How to prepare for a technical interview
Once you have decided which direction your career is going to take, the next big challenge is to prepare yourself for the interview process and land that dream job that you’ve always wished for. Regardless of the knowledge that you possess and the education that you have undergone, you will be able to get the roles that you are after and fill the sought after positions in the best companies only if you are able to ace their interviews.
Irrespective of the size and scale of a company, most of them will try to have a streamlined process of recruitment to hire the best talents. This means that regardless of whether you are a fresher or beginner, degree or diploma holder, bootcamp graduate or an expert with plenty of certifications, you will have to compete with the rest of the competition and come out on top to land the best jobs.
Most interview processes tend to test your technical know-how and behavioral aspects as these are the most important factors that determine an individual’s fit into the culture and working nature of any company. Therefore, knowing what to prepare for your technical and behavioral interviews puts you in good stead against the rest of the competition.
Technical rounds are very common for employers in the field of engineering, science and IT. Apart from assessing your technical capabilities and fit for a role, these interviews will test the depth and breadth of your knowledge in any chosen field.
Technical interviews are designed by most companies in such a way that it provides them with a glimpse of how a candidate might fare when confronted with real world problems akin to those that they might face on an everyday basis when at work. This makes these interviews the most challenging part of the process as they will calibrate an individual’s problem solving skills, ability to think under pressure and even communication skills to an extent.
In this complete guide for acing tech interviews, we will go into detail and explain how to prepare for technical interviews. In a simple and elegant way, we will describe the best practices, tried and tested methods, quick and easy tips that will help you showcase yourself in the best possible manner in both technical and non-technical interviews. Effectively, this quick overview will enable you to actually get the job at FAANG or any other top tech company that you want to get into.
Cracking the technical interview
If you were under the impression that cracking the technical interview for any particular company is all about mastering some interview tips and tricks, you are far from the entire truth. While cheat sheets and prep tips can take you up to a certain point in any interview process, they are certainly not the be all and end all. It is important that you add these aspects along with certain core aspects, namely strong technical knowledge coupled with important human values.
It is easy to understand why a company would want a candidate with a more rounded nature. If you are someone who already possesses good know-how in the tech that the company works with and can also display strong communication, leadership and a positive team mentality, then they will have to invest little in training you for the rigors of day-to-day work.
What is a technical interview?
In our complete guide for breaking into tech, we had looked at the numerous ways of breaking into the IT industry. Regardless of whether you are fresh off your internship, someone looking to change careers and break into tech, one of many young grads looking for entry level tech jobs, or a pro in the business eyeing remote work or an even more flashy pay package, the IT industry has something in it for everyone. While computer programmers, web and software developers and IT support specialists are some of the types of IT jobs that we immediately associate with the industry, there are plenty of other avenues in the sector as well, be it being a database administrator or network architect, to name a few.
Every IT role and career path most likely has specific technical interviews. If we are to answer the question “what is a technical interview?”, then we will have to start by saying that it is quite unlike any other job interview process. A technical interview process is a rigorous method of testing a candidate’s coding skills, problem-solving abilities, and even personality to an extent. In one shot, these interviews allow employers to weigh potential employees in three vital parameters. When interviewing a set of candidates, the ones who score the best across the different parameters therefore have the best chance of progressing further in the process.
It is crucial to note that technical interviews are thus very different from non technical interviews, where the focus is often elsewhere. It is also worth noting that even though there might be a common theme that most technical interviews adhere to, many companies have further customized these interviews to meet their specific needs. This means that most of the tech-giants have technical interview processes that turn out to be a fair evaluator of not only potential employee’s strengths and weaknesses, but also how well they would fit into their corporate culture.
The likes of Facebook (now part of Meta), Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google (now part of Alphabet) – companies that are usually together referred to using the acronym FAANG – are behemoths that invest considerably in attracting the best talents from around the world. FAANG and other such big tech companies have their own streamlined technical interview process that help those conducting the interviews judge and evaluate you in the best possible manner across various parameters.
