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Rithm School Interview FAQs August 01, 2018

Welcome to Rithm School, prospective students! This post details Frequently Asked Questions we get about the Rithm School interview process as well as key information about the interview itself. If you are looking to get into Rithm in the near future, hopefully this gives you more insight as to how best to prepare and what exactly to expect on your interview date.

Rithm School Lounge Area

Prior to the Interview

How do I start the interview process?

Reach out to [email protected] for an initial chat with our Director of Admissions. Then, you will be given around 50 JavaScript problems to solve in an online repl.it Interview Prep classroom. After this has been fully completed, you can schedule your interview!

When can I interview?

After you've completed the online repl.it Interview Prep classroom, you may schedule an interview any time between 9 and 6 PM Monday thru Friday (with some exceptions granted on a case-by-case basis).

Generally, you will be allowed to interview for any upcoming cohort up until 2-4 weeks prior to the start date, depending on available seats (classes are capped between 12 and 16 seats). Interviews will not grant admission to a cohort that begins less than 2 weeks away from the interview date. However, you can interview as early as you want for future cohorts.

What pre-requisite knowledge do I have to have before the interview?

Basic to Intermediate JavaScript syntax as covered by the repl.it problems (and our online courses!). This includes different types of loops, logical conditions, and common Array/String methods such as .split, .join, .includes, .indexOf, etc.

We DO NOT expect any prior knowledge of algorithms or data structures, but you should be comfortable with all the essential types within JavaScript including Objects, Arrays, Strings, Numbers, Booleans, and Null/Undefined/Falsy values.

We do not test web development knowledge during the interview, but the pre-work following the interview will require you to be comfortable with JavaScript in the DOM, HTML, and CSS.

What can I do to prepare for the interview?

Assuming you've completed our repl.it Interview Prep classroom

Go through our free curriculum for Introduction to JavaScript and Intermediate JavaScript I.

Sign up and do practice JavaScript problems on Codewars at 8th, 7th, and 6th kyu.

And perhaps most importantly, practice whiteboarding or writing out problems by hand. ✍️ It will make a big difference in your speed / comfort-level during the interview.

The Interview Itself

How long is the interview?

The technical part of the interview usually lasts between 45 minutes and 1 hour. Some additional time (typically 15-20 minutes) may be allotted for non-technical questions or follow-up discussions.

What is the format of the interview?

The interview typically consists of 2-4 technical coding problems given on a whiteboard. We ask that interviewees write syntactically-correct JavaScript to the best of their ability. In addition to the JavaScript, writing pseudocode or diagramming out problems is optional but encouraged.

Why do you do whiteboard interviews? I've heard bad things about whiteboarding!

Whiteboarding is extremely common in the software industry as an interview technique. It is certainly not always the best measure of a person's professional competence or qualifications for a role. However, as a coding school preparing developers to enter the tech industry, we want to make sure our prospective students are ready to handle this interview format from the get-go, because at the end of the cohort, students will inevitably have to whiteboard again for a number of job interviews.

Additionally, we find the format helpful for measuring an interviewee's familiarity with JavaScript (since they will have to recall most of the methods and syntax they use from memory), as well as their ability to solve moderately-challenging problems without relying on other people's work or a text editor / IDE.

Rithm Student Whiteboarding

Who will interview me?

Every interview is conducted by one of our lead instructors. All of our instructors have experience not only interviewing prospective coding school students, but professional engineers as well.

How difficult is the interview?

We might give an easy/warm-up problem, and then a couple moderate to difficult problems. They are generally as hard as the hardest problems from our repl.it Interview Prep classroom, or perhaps a bit more difficult. On Codewars, they would probably be 7th or 6th kyu, on LeetCode they would be considered "Easy", although this is a vague approximation, and everybody has a difference frame of reference for what is considered easy or hard.

What are you looking for in the interview?

There are a handful of criteria we use to evaluate candidates in an interview. The most important criteria are:

  • problem solving ability (can you think abstractly, ask critical questions, understand the problem statement, come up with a viable solution)
  • technical knowledge (are you able to write syntactically-correct JavaScript to solve the problem, can you remember essential JS methods/operators)
  • behavior and communication (do you exhibit professionalism, do you communicate your thought process effectively, can you articulate what the code should do, can we tell that you understand the problem)

As instructors, we are also looking for coachability, which means a willingness to accept input and feedback from your interviewer and possibly adapt your strategy to hints or suggestions from us. This is a really important one, because we don't expect everyone to walk in and instantly ace the interview problems. Since we are interviewing prospective students, we just want to see if interviewees are fast learners and will be able to vastly improve their skills throughout the cohort.

What if I get stuck?

No worries, everybody gets stuck sometimes! Simply let your interviewer know where you're at. Make sure you tell him/her what you understand already and what you think you need to learn to get unstuck. We don't consider getting stuck a big problem unless you just sit there and don't say anything. However, getting stuck more than a few times can be an indication that you may need more preparation.

Also, we are always willing to help out if you forget how some methods work or make a few syntax mistakes. As long as we can see you are doing your best, we won't hold it against you if you forget, for example, that the .splice() Array method returns an array of the removed elements.

After the Interview

When do I find out if I passed?

We typically get back to candidates within 2-3 business days of interviewing.

I didn't pass the interview. What do I do now?

No worries, not everyone passes the interview on the first go! We will usually recommend interviewing again between 2-6 weeks after the initial attempt.

We can reset your status in repl.it so you can practice those problems again. We may also give you additional problems to work on, or we occasionally offer special events to prepare prospective students (check the newsletter or contact [email protected] directly for more information).

How many times can I attempt the interview?

We will try to limit candidates to two attempts for an upcoming cohort. After that, it's not impossible to attend Rithm at a later date, but we would recommend that you wait at least 3-6 months before looping back around.

I passed the interview! What's next?

Congratulations! Welcome to Rithm School! We will send you an offer of admission as well as an invoice for initial deposit. We will also send you our pre-work, which consists of ~120 hours of self-study problem-solving and web development projects that are required to be completed before the start of the cohort.

Once all the prework is completed and the deposit is paid, you are officially in!

🎉🎉🎉 Here's to you becoming a developer!!! 🎉🎉🎉

Written by Matt

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