How to Crack a Technical Interview?

11 minute read
How to Crack a Technical Interview?

Technical interviews are known for assessing the problem-solving skills, technical knowledge and core competencies of the candidate. Every software-based company is very particular while recruiting such candidates. These interviews are a mandatory part of the recruitment process of technical experts to check their ability. However, candidates often have a hard time cracking the technical interview owing to its level of difficulty. We have incorporated a list of best practices on how to crack a technical interview!

What is a Technical Interview?

Technical interviews are often conducted by employers who are looking to recruit candidates for engineering, computer and IT-based roles. Although not all technical interviews consist of technical problems, they are designed to understand the capabilities and technical abilities of the candidates. More often, employers assess your numerical and analytical reasoning abilities.

These interviews revolve around understanding your critical thinking skills, complex problem-solving skills and level of technical skill. You can expect an array of questions including brain teasers, numerical reasoning problems and technical assessment problems. Technical interviews can be conducted either by a telephonic interview, face-to-face video calls or in-person interview. 

Also Read: Interview Questions and Answers

Format of a Technical Interview

Technical interviews generally consist of three major stages. However, depending on the company type, the size of the company, the job role and the experience of the candidate, these stages may vary. 

Phone Screen or Telephonic Interview

Post selection of your application, you may be asked to appear for a technical phone interview. This is your first opportunity to leave a good impression on your prospective employer. This part of the interview is usually taken by an HR member of the team. They may ask questions with regards to your professional background and resume highlights. At this stage, you won’t be expected to answer any technical questions, most of the questions are structured to assess your enthusiasm and interest in the company and the job role. You need to sharpen your soft skills while attending a telephonic interview. 

There are a few companies that often skip this stage of the telephonic interview and ask candidates to directly appear for the on-site or in-person interview. Professional and experienced candidates are often exempted from this stage of the interview. 

Also Read:  How to Crack a Telephonic Interview

At-home Assignment or Remote Coding Assignment 

Employers ask potential candidates to complete an at-home assignment or a remote coding assignment to evaluate their level of technical skills. This stage of the technical interview is very crucial as it is a great opportunity to secure an in-person interview. The type of challenge or task provided to the candidates may vary: 

  • Some companies will provide you with tools such as a CoderPad, Collabedit or even a Google doc along with a real-time monitored challenge to solve
  • Some companies may test your ability in programming languages and development of user interface which is also monitored in real-time
  • Certain start-up companies may simply give at-home assignments with a deadline of 24 or 48 hours 

Employers usually evaluate your coding skills and collaborative skills under this stage. Some small companies may choose to skip this stage of the technical interview and ask candidates to directly appear for the on-site interview. 

On-site or In-person Interview

Candidates who successfully clear the assignment or the coding challenge will qualify for the in-person interview. This is considered to be the most intimidating part of the entire technical interview process. The formality of the interview and questions may differ according to the size of the company. The major types of questions that candidates can expect are:

  • Behavioural questions
  • Situational questions
  • Technical questions
  • Educational background questions

Although not that common, certain companies include the whiteboard challenge as a part of the final stage of the technical interview. Here, you will be required to solve a complex programming problem or write a series of codes. Certain companies may even ask you to solve hypothetical UI/UX design problems. Employers often expect their prospective candidates to articulate and verbalise their thought-process and reasoning while attempting this challenge. The final round of the technical interview usually lasts for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

Check Out: How to Ace an Online Interview? 

Common Technical Interview Questions

Depending on the company, employers may ask a range of questions to assess your capability. Some of the most frequently asked questions are as follows :

Questions on Education Background

Many candidates are either professionally trained or freshers with a graduate degree. You must properly express your academic accomplishments as well as any relevant training programs. Moreover, you can also mention any additional accreditations or international certifications you may have earned.

  • How did your education prepare you for this job position?
  • What are your technical certifications?
  • How do you remain up-to-date with your technical certifications and knowledge?
  • What are your main strengths and weaknesses in this field?
  • Why do you want to work with us?

Behavioural Questions

Employers usually ask behavioural questions to assess how candidates will perform in a working environment which gives an insight to the employer regarding their personality and personal skills. 

