The prospect of a new job is exciting, but it’s no secret that job interviews are scary. And while the traditional job interview is daunting, technical interviews are even more intimidating for most. After all, traditional interviews are usually based on soft skills and culture fit, while technical interviews are essentially about displaying your skill level. That can be a lot of pressure for most.
From the perspective of a hiring manager, technical interviews are imperative. They give the hiring manager a sneak peak into each candidate’s style of workflow, thought process, technical strengths, as well as their weaknesses.
And while technical interviews are especially intimidating to junior candidates, let us all be reminded that everyone has to start somewhere. Even the most talented and senior level engineers were once in your shoes.
While skill level and understanding are obviously very important, it’s important to note that technology is an ever-changing industry, where those that are adaptable thrive most. For this reason, hiring managers want to see that you have the aptitude to keep learning and that you’re forever eager to learn more. The best way to do this is to show your ability to learn from mistakes, as well as your ability to directly apply a new concept to the problem at hand.
Curiosity goes hand in hand with passion and intuition. One of the best ways to show this is to ask well-formed questions. Let’s face it, your interviewer doesn’t expect you to be a know-it-all, nor do they want to hire a know-it-all! But, to have the ability to ask great questions shows that you’re curious about the topic at hand and passionate about learning more. What’s more, asking questions shows that you’re intuitive and that you use your intuition when solving problems.
When stumped by a problem, the easy thing to do is to give up, get up, throw up your hands, and leave. This attitude will get you nowhere in your technical interviews. A clearly better option to take when stumped is to give the problem your absolute best shot. Verbalize to your interviewer what’s stumping you as well as what you know. Make educated guesses. But most importantly, go above and beyond the specs or requirements given to you.
No matter how smart you are or how talented you are, finding work will be difficult if you’re not a pleasant person to work with. Aside from evaluating your technical skills, your interviewers may also be asking themselves whether or they see themselves collaborating with you. They may want to see that you take suggestions well and can carry on efficient yet pleasant conversations about the problem at hand. They might also want to see that you possess the company’s core values, which are usually reflected on their website.
In addition to strong understanding, interviewers want to see that you can communicate your understanding. Do this by thinking aloud while problem-solving, all while showing that you’re a methodical, thorough, and structured thinker. One way to practice this skill is to explain code to friends and peers that don’t understand programming. If you can do that, talking to fellow programmers will be a breeze!
With these tips and this perspective, your nerves will be nonexistent for your next technical interview! Happy Coding!