A technical interview, depending on the field, could be writing out a code you developed or working through a program. Sometimes they will give you a broken code and you have to fix it, other times they want to see how you problem solve. So, how do you best prepare for a technical interview? We’ve got you covered!
How to do your research
Technical interviews vary by company. You can research how an employer does technical interviews by:
- Asking what to expect next at the end of your first interview.
- Checking the employer’s website (for example Google Interview Tips).
- Check Glassdoor.com, which offers many job/employer-specific interview questions.
- Reach out to connections and alumni using LinkedIn and LindkedIn/Alumni.
How to prepare
It is a good idea to think about a few things as you prepare:
- What problems have you solved in your coursework and in internships or independent projects? This will help you be ready to talk through examples of how you approach a new assignment.
- What language are you strongest in? Many employers will give you the option to use the language you know best for sample coding exercises.
- What kinds of problems does the employer solve in their business? Focus on those areas as you think about the kinds of problems they might ask you about.
Understand the different types of technical interviews
Depending on the company, there can be a variety of approaches used in the technical interview. These might include any of the following:
- A consulting discussion. The interviewer poses a question to see how you think. It is a great idea to ask clarifying questions and to talk through your thought process. They want to learn how you take in problems and how you approach coming to a solution.
- A programming test. The interviewer gives you a specific programming problem, and you work through a rough algorithm and then code it using a tool like CodeInterview, or a whiteboard.
- Past experience. In-depth discussions of projects you’ve worked on to see how you approach design, coding, testing, quality, roadblocks and collaboration.
- A pair-programming session. This allows you to work with another person to see how you work and interact with others.
Remember to ask questions as the interview progresses. This dialogue will help the interviewer see that you are interested in the work, the employer and that you are engaged. It is a strength, not a weakness!
- There are no shortcuts: Practice a lot.
- Be ready for questions related to what you have on your resume.
- Over-communication is better than not communicating. They want to know how you problem-solve.
- It’s OK to ask questions! Focus on clarifying questions or asking for context.
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