How to Ace the Fullstack Academy Interview

By: Nimit Maru

One of the toughest and most rewarding parts of Fullstack Academy is interviewing prospective students.

We’re on a mission to build an education movement with excellence in experience and outcomes. To achieve this, we search for the best and brightest students—students who are dedicated to joining the ranks of the master builders of the world.

To find them, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our admissions process.

Two of the most common questions we get from prospective students are: “What can I expect in the second-round, in-person interview?” and “How can I prepare?”

Well, after having spent hundreds of hours interviewing prospective students, we’ve developed the Fullstack Method of conducting admission interviews that is both effective at uncovering great students and productive for candidates.

Are you one of our prospective students? Here are the insider notes on how to ace the Fullstack Academy interview.

It’s More Than an Interview

If you end up at Fullstack, we’ll be spending a lot of time together, so you can also consider this a trial run. 

We’re looking for students who can think critically, who are passionate about software development, and who would fit in well with the Fullstack Community.

This is also an opportunity to demonstrate the interview skills that are necessary on the job search. After graduation, you’ll embark on a journey that will call upon, test, and refine your ability to show your value and fit for the roles you apply to.

The Three Parts of an Interview

Every second-round interview at Fullstack can be divided into three parts:

  • The Introduction
  • Pair-Programming
  • The Q&A

Let’s talk about each one.

1. The Introduction

We’ll start first by simply having a conversation. This is where we get to know you as a person and you get to know Fullstack.

We want to understand your background and know why you want to be a programmer. Studying at Fullstack is a serious commitment for you, so we want to make sure you’re ready. Admitting you is also us making a commitment to you and your success. 

Doing well in this portion of the interview involves three simple tips:

Be prepared

It’s important to be mentally and physically prepared for the interview. Find a quiet area with a reliable internet connection. Have headphones and make sure Skype is set up and works properly on your computer.

Before your interview, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Imagine yourself enjoying your interview. See yourself smiling, engaging, and having a confident conversation.

Like job interviews, if you can envision yourself being successful, it becomes more real to you when you have to perform.

Be yourself

We pride ourselves on the fact that we have students from all backgrounds at Fullstack, so don’t try to be someone you’re not. 

No matter what the outcome of the interview, we promise you’ll learn something. 

Focusing only on the outcome of the interview can narrow your perspective on how much progress you’re truly making. 

Here’s why: You’re going to face many situations that are out of your control, such as how many interviewers you have, whether they decide to choose another candidate, and how long a prospective network contact may take to reply back to your LinkedIn message.

Demonstrate passion

When asked about why you want to be a developer, use that opportunity to show us what you’ve been working on and what you’ve recently discovered. We love checking out links or snippets of code you’ve written, so keep some examples ready if you have them. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be anything amazing yet (that’s why you’re applying to Fullstack!). 

For career success, this would be very close to your pitch. Build a story for your journey into software engineering. Share that “aha!” moment or the many that inspired you to take the leap into this industry.

Fullstack and your future employer will enjoy understanding what drives you to become the best version of yourself.

2. Programming

Once we’ve spent time conversing with one another, we’ll move on to programming together. 

Pair programming is a time for you to show us that you can think critically and that you understand the fundamentals of programming. We’ll tackle two or more problems together on a shared coding editor.

Here are some tips while programming:

  • Practice: Make sure you spend some time preparing technically for the interview. We’ll provide you with some preparation materials, so use those. Remember, the best preparation is practice!
  • Stay cool: Composure is a positive career success indicator; when you’re calm, you demonstrate that you can handle ambiguous, uncertain environments where you may not have all the answers right away. 
  • Don’t give up easily: Resilience is a necessary trait to engage each phase of your Fullstack journey and onward to the job search. This strength enables you to continue taking action, persist through struggles and become a stronger engineer along the way. With a no-quit attitude, challenges become learning moments.
  • Plan first, Code second: Don’t jump to coding directly—plan out your approach first. This will help you debug your approach with us and will increase your success while coding.
  • Think out loud: Make sure you let us know your thoughts—partial credit applies here! Your thought process later becomes an asset in job interviews as you give interviewers indicators of how you handle problems and demonstrate the agility needed to think outside (or inside) the box! 
  • If you’re completely lost, just tell us. We’re happy to give you direction and get you started.

3. Q & A

By the time we get to Q&A, we will have been chatting for a while and your mind may be a bit preoccupied thinking about the code we wrote together.

So take some notes beforehand about what questions you want to ask during Q&A. We are happy to talk about anything of interest to you.

Keep these tips in mind for the Q&A:

  • Do your homework: Check out our online FAQ and ask specific follow-up questions. In time, you’ll have to perform company research in a similar way to better understand open roles, organizations, and cultures and communicate why you’re a fit.
  • Have you been admitted to other schools? That’s nothing to be shy about in a Q&A. Most students who are admitted to Fullstack are also accepted to other top schools. We work to recruit the best students, so we’re happy to discuss the differences and similarities of other schools.

We hope this summary of our interview process relieved some nerves and gave you some pointers about how to ace the Fullstack Academy interview. We look forward to seeing you on campus!

Interested in applying to Fullstack Academy? Familiarize yourself with the application.


 
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