Job candidates have clear expectations about the work that needs to be done during the job search to ensure success. They define their career goals. Resumes are updated. Interview skills are sharpened. Yet, ...candidates pay too little attention to one particular aspect of the job search: the technical interview.
The technical interview is an opportunity for employers to put your hard-earned skills to the test. Technical interview questions can range across disciplines and include puzzles, problems and other questions designed to make you think hard on the spot. .. job candidates find technical interviews extremely time consuming and stressful. And, to be honest, many job candidates struggle through the first few technical interviews and reduce their chances of landing what may be a great job. These nine keys to success can help you when faced with a technical interview.
1. Wear What’s Right.
The tech industry has a unique culture, one that is in stark contrast to other fields. The majority of technology companies are very relaxed, casual, and creative. They also favor personality and fit over snappy dress. When going for the technical interview, I tell my candidates to be clean, neat and presentable – buttoned down shirt, pressed pants and clean shoes. That being said, I do not suggest suits, and ties or jackets are optional as some companies may think you are conservative (and not a good culture fit). Overall, you need to feel comfortable and relaxed as the interview process can be stressful enough.
2. Don’t Wing It.
3. Communicate Effectively
Communication is key in the technical interview. Interviewers don’t know your skill set unless you make it clear through your answers. Don’t leave the interviewers with any doubts about how skilled you really are, and avoid evasive or incomplete answers. Follow up with a “Did that answer your question?” to ensure you are on the same page with the interviewer. Ask good questions throughout the interview to engage with the interviewer. Work hard with your recruitment advisor, so you can be sure to ask the best questions.
4. Sharpen Your Technical Skills.Many job candidates find their information and skills aren’t fresh enough for employers. Companies assess skills in a different way now, and they expect job candidates to evolve along with the market. Job candidates need to have a technical toolbox that suits the market and can get them through a rigorous technical interview.
5. Bone Up on the Fundamentals.
Make sure you review the fundamentals and computer science basics. Review core concepts and theories that are essential to good practice. The interview process is designed to gauge your technical and problem-solving skills, so take the time to refresh yourself on concepts and theories.
6. Try Brain Teasers.
Run through some brain teasers and logic problems in advance of your interview, as you may be asked to do one. These challenges are given as a way to assess how you think and work through a problem. Oftentimes, the solution is not the main goal; they are looking for skills such as confidence, tenacity, and persistence.
Interviewers also screen your ability to interact and communicate in a team setting. Be sure to connect with the interviewer and work with them to show that you have adequate team skills. You want to remain confident and calm even if frustrated or defeated, so it’s best to keep composed and positive.
It is important to close the interview properly before you part ways with the interviewer. You want to express your level of interest in the job, so this is your chance to say how you feel about the position and your experience. Ask key follow-up questions to understand next steps, the process and the time-frame.
9. Continue to Create a Positive Impression.
The interview process is still about creating strong, positive impressions. I encourage my candidates to send a thank-you email within 24 hours. Another good follow-up is to offer a solution to an unsolved problem you were given during the interview. This goes over very well and can potentially save you if you were off track in the interview because it demonstrates that you care enough to give it additional time and attention. It also allows the employer to evaluate more of your work.
Technical interviews are a major challenge for job candidates searching for the best technology jobs. Too many job candidates treat them casually at the beginning of their job search. Winging it is a bad idea. Preparation is essential. Use your time to practice, learn to communicate effectively, and sharpen your technical skills.