  • Do you prefer to work alone or as a team?
  • What are your most recent projects and your contribution to them?
  • Describe a project you had the most trouble with. What would you have done differently?
  • What were your specific roles and responsibilities in a recent project or job?
  • If there was one obstacle or issue that you can foresee that might prevent you from hitting a deadline, what would it be?

Situational Questions

Situational questions test your attitude towards solving hypothetical work-related problems or issues. Employers attempt to understand the capability of the candidate to face difficult challenges and come up with appropriate solutions for the same.

  • What challenges do you expect to encounter in this job if you’re hired?
  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond your expected tasks while working on a project.
  • How would you overcome the challenge of working with a difficult co-worker on a team project?
  • How would you handle receiving criticism from a superior or a co-worker?
  • What would you do if you were asked to perform a task and you were unsure how to perform or complete it?

Technical Questions

Technical questions assess your knowledge of the technical world. Different companies will have their own set of technical questions depending on their area of expertise. Candidates need to be prepared for complex technical questions and should have the ability to explain technical terms with adequate reasoning 

  • Which programming languages are you most comfortable with?
  • What does SQL mean and how does it work?
  • How do you manage source code?
  • What is a SAN and how is it used?
  • When is it appropriate to denormalize database design?
  • What source control tools have you used?
Credit: mayuko

Also Read: How to Crack a Personal Interview? 

Sample Questions with Answers

  1. Which programming languages are you most comfortable with?

Sample answer: While I am comfortable with several types of programming languages, including SQL, Python, C++ and Visual Basic, the coding language I have the most hands-on experience working with is JavaScript. Since JavaScript was the first coding language I learned, I have used it on several projects over the past few years, this is the programming language that I am most comfortable with.”

Also Read: SQL Interview Questions & Answers Explained!

  1. How did your education prepare you for this job position?

Sample answer: “During my graduation in Computer Science, I also took up several technical courses to prepare myself for this position. These courses include Data Logic, Computer Theory, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Data Management. Additionally, I hold the CISCO Certified Network Professional certificate and the Professional Software Developer Certification through the IEEE Computer Society. These certifications gave me the opportunity to learn various technology-related skills, including troubleshooting, network planning and implementation, and software design, construction, and testing.

Also Read: Python vs Java 

  1. Do you prefer to work alone or as a team?

Sample answer: As a self-motivated, driven individual, I’d prefer to work alone because I have no issues working long hours on my own to ensure that I achieve good results. However, if an opportunity arises, I’m also accustomed to working in a team. My experience in this field has taught me to communicate and work with others efficiently to make sure that the team is able to bring the best results through effective collaboration.

  1. How would you handle receiving criticism from your superior or co-workers?

Sample answer: I can definitely admit to receiving criticism for my work in the past and to be candid, I invite constructive criticism from my superiors and peers. Like everyone, I have received input from my previous managers that have helped me immensely in improving my projects. Once I was asked to revise a project that I had spent a lot of time on, but after listening carefully to the critique, I saw how I could make changes that would make the finished product even better. I’m always eager to learn from people with different views and experiences, especially when the commentary can help me grow in my career, and strengthen my skill set.

  1. How do you manage source codes?

Sample answer:I’ve found that the key to managing the source code is to successfully manage the shared files. The messier the source code, the less easy it is for other developers to quickly interpret a developing project. The steps that I use when managing source code includes choosing a reliable source control system, keeping the source code in source control, reviewing every change and finally, making sure all external dependencies are included in the source control.

Also Read: Introduction in Interview – Tell Me About Yourself

Tips and Tricks to Ace the Technical Interview

Now that we have gone through some of the best answers that you can pitch your interviewing committee, let’s check out how you can ace in the interview in an overall sense: 

Do a Thorough Background Research

It is vital that you do thorough background research of your prospective company. This will give you a fair idea of the potential questions that may be asked during your technical interview. Each company has their own personalised set of questions which are designed to test the suitability of the candidates for their organisation. The background check gives you valuable information on your prospective employer. It sheds light on the roles and responsibilities that you may encounter while applying for the job. 

