What to Expect in Your Technical Interview


If you are an IT professional looking for a new position, there is a good chance that you’ll need to take part in a technical interview. Technical interviews are different from traditional interviews. They are a rigorous process where you have to demonstrate your skills in front of the hiring manager, solving problems, and explaining your process in real-time.

A technical interview can seem incredibly intimidating, particularly if you don’t know what you’ll be asked. If you have a technical interview on the horizon, here’s a look at what to expect and how to approach it.

The Whiteboard Challenge

The most daunting part of a technical interview is usually the whiteboard challenge. The hiring manager will present you with a problem and as you to work toward a solution by writing out your process on a whiteboard.

Exactly what kind of challenge you’ll face can be hard to predict. Often, the problems are highly specific to the role and the company’s needs or preferences. At times, you can research the organization on sites that allow candidates to describe their interview experience. However, if that doesn’t pan out, review the job description for insights into what skills are considered must-haves and make sure you are prepared to face a whiteboard challenge that aligns with those activities.

How to Approach the Whiteboard Challenge

Once you are given your problem, you might be tempted to get right to work. However, that isn’t always the best idea.

Instead of grabbing a dry-erase marker and tackling the problem, take a moment to ask clarifying questions that can help you learn more about the task and what the interviewer wants you to do. This ensures that you fully understand the problem and that your thought process is headed in the right direction.

Keep in mind that not all whiteboard challenges are meant to have easy answers. Sometimes, the hiring manager doesn’t want you to know what you should do immediately. Instead, the hiring manager’s goal is typically to present a scenario that requires creative thinking so that they can assess your thought process.

Next, as you attempt to solve the problem, discuss your thoughts as you proceed. Let the hiring manager know why you are using a particular approach so that they have insight into your abilities and problem-solving skills. Additionally, don’t try to rush or use shorthand. Speed isn’t as important as the nature of your approach and your ability to discuss it in a way that is easy to follow, so focus on quality as you proceed over everything else.

If you get stuck, don’t panic. Even if you can’t solve the problem, you often get credit if you articulate your thoughts well and are diligent about working toward a solution. If you genuinely don’t know how to proceed, let the hiring manager know. Then, quickly pivot by explaining what you would do to find the answer, such as the resources you would tap to get information that can help you handle the task.

Ultimately, by following the tips above, you can excel during a technical interview. If you’d like to know more, the staff at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our recruiters today and see how our interviewing expertise can benefit you.