4.4.2 Don’ts

  1. Don’t pretend that you know something. Don’t give hand-wavy explanations or dismiss a question as unimportant. If an interviewer asks you a question, it’s important to them.
  2. Don’t give canned responses. If an interviewer asks why you’re interested in Artificial Intelligence, refrain from saying “AI is the new electricity.” This is your chance for your own journey and personality to shine.
  3. Don’t aggressively steer the conversation to topics that you know well. It’s okay to do it subtly, but don’t ignore the interviewer’s questions. Don’t change the subject. A good interviewer will eventually guide the interview to areas that you know about.56
  4. Don’t criticize your previous or current employers. In fact, don’t criticize anyone during your interviews. You can talk about the challenges you face when working with them, but you don’t want to be the person who finds faults in everyone. There’s this saying: if everyone around you seems to be a problem, you’re the problem.
  5. Don’t be intimidated by your interviewer.
  6. Don’t be afraid to disagree with your interviewers -- some might say something wrong on purpose to see if you catch it.
  7. Don’t look down on your interviewer either. It’s not uncommon for the interviewer to be more junior than the candidate. They might not have your credentials or experiences, but they still know things that you don’t.
  8. Don’t talk about your age, marital status, religion, political affiliation. Interviewers aren’t allowed to ask for this kind of information because it’s irrelevant to the job and has the potential for bias.
  9. Don’t discuss salary with your interviewers, unless explicitly asked. In most organizations, you don’t negotiate offers with your interviewers but with your recruiter or the company’s operation staff.
  10. Don’t be happy when you get easy questions. You should be concerned that you get questions below your ability because the company might be pegging you down for a position without many learning opportunities.
  11. Don’t be upset when you get difficult questions. If it’s difficult for you, it’s difficult for everyone.
  12. Don’t sweat it. If you flunk an interview, move on. There are plenty of other companies. If that’s your dream company, check in with them a year or so later.

56 I’ve had a few candidates do that to me and it’s annoying. For example, I’d try to gauge their knowledge in dropouts for RNNs and they’d say: “Dropouts aren’t a big problem for RNNs, vanishing gradients are” and talk about vanishing gradients instead.

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