For many tech professionals, technical interviews are one of the most daunting parts of the job search experience. While the concept is simple, showcasing your skills in a way that resonates with the hiring manager can be challenging. Additionally, technical interviews can involve a range of formats, some of which are more cumbersome than others.
Luckily, with a bit of due diligence, it is possible to nail your technical interview. If you want to make sure you’re ready for what’s to come, here are some tips that can help.
Review the Basics
Even if you’re interviewing for an advanced position, spend a little time refreshing your memory on the basics. For example, if you’re a programmer, you might want to go over algorithms and data structures.
The idea is to make sure your fundamentals are strong. That way, you know you can cover the basics with ease, which may boost your confidence while making you seem more competent.
Do a Practice Run
Part of what makes technical interviews challenging is the format. Often, you aren’t working through a problem on a computer. Instead, you’ll be using a whiteboard, an approach that can be very unfamiliar and, at times, a bit clunky. Writing legibly on a board while standing isn’t something most people work on during their careers, making the process inherently uncomfortable.
If you want to make a great impression, spend a little time doing practice runs in a variety of classic formats. Get a whiteboard and spend time working through problems using it, discussing your approach and reasoning as you take on the challenge. This makes you comfortable with using the board, making the entire experience less difficult.
You should also work through the challenges on a computer, in case they go that route, and practice walking a person through what you’re doing. This ensures you can easily discuss your choices as you work.
When you’re in a technical interview, don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. When you’re presented with a problem, you may only get a limited amount of detail. At times, the hiring manager intentionally omits pieces of information, mainly to see if you’ll request more input.
Asking intelligent questions works in your favor. It shows that you’re considering the problem and want to make sure you’re clear regarding the task-at-hand. You can also use questions to demonstrate your expertise, presenting the hiring manager with either/or questions about potential approaches, like, “Does this team favor language X or language Y?”
Focus on Your Technique
While your technical prowess is being evaluated, most hiring managers understand that technical interviews aren’t always accurate depictions of your real-world capabilities. For example, while working in a role, you’ll have access to resources that may not be available during this process.
In many cases, the hiring manager’s main goal is to evaluate your mindset and problem-solving techniques. They are learning about how you think when presented with a challenge, so a slight misstep here and there that you have to go back and correct won’t usually hurt your chances of being selected.
Talk, Talk, Talk
As long as you talk about why you’re making certain choices, you’re giving the hiring manager plenty of information that can help them make a hiring decision. Additionally, it’s okay to pause for a moment to consider an approach or talk out your ideas without actually putting anything on the board for a second. At times, this will spur feedback or insights from the hiring manager, allowing you to choose the right technical approach.
Ultimately, technical interviews are challenging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t nail yours. Use the tips above, and you’ll increase your odds of shining.
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If you’d like to learn more, the team at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us today.