How To Ace Your Next Technical Interview and Land the Job
Technical interviews can be intimidating, difficult experiences, even for experienced IT and engineering professionals. Use this guide developed by our expert technical recruiters to ace the interview and land your next dream role.
Whether you’re just starting your career in IT or are an experienced technology professional, you probably have at least one technical interview in your future. These interviews are make-or-break situations for many positions, particularly within technology behemoths like Google and Facebook.
This comprehensive preparation guide can ensure you’re prepared for your upcoming technical interview and help you achieve your ideal position. Created by Link Consulting Services, it is based on more than a decade of recruitment experience in IT and telecommunications and more than 10,000 highly skilled placements in Fortune 500 organizations and industry-leading enterprises worldwide.
What To Expect From A Technical Interview
Technical interviews aren’t like your typical interviews. Instead of just assessing for culture fit or overall ability to fulfill the role, technical interviews dive deep to scrutinize your expertise. They take the form of lengthy discussions and unconventional questions over multiple meetings.
Employers also use technical interviews to understand your methodology for answering questions and assess your ability to articulate findings and apply technical solutions in real scenarios. With that in mind, you might feel like you have to prepare for anything and everything. Fortunately, most tech companies adopt a similar interview progression, allowing you to prepare for what is ahead:
2. Initial Phone screening
3. Technical Phone Screening
4. At-Home Assignment
5. On-Site Interviews
The technical phone screenings, at-home assignments and on-site interviews are the most complicated part of the process. This is where your qualifications are tested with various abilities exams. To succeed in this arena, you must know programming language and crucial computer science concepts like:
• Linked Lists
• Hash Maps
• Binary Search
• Dynamic Programming
Technical capabilities are essential during this portion of the interview, and we’ll show you how to prepare for this shortly. But being a skilled programmer doesn’t necessarily translate to being a good interviewee.
Do You Fit The Job Posting?
Make sure the role you’re applying for is actually a good fit. Having a computer science degree and taking coding classes doesn’t mean you’re prepared for the role or that you would even enjoy it.
Carefully study the post and review the expectations. Do your skills match the requirements? Be prepared to discuss how you would approach actual work situations in the company context related to the position. Could you troubleshoot challenges facing the company? Would you be an asset or is your background a better fit for another organization?
Be ready to show that you match the company culture and understand the technical requirements outlined in the posting.
Learn About The Company
At Link Consulting Services, our goal is to identify candidates and employers who are right for each other. Whether you’re a newbie coder or a senior-level engineer, you deserve a position that has longevity and growth opportunity. Having a good grasp on the inner workings of the company will help you decide if they’re a good fit for you and vice versa.
As you submit applications and prepare for interviews, research the:
• Size Of The Company
• Number Of Employees
• Services Offered
• Annual Sales
• Annual Salaries
• Internal Operations
• Company Culture
• Growth Potential
• Position In Their Market
You can find this information on company websites, job postings, recent media coverage, online forums, press releases, posts on LinkedIn, etc. (An experienced recruitment partner will do this type of research for you to determine if you’d be a good fit, and only send positions that match your skill set, role criteria, and career interests.)
This research will also inspire questions you should ask at the interview. Asking meaningful questions shows enthusiasm and understanding. Interviewers will see that you care about the future of the company and your role in it.
Who Will Be At The Interview?
Clarify how to prepare by knowing who will be in the room. Your interview could include the human relations manager, the technical manager, or other leaders within the company.
Some companies combine the interview. For others, the technical portion comes first and then you’ll move on to the HR interview.
Each of these department heads uncover different details about you. They’ll ask different questions depending on their goals. Familiarity will stimulate relevant discussions and put you at ease. Ask who will attend and then look up your interviewers online. Be aware of their objectives, history, background and interests.
Optimize Your Resume
With resumes, formatting is just as important as training and experience. Format with intention:
• Put your work first, followed by your education.
• Show your accomplishments by focusing on what you did in the job, not what your job was. How did your work benefit the company you were working for?
• Quantify your accomplishments by using metrics. If you don’t know how to show quantitative evidence for your work, consider this: If you hadn’t done X, what would the result be for that project?
• Update your resume regularly. Is your info outdated? Are you using an old-school format?
Stay current and fresh, not just in the information you provide but also in the presentation.
Practice the skills you have listed on your resume. If you’re rusty on some aspects or are only familiar with the general features of what’s listed, work on those. Be prepared to answer fundamental questions and high-level concepts. If you’re not confident about something, remove it.
Prepare For The Questions
In technical interviews, the questions are always unconventional. These off-the-wall inquiries demonstrate your methods, strategy, critical thinking and technical expertise. There are three primary types of technical interview questions you’ll face:
1. Quiz Questions
These are specific questions about technology or general computer science concepts.
2. Experience Questions
These questions explore your background and might be non-technical. For example, they might ask about challenges you faced in a particular project or if you have any metrics to share.
3. Hypothetical Questions
Hypotheticals include the infamous “white board coding test.” For these questions, you’re given a project scenario and asked to show your process. These scenarios could be abstract or concrete.
Take advantage of websites with tech quizzes and questions like LeetCode and CodeSignal. Set aside time to work through easy, medium and hard problems. Do them on a whiteboard and always time yourself. Whenever you struggle with a problem, ask yourself: What’s one thing I should know to make solving that problem easier next time?
Practice Mock Interviews
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a tech interview is staying silent. Call it nerves or shyness, but keeping quiet is a sure way to be forgotten or misunderstood by the interviewer.
The best way to overcome this? Think aloud. As you practice mock interviews at home, be in the habit of verbalizing your actions. This will help interviewers understand your strategy. Ask questions just like you would in a group project. Treat interviewers like a collaborative partner.
Work With an Experienced Partner
You don’t have to go through the job application and interviewing process alone. Our recruiters specialize by technology niche, ensuring that we understand the complexities of your industry and what you’ll face in technical interviews.
We can cut through the clutter of job postings, find the right position for you, and prepare you for all stages of the hiring process. In fact, we’ve earned ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing® Talent Satisfaction Award for our commitment to treating candidates with the respect they deserve.
About Link Consulting Services
Link Consulting Services, a staffing and recruitment consulting company specializing in technology and telecommunications, is among the select few to earn ClearlyRated’s coveted 2019 Best of Staffing® Client and Talent Awards. Since 2005, internal Consultants have placed more than 10,000 highly skilled technology and business leaders in Fortune 500 and industry-leading organizations around the world, leveraging Link Consulting Services’ proprietary Recruitment as a Service model and more than 50 years of combined management experience in the recruitment industry. CEO and Founder Natalia Sans serves on the Forbes Los Angeles Business Council. Learn more at www.link-cs.com.