I found so many different questions that were similar to what I'm asking, but none that were quite the same. I was invited to come to an in-person interview tomorrow morning in San Francisco for an software developer position.

I've never actually gone through such an extreme vetting process, so I'm not sure what to expect next. I would love some advice, so please let me explain what I've experienced up to this point.

1) Initial phone screen with HR person. This was a friendly, non-technical phone interview that went really well. After about 20-30 minutes they invited me to participate in a "coding challenge". I accepted and was emailed instructions.

2) Coding Challenge - this was the most intricate, detailed coding challenge I've ever taken part in for employment. I'm used to 30min timed tests on HackerRank, or a request to build a basic app. This was way more involved. I was asked to build a decent sized app to the best of my ability within 48 hours. I literally worked on it for about 44 hours, only stopping to sleep for four hours. This is a dream job for me so I performed this to the best of my ability, pulled out all the bells and whistles, and knocked it out of the park.

3) Technical Phone Interview - they were impressed with the app I made for their code challenge, so they scheduled a one hour technical interview over the phone a few days later. This was also the most grueling technical interview I've had. Not only did they ask me about some very advanced concepts regarding the language I work with, but even asked me to walk them through my process for writing unit-tests and designing data models, etc. All and all, aside from a little bit of a language barrier and having to ask the interviewer to repeat his question a couple times it went very well.

4) In-person Interview - This is what I'm going to tomorrow. I would like to know what to possibly expect so I can prepare myself to the best of my ability. I know that nobody can know for sure, and every company does things differently, but if anyone can even share their experiences it would help immensely. I feel like I've proven my technical ability to perform this job. That shouldn't be in question any longer...but then again, they may still want to see how I code in person - and not just with a team, but with their team.

I have about 24 hours left before the interview, and want to be continuously preparing myself. Would my time be best spent practicing writing code on a whiteboard, or reading books about Agile Methodologies? Or should I just be focusing on those typical personality questions like "Describe your greatest weakness, and how you work to overcome it on a daily basis."? I'm sure anyone who has been in this position can appreciate the anxiety I'm experiencing over it!

If there's an answer on here I missed that covers this problem exactly, let me know and I'd be happy to remove this question. Until then, I really do appreciate any advice, and/or experience!

  • "every company does things differently". This, which is why this sort of question is off-topic here as we'd just be guessing. Feb 6, 2017 at 22:02
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    VTC for the reason Philip gave. I think this can be on-topic if you cut most of the text and reword this to some variation on "What do the latter stages (after HR and technical interview) of a hiring process typically involve?" In my experience those are with progressively higher ranking people and involve testing for fit and character.
    – Lilienthal
    Feb 6, 2017 at 22:22
  • Based on what you said that you did well in the technical tests, I think it is an interview for negotiating the salary and benefits, starting date and location, before sending you the official offer letter or sign a contract. Feb 6, 2017 at 22:28
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    Hopefully you are getting close to and actual offer. You are not going to prepare in 24 hours. Just be rested.
    – paparazzo
    Feb 6, 2017 at 22:53
  • I literally worked on it for about 44 hours (out of 48) , only stopping to sleep for four hours. - Advice: sleep more next time.
    – Brandin
    Feb 7, 2017 at 8:27

2 Answers 2


Simple answer : you should relax. At this point they should know your capabilities and you will have to demonstrate more about your personality.

  • Yeah, for Bay Area interviews, the last one is usually a behavioral and culture fit interview more so than another round of technical questions.
    – danyim
    Mar 30, 2017 at 11:04

IMHO you are thinking about this the wrong way. Chances are, you are already above threshold for the basic question "can he/she do the job?" However, there is way more to a hiring decision than just technical skills.

Hiring managers care also about

  1. Does he/she fit in the team in terms of culture, communication and work style
  2. Does he/she fit into the compensation landscape
  3. How much management effort will she/he need?
  4. What's the long term outlook and does her/his goals align what's likely to happen in the department
  5. Are there any issues with relocation, commute, family ties, immigration, visa etc.

Some of those are outside of your control and some of those are not. The best preparation you can do at the moment is to research the company and find out as much about the culture and the business as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager or peer and look at your candidacy through their eyes. What's important to them and what may they worry about?

Make sure you bring some well thought out questions that are ONLY applicable to this company and this job. Bad: "how's the work life balance?". Good: "I read that you just launched product XYZ with good results. What's your strategy going forward and how could my role as ABC help you make this even more successful?"

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    The interview process described by op is pretty common for SF Bay Area unfortunately. The next step is team/culture fit.
    – jcmack
    Feb 7, 2017 at 0:50

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