Technical interviews are a mainstay of IT jobs because employers need to know that their new hires have the ability to do what is needed. Technical skills are the most important requirement for most IT jobs, which is why employers will often use technical interviews to confirm that new hires have the skills they say they do and can use them in real life job situations.
Understanding the Technical Interview Format
A technical interview is almost more like a test: it consists of a real-world or sample problem or task that the candidate is expected to complete successfully. It is meant to show that you have the right skills to do the job you want to get.
There may also be other questions during the interview that give the candidate a chance to demonstrate core or foundational competencies in addition to specific skills. The emphasis is on skills during this interview, so other interviews may be conducted to determine soft skills or other necessary requirements.
A Guide to Technical Interviews: Steps to Prepare
When preparing for a technical interview, here are a series of particular steps you can take.
Research Company and Role
Knowing the company culture and particular job requirements is important and can easily be found through online searching. If you know any current employees, talking to them about the company and culture is another good way to find out what you’re walking into before the interview.
Study Relevant Technologies
The job description will tell applicants which skills are needed for the job. Before the interview, it’s a good idea to study relevant technologies, especially if they aren’t something you use all the time or it has been a while since you first learned the skills.
Practice Coding Questions
Most coding or other IT tasks are set up to be done live while explaining your process, so it’s a good idea to practice doing so ahead of time. Sites like SPOJ and Geektastic are a good resource for practicing coding problems online before you have to do one in an interview.
Prepare Behavioral Questions
Although soft skills will not be the focus of a technical interview, they will still be tested in some ways because they will be part of the candidate package if you are hired. Particularly when the employer doesn’t have time for an extended interview process, you should be ready for soft skills like communication and adaptability to be tested during a technical interview.
Mock technical interviews are a valuable resource for anyone participating in the interview process, but are particularly helpful for those who seem to get a lot of interviews but few offers as well as those who lack confidence during interviews. Several websites have been set up to provide mock interview resources like feedback so you can correct weak areas before the real thing. Local resources through the state employment agency or college career centers will also help with mock interviews.
Day-of Interview Tips
On the day of the interview, be sure to dress professionally even if the company has a casual dress code. Shake hands if a hand is offered to you, and look your interviewer in the eye. Also try your best to get a good night’s sleep the night before so you’re fresh and can think clearly.
During the interview, take your time working on the task given to you. Explain your process clearly. It’s better to say too much than too little, if you keep it professional and don’t veer off into personal topics.
Answer any questions asked of you, but don’t volunteer unrelated information. Ask questions of your own as you think of them; this shows your interest in the job. Following these guidelines will show that you are knowledgeable and have the skills they need.
If you struggle to find or apply for positions in the IT field, GDH has the help and expertise you need. Contact us today.