How to Level Up your Technical Interview Game
I'm a developer who frequently interviews people. I want to find people that I'll be able to work well with and who will be able to do a great job on our client projects, making it important for candidates to show me what they know and are capable of.
So here are a few hints that I've come up with from my experience interviewing the good, the bad, and the eh... hopefully they will make things easier for you to focus on the things that will highlight the skills that matter, and help determine if you're right for the job and equally important, if the job is right for you.
Know your audience
Some things we look for in a technical interview are professional experiences. For example - what are the programming languages that you use every day? Do you work on a team? Do you use Agile methodologies? Do you have experience as a scrum master, leader?
We also want to hear technical stuff, challenges you've faced implementing something, stuff you like to use in your preferred programming language, new features that come for your preferred library/framework, complex concepts and how you deal with them.
Highlight your personal projects, anything you've created. Do you have a blog? Have you given a talk at an event? What are you proud of? Share it!
Less important for a technical test are business related topics. How your business works, what % profit you made, business challenges, are not as helpful in a technical interview. Instead, focus on anything that helps to determine if your skills are compatible with our needs. Maybe you worked at Google and made them millions of dollars, but Google’s stack and projects are not necessarily the same as our stack and projects. (Editor's note: Know your audience. Business acumen is great! I for example, coming from private equity, would value if you made Google millions of dollars, but a developer is more interested in your stack.)
In this interview, we want to determine if you have the profile and skill set we need to join one of our teams.
Don't be afraid to speak up
We want to get to know you. If you answer an open question with a single sentence it doesn't showcase your abilities fully.
We want to learn about you, know your experiences, let your accomplishments be known.
We want to know your actual experience. It's ok if you don't know something - we value intelligence, honesty, and a growth mindset far more highly than a specific experience with some new shiny thing in React.
If your skills are not a match for us don't despair, there are a lot of different companies with different needs. It goes both ways - if you aren't a fit for us it's better for you and for us to have that be clear sooner rather than later.
We don't expect you to know everything, it is normal to have to look things up on Stack Overflow or Google.
Oftentimes the thought process on how to solve a problem is more valuable than the right answer. If you don't know something, how do you figure it out? How do you solve the issue?
Being a good problem solver is very important. Sometimes no one has an answer, but we can work as a team to come up with a solution, figuring a way out of a troublesome situation.
Asking questions will help you determine if the job is a right fit for you. The age old adage stands true, you should interview your interviewer as much as they are interviewing you.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- What's the job stack? Node.js, React, TypeScript...?
- What's the development process? (Git, CI, PRs, PM, Designers, Devs...)
- Who'll I be working with? (Team level, ...)
Aligning expectations is very important in this process. We are interviewing you, but you're also interviewing us, so feel free to ask questions about the company as well. Hopefully, we can offer what you're looking for!
Are you up for the challenge?
Look at our join-us page and come join us. :)