It's Thursday morning at 10am and you're sitting at home in your bedroom, waiting for the phone to ring. The recruiter you've been working with said that Santosh, an engineer on Team X with Company Y was going to call and have a brief chat - no more than 30 minutes.
This is a screening call and they’re going to ask a few questions about what’s on your resume. Please be sure it’s up to date.
You’ve gone over your resume and feel good about it. In particular, you’ve described how you’ve been working with NodeJS exclusively for the last 8 years, leading a team of 5 developers and shipping a core feature at your last company. On your resume, you described your NodeJS (and JavaScipt) knowledge as:
The phone rings. Here we go…
Santosh is well-spoken and very kind, asking you a bit about your past work which you describe in concise detail. He then says “would you mind if I asked you a quick technical question?” “Of course, please do” you reply.
This is the problem when you say your good at a language - other developers will wonder just how far to the edge you’ve gone. The “have you ever had to deal with” questions are common, so know your language quirks!
We pull transaction data from an online service and recently we noticed the dates we were storing were off by 6 hours in the past from what they should be. So if a transaction was recorded at exactly midnight on the first of April, we were recording it as 6:00pm on March 31st. We store dates in GMT, just like the service we use. We ended up solving the problem - but I’m curious - how would you go about figuring this problem out?
This isn’t supposed to be a technical question where you get up and write on a white board - this is a problem-solving question to see if you can suss out where the problem might be and how you would implement a solution. The biggest part of this question, however, is how you might interact with the rest of the team. Would you try to solve this on your own, or would you involve others? So*: how would you solve this?* Think about it a bit before reading on and practice speaking about it aloud. Maybe write down your answer if you don’t feel comfortable…
I haven’t encountered this problem before, but my guess is that it has to do with timezones. From the screenshot you sent me I can see the difference in dates is 10 hours - which is also the offset from GMT. That seems like too strong a coincidence. It would be interesting to find out why, but to fix this problem in the short term I would probably run a replacement over the dates, replacing the spaces with a forward slash and then update the "bad" data we have to the correct time/date.
Screeners want to know if you're going to fit on a team, which means the questions they ask will likely be less technical and more designed to figure out what type of teammate you'll be. Remember to remain professional, curious, and polite! Interviews are stressful and it's all too easy to let that overflow into frustration.