How to stand out in Data Science Interview?

You are technically ready to take on new role in data science, LinkedIn profile is up to date, GitHub portfolio published (where applicable), Resume circulated and ready for the day you have been waiting for……..

You get a call from HR on Data Science opening with a XYZ organization

Below are few things you have to do right from the time you get call from HR

  1. Collect as much background on role you are getting interviewed for from HR
  2. Check Invite to get details on Hiring Manager or interviewing member and collect details on them from LinkedIn or other known channel
  3. Collect intelligence on use cases relevant to the customer domain you are going to appear interview for
  4. Research on techniques used among prominent use cases in that domain and typical challenges faced (Check short video below on how to)
  5. If you are not worked on similar domain before try to map your experience to use cases in target domain
  6. Prepare your experience summary short and at the same time covering different aspect of work you have been doing in data science space (Tell me About yourself Elevator Pitch)
  7. Prepare short summary on your current data science project or portfolio covering end to end cycle starting from data collection till model deployment or in specific Data Science cycle you have expertise on
  8. Be well prepared to answer question like Challenges Faced, Why did you choose this approach and others

You can check my short 4 min video below that covers most of the above points as well as details on resources where you can get information on techniques used within a particular use case domain (Sorry for slight background wind noise in video)

To subscribe to my video channel you can click on link (AIEngineering Channel)

In rest of the article, I am going to stay away from technical know how and focus on aspects that can impact the interview outcome

You typically get around 45 min to an hour of time to demonstrate your years of education or experience and months of training. Organization might find many with similar technical expertise but for you to stand out it is key to present your expertise in a way it is compelling and creates an impact

In addition, On interview day one of the key aspect you might have to demonstrate is 4 C’s apart from your technology competency level

✔️ Curiosity

✔️ Creativity

✔️ Critical Thinking

✔️ Cultural Fit

In data science context, Curiosity to frame the problem by probing various stakeholders, Creativity to come up with right solution, Critical Thinking demonstrating innovative ideas and Cultural Fit on your ability to work with multiple team towards the goal of making project successful

Why did I emphasize data science context above?.. Data Science in most cases is about Research/experimentation and there are multiple innovative solutions that can work well for a data science problem. Research is formalized curiosity and creativity is intelligence having fun with innovative ideas — Tweaked version of Zora Neale Hurston and Albert Einstein Quotes :)

While all of this might be difficult to gauge in short interview but framing your experience to cover some of the above aspect might help lift your profile during the interview process

Let us quickly get to few examples

Typical interview question starts with “Tell me about yourself”. If you have seen my video I have stated to get your elevator pitch ready that is short (60 to 90 seconds) and at the same time covers your experience

Practice.. Practice.. Practice.. your elevator pitch

A good elevator pitch can in fact even make your next set of questions predictable as interviewer starts to get into more details based on what your summarized against checklist of question he might have in mind

In your short elevator pitch make room for few seconds to talk on your future goals that sparks curiosity. It can be on some problem that industry today is challenged or constrained with

In below video I have explained a sample elevator pitch format but stick on to one that you are comfortable with. Below is just sample

To subscribe to my video channel you can click on link (AIEngineering Channel)

One other question that comes up is when you talk on current project or portfolio. “Why did you chose this approach”. This is good place to display your creativity and critical thinking talking about various options you tried before you selected the current approach and also suggesting improvement on what you could have done better

Be open to ideas and suggestion if good and politely defend with valid explanation if you feel so, displaying your Cultural Fit ability

Finally always end interview with questions to demonstrate your interest in the role. It can be about current business problem they are trying to solve or the team operating model or challenges they are facing or anything you feel right

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