How to Approach and Prepare for a Technical Interview
If you’re looking for a job in tech, the idea of a technical interview might seem daunting, especially because every company has its own hiring processes and requirements. Even so, preparation is key to help ease nerves, quiet your imposter syndrome, and give you the boost of confidence you need to do well. To prepare, it’s important to focus not only on the technical knowledge and skills you’ll need to demonstrate and discuss during the interview but also on the mindset you should attempt to cultivate in order to set yourself apart from other candidates.
In this post, we’ll briefly address the technical side before diving into how to approach the overall interview with confidence so you’re sure to impress hiring managers.
First, the technical side of the interview:
Tech Elevator Philadelphia Instructor Yoav Morahg wrote a great post about technical interviews, covering questions you might reasonably expect to encounter, and how to answer them. He writes in-depth about the possibility of:
- Phone interviews: According to Yoav, one of the most important things you can do to prepare for a phone interview is to review your coding terminology. You should be comfortable explaining concepts aloud and providing examples of how they might be used.
- Full interviews (technical and behavioral): These can have both technical and behavioral components and can last anywhere from 2-4 hours, according to Yoav. You’re likely to be asked to talk through a programming problem and/or explain a project that you’ve worked on.
Even for individuals who feel generally confident in their ability to interview for non-tech jobs, the software development technical interview process is almost always new to those who are new to tech. At Tech Elevator, we provide bootcamp students with technical interview training through both internal and external mock interviews.
For more on the technical interview experience, read Yoav’s post. His experience and expertise will help you prepare for the technical portion of a typical interview experience, ensuring you’re comfortable discussing your skills, knowledge, and future goals.
Next, the soft skills needed to excel in the interview (and beyond).
A successful coding career is not solely about coding skills. Hiring managers are looking for other skills too, including interest and enthusiasm for the role, curiosity and the ability to ask good questions, and willingness to work in a team environment, among others.
When asked about hiring manager priorities, Tech Elevator Director of Admissions Kalyn Breneman noted that companies are looking for employees who possess a blend of technical talent along with the ability to effectively collaborate.
“You have to work well with others, and you have to be able to collaborate,” she said. “It’s no longer the norm in larger organizations that developers aren’t client or business-facing. It’s now the expectation that programmers can communicate with the business side, just as the business side is expected to be able to communicate with the technical teams.”
To demonstrate this skill during an interview, be sure to communicate your ability to work in teams. As you’re walking through a project or answering questions, highlight work you’ve done on your own, as well as areas where you’ve collaborated with teammates. Don’t hesitate to bring up how you and the team worked through challenges, which helps demonstrate your commitment to finding solutions no matter who you’re paired with.
According to Kalyn, it’s also important to showcase your resilience and adaptability. In a shifting job market – and in a tech industry always evolving with new tools and technologies – hiring managers are looking for candidates who can evolve and show genuine interest in continuous learning and growth.
Tap into confidence sprouted from other experiences.
If you’re someone transitioning into tech from a totally different field, this can and should be viewed as a strength. During an interview, you can highlight your career shift, detailing the time and effort it took to make such a significant change in your life.
You can also discuss some of the skills learned in your former career and how you’ve been able to bring them with you into software development. Your path is your path, and its unique nature is something you can use to build confidence.
“Confidence is really important. There isn’t just one path for all,” said Kalyn. “Bootcamps, for example, are taking people from other industries, who have all of this rich experience and who have different ways of thinking… and these people are bringing their out-of-the-box thinking into their new work environments, and they’re revolutionizing the way that we program; it’s really exciting.”
How to get started with Tech Elevator.
To get to the point where you’re even ready to think about applying for tech jobs and preparing for technical interviews, you need to build up your coding skills.
Here at Tech Elevator, we teach full-stack development in our coding bootcamps so that you’re prepared for a wide variety of open roles. We team up with hiring partners to help you make vetted connections, and we offer our Pathway Program to students during the bootcamp so each and every person is supported with career coaching, employee introductions, and much more. Our support for each individual extends for a full year post-graduation.
If you’re interested in a career in tech, get started by taking our aptitude test today!
Written by Kalyn Breneman, Director of Admissions