3 things I did different to crack the Data Scientist interview

You can crack the Data Scientist interview with these 3 strategies that I tried unlike others.
"MY CONFIDENT ANSWERS WHICH WERE BACKED UP BY MY HOMEWORK ON THE COMPANY AND MY OUTSTANDING RESUME HELPED ME CRACK THE DATA SCIENCE INTERVIEW".

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Figure 1: Crack the Data Science Interview

1. The Resume

The action begins even before you enter the room for your interview. It begins when the interview is eye balling your resume. I knew I wanted to stand out in every aspect and every round of the interview so I made sure that my resume holds the interviewers attention.
I was not willing to tweak my resume every time I get an interview opportunity hence while designing my resume I made sure it remains generic. But that never meant that I would leave out on the key aspects about myself in the resume. So I broke down my resume related ideas, problems and questions into smaller chunks so that I could work on them one at time.

The Design

How many pages? That was the first design related question I asked to myself. I've got 5+ years of experience and have worked across multiple industry. If I wanted to showcase all of my talents and experience the page count could go up to 6 or more but the idea is to showcase my entire proficiency, experience and exposure in a way that it could be skimmed at a glance. So, I did the following:

  • Built my resume in a two column format where once column had my experience and other had my skills. You can find a lot of "Two pager resume" on the web. Select the one you like and try to take inspiration from it when you are formatting your resumes aesthetics.
  • Performed a backward elimination on my experience points. First I wrote down all the points I wanted to showcase for each organization that I've worked with. Then I started to uproot the points which were either not necessary or were already present in essence within other points. I did this activity till I attained a permissible balance between space and content in my resume. An industry expert would wrap up this facile activity in less than an hour but for a fresher or for a person whose expertise do not stretch in data domain would have engage in this exercise for a longer period.
  • Encapsulated, abbreviated some essential market terminologies and made my resume visually stunning. Instead of reinstating the tools and techniques I picked icons and logos of the respective tools to represent them.
  • Turned levels of my competency with tools and algorithms into histograms. This really helped me to save space while I made sure that I clutched observer’s attention.

2. The Homework

I received the interview call 2 days before the proposed date of the interview. The scheduling mail did not had any information regarding the team or the interviewers or even the exclusive posts name which I was interviewed for, I had to demand it. So if these information were not made available to you from the HR team you can always request them to provide these details. As I had prepared my resume and was already looking for jobs I did not negotiate the dates. I bifurcated my strategies into two parts: Gathering information, customizing some of my projects and preparing pseudo code.

Gather information

Gather information about the organization, industry and the team I was interviewed for & the interviewer. My LinkedIn profile came in handy when I wanted to know about the team and interviewer and web was the source of information for the organizational and industry data.

  • The interviewer information was crucial as I wanted to establish a connection between us. It might sound cheesy but, from personal experience, if I could remotely relate my responses to his projects and endeavours I would have a better chance in controlling the direction of the interview. So while glancing over the interviewers profile I tried to comprehend what would allure him/her more from my profile.
  • While I was exploring my primary interviewers profile I dived in his connections and also explored people he was working with and tried to get a sense of the teams academics and area expertise. Basically I was trying to rationalize my answer to the question "How would I fit in this team".
  • Some sites like moneycontrol.com and the organizations latest news appearance build my instincts on what are the future strategies of the firm and how they have made it operationally. I wanted this instinct to come into action when I would formulate strategies for the business case I would receive during the interview. Some data around the basic KPIs and target audience of the organization would later help me solve any guesstimate questions hence I kept them in back of my head.
  • Performed a backward elimination on my experience points. First I wrote down all the points I wanted to showcase for each organization that I've worked with. Then I started to uproot the points which were either not necessary or were already present in essence within other points. I did this activity till I attained a permissible balance between space and content in my resume. An industry expert would wrap up this facile activity in less than an hour but for a fresher or for a person whose expertise do not stretch in data domain would have engage in this exercise for a longer period.
  • Encapsulated, abbreviated some essential market terminologies and made my resume visually stunning. Instead of reinstating the tools and techniques I picked icons and logos of the respective tools to represent them.
  • Turned levels of my competency with tools and algorithms into histograms. This really helped me to save space while I made sure that I clutched observer’s attention.

Let me give you a disclaimer that this strategy does not work every time and requires a plenty mock interviews which should supported by tons of research. So before you even consider to "fix" your interview make sure you have all the facade to support it in place.

3. The Confidence

After wrapping up the case study I stepped in the room were interviewers had already graded my submissions and scanned my resume. After the generic introduction they wasted no time to put pressure on me by exhuming my industry knowledge and technical skills. While maintaining a calm composure I made sure while answering their question I should consider the following factors:

  • My answer should be an end to end solution. When a question was asked I made sure that first of all I understood the question completely and if in doubt I would ask questions with no hesitation. Once I understood the question I made sure that my answers should pertain the needful maths, code and business theory. For example when I was asked about my take on the sales prediction problem that I solved my response had the used algebric equation, imported python packages and obvious business justifications to support my solution.
  • Whenever it was necessary I would use paper/whiteboard to illustrate the steps, numbers, pseudo codes, and strategy. I believe this was the final nail to seal the deal. I had solved the case studies, I had answered all the posed questions intelligently and now I was up on my feet using the white board demonstrating my findings and how they would fit in the overall company's strategy.
  • The fact that I was able to communicate my ideas and lead the conversation with it assured the interviewers that I had some leadership potential.
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Anurag Deyasi

Anurag Deyasi has worked as a Business Analyst for Flipkart and as a Data Scientist for WorkIndia. He is now training and mentoring data science enthusiasts at Programink.



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