Applying to FAANG companies
Did you know that the acronym FANG was coined by CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer in 2013? Cramer was looking for a catchy way of referring to the stocks of the American tech giants Meta (then Facebook), Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet (then Google). When Apple was added to the mix in 2017, FANG became FAANG. Even though the names of the holding companies of some of these IT giants have changed over the years, the acronym has stood the test of time. There are some who refer to these companies using the acronym MANGA, but FAANG remains popular in most tech circles.
One other thing that unites FAANG companies is the fact that working with them continues to be much sought after all these years. The brand value and recall that these companies command is a notch above the rest, making them the most popular dream job for many.
The fact that these companies have their own special technical interview process implies that the need to prepare for FAANG has to be met separately. FAANG interview prep, in fact, starts much before you actually attend an interview with any of these companies.
You might be surprised to hear this but your resume becomes the most crucial factor in order to get shortlisted for the interviews of major tech companies, including FAANG. This means that the ability to portray your past achievements in a strong way is vital to pass the screening stage of these companies.
If you have applied to these companies in the past and experienced rejection, chances are that you might have assumed that you are under qualified for the role. It is likely, however, that your resume wasn’t top notch, failing you in a ruthless recruitment process where you are competing with the best. There are plenty of free guides, sample resumes and examples that are available online that will help you write a good resume for the top jobs in the IT industry. By taking a look at these, referring to others who have been shortlisted in the past and even landed the jobs in these companies, and bringing in your own perspective, you will be able to design a resume that is hard to ignore by any recruiter.
The many stages of a tech job interview
By now, you should have realized that a technical interview is a screening for any job that is largely technical in nature. Even though it is used across different fields, it is rather popular in the IT industry.
With a variety of challenges and assignments, these interviews are similar to an exam, rather than the typical question and answer interview. Often time consuming and containing multiple parts, it is possible that such a process can be confounding to the uninitiated and even intimidating to others.
While it might seem like these tasks are set to trick and corner you with what might even seem like impossible questions, it’s worth noting that these are designed to test your critical thinking and real-world problem solving skills that usually only come to the fore only when you are on the job. When you know what happens in a technical interview and you have spent a lot of time training yourself for these situations, then it is quite possible that you will handle whatever different types of challenges are thrown at you with panache and skill.
In the following sections, we will be looking at the most common steps that you will be confronted with during a technical interview process. Even though different companies are bound to play it in their own styles, these will be the average situations any candidate faces. While these are the most common steps when hiring software engineers, coders, programming specialists and generally most roles in the tech world, variations of these are increasingly being applied and adopted to roles in other fields and industries as well.
Phone screen interview
One of the most common formats in the screening process, almost every candidate will go through this at least once during the overall process of recruitment. While the good news about reaching this stage is the fact that the company liked what they saw about you in your resume, the challenge ahead is a short social and technical screening interview.
Speaking to the interviewer over a phone or VoIP call, it is important to get across your enthusiasm about potentially working for the company. There are chances that your technical competence is also measured. This is usually done through a question that you have to work with using an online collaborative editor, without executing the code, even if the editor supports it. Most phone screen interviews typically last between 15-30 minutes. With these 30 minute phone interview questions, the interviewer completes an initial screening in which they have carried out culture fit assessment and also gauged your technical capabilities to an extent.
First technical interview
Following a phone screen interview, some companies might employ a technical presentation for interview. Often referred to as the first technical interview, these have become rather rare these days. These one way interviews take place when companies want to use a preliminary test to check your coding skills a little bit more before actually inviting you to an onsite interview.
These interviews can be held over phone calls or video calls or might even be homework type assignments on occasions. Irrespective of whether these remote interviews are online coding assessments or take home assignments, companies that usually respect your time ensure that these challenges do not take more than a few hours time.
On site interview
On site interviews, also referred to as working interviews, along with the whiteboard challenge is the stage that many people in the tech world call the actual technical interview. If you have made it this far, you probably need a pat on your back as this is the final technical interview.
The on site interview is a hands-on interview where you will be required to have an in-person interview at the company’s office. Unless, of course, if the organization is remote first and does not have an official premises that it calls its office. In case of remote first organizations, the on site interview takes place remotely over a video conference.
