Interviews at Fog Creek

Here's a look at what to expect and how to prepare for an in person interview at the Fog Creek Software office in New York.

Let’s get some general stuff out of the way first: If you're applying for a spot on our technical team, the first important thing to know is we receive roughly 200 applications for every technical position we post; we typically phone screen 15 of those 200 candidates, and only 5 get in-person interviews. Merely the fact that you got as far as the in-person interview means you're probably among the top 3% of resumes that we saw, so pat yourself on the back!

Now for the tips.

Before you come see us, we suggest you read Joel’s blog post from 2006 titled: The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing. While the article is fairly old, and our process has changed a bit, the spirit of our process is the same.

Candidates for both programming and non-programming positions interview with at least 3 people. All of our interviews are task oriented. If you’re a developer, during the interview we're going to ask you to demonstrate that you know how to code. We prefer that you use the language you're most comfortable in. We'd rather see you write good code than struggle with the language. At Fog Creek, we use a mixture of Python, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, C#, C, C++, Java, and more, so we don't look for experts in any particular language.

For non-programmer jobs, we’ll ask you to do some work that relates to the position to which you applied. For example, we often ask applicants for administrative positions to write letters and do Internet research. For software testing positions, we ask applicants to test some software. You get the idea.

Coming to New York

If you're coming from out of town, we will pay all expenses related to your trip.

Airfare: We'll make you a reservation for a non-stop flight (when possible) and send you an itinerary. The closest airport to our office is Laguardia (LGA), but if there's no nonstop flight from your town to Laguardia you can also fly into Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) or John F. Kennedy International (JFK).

Hotel: We’re happy to book you up to 2 nights in a hotel in New York. We try to find hotels that are within easy walking distance of the Fog Creek office.

Meals: While you're in New York, please save all your meal receipts for reimbursement. We'll reimburse you for up to $45 per meal.

Transfers: Save your taxi receipts. Tipping is customary in taxis in New York, but the tip usually won't be on the receipt, so write the amount of the tip on the receipt separately and circle it.

Other expenses: Save the receipts for any legitimate travel expenses you incur as a part of the interview, for example, taxi to the airport in your hometown, parking at the airport in your hometown, WiFi or internet access on the road, snacks at the airport.

When you get home gather up all the receipts and send them to us. We'll mail you a reimbursement check within two weeks.

The Day of the Interview

Fog Creek is very informal. We usually wear jeans and t-shirts at best. You are welcome to dress up, but it is by no means expected, and in fact you'll probably be more comfortable if you wear what you usually wear.

Unless you're told otherwise, your interview will start at 10am. The interview process can take anywhere between 2 and 5 hours, including lunch, which we happily provide.

We will not give you an answer at the end of the day. Sometimes we will not be able to give you an answer for a couple of weeks, in cases where we are interviewing several people for the same position and want to give them all a chance.

After the Interview

We try our absolute best to get back to all candidates - those moving forward and those with whom we’ve completed the interview process - within a week of the day you interviewed. If for some reason you don’t hear from us, chances are something crazy has happened, so don’t hesitate to reach out!