learn more about Mural here.
Capco–Fundraising for LGBTQIA+ Organizations
"Capco supports LGBTQIA+ employees and encourages them to bring their full selves to work through programming sponsored by Pride@Capco, our global affinity group for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies. Pride@Capco creates networking opportunities, hosts educational and social events, fundraises for LGBTQIA+ organizations, and coordinates a mentorship program. We also work with industry groups such as Out4Undergrad and myGwork to ensure we are engaging and recruiting from diverse communities. Through these initiatives we aim to elevate our community's careers and experiences, foster learning about different perspectives, and create a safe and brave space for everyone at Capco to be themselves at work."
Learn more about Capco here.
BlackRock–Offering Mentorship and Professional Development
"At BlackRock, we are committed to supporting our LGBTQIA+ employees to ensure that we create equitable access to opportunities, career advancement, and a culture in which everyone feels they belong. Our Employee Network, the Out & Allies Network (OUT) was founded 10+ years ago and connects the experience of the LGBTQIA+ community to our BlackRock principles by promoting a culture where employees feel comfortable sharing their stories and bringing their genuine selves to work. The network provides an opportunity for mentorship, sponsorship, professional development, and a channel for allies to learn how to help take action and demonstrate their support."
Learn more about BlackRock here.
Bumble–Hosting Internal Discussions
"At Bumble, our priority is building a company that represents the communities we serve—and ensuring each employee can bring their whole self to work. We do this through a number of initiatives, including but not limited to:
- An internal 'Buzzword' discussion series, where we host subject matter experts and industry leaders to engage in cross-cultural discussions, share varied perspectives, and foster education with our global team.
- 'Diversibees,' our intersectional employee resource group designed to share, support, and celebrate diverse conversations and build community.
- Special programming around LGBTQIA+ History Month, Pride Month, and more. When Pride events halted in 2020, we found a way to support the community through our Pride Donation Campaign. We also love to support local initiatives that our team members are passionate about, such as last month's Unite The Fight Gala in Austin, Texas."
Learn more about Bumble here.
GameChanger–Providing Unconscious Bias Training
"PRIDE month is in June but GameChanger takes pride in standing as an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community every month. Examples of how we show our allyship are:
- Supporting teammates in sharing their gender identities in both the onboarding process, in our intranet, and Slack
- Extend our various benefit opportunities to domestic partners in addition to spouses
- Offer paid parental leave to birthing and non-birthing parents as well as adoption benefits
- Utilizing software that both prevents and promotes awareness of gendered language in various company communications
- Providing unconscious bias training and other diversity and inclusion curriculum to all teammates year round"
Learn more about GameChanger here.
Uber–Sharing Diverse Experiences
"Uber has a tradition of celebrating National Coming Out Day by asking members of Pride at Uber, our LGBTQ+ network, to share their coming out stories. Telling stories is old as (queer) humanity itself, and sharing in the diverse experiences of coming out allows all employees to better understand the LGBTQ+ experience. Sometimes the stories are short, sometimes they're cinematic epics! Often they end well, and other times they're not as easy to hear. What unites these stories is what unites everyone at Uber. The belief that we're all better when we're able to be and share our authentic selves."Learn more about Uber here.
Turo–Fostering Inclusion Through Education, Discussion, and Action
"At Turo, we don't just celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month; we advocate year-long. We have multiple Slack channels dedicated to creating a safe space to discuss LGBTQIA+ topics and diversity globally and within the Turo ecosystem. As part of our Diversity Inclusion and Belonging framework, we hold town halls and feedback sessions to evaluate what's going well and brainstorm ways to improve inclusivity on everything from recruiting and hiring to learning and growth. In addition to educational resources like Trans Allyship, we Turists actively foster inclusivity, from promoting gender-neutral alternatives to "Hey, guys!" to inviting personal pronouns during the hiring and onboarding processes."
Learn more about Turo here.
Nestlé USA–Providing Inclusive Healthcare Benefits
"Nestlé, along with the Nestlé Pride Alliance, are working to create a space where everyone can bring their most authentic self to work, on National Coming Out Day and every day. Nestlé has long been committed to policies that support LGBTQ+ employees — from equal marriage and parental benefits for same sex couples, to healthcare coverage for gender affirmative surgery. This Pride Month we announced the launch of Included Health, an addition to our existing healthcare benefits that elevates care for LGBTQ+ employees across the country, and advocated for the Equality Act through SFPA."
