You’ve landed the interview — great job! Whether you are diving into the job hunt for the first time or returning to the drawing board after years as a developer, tech interviews can still seem incredibly daunting. You have put in all of the hard work, but the uncertainty of the process can make even seasoned professionals nervous. But with the right preparation and approach, you can spend less time worrying and more time impressing. Check out the following tips to help your skills shine.
A little bit of research can go a long way when it comes to prepping for your interview. Look up the company on Glassdoor, and if you know the name of your interviewer, research them on LinkedIn ahead of time. Knowing whether your interviewer is an HR manager, a project lead, or a senior developer will help you set better expectations for what kinds of questions will be asked. Researching the types of questions that may come up can go a long way as well. Check out GeekInterview to explore a database of interview questions categorized by specific roles.
Live coding and technical testing are often key components of the technical interview process. Practicing timed and uncertain questions can help you nail this segment on interview day. Check out LeetCode to explore a bank of practice coding interview questions and HackerRank to complete a range of timed challenges. Consider getting up in front of a whiteboard and having a friend ask you some questions, as you may be asked to do some live coding during the interview. Practicing all scenarios will help you get comfortable with whatever might be thrown your way.
Having a great portfolio of projects that demonstrate your skills will go a long way in convincing an employer that you know your stuff. Projects should demonstrate marketable skills and highlight your abilities in the languages required in the position you are interviewing for. Additionally, projects should demonstrate complexity, including 3-5 distinct features. These can include things like integrating with an API, interacting with a database, or having a login or authentication component. Consider using a framework such as Angular or React for front end sites and projects. The number of projects you have is not nearly as important as the complexity and professionalism of any given project. Having your portfolio organized and easily accessible will help make a great impression with your interviewer.
When the interviewer asks a question, whether technical or not, take a moment to think and consider your answer before beginning a response. Particularly for tricky technical problems, taking a pause shows depth of thought. If you feel the need to answer immediately, throw out a filler phrase like “That’s a great question” or repeating the question to give yourself time to think.
When it comes to technical questions, employers often are as interested in your thought process as they are in your final answer. Don’t assume any knowledge (unless your interviewer says to) and articulate every step of your thought process. This will help make your answer clear and keep you on track.
Even if you are uncertain in an answer, put your best foot forward when solving a problem. Avoid self-deprecating humor...giving yourself the benefit of the doubt will make your interviewer more likely to do that same.
This advice applies both during and after the interview. If you are unsure about a question, ask clarifying questions to ensure you are zoning in on the right things. Additionally, ask questions of your interviewer after the interview to highlight your depth of knowledge and interest in the company and the opportunity. For technical roles, showing an interest and knowledge in technical team dynamics will help contribute to your credibility. Consider asking questions about scrum, agile, team dynamics, and current/future projects to demonstrate your willingness to be a team player.
Be sure to send a thank-you note to your interviewer(s) after the interview. Generally, you can send this note via email, but make sure to tailor it specifically to topics from the interview, including ideas you may have for improving the company’s site, or further examples of work you highlighted in the interview.
No matter the outcome, every interview is a learning opportunity. If you find certain questions tripping you up, take note, look-up answers after the interview, and keep practicing similar problems to be better prepared for you next opportunity!
By Haley Shoaf & Sally Steuterman
of the LaunchCode Tech Team