In a traditional on site interview where you are visiting a company’s premises, your interview usually comprises multiple rounds where they test your coding talent, your capabilities as a system designer and even your behavioral skills. Including the whiteboard challenge, on site interviews can take several hours and even an entire day on occasions.
Wealthy startups and big tech giants who are extremely interested in your profile may even fly you in and pay for your accommodations, even if you are an overseas candidate. If the process is likely to take an entire day, the company usually provides lunch. What’s more, these lunch sessions might be arranged in such a way that you have your meal with a current employee not involved in the recruiting process in order to learn further insights about the company’s culture.
When having your on site interview, it is possible that you will be asked to do a whiteboard exercise in front of the interviewers. A whiteboard technical interview usually sees you solving an algorithm question or a system design question. Even remote first organizations might conduct a whiteboard interview online, where you are expected to pen down the answers with the interviews watching you.
The idea behind these exercises is to evaluate you over three different parameters: coding, problem solving and communication. This is because the whiteboard challenge allows employers an opportunity to see their candidates solve real world problems in real time. While getting the best answer is always appreciated, equally important is how you approach the problem, use your creativity, innovate, and communicate the solution in an elegant manner.
If you have come this far in an interview process, then you are very close to receiving the offer package. Salary negotiation interview is one in which the company briefs you about the various components included in the compensation, be it a base salary, educative discount, bonuses and other benefits.
A conversation about salary may crop up at any stage during the screening process, as it allows the employers to figure out what your annual compensation expectations are. As there are a lot of companies that pay bonuses, it is important to understand them properly, be it the frequency in which they will be paid out or the factors (seniority, individual performance, company performance) that determine the amount.
While most prepare and train for the various technical stages of the interview, they miss out on the best possible package they can get themselves as they are unprepared for negotiating compensation. As companies often will be willing to stretch a little bit more than their first offer package, understanding compensation and learning to negotiate your salary are invaluable skills that will come in handy every time you switch companies. There are even courses and guides that help you maximize the deal that you can land yourself when receiving an offer package.
In the previous section, we took a look at the various important stages that are common in most technical interview processes. Just like how different companies employ different strategies in the technical interviews, similarly the interview formats can also differ from one company to another.
The different interview types vary in significant ways and are mostly behavior methods that work best for the company and its recruiters. In the following passages, we will be looking at three of the most popular interview formats that are currently in vogue across the globe.
As opposed to the structured nature that the technical interview follows during a software engineer interview process, the behavioral tech interview may seem varied to say the least and even chaotic to the unprepared. It is crucial to understand that the interviewer is merely trying to get to know the candidate better through this format of interviewing.
Questions during this interview try to find out how you acted in a certain situation in the past – an indicator of how you might perform in a similar stressful situation in the future. It is worth noting that there are a set of common questions that need to be asked to achieve the objective of getting to know a person better and that these questions generally tend to be based on real life situations that everyone is likely to have encountered. Here are a few common behavioral questions:
- Why do you want to leave your current company and work for our company?
- Tell me about a time when you worked effectively under extreme pressure.
- What excites you and what frustrates you?
- Give an example of a mistake you made at work. How were you able to rectify it?
- Can you tell me the best constructive feedback that you have encountered in your career?
Star interview format
The star interview format supports a framework that helps the interviewers to obtain organized answers to behavioral questions. This format comes in particularly handy when employers require their candidates to discuss previous experiences.
The star interview format is often referred to as the STAR answer format or the s.t.a.r. method for behavioral interviewing. This is because the letters ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘a’ and ‘r’ actually denote what exactly pans out in the style of interviewing. Here’s how:
- S stands for Situation – The interviewer asks you for a particular situation or challenge that you confronted recently.
- T corresponds to Task – In this part, the interviewer is looking to see what exactly you needed to achieve in the situation you found yourself in. It is worth remembering that certain performance development methods make use of “Target” instead of “Task” for the ‘T’. While tasks are likely externally imposed, targets are often set by ourselves. If you choose a situation wherein you were intrinsically motivated to perform and develop the performance, then it might make more sense to use target rather than task.