Learn more about Nestlé USA here.
You're perfectly qualified, you've arrived on time, and you're ready for your technical interview. What could possibly go wrong?
Technical interviews can be a mind wracking experience for job seekers. Everyone makes mistakes, but according to interviewers, candidates for tech positions are prone to a number of common interview blunders. To avoid them, it's helpful to know what they are.
Keep reading to see what our partner companies had to say about the most common mistakes interviewees make during tech interviews (and what to do instead).
Not asking clarifying questions - Facebook
"The mistake: Not asking clarifying questions.
What to do instead: Instead of jumping into coding immediately after being presented with a problem, ask clarifying questions to ensure you've understood the problem correctly before you begin building a solution. For example, you may want to understand input requirements or ask about edge cases. When you do begin to code, think out loud as you go—and keep asking questions. Hearing your thought process helps give your interviewer insight into your problem-solving skills and can provide opportunities for them to offer additional points of clarification or share hints, if needed."
Learn more about Facebook here.
Making assumptions without calling them out - Uber
"Making assumptions without calling them out and jumping into a solution without asking questions or calling out your approach. It's important to take things slow and help us really understand how you think through problems. So make sure that you really understand the question that's being asked by your interviewer. That you ask clarifying questions. And that call out your approach."
Learn more about Uber here.
Not explaining your thought process - Def Method
"For me, the most frustrating thing an interviewee can do is not explain their thought process to me. As an interviewer I want to see how someone approaches problems in general so I can decide how successful they will be at solving different problems. When I ask a question and get an answer without hearing how the interviewee arrived at it, I cannot extrapolate on their problem-solving abilities. An interviewee should show me their thought process—explain their thinking so I can decide how well they will be able to apply those skills as an employee."
Learn more about Def Method here.
Not saying "I don't know" - Clyde
"A common mistake that we see is candidates not knowing an answer to a question and making up fake technical answers, spitballing at length, or just remaining quiet. It's much better for you to say "I don't know" and talk through the process that you would use to figure out the answer. A part of the interview is understanding how someone works through a problem they haven't seen before, if you have a good process for figuring the answer out, that's often enough to pass. Even if you know the answer, talk us through your process!"
–Josh and Josh
Learn more about Clyde here.
Not explaining how you got to your answer - Automattic
"Being so focused on the answer that they don't explain how they got there. Explaining their thought process in detail helps us determine how they approach problems. As a result, it's important to "think out loud," and ask for more context if needed. The problems we solve at Automattic are so varied and unique that we care less about someone's answer to a specific question, and more about how they approach it. Knowing that lets us evaluate if their problem-solving process is robust enough for us to feel confident that they could solve anything that comes their way."
–Jerry Jones, Hiring Expert
Learn more about Automattic here.
Not asking clarifying questions from go - Kensho
"One of the simplest mistakes you can make during a technical interview is to not ask clarifying questions early or check in regularly. Remember that the interviewer wants you to succeed, but cannot read your mind. If you don't understand the question, become stuck, or feel like you may be veering off course, it's time to check in! Explaining your thought process opens a dialogue between yourself and the interviewer, and you may even discover the solution just by saying what you're thinking (see "rubber duck debugging")."
Learn more about Kensho here.
Not discussing your specific contributions - LogMeIn
"Developing software at scale requires a team effort. Throughout each step of the SDLC, each team member provides individual contributions of various scope and complexity. From Planning, Analysis and Design to Implementation, Testing/Integration and Maintenance, each individual contribution is important to overall outcomes. Too often, candidates answer interview questions in terms of the team's contributions, (e.g., "we did X"). Oftentimes, post-interview feedback cites a candidate's answers being too general or vague. This leads to skepticism. I advise candidates prepare to discuss their specific contributions within the context of overall outcomes, (Incl., SDLC steps, role within team, deliverables, impacts, lessons-learned, etc.)."
–Ryan Jane, Principal Talent Acquisition Partner
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Not doing your homework on the company - Waters
"In our industry, we're used to seeing a multitude of acronyms and initialisms used in an interview. To demonstrate your knowledge and experience it's always best to talk through a brief summary – that can be very impactful.
