Interviewing at Stride as a Software Engineer

Interviewing at Stride as a Software Engineer
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I think everyone can agree that software engineering interviews are a nerve-wracking experience. You want to put your best foot forward, show technical excellence and mastery, be adept at adapting to problems, coherently communicate your problem solving and decision-making thought process. 

Sounds overwhelming just stating it. I hope I haven’t frightened anyone away or caused undue stress at this point!

When I interviewed at Stride I was pleasantly surprised by how well they alleviated all of these concerns in their interview process. It was, as I have said to many people at Stride, one of the best (if not the best) interviewing experiences I have ever had, hands down. 

There were three key reasons I had such a phenomenal experience.

  1. Extremely communicative people throughout the process.
  2. An outstanding technical interview context/approach.
  3. A collaborative environment for the technical aspects that accurately represent what a typical Strider's day looks like.

Excellent communication

When I interviewed at Stride one of the first things I noticed, and was pleasantly surprised by, was just how communicative they were throughout the entire process. The recruiters immediately got in touch with me within two days of me submitting my application, to let me know they were interested (A+++ for promptness). 

Dan Chessin, my point of contact as we proceeded, did an outstanding job of keeping me informed (extremely promptly, too, I might add), answering all of my questions, and managing the various schedules of everyone involved during a holiday season whereby getting a meeting down on the books is no easy feat. 

I just cannot say enough positive things about the communication process of Stride when it comes to interviewing and the candidate experience. Truly outstanding!

No whiteboard interviews!

From a technical perspective, one of the areas that really sets Stride apart from other companies and puts them head and shoulders above the others is their approach to technical interviews: they are NOT whiteboard interviews. 

Stride does NOT ask arbitrary academic questions that you will never encounter in your day-to-day work as a software developer. Honestly, that is so refreshing to find, because the reality of being a software developer is knowing how to tackle complex business domains and ambiguous requirements that intersect with technical reality, not implementing a linked list or writing a merge sort algorithm for the millionth time. 

While it’s useful to know how to write a linked list or write a sorting algorithm, sure, they tell absolutely nothing about a person’s technical abilities or skills beyond rote memorization of a particular set of solved problems. In the real world, hardly any problem is a truly “solved” problem with various optimized solutions. 

Furthermore, a great software developer won’t bother to write their own implementation of the aforementioned constructs but rather will use a library (or language-provided solutions) that has been battle tested and really put through its paces as well as highly optimized. Stride recognizes this, and their technical interviews focus on a candidate's ability to demonstrate sound technical excellence through a common enough real-world case and contexts. Things you would actually find in your day-to-day job and overall experience in the industry. 

This is something that I believe every software developer immensely appreciates.

Collaborative technical interviews

The technical interviews are a collaborative environment whereby a candidate works with fellow Striders to solve the problem. You can ask questions, discuss approaches, provide feedback on benefits and trade-offs of various architectures. It is in line with one of Stride's core practices: XP (eXtreme Programming). 

The technical interviews are designed to feel very much like a pair programming session whereby you and the interviewer are both tackling a ticket together, offering continuous feedback and course correcting as you explore the issue, write tests, and come to a decision on how to solve the issue as well as work through the speed bumps that come up during implementation.

It's a wonderful chance to work with fellow Striders in what is very much like the typical experiences we go through, as well as have a collaborative environment that focuses on the problem at hand and not on how well one memorized implementing data structures and algorithms!

Experience Stride’s interview process yourself

Well, as much as I love a captive audience, I will just wrap up by saying that not only was my experience with Stride's interview process beyond amazing and fantastic, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. To my fellow software engineers looking for a new employer that actually practices things like agile, XP, and technical excellence, look no further, interview at Stride! 

Stride's interview process does not disappoint, and I look forward to seeing future Striders experience the same amazing process!

Matt Micheletti

Matt Micheletti

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