Friday, March 6, 2020

Interview: What Project Were You Most Proud Of? (Software Engineering role) (Failed)

I have had several interviews in the last couple months. This was probably one of the most popular questions for me (January - February 2020), "Describe to me about one of your proudest projects that you worked on?"

Because I was a release manager applying for a software engineering role, this question was quite tricky because I did not work on projects. I had other projects that I would like to share but they were not really programming projects or projects where I produced something. In most cases, I managed and delegated so I gave those samples.

Thinking back on those interviews, I do not feel that I gave good responses to the question. I also tried to provide a side project that I worked on as a release manager. The proof-of-concept did not get enough traction to be approved for actual use, although everyone liked the idea. Environment and management of an application was not something management wanted to handle, as they rather just purchase a third-party system or none at all.

Perhaps, I should have used a project that I worked on back when I was a programmer. I am not sure what a good response would be even after seeing what our developers do. Especially in an agile environment, the developers no longer work on projects in the same sense as a waterfall project. They are constantly just writing code per user-stories, test, and refactor. Most of them do not know the full project scope. Maybe they should, but from a procedural point-of-view, this method has been rather effective for the company.

Perhaps more effective for the company in that the developers will have trouble finding new jobs because they may also struggle with the same question. Without the experience, they will not know how to position themselves in such a way where they can also gain something that they can market.

Given that I was not able to even get a second interview with any company that asked this particular question makes me really think that I am definitely failing this question at some level. There have also been other weak parts of my interview that may have also contributed like not being the local vicinity (even though I recently moved to the area) and no in a current programming role which a couple HR managers have told me directly.

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