Even though we are interviewing people for their technical capabilities, we still want to see that they are prepared and know about the company. As tempting as it may be to read the website whilst on a virtual interview, being prepared in advance and able to describe in your own words gives a much better impression of your research and interest."
Learn more about Waters here.
Miscommunication - Afterpay
"I think one of the most inhibiting mistakes interviewees make is miscommunication. Even though for the one hour we are sitting at different sides of the table, I see you as my potential future teammate. I'm not here to judge but to understand your thinking process and work out a solution together. Asking questions when you are in doubt and letting the interviewer know your thoughts and concerns is very important. Having different opinions with an open mind to suggestions is totally fine. "
–Greta Shi, Senior Software Engineer
Learn more about Afterpay here.
Not clearly stating which programming language you're comfortable with live coding in - Mural
"Not showing up to the interview is always #1
#2 is related to candidates not making clear which programming language they are comfortable with for live coding during the interview.
And finally, #3. Candidates not making sure they have a suitable environment (laptop with camera, text editor, tools, etc) for the interview.
So remember to show up on time, be honest with your interviewer and test your environment before joining!"
Learn more about Mural here.
Being unprepared to discuss examples of your technical expertise - Bristol Myers Squibb
"One of the most frustrating mistake that interviewee's make is that they do not come prepared to explain their technical experience/ projects with examples.
Interviewees must come prepared with the following:
- Thoroughly read the job description.
- Be prepared to explain your experience as it relates to the job.
- Always share examples.
- Explain and share details of your experience on an application.
- Communicate effectively, be explicit and to the point (articulate).
- Do not be afraid or shy away from accepting, if you do not know the answer. (no one knows it all)
- Read about the company to understand cultural fit, display skills including how you do Time Management, Organizational skills, Trouble-shooting approach, and Interpersonal skills.
- Come prepared to ask questions."
Learn more about Bristol Myers Squibb here.
Not tailoring your experience to the role you're applying to - Clarus Commerce
"The biggest mistake all interviewees make is not tailoring their experiences to the job they're applying to. My advice for your interview prep is to rely on the job description. Go line by line and jot down the experiences you have that align with what the job description is asking for. Make it obvious for the interviewer why you'd be best for the position. Be sure to share your experience using the Company's tech stack with examples as the 'proof behind your responses'. Be prepared, be excited, and ask questions!"
Learn more about Clarus Commerce here.
Answering a question you don't fully understand - Collins Aerospace
"One of the biggest opportunities for mistakes comes from trying to answer a question you don't fully understand. Don't assume– ask clarifying questions so you know what's expected. Also, be concise so there will be time for follow-up questions and conversation."
Learn more about Collins Aerospacehere.
Not taking a collaborative approach - Netskope
"Certain technical interviews are structured to intentionally be open-ended to invite questions and a deeper discussion between interviewer and candidate. Although candidates have the right background, some may not be used to collaborating in solution design and explaining their thought processes, thus leading to a roadblock. Without the explanation of a thought process, it's difficult for the interviewer to guide the candidate and evaluate their analytical skills and strengths.
Instead, candidates should take a collaborative approach and seek feedback as they work toward a solution. Selecting a challenging problem and solving it with a friend by thinking aloud and collaborating could be useful practice in preparation for the interview"
–Mohan Doraiswamy, Sr. Manager, Engineering
Learn more about Netskope here.
Rushing into problem-solving mode - SeatGeek
"One of the frustrating mistakes I see candidates make during technical interviews is when they dive into solving the prompt without taking some time to size up and digest the question. Oftentimes, a candidate's first instinct is not the most optimal, which poses more of a challenge when they must backtrack, and ask retrospective questions to change their solution.
My best advice here is to first pause, review your resources, and ask clarifying questions before you start writing code. The way you think through a problem and work towards a solution can be just as important as the solution itself!"
–Josh Mordkoff, Senior Technical Recruiter
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Not articulating your thought process - MongoDB
"During a technical interview, focus on verbally communicating your thought process. This could show that you approach a problem in a new and unique way. At MongoDB, we highly value diversity of thought, different backgrounds and sets of experiences, as well as different perspectives on how to approach solving problems. Adding another perspective to solving the questions we face will only help us build better products for our customers."
–Jason Gorsky, Manager, Technical Recruiting
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Not testing out equipment ahead of time - GameChanger
"One of the more frustrating mistakes interviewees make during technical interviews is not testing out equipment ahead of time. As more companies move to remote work, most, if not all, interviews are taking place over tools like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. Making sure ahead of time that your computer is able to run these applications without technical issues goes a long way in showing us that you're prepared. The last thing an interviewer wants is to spend the first 15 minutes dealing with technical difficulties because now it delays getting to know you more."
Learn more about GameChanger here.
Not providing applicable examples - CAPCO
"Tips to Bring into an Interview:
Carly Finnegan, Technical Recruiters says:
- Do research on the company where you're interviewing and come prepared with at least 2 questions
- Be able to explain, or give an example of, a project that you were on, the importance of the project and how you worked with other members of your team (i.e. developers, QA, Scrum Masters, Tech BA's, etc.)
Craig Jackson, Tech Recruiter says:
- Be able to articulate technical experience and provide an applicable example of when and how tech was used
- Be able to articulate what your individual contribution has been (not TEAM's contributions)
Matt Markham, Partner in the Technology Domain
- Demonstrate awareness of HOW things are meant to work instead of merely providing the code / answer
- Show problem solving ability
Ken Pritchard, Principal Consultant, Technology
- A big mistake many technical interviewees make is trying to dive right into a solution when given a technical problem to solve. Taking the time to ask some clarifying questions not only leads to a better solution, but also more clearly demonstrates higher level thinking."
Learn more about CAPCO here.
Overexplaining responses - Autodesk
"Avoid overexplaining your responses. Keeping your answers clear and concise will show that you have a strong understanding of what you're describing. Try to remember that if your recruiter wants more detail, they will ask for it. Next, avoid exaggerating your skillset. Recruiters would much rather take a chance on a candidate who is willing to learn than one who can't demonstrate a skill they claimed to have. Finally, be able to explain your thought process behind any decisions you have had to make. Doing this, even in failure, can show how you learn and adapt."
Learn more about Autodesk here.
Developing a solution without communicating your thought process - Guru
"In technical pair programming interviews, the biggest frustration I have is candidates developing their solution without communicating their thought process. Regardless of whether the code works or not, this makes it more challenging to gauge the candidate's technical aptitude, problem-solving skills, and reception to feedback. Instead, I suggest interviewees think out loud as much as possible. Consider rereading the problem statement and validating the requirements, asking clarifying questions, vocalizing potential approaches, explaining tradeoffs while coding, and sharing ideas on optimization. This may not come naturally at first, but practice makes perfect!"
–Maggie Lin, Back End Software Engineer
Learn more about Guru here.
Giving answers that are too short - PagerDuty
"Sometimes candidates make the mistake of giving one or two word answers to questions in the recruiter screen. That makes it tough to make a case to the hiring manager about why they would want to hire you.
Successful candidates prepare. Learn about the company and the role. Ask about the interview process and what you should expect. Communicate why you would want to work here.
Remember, an interview is a conversation! As a recruiter, I love when candidates display enthusiasm about PagerDuty and have researched it."
–Dick Hartshorne, Lead Recruiting Business Partner
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
Responding without thinking - Healthfirst
"One of the biggest mistakes interviewees make is not answering the question. They try to respond immediately without taking the time to tell their story in a succinct way. This can lead to a few things: a rambling, long-winded answer; a confused recruiter; and/ or an unanswered question.
Instead, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts, and answer using the STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result) method. Describe the situation, explain the task you had to complete, describe the action(s) you took to complete the task, and describe the results of your efforts."
Learn more about Healthfirst here.
Not voicing your thought process - BlackRock
"No one knows everything, so you don't have to act like it. Interviewees should be genuine and honest. That means voicing your thought process, even if you're still coming up with a better solution.
As a technologist at BlackRock, the challenges you'll tackle will be complex and the impact you'll have will be vast – you'll help move markets, build economies and support the retirement of millions of people around the globe. To best serve our clients, we need people with diverse perspectives, talents and ways of thinking.
That's why demonstrating what you know and how you think is way more important than the "right" answer."
Learn more about BlackRock here.