- A denotes Action – Here you need to talk about the action that you took. You must keep in mind that an interviewer is not only interested about what you did, but also is looking to find out as to why you did it and what exactly the alternatives were.
- R refers to Results – This is an important part of the entire conversation as companies are always result oriented. Apart from finding out the outcome of your actions and what exactly you were able to achieve, companies also expect you to provide takeaways from the experience that are bound to have a long-term impact.
Cross functional interview
A cross functional interview corresponds to the technique of bringing in employees from different departments to the interview panel. While it is becoming increasingly popular in the renewable energy space, the relevance and importance of cross functional interviews hasn’t been lost on the IT sector either.
If you have ever been frustrated after attending an interview in which someone unrelated to the division knowing nothing about the position had questioned you, then you must realize now that you were subjected to a cross functional interview. Instead of actually being pissed off, you will stay more relevant in the current times if you prepare for an interview like this, as interviewers assess a candidate’s ability to convey complex concepts to an uneducated audience through this format of interviewing.
You must remember that annoyance at such new styles of interviewing further deters your chances as it leads to poor performance and lower impact during the interviews. The ability to communicate complex ideas in a way anyone can understand is not only highly appreciated, but is also a sure shot indicator that you yourself know those concepts thoroughly.
Apart from this, cross functional interviews bring about more objectivity as the perspective of the interviewer is entirely different. While they are not looking at the technical skills of a candidate, they will be able to better evaluate a potential employee’s values, temperament and cultural fit. Properly judging an individual’s emotional intelligence allows companies to avoid the mistake of recruiting someone for their hard skills, only to fire them later for lacking soft skills.
Another style of cross functional interviewing tries to involve peers and potential subordinates from the division as well, apart from those higher up the hierarchy. This shows that the company values everyone and is trying to get the best out of its employees at all levels.
Among the tech giants, Google is well known for fielding potential subordinates while interviewing a candidate. The following statements from a Google worker best echo these sentiments.
“In every interview I’ve ever had with another company, I’ve met my potential boss and several peers. But rarely have I met anyone who would be working for me. Google turns this approach upside down. You’ll probably meet your prospective manager and a peer, but more important is meeting one or two of the people who will work for you. In a way, their assessments are more important than anyone else’s – after all, they’re going to have to live with you. We find that the best candidates leave subordinates feeling inspired or excited to learn from them.”
Who will be your interviewer?
While some make the assumption that it is inconsequential as to who will be interviewing you during the process, knowing who will be your interviewer can actually help you. Even though it is true that an interview is a stage to showcase your potential, knowing who the judges will be has its own advantages.
For starters, many candidates suffer anxiety owing to the unknown nature of whom they will be facing in the interview. If you can find out who will be conducting your interviews, then chances are that you can look them up on the internet either on LinkedIn or even on other personal social networking sites. Apart from putting a face to a name to ease your anxiety, you might even be able to find something to bond over. Be it attending the same university or having similar hobbies, connecting over something like this helps break the ice during an interview.
Like many other factors that differ from company to company, those conducting an interview also vary with companies. We will, however, be usually looking at two main situations based on the size of the company.
At a startup or small company
When attending an interview with a startup or a company that is small in size, then you might be facing someone in the engineering team, a senior developer or even the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). All interviewers that you face in a company like this would likely have technical experience and might turn out to be your future bosses or peers. Don’t make the mistake of expecting only technical questions in your interviews. You might be surprised to see a behavioral twist in even the CTO interview questions. This is the case with most small companies and startups as many of the high ranking officials in these places often juggle multiple key roles.
At larger companies
At the bigger companies, the recruitment process is usually more streamlined. You might even be introduced to the hiring manager and IT manager who might brief you about the entire process right at the beginning.
Chances are high that in large companies you will be subjected to multiple interviews with a number of different people. This might include a whiteboard challenge with the tech team or IT manager, an interview to determine your cultural fit with the hiring manager or HR, and maybe even an executive interview with the CTO.
If you wish to know more about your role then there are certain interview questions to ask hiring managers. Here are a few examples:
- What specific qualities are you on the lookout for when hiring for this role?
