What is a Technical Interview?
A technical interview is a type of interview that majors on assessing a candidate’s capability to handle the specific roles they have applied for. You will be able to meet likely teammates and other developers in the technical interviews. The core goal will be to determine whether you are the best person to work with them.
Technical interviews are opportunities for employers to test potential recruits on their technical abilities. Typically held for Science, Engineering, and I.T. positions, technical interviews include questions that relate specifically to the role that you’ve applied for.
During a technical interview, candidates may be required to answer or solve:
- Numerical reasoning problems
- Behavioral questions
These types of interviews can be held online, via Skype, over the phone, or in-person. It’s not uncommon for there to be multiple stages within a single technical interview.
Stages of a Technical Interview
So, you’ve submitted your resume and you’ve received a response (Get your personalized resume from our expert resume writing services). This is great news! Now it’s time for you to get acquainted with the various stages you might experience during a technical interview.
Most technical interviews begin with a simple phone screening. You can avoid immediate rejection by treating a phone screen as if it were an in-person interview. Do this by reviewing the basics. Go over your algorithms and review the fundamentals. Practice verbally explaining answers to complex problems. Time yourself while doing it. Spend a few hours practicing with programs that don’t use autocomplete or syntax highlighting to replicate the phone interview process.
Don’t forget to practice talking about yourself!
During the interview, they’ll want to know more about you and why you’re interested in their company. It helps to collect your answers about your personal life, beforehand. Dress professionally (as if the interviewers sitting right across from you). And, finally, don’t be late.
Skype interviews are another common early stage interview. If you’ve never used Skype, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the program, beforehand. Spend an hour or two setting up your Skype profile. Then, find a quiet, sunny place to hold your interview.
Companies often assign their interviewee’s preliminary tests to gauge their skill levels. There’s really no way of knowing if or when you’ll be given a remote assignment. Depending on the company, you may be asked to complete a complex problem during the phone screen. Others may request via Skype or simply send it home with you. If a due date isn’t provided, assume it’s due before the end of the week.
The in-person interview is the most complex and challenging stage. This is when you’ll meet your hiring manager face-to-face. It’s also, typically, the last stage of your technical interview. So, if you get that far- Congrats! You’re obviously doing something right. But you can’t relax just yet. There’s some serious prep work you’ll have to complete before you’re ready to meet your future boss.
Prep Work for the In-person interview
Exercising more will give you sufficient preparation. The mind will already have warmed up during the technical interview. For all aspects of the interview, it takes thorough preparation to convince your interviewer that you are the best interviewee for the job and the types of problems you can solve in the organization. Practicing a lot will make you sound self-assured during the technical interview.
Practice as You’ve Never Practiced Before
Practice on the whiteboard as it has become a commonly used practice in technical interviews. This helps you not to behave coldly during the interview. Most companies use the whiteboards to gauge the candidate’s problem-solving skills. Passing a coding interview would be very easy when you learn about the relationship between the practice coding challenges solved and the pass rate on a coding assessment.
Technical interviewers will mainly question about your primal knowledge. Organize your thoughts and think through the problem. The technical essentials are not likely to change despite any advancement in the technological world. Since the technical field is ever-changing and complex, prepare to solve different types of problems.
Focus on the technical fundamentals, practice a lot and you will easily ace the technical coding interviews.
Simulate the Interview
Try to replicate the technical interview by incorporating time limits. Ask a friend or instructor to verbally provide you with a difficult coding problem in a realistic way. Or, try to explain a solution to a person with limited experience in coding.
Think Outside the Box
Interviewers love open-ended questions. The reason for this is simple: they want to know how your brain works. Opened-ended problems can typically be solved in numerous different ways. So, try to think of different ways you can solve a single problem. Try asking a friend how they might have solved the same problem. Then try comparing your answers to see which is cleaner.
Gear Up Yourself Psychologically
It is very important to prepare yourself mentally. Be ready to encounter different tasks as raised by the technical interviewers. Prepare to either whiteboard or to be given a code challenge. You can be asked to build an application in a given out time. The interviewers could ask you to create a code and write it on a whiteboard or enquire you to take them through solving a certain problem. Your problem-solving skills will be put to test. You must prove you have the chops to excel in the technical role.