Trying to bluff your way through the interview - Elastic
"The psychology around not saying "I don't know" is that we as humans don't like to say that about anything, ever. It shows weakness. But it can take strength to demonstrate weakness, and such an admission is often viewed in a positive light. I don't think most candidates realize this though, and try to bluff their way through instead. This typically leads to long-winded answers that go nowhere. On those occasions when candidates ask for advice, I try to coach them to not be afraid to own up to when they don't know something."
–Tucker Wolfe, Recruiter
Learn more about Elastic here.
Not asking for pre-interview guidance - Procore
"There are three frequent mistakes that many candidates make during their technical coding interviews.
First, candidates generally jump straight into coding before understanding the problem holistically. Similar to how we build products at Procore, coding challenges are designed to build from one section to the next, so it's important to understand the entire problem as presented, not just the first section. We see candidates lose valuable time as they progress through a challenge if they have to continually go back and rewrite code to make future sections work.
Secondly, candidates tend to be more 'heads down' while coding. Communication is key during a coding challenge—this will allow an interviewer to understand a candidate's thought process to help steer them in the right direction if needed. Procore is a highly collaborative environment where teams across the company work together to design and develop best-in-class software solutions successfully. Open lines of communication are both appreciated and required for success within our Product & Technology organization.
Lastly, and the most important—ask your recruiter for pre-interview guidance to help prepare for the interview! We are your biggest ally internally and want to ensure you're prepped with resources, tips, and insights that empower you to have a confident and successful interview."
–Garrett Wilson, Staff Technical Recruiter
Learn more about Procore here.
Not clarifying your thoughts before analyzing your code - VTS
"At VTS, we focus on pair programming for technical challenges and the number one mistake we see is candidates not sharing their thought process. Not only do we want to see how interviewees collaborate with members of our team, but it makes it difficult for the interviewers to help remove blockers or make suggestions when they don't know where or why you are getting stuck. Also, ask questions! The earlier you clarify your thoughts, the easier it is to plan and analyze your code."
Learn more about VTS here.
Not preparing for behavioral interview questions - Unstoppable Domains
"One frustrating mistake that many interviewees make is not preparing for behavioral interview questions and not clearly or concisely communicating the depth of their technical experience. Almost all companies ask behavioral questions, but many candidates feel blindsided by these. Before the interview, we recommend reflecting on your biggest achievements and areas of opportunity over the last 5 years, then rehearsing answers in the STAR format - Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Be specific. Why were those achievements important? What was the measurable impact? What did you learn as a result? It's not just about knowing the programming language, it's about being able to discuss real-life situations and how you were able to problem solve, collaborate, and add value. Bonus points if you research the company mission, values and tech stack beforehand so that you can tailor your response to each company."
Learn more about Unstoppable Domains here.
Not familiarizing yourself with the product - Smartsheet
"Many interviewees don't take the time to familiarize themselves with the Smartsheet product before their interview. Aside from reflecting poorly on their interest in our company, it makes it harder for them to understand where technical questions are coming from and then answer appropriately. Establishing even a basic understanding of our product gives candidates valuable context when thinking through responses to our questions (and asking meaningful questions of their own!). Our website is a great first stop, or candidates can even sign up for a free trial account to try out the product for themselves."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Weak communication - Veracode
"One of the most common mistakes interviewees make during a technical interview is having long-winded answers which can take time away from additional questions the interviewer may have. If you recognize this in yourself, practice breathing between sentences, or jot down some key points you want to share to reference during the interview. Strong communication begins with being an active listener then giving an answer that is clearly articulated, confident, and shows empathy. If you worry about being not detailed enough, remember the interview can always ask you to elaborate further. Demonstrating these communication skills during an interview will put your candidacy on the top of the list, as technical hiring managers are always seeking strong communicators on their teams."
Learn more about Veracode here.
Below is an article originally published on March 5, 2021 and written by Adriana RocheHead of People, Culture & Places at Mural . Go to Mural's company page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
"Everything changed when my dad started to lose his vision," says Liz Byrne. "He reached a point where he could only use tablets, which provided a better platform for accessing digital technology." Because she works in accessibility, Liz knew that the websites she was showing him were considered 'accessible.' "It really hit home that just because an app or site meets the accessibility compliance checkpoints doesn't mean it's actually usable," she explains.