- How does a typical day in this role pan out?
- Once I join, what will be the first important problem that I would need to solve?
Similarly, there are specific questions to ask IT manager during interview to understand the technical work requirements precisely. Here are some sample questions:
- Can you tell me about a complex project that you worked on here that proved to be exciting and fulfilling?
- While I don’t have experience in the domain that the company works with, I am willing to learn. What are the resources that I will be provided with?
- Could you elaborate about the most costly technical decision that the company has had to live with?
What are the things interviewers analyze?
In order to pass a technical interview, a candidate has to come up with solutions to the problem posed to them or at least make proper headway while attacking the problem. This alone, however, is generally not enough to be accepted by any company, big or small. Like we mentioned before in this article, it is necessary to back your strong technical prowess with the ability to articulate your thoughts clearly. By properly explaining to the interviewer why you are doing what you are doing, and also bringing into the picture the tradeoffs and possible pitfalls, you will be showing yourself as a well rounded person.
It is thus clear that apart from your problem solving skills and coding abilities, companies hire you if you possess the necessary soft skills for tech jobs and are a collaborative person, willing to take others’ inputs. Interviewers thus analyze each candidate on three main criteria: the technical ability of the person, the problem solving ability that the candidate brings to the company, and the communication skill that they possess. While all three of these skills are important, coding and problem solving would have more weightage than communication, especially during the technical rounds.
Different types of interview questions for tech roles
Interview questions for technical positions come in all shapes and sizes. They can be broadly classified into three buckets: behavioral questions, situational questions and technical questions. While technical questions are asked to test your technical knowledge and know how, behavioral questions are aimed at understanding you better. Situational questions, meanwhile, help companies identify how you might perform under stressful circumstances and pressure. Here is a look at these three categories, including a few common questions that are bound to be asked:
By now, you must have realized the importance of preparing for behavioral questions in technical interviews, even if you had underestimated its role until reading this article. While there are many behavioral questions that are bound to crop up in various ways throughout a recruitment process, there are two questions and its variations that stand out generally.
If you haven’t been told “give me a quick introduction of your profile” or “tell me about yourself” in technical interview, then it might even probably be a first. Almost always the first questions to be encountered in a technical interview, it should never be taken lightly. By crafting your introduction to perfection, you will be able to impress anyone and maximize your chances of getting the job.
“Explain why you are a good fit for IT/ tech” is another behavioral question that is frequently asked, especially to freshers and graduates who just completed their courses, bootcamp grads, and people looking to switch careers and enter the tech world. While companies are looking to determine if you are a good fit for the role they have in mind throughout the recruitment process, this question makes their job a little easier as they find out why you think you are suitable in the first place.
There is a school of thought that even asks candidates to prepare answers that combine these two most common questions into one. For instance, by drafting your self introduction in such a way that you talk about the role and company you are applying for and why you see yourself as a perfect fit, you do yourself a world of good as you have tackled the two most popular behavioral questions in a single shot.
Situational technical interview questions try to find out how you will perform in a particular situation. Even the best in the business sometimes stumble when put under pressure. By seeking out information as to how you thrive when confronting the toughest challenges, companies will be adept at figuring out how best you will cope in their culture when things get difficult.
“What is the hardest technical problem you’ve solved?” is one of the standard questions that are posed to most candidates. When answering such a question, do keep in mind that the company is not only looking to find out about your technical brilliance, but also as to how exactly you are able to survive when the tide goes against you. Most technical problem solving interview questions, in fact, are also a means to measure an individual’s performance capabilities when the going gets tough.
Tech interview questions are at the core of the recruiting process for any technical role in the IT industry. These questions try to understand the programming languages you are comfortable working with, your expertise in any particular programming language and the domains you have experience working in.
The standard situational question that we mentioned – What is the hardest technical problem you’ve solved? – is also a popular tech question. This is because despite being a single question, it provides you an opportunity to touch upon multiple technical subjects, apart from telling the interviewers how you were able to overcome seemingly improbable challenges.
Apart from this, there are also many different types of troubleshooting interview questions. “Mention some common networking issues”, “what exactly is a domain?”, “what do you know about ping?” and “what do you understand about safe mode?” are some examples of troubleshooting interview questions that can be posed to freshers and experts alike.
Questions you should ask an interviewer
Many freshers make the mistake of assuming that an interview process is wholly about the ability to satisfactorily answer the questions that are being posed at you during the various stages. While this is part of the picture, one needs to keep in mind that companies are also trying to gauge your curiosity quotient and how you frame your questions. Bear in mind that seeking answers is as important as knowing answers, especially when you start out in a new environment, regardless of your seniority.
There are many interesting questions to ask interviewers that will not only impress them, but also enable you to learn more about the company and its culture. You can expect your interviewers to ask you if you “have any final questions?” be it at the end of a technical round or even a non-technical one. Knowing that there are many good questions to ask after an interview and preparing for the same gives you an opportunity to not only impress the interview panel, but also reveal to them that you really care about this role and the company. In fact, candidates who do not pose any queries at the end of an interview come off worse than those who do, and it puts them in a poor light.
In the following paragraphs, we look at a number of stages and questions that you can ask at each of these phases of the interview. Be it questions to ask about a company in an interview or interview questions to ask the hiring manager, every aspect of what question should I ask at the end of interviews is covered here.
If you have been wondering what to ask a company in an interview, your search ends here. Here are some standout examples of questions that you can pose to know more about a company’s culture, welfare and support system:
- Does the company have specific resources that new hires can access to study its product and processes? If yes, are there specifications, requirements and documentation that are required?
- How does this company nurture and groom its employees?
- Tell me something that is unique about working at this company. Something that you have never experienced anywhere else in your career.
During first interview
At the end of your first interview, there is a fair chance that you have already learnt quite a bit about the company. Questions that you pose at this stage, be it to the hiring manager or IT manager, can help you glean more information, both about the role and the best practices of the company. Here are some sample questions:
- Can you tell me some of the engineering challenges that the team/company is facing at this moment?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the team I will be joining? How are the weaknesses being addressed?
- What is the most frustrating aspect about working for this company?
During on site interview
The on site interview is likely when you will meet senior members of staff, be it those on the engineering teams or administrative teams. This means that you might likely come face to face with even CEOs, CTOs, and VPs during on site interviews. Here are some CTO interview questions, or questions that you can ask the top end of the hierarchy at the end of your interviews:
- What does success look like for this project/company?
- How do you resolve interpersonal conflicts that might arise in the company?
- How do you ramp up engineers who are new to the culture?
For end of interview
By this point, you will have a fair idea of whether or not you will be part of this company in the near future. You can still raise a few questions that will show that you are enthusiastic about the company’s scope and future action.
- How does the company decide on what to work on in the future?
- Is there something you wish were different about this job of yours?
- Given a chance, what is the one thing you will change in the company?
These are not exactly questions, but there are some actions that you can take at the end of an interview process. First and foremost should be recording whatever it is that you remember about the entire process. This will be useful for future reference and might even come in handy in other interviews.
Equally important is respecting the time the employers have given you to showcase your talents. A simple thank you note, either through email or even on LinkedIn, to the various interviewers who were involved in the process shows you in a very good light. The fact that you value their time and the opportunity they provided leaves a lasting impression and might even open up new vistas in the future.
What to do before an interview?
Questions like “what to do before an interview?” and “how to prepare for an interview with no experience?” are popular queries in most search engines. These are not only raised by freshers and grads just out of universities, but also by bootcamp graduates who are looking to switch careers. In some cases, even those in the tech industry looking to change companies after a fair few years might want to learn the ropes again in order to be in tune with the latest trends. Right from knowing to dress comfortably during the interviews to ensuring that you have read and prepared for your self introduction and final questions to ask, there is a lot that you can achieve before you are actually shortlisted for the interview process.