Prepare an Elevator Pitch about Yourself

The basic question that is common to all technical interviews is “Tell me about yourself”. While this is the most predictable question that can be asked by any company, candidates often struggle to form a proper response and therefore fail to impress their prospective employers. Hence, you should prepare 30 seconds to a 1-minute elevator pitch that properly describes your academic background and achievements, past working experiences and career goals. This also gives a detailed glimpse to the employers regarding your communication and verbal skills. 

Consider the Tools and Skills Necessary for the Role

Before you proceed to your interview, keep in mind the basic requirement of the job role that you’ve applied for. You should review the job description in order to determine the concepts and fundamentals to ace the interview. A strong understanding of the technical tools and skills puts you in a better position to answer any question, no matter the difficulty. Therefore, prepare a basic outline of what you need to study or review before attending the interview. 

Regularly Practice Coding Challenges

As mentioned earlier, certain companies may expect their candidate to prove their abilities by completing coding challenges. Hence, begin your preparations in coding and programming languages from an early stage so that you are prepared to face any challenges that have been put forward by the employer. Go through past challenges and interviews of older employers to have an idea of the test. 

Have Confidence and the Right Attitude

During the process of the technical interview, employers do not merely look for the right answers. They also judge your ability to confidently answer the questions and the attitude and ease with which you handle the questions. Therefore, do not be eager to answer the questions immediately, think thoroughly before responding to the interviewer’s question. If you’re unable to answer a question, be frank and open with your employer, it portrays your honesty and confidence.

Be Verbal

Employers also assess candidates on the basis of their ability to properly articulate their thinking process while solving any challenges. This gives them a glimpse of the working process and manner of thinking of the candidate which allows them to evaluate whether they’re a good fit for their company. Do not hesitate to give your two cents while completing a project or challenge given by your prospective employer. Sometimes, employers enjoy valuable input from their potential candidates since it showcases their ability to reason and give constructive criticism. 

Ask Questions

There is a well known saying, “Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back”. Most often, candidates are afraid to ask their potential employers questions or doubts while responding or solving assignments. This leads to more confusion and misunderstanding because of which they may fail to ace their technical interview. Therefore, you must write down questions or doubts that you wish to resolve during the interview. However, keep in mind that it is customary for candidates to hold their questions until the end of the interview. 

Manage your Time Efficiently

The more focused and prepared you’re for your technical interview, the more likely you are to pass it. Carefully calculate your answers and be precise while responding to any questions. Do not take a long time while solving any assignment or real-time challenges. As a matter of fact, while practising your mock coding or technical challenges, set a timer to ensure you complete your task within the stipulated time. The more time you waste while responding or solving a challenge, the less likely you are to be considered for the job position. 

Remain Calm and Do Not Be Afraid of Rejection

Rejection is a common fear among candidates and most often, candidates fail to appear for technical interviews due to their fear of being rejected by their prospective employers. However, it is important to know that you should not succumb to the fear of rejection and pressure that comes with every interview. Be confident in your own ability and skill set. Instead of seeing rejection as a mark of failure, see it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and improve your skills. 

Also Read: How to Crack an Interview

Do’s of a Technical Interview

  • Dress formally in professional or business attire
  • Always be punctual and on time
  • Maintain a proper posture and smile
  • Do your homework and background research
  • Make a first good impression
  • Listen carefully and respond accordingly
  • Ask smart open-minded questions
  • Sell your strength and expertise
  • Be gracious and respectful while responding

Don’t of a Technical Interview

  • Don’t use Google to answer complex questions
  • Do not falsify information
  • Don’t speak poorly about your former and present job or employers
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer
  • Do not be late or give poor excuses
  • Don’t fidget or appear restless while responding
  • Do not make any assumptions while asking questions

Also Read: How to Describe Yourself in an Interview? 

We hope that with this blog, you will be able to successfully clear your technical interview! If you require further assistance for preparing for a college interview or pursuing a degree to advance in your career, reach out to our Leverage Edu experts and we’ll equip you with the right guidance and mentorship that will help you make informed decisions in your professional endeavours.

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