To Liz, our Lead Accessibility Engineer, accessibility must be thought of as a user experience and design solution, not a developer problem: "We have to start with accessibility from the design perspective and think about the end user first," she says. When it comes to a user with a disability, there are many types of disabilities to consider: from permanent ones, like blindness or reduced mobility, to situational ones, such as using a broken keyboard or nursing a child. "The more you meet people with disabilities, the more you learn about the challenges they face," Liz explains.
"Over time, through my work, I've developed an immense sense of empathy for people with all kinds of abilities and it's become one of my missions as an accessibility subject matter expert: To get others to see that it's so much more than checking some accessibility boxes – it's about helping humans navigate our diverse realities."
A love of frontend development: Marrying two sides of her brain
Liz says she was always an "art geek" and, in fact, enrolled in university for fashion design. At the start of her studies, she realized there was a lot about fashion design that she loved but a lot about the industry that she didn't. So she changed majors, added a computer science minor, and, six years later, graduated with two full bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Visual Communication Design.
When she started her career, Liz got into frontend development because she remembered loving a web development class she'd taken in high school – and it would allow her to combine visual design with computer science.
"Frontend development became my home base. I've dabbled in pure design work and backend development, but I always come back to the frontend. Turns out, I got two degrees and don't use either of them," she jokes. Joking aside, frontend development marries the two sides of Liz's brain and she loves the ever-changing nature of the work. The way she sees it, one part of frontend development is black and white: code either works or it doesn't. The other part is like a rainbow: "There are so many different ways to do things, new technologies emerging, and there's always something else to learn, whether it's a language, technology, or how to build for a specific browser."
A path to accessibility – and MURAL
Though Liz chose to pursue a career in frontend development, she landed in accessibility more out of obligation than anything else – and stayed because she liked it. "Working in healthcare technology, you're legally required to be compliant," she explains. That's how she ended up building accessible healthcare technology at IBM, which is where she started using MURAL. "I was the first remote employee on my team and MURAL was a lifesaver – there was no way we could have worked together otherwise," she says. "I thought it was a really cool product and, working as the only developer on a team of designers, it was a necessity for our visual collaboration style."
When Liz saw that we were hiring a lead for our new Accessibility Team, she knew it was the perfect role for her: It combined her skillset, her passion for accessibility, and a product she loved. "I applied immediately," she says. And that's how she came to be our Lead Accessibility Expert and Engineer.
Not only did Liz join a company whose product she loved, but she's also leading an initiative to make the entire organization more accessible. "Having a team and company that recognize how important accessibility is took a huge weight off my shoulders," she says. "I no longer have to make a case for accessibility – it's a priority for the whole company."
Accessibility is a priority for MURAL, but it also represents an interesting challenge because the concept of accessibility and the product itself are at competing odds with each other. After all, MURAL is a visual collaboration tool that relies on the ability of sight and to draw. "But MURAL also opens doors for many who have disabilities," Liz explains. "If you think about our number one use case—whiteboarding with sticky notes (in person), if you're in a wheelchair, blind, or can't write, you wouldn't be able to do that exercise in person," she says.
On the one hand, MURAL helps people whiteboard, brainstorm, and collaborate with so many more people than they could before, and opening the door for these people is so exciting. On the other hand, there's a ton of work left to do to make MURAL's existing product usable by all.
The work at hand – and the work left to do
There are many different accessibility initiatives at MURAL, including developing a design system to make all of MURAL's products and features more accessible. This involves building reusable UI components that are production-ready so that accessibility is baked in at the bottom layer of the engineering process. "We want to make it an easy lift for all employees to make MURAL accessible," Liz explains. "To do that, we've got to create building blocks for everyone that takes accessibility into account from the get-go."
Her team is starting with user testing, which she believes is the best way to determine accessibility. They're working with people with varying disabilities to gather feedback and understand their pain points, from fully blind users to users with ADHD and dyslexia. They want to understand how the collaboration experience can be more enjoyable – not just whether users can use MURAL.
With the data received, Liz and team will be publishing an accessibility conformance report on the state of the product in order to establish an accessibility baseline and identify where improvements could be made.
"We know that MURAL isn't accessible yet – we have a long way to go. The very nature of the product contradicts accessibility, so we are going to need to be creative and find ways for them to collaborate. We're up for the challenge and the entire organization is on board, so the future looks pretty exciting for MURAL and all the users who will be able to collaborate using it."