There are some simple trips that can enhance your chances if done diligently. Picking a programming language and devising a study and practice plan is something that you can do in the weeks and months leading up to interviews. Based on the amount of time left before your scheduled interview, you can either pick a breadth-first approach, depth-first preparation mode, or even a depth-first then breadth approach for preparation. Once through with the tech preparation, you can start thinking about how you can sharpen your soft skills, practice mock interviews and take problem solving puzzles.
Figure out your soft skills
Having reached this point of the article, you must be aware that the emphasis on technical know-how and personal core values are fairly equal. The technical interview process doubles up as a core values assessment as companies invest heavily on their recruits.
It is for this reason that the reasoning ability, work personality and communication style of an individual are tested and evaluated throughout the various stages of the screening process. Knowing your own traits and character not only helps you answer behavioral questions truthfully during an interview, but might also prove crucial in how you live your life in general. To give you a heads-up on this regard, Gyfted has created tools for your career development and personal growth, including those for soft skills self assessment.
Practice mock interviews
Before technology made the world more connected than ever before, the only way to gain more interview experience was actually to get shortlisted at different companies. Things, however, have drastically changed in a world knit together by the internet and attending mock interviews is easier than ever before.
There are websites that cater to mock behavior interviews and those that let you have a whiteboard interview online. While Pramp and Interviewing are the best mock interview sites, there are plenty of other resources (Gainlo, InterviewBit and TechMockInterview to name a few) that let you take the interview online free. Attending mock interviews helps you gain confidence, lets you focus on where you need to prepare better and gives you honest assessments on par with what you will actually see in your real interviews.
Take problem solving puzzles
We had mentioned earlier in this article that tech interviews are mainly evaluated across three criteria: coding, communication and problem solving. While Gyfted’s soft skill self assessment and practicing mock interviews helps you with the first two criteria, the only way to get better at the third is by preparing and practicing problem solving logic puzzles. There are plenty of online resources that offer problem solving puzzles with answers. Remember that rote learning of the answers to specific puzzles will take you only so far. You need to try and cultivate a problem solving mentality that helps you master the right way to approach such challenges.
Useful resources for preparing better
Separating the wheat from the chaff is a time-consuming and challenging task when it comes to finding your way through the maze that is the internet and identifying the best resources to help you prepare better for tech interviews. In this article, we have tried to streamline the process for you with signposts all through the way. Before we head to the final section where we touch upon the subject of things to do on the day of interview, here are a few more pointers that will help with your preparation.
All about getting into tech
Many still believe that getting a tech job with no experience is impossible. In our ultimate guide on how to get into tech, we not only debunked this myth, but also filled it with plenty of useful resources that make getting into the tech world a breeze.
Regardless of whether you are a fresher looking to land your first job in tech, an intern looking for full-time roles in the IT industry, a bootcamp graduate fresh out of your course, or a career changer eager to maximize your potential, our complete guide has something in it for everyone. In less than an hour, you will be able to absorb everything that is needed to make your foray into the tech world.
For those already in the IT industry, interview prep resources and technical interview practice questions are likely to be more useful. The likes of Pramp, Codility, CoderPad, SkillCrush and InterviewBit provide everything that you might be looking for and more.
These online tools and apps are recommended for all coding requirements and provide a wholesome picture of what needs to be done to get better at the skills you are training. With enough time and effort on these resources, your pathway towards a better tech role will get easier.
Day of interview
After all the preparation, slogging, and sleepless nights, it all comes down to the day of the interview. Keep in mind that you can only control the controllables and not do much about the rest. By focussing on the process of getting better technically and behaviorally, you will be able to land your dream jobs. Even if there are some failures along the way, it will only help you get better overall and put you in a better position to tackle similar challenges the next time. In this final section in our colossal guide for cracking technical interviews, we talk about how best to present yourself, having your own cheat sheet and introducing yourself in the ideal manner.
Get better at technical interview
Having done everything that you can do to get better at a technical interview before the process begins, there are some simple small things that let you earn an edge on the day of interview. Be it things to remember for an interview or how to present yourself in an interview, these are easily doable things that guarantee better results.
