When it comes to intimidation during the interview process, the technical interview takes the cake. No matter your level of experience or education, you never know if you are fully prepared for what you will be asked to do. And being faced with an empty whiteboard and a panel of interviewers can make even the strongest candidates stumble.
But even if you feel confident about your actions, how do you know that you were actually successful? While the answer isn’t as black and white as your technical interview responses, there are a few signs that suggest a positive outcome.
The “Right” Answer
As with any test, getting the answer right is the key to success. However, technical interviews don’t always involve a single right answer. Some scenarios can be managed through a variety of approaches, so whether your method was sound matters more than the precise direction used. As long as your method can produce consistent results should the variables change, you should consider that a success.
However, it is helpful to brush up your skills based on information in the job posting. For example, if a particular programming language is explicitly listed on the announcement, then make sure you are comfortable with it before heading into the technical interview. Whether that means breaking out textbooks from your college days, taking an online refresher course, or simply practicing at home, give yourself an opportunity to get those concepts back in mind before facing unexpected questions during the interview.
While writing the answer on the board is an important part of the process, so is clearly communicating your methods and reasoning. Technical interviews give interviewers and hiring managers indications regarding how you think when faced with a problem. And their assessment is based on how you manage these scenarios in real-time. Strong candidates are able to keep their composure and articulate their reasoning as they proceed through the task.
This doesn’t mean that you need to speak to your approach with the ease of a well-prepared speech, but you do need to be able to manage it like a comfortable conversation. If you keep everyone engaged and maintain a professional tone during your interview, a few stutters and missteps won’t be your undoing.
Most people don’t spend significant portions of their day writing on whiteboards for other’s benefit. And writing on a vertical surface isn’t generally as comfortable as something placed on a table. However, if you begin your technical interview and your handwriting is illegible, then you may run into trouble.
Now, no one is expecting elegant script during these exercises, so don’t stress about the attractiveness of your handwriting. If it can be easily read by everyone in the room, you should be fine. Often, simply slowing down your writing can keep everything in the realm of reasonable, so just try not to rush.
If your technical interview met the criteria above, then it is possible to consider it a success regardless of whether you are selected. As with any interview, every time you repeat the process, you will be more prepared for the next one. If you are looking for more tips on technical interviews or are interested in new job opportunities, The Armada Group is here to help. Contact us and see what positions are available in your area.
IT pros spend a lot of time dealing with computers. So it's no surprise that sometimes they interact better with machines than they do with people. This can be a problem when it comes to getting hired, because an interview isn't a coding challenge. You need to figure out the human factors to ace the test. Here's how:
Don't be arrogant.
Are you a master of arcane technical knowledge? That's great, and it's definitely important to bring that knowledge to the interview. But it's also important that you don't come across as arrogant, or impatient if an interviewer asks you more basic questions.
Along the same lines, if the interviewer describes their project to you, don't insult the work that their team has done. You can offer an honest opinion as to where you would have used the technology differently, but don't offer a harsh critique without some positive comments as well.
Find out as much as you can about the company, the project, and the team that you're interviewing for. With this information, you can tailor your responses to match what the team needs. That doesn't mean lying about your experience or your interests, but simply choosing to emphasize different aspects of your background and experience. It also lets you brush up on the technology you're likely to be asked about.
Don't talk on and on.
Many technical staff are introverted, so talking too much isn't normally their problem. But in a situation where you're nervous, like an interview, it's common to talk more than you should. Rein in your nerves, give the interviewer a chance to finish their question, and tailor your response to the specific question.
Help the interviewer see how you fit in.
The best way to win a job offer is to seem like you belong there. This isn't just about dressing appropriately; it's about showing how you can help the team. If the interviewer mentions challenges or difficulties the project team is facing, talk about similar challenges you've faced and how your experience can help the team overcome their current issue. Sharing your knowledge and solving a problem for the group even before you're hired is a great way to demonstrate your value to the employer!
The Armada Group has more than 20 years of experience matching candidates to opportunities. Our recruiters will help prepare you for your interviews with all the information you need to shine. Take a look at our hot jobs database to search for an opportunity to boost your career.