Convince your brain that that technical interview you will be undertaking will be an opportunity for hiring you to judge your knowledge and skills in the technical field, how you would solve coding challenges, how you would offer solutions to real-world problems and brain teasers. Your reasoning and analytical skills, your lateral and creative thinking might also be tested.
Technical interviews are stressful and time-consuming. With the right mental preparation and stress management, your technical interview will be easy. Do not crumble under pressure when faced with a difficult question. Prepare yourself to set about finding answers to queries and offering solutions to problems that you’ve never encountered before. Knowing what you are up against will make it even easier for you to crack the interview.
Prepare your brain to solve different technical challenges using different tools. Practicing a lot makes you acquire deep knowledge in coding and/or programming.
You have got to review your fundamentals. This includes class design, coding/algorithms, data structure, etc. You can easily review your fundamentals by finding online practice tests, classes, tutorials, or articles.
Prep Your Portfolio
If you have a portfolio, you should prep it and bring it to the interview. This could be a physical book, samples of a project, even a link to a website. Anything that demonstrates your skills and real-world experience can be a big help in a technical interview. You can even ask a peer or mentor to look over your work beforehand.
Check Out Their Website
This is a basic concept that’s often overlooked. First off, it’s always important to research a company before you apply. At some point, they will ask “why do you want to work for their company.” So, ask yourself: Why do you want to work for them? What practices or values attracted you? Why should they want you on their team?
On that note, some companies also list example coding questions on their website! This is an easy way to catch a sneak-peak at the problems that will be asked during the in-person interview. Also, don’t forget to re-evaluate the job description. A company will list exactly what essential technical skills they’re looking for.
Get Your Wardrobe Together
Don’t worry. Anything professional-casual will fly for a tech interview. Make sure that you dress comfortably (you might be doing a lot of walking during the tour). When in doubt, stick to flats/low-heels and neutral colors. You might want to nix the tank and jeans.
Bring a Notepad and Pen
During the interview, you’ll want to write down the names and contact information of everyone you spoke with.
Use Your Time Wisely
Arrive at the place 15 to 20 minutes before your arranged technical interview starts. This makes you compose yourself. Don’t try to cram anything in any last-minute – you need to remain calm and prepared.
Before answering the question that has been posed to you, take your time to think and provide a well-thought answer. However, don’t take an eternity to think. Technical interviewers require interviewees to think in real time.
Know when to quit talking. It makes you unprofessional to keep on talking and giving rambling answers hence losing your interviewer’s interest.
The answers you provide in a technical interview should be sharp, concise and to the point. They should not lack focus nor be too long.
The In-Person Interview
Now it’s time for the actual interview. You’re worried, but you’re prepared! The in-person technical interview may last between 40 to 60 minutes
Listening actively to the interviewer before responding to the question posed to you is extremely important. You will frustrate the interviewer when you talk past each other. This comes from spending most of your time focusing on what you want to say other than what the interviewer is saying.
Think of every question asked as an opening to a conversation. The value to be brought to the company is the opportunity that the candidates need to see from the questions. Responding in a simple “no” or “yes” is not an appropriate answer to any question asked. Expound to the point of the interviewer understanding what exactly you mean.
Communicate your thinking out loud in a friendly manner.
You’ll be super happy that you reviewed your fundamentals. During the in-person interview, you can expect a ton of fundamental questions evaluating your knowledge of the basics. Interviewers are curious to see how skilled you are with the basics.
During the whiteboarding challenge, you’ll be provided with a complex question, a whiteboard, and a marker. Then, you’ll be asked to solve that question by writing it out on the board.
During this portion, it’s important that you stay vocal. Talk through the solution with your interviewer. Ask them questions while you write. The interviewer needs to follow your thought processes. They also need to know that you can communicate effectively.
After the Interview
At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for meeting with you. Within 24 hours, you’ll want to write a professional thank you email. You can send the email individually or as a general thank you.
Last Minute Tips:
- It’s okay to ask questions. The interviewer just wants to know what’s going on inside your head! It won’t dock you any points and it demonstrates your soft skills
- Don’t panic. If you get stumped, just talk it out with the interviewer.
- Get plenty of rest before the interview. This means sleep and eat a decent meal.