With respect to remembering things for an interview, a simple trick is to take a piece of blank paper, drawing a vertical rule in the middle and listing what the employer is looking for on the left and the qualities that you possess that meet these requirements on the right. By updating this sheet until the day of the interview, carrying it along when you move about and going through it as and when you can, it becomes second nature and will likely come to you without much thought. As a result, you will be able to showcase the qualities that you possess and that fit the companies’ requirements much better.
What to wear during an interview process is a question that bothers many people. Top of the priority list should be dressing comfortably as you wouldn’t be able to perform to your best if you are wearing clothes that are uncomfortable.While even T-shirts and jeans are acceptable at most places, it is important to appear smart even if dressing casually. If the company has a dress code mentioned on their social media pages or careers page, then a simple rule of thumb is to dress one level above the company’s dress code.
Prepare cheat sheet
Chill! A cheat sheet does not equate to cheating. A technical interview cheat sheet is just a common way of referring to creating a checklist that will help you stay focussed before, during and after an interview – an extrapolation of the single blank sheet that we just mentioned previously. You can even have a cheat sheet interview questions wherein you can list down the most commonly asked questions and pointers to your best answers.
Before you go to an interview, you should make sure that you have multiple copies of your resume on good quality paper, have copies of your references, notepad and pen if you have the habit of putting pen on paper, or even a smart device on which you take notes. Not having directions to the interview site is a costly mistake that many commit as it is very hard to undo the bad impression created by reaching late for your own interview.
Best practices actually include arriving for your appointment at least 10 minutes early. This additional time available on reaching early lets you review your prepared answers and questions, check your appearance for one last time in the restroom, announce your arrival to the receptionist in a relaxed yet professional manner and greet your interviewer in your best possible mindset.
How to introduce yourself to a recruiter
We mentioned earlier in this article that crafting your self introduction to perfection is the ideal way of maximizing your chances of impressing your interviewer. If you were wondering what to say in an introduction, then it is worth noting that it should include key points to introduce yourself along with 2-3 sentences describing your professional self.
Irrespective of whether we are looking at a self introduction for interview freshers or for someone with plenty of experience, one of the most popular styles currently going around when it comes to your self introduction is making an elevator pitch. The idea of an elevator pitch stems from the world of journalism wherein a journalist attempts to pitch an idea to an editor. With the editor available easily only in the 30 seconds or so when on an elevator, it turns out to be the only time the journalist can catch the editor. The elevator pitch is thus a journalist’s short (limited time), direct (have to get to the point in the limited time), and attention-grabbing (make it attractive with the best ideas) way of pitching an idea to an editor.
This same style is now being used by many for their self introduction, including those attending technical interview processes. There are some simple tips that allow you to develop a great elevator pitch for your self introduction.
First and foremost, you should start with basic background information regarding previous internships and full-time positions held. Next comes the KISS. Don’t be shocked. KISS is short for Keep It Simple and Sweet. Without delving into depths, you need to tell the interviewer an executive summary of one of your favorite or most impressive projects. Thirdly, telling the interviewer why they would want you and why you will be a great hire would have to be the final portion of your self introduction. The fourth and most important tip to perfecting your elevator pitch is practicing it repeatedly. While having a good self introduction helps, delivering it quickly, naturally and in an easy to follow manner gives you the best results. The only way to strike that balance is by practicing your perfected elevator pitch time and time again. Once you have that balance, you then possess in your armory a one minute self introduction that is hard to ignore by almost everyone.
Getting into the tech world is the dream for many, regardless of their age group or experience. And even within the IT industry, there is a constant churn as people try to maximize their potential and seek companies that best fit their needs. In this comprehensive article, we have provided umpteen resources that look at various facets of the technical interview process. By studying them and working diligently, it is possible to get your desired outcomes and land your dream roles.
Succeeding in technical interviews can be compared to winning Grand Slam tennis tournaments. In the single’s category of Grand Slam events, there are 128 players in the main draw. In order to win the event and lift the title, an individual player has to win seven successive matches. Similarly, an individual candidate has to repeatedly outshine their peers to progress to the next stages and become the one person who is selected for the role at the end of a technical interview process.
We have provided you with the racquet, balls and training facilities, so as to say. It is time for you to serve an ace!