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I am due to appear in my first "whiteboard" interview round ever (most of my prior interviews have been direct Q&A with one or more team members). It is going to be on a problem that is specific to the role and that I (most likely) won't have the exact technical solution for. What are the things I should focus on, and avoid, during my problem-solving approach on the whiteboard?

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    Also: don't be surprised if you can't fully code the solution in the time available; consider working top-down unless asked to focus on something specific. And if requirements are unclear, ask; worst they will say is "that doesn't matter right now, do whatever you prefer but be prepared to discuss tradeoffs later."
    – keshlam
    Aug 19, 2023 at 17:09
  • Is it a coding interview ? If yes, then try to google "Leetcode" and practice solving coding problems at that website (or at similar websites). Aug 19, 2023 at 22:09
  • I should have added this in my question, but, it is NOT a coding interview.
    – SNIreaPER
    Aug 20, 2023 at 4:50
  • As for focusing on solving the problem, should I treat it like a group activity where I collaborate with them and take their inputs as well to solve the problem? Or should I just focus on how I would solve it, but also verbally keep saying what I'm doing as if I'm demonstrating my thought process?
    – SNIreaPER
    Aug 20, 2023 at 4:52
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    @SNIreaPER I would just ask. "Do you want me to collaborate with you to answer this or are you more interested in how I'd solve it myself?" Aug 20, 2023 at 7:57

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When it comes to virtual whiteboard interviews, companies are really looking to see how you think through problems, communicate your process, and demonstrate technical skills - not necessarily coming up with some genius solution.

They want to get a feel for how you'd collaborate day-to-day. Can you chat through your problem-solving methods in a clear way? Do you ask good questions to clarify the issues? Are you open to suggestions and feedback? That collaborative stuff can be just as important as raw technical abilities.

It's totally normal to feel a little unsure about using new tools or platforms during the interview. Being adaptable is key, since you probably won't know the environment beforehand. The best preparation is practicing mock interviews with colleagues using whatever whiteboard tools you can access.

When it's time for the real thing, make absolutely sure you understand what problem you’re being asked to solve. Ask the interviewers clarifying questions if needed. Define the inputs, outputs, edge cases - treat it like a conversation where you’re aligning on the scope. As you work through ideas, focus on explaining your thought process rather than racing to the perfect solution. Ask for feedback, listen to suggestions, and be open to adjusting your approach.

At the end of the day, they’re trying to get a glimpse into how you tackle problems and work with others. The whiteboard is just a medium to have that conversation.

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