Precision for Clarity of Purpose

Cracking The Coding Interview

I was reading the behavioural section of Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell recently when the importance of being precise really started to stand out for me. The impression I get is that the less ambiguity there is in the candidate the better they are perceived by the interviewer. I guess it makes perfect sense, I mean who wants to hire a doubting Thomas when they could hire a precise Peter. She even puts forward a useful acronym called S.A.R - Situation.Action.Response. S.A.R can serve as a framework for the content of the candidates responses to these behavioural questions.

Feeling 'Right' or 'Wrong' is Stressful Thinking

When I was reading the book it was becoming more clear to me that precision is one of the missing links to becoming clear on what I want and what I am about. It is illogical to think that someone lacking precise thinking could have a clear picture of who they are and where they want to go. However, if the answer is obvious, then what is stopping me from being more precise in my thought process and therefore my words?

What I have noticed in myself is the aversion to a felt experience of 'right' or 'wrong'. My ego is averse to the perceived attack on my intelligence and I am often averse to the uncomfortable feelings and conversations that go hand and hand with this 'attack'. Nevertheless, I know there is always a more productive way to perceive the situation. A perception that is more in line with how reality works.

Be Precise to Become Clear

In this situation I have begun to see that precision doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with feeling 'right' or 'wrong'. Precision of thought and opinion is a conduit towards a clearer overall vision intertwined with more productive and logical trails of thought. Precision is what allows me to see where I am and what I could be doing today.


Was this blog post helpful? Do you struggle with being precise and to the point in interviews? Would you like to have a clearer head? If you have any insights, questions or recommendations feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail.