Technical Interview Preparation: How to Nail It In 2020

Technical Interview Preparation: How to Nail It In 2020

The technical job interview process is an arduous task in today’s society, therefore, we've provided you with the best practices on technical interview preparation.

There are many obstacles that frequently catch job seekers off-guard and have one feeling under-prepared. One of the most important but daunting parts of the interview process is the technical interview preparation. They are often quite rigorous and can push talented engineers to new levels of critical thinking and assessment.

“Interviewing overall can be a fun discovery about what the market offers in terms of opportunity and different unique technical challenges that each business faces. That being said, it is also important to give the best representation of yourself.”

Alex Dickinson | Managing Director, Jobspring Partners Philadelphia

Be prepared to discuss projects you've overseen, tasks you've performed, and technical certifications you've received. Along with your technical background, showcase your professionalism with proper interview etiquette. 

Technical Interview Preparation Best Practices

Be Ready to Whiteboard (Virtually)
This is generally a go-to interview tactic for tech companies to evaluate engineers’ problem-solving skills during the interview process. Are candidates able to translate their thought-process into correct and well-structured code? Practicing how your brain comprehends and translates on a whiteboard is an effective method when solving technical code. If you have a whiteboard, practice; if not, sketch on paper or a tablet, but the test will likely be taken in an online portal.

Practice tech assessments online before your interview and test out different platforms where possible. There are several platforms out there to help you prepare and test your skills yourself, such as TestDome, CodinGame, Qualified, Byteboard, CodeSignal, HackerRank, and companies frequently use the 20 most popular technical skills screening platforms you see here

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Brush Up on Core Principles and Basics
According to a recent Indeed article, one of the most common questions asked on a technical interview is “What do you do to stay up-to-date on your technical certifications and knowledge?” Always make sure to brush up on any programming languages that may be rusty. Expect to be asked questions ranging from the fundamentals of certain languages to some higher-level concepts. For example, if you are interviewing for a PHP job, it is helpful to brush up on the fundamentals of the LAMP Stack and the MySQL Databases.

Bring Code Samples
It’s always a good idea to bring code samples, GitHub profiles, and other resources to the interview that will showcase your prior work experience. Companies are looking for writing ability and the ability to communicate technical thoughts through code documentation. While testing your technical ability is important, remember that only 25% of interviewees are consistent in their performance, and the rest are all over the place meaning the employer is going to rely on other aspects of your background and personality. 

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Research and Prepare Questions
Most of the time, the first question an interviewer will ask is, “What do you know about us?” Understand that while it is a time commitment to take an interview out of your busy schedule, it is the same time commitment for the hiring manager. If the manager asks about what the company does and you haven’t done your homework it could come off as disingenuous. Stay up to date on recent company news and on the people you are meeting.

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Another important part of the process is to ask questions about the role to show that you are interested and engaged. Make sure to prepare 2-3 questions to ask at the end of the interview that show genuine interest and thought. 

Speak Respectfully About a Previous Employer
Always be mindful that when asked about a previous employer, you should be respectful and look back on the positives of what you learned during your position at the company. Almost all interviews include questions about why you previously left positions during your career.

Defer Questions About Salary and Benefits to Your Recruiter
Be mindful that there is an appropriate time to ask these questions. You should ideally deflect those questions to a third party that is representing you or an internal recruiter that asks about salary requirements during your initial screening. Leaning on a professional that manages interview procedures is the most effective way to remain respectful during the process of the company’s decision on compensation.

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Send a Thank You Note
This is always a good thing to do when you finish any interview process with a company, but it's easy to forget while focusing on the tech. You want the company and the people you met with to remember you for the right reasons. Always address why you would be a good fit for the role and bring it back to the job description and what was covered in the interview. Also, take the time to make sure each thank you note is personalized for each member who had taken the time to meet with you.

“It is impossible to know everything but by coming prepared to an interview with questions and knowledge of what a company does and taking the initiative by providing code samples and leaving a thank you note, you will build lasting relationships with key decision makers. These relationships may not result in a job for each interview, but will certainly expand your network as you grow your career and continue to search for new opportunities in the future,” Dickinson summarizes.

Not only will following these steps successfully showcase your technical skills and experience, but it will also propel your career forward and open the door to new opportunities. For more career impact, check out current job openings, access candidate resources, and discover new tech trends weekly on our Tech Market Insights page. 

This article was originally published as 5 Ways to Ace the Technical Interview and has been updated to reflect current trends. Ready to interview? 

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