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With These Tips You Will Rock Every Technical Job Interview

Michael Hoffmann (Mokkapps) - Senior Frontend Developer (Freelancer)
Aug 16, 2018
5 min read
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With These Tips You Will Rock Every Technical Job Interview Image

In my previous company, I got the opportunity to be one of 20 so-called "candidate interviewers". I participated in technical interviews, an essential part of this company's application procedure. I participated in about 30 interviews and learned a lot during this time, and I want to share my experiences with you. In my opinion, there are some rules to adhere to succeed in a technical interview.

Job Interview Meme

Have a "good" CV and resume

These are the first documents your interviewer will review. I mainly checked the documents looking for these marks:

Is it well structured?

My recommendation: Use a LaTeX template and Overleaf for writing and publishing LaTeX files.

Are there any spelling errors?

Run a spell checker on your documents before you send them to HR. I often asked myself why people do not use technical assistance like spell checkers to avoid these kinds of unnecessary hurdles during the application procedure.

What are his/her main skills?

Please use a rating for your technical skills. Can you guess what such a list should represent:

Programming languages: Java, Python, JavaScript, C++

Does this mean you know Java the most or have the same knowledge of all languages?

I prefer a list based on the years of experience:

Programming languages

    Java:       +5 years of experience
    Python:     +2 years of experience
    JavaScript: +1 years of experience

Have buzzwords been used to make the CV look better without having the underlying knowledge?

Be prepared for some questions about tools/frameworks/libraries you mention in your CV or resume. The interviewer could pick some of them and ask little questions to see if you have experience using it.

Prepare yourself

It sounds stupid but is essential. I would say that more than 30 percent of my interviewees were poorly prepared.

For example, if you apply for a Java developer job, you should know the fundamentals of the Java programming language.

In general, I recommend asking the internet search engine of your choice, and you will find a ton of possible interview questions:

Search programming language

In summary, learn your favorite programming language and deep dive into its possible aspects.

Apply for everything that interests you, and do not fear failures

Believe me: As an interviewer, you can sense if someone has experience in technical interviews or if it is their first interview.

My recommendation: Go to as many job interviews as you can. Each time you will gain experience and get more confident. Even getting rejected from a job application will let you gain valuable experience in the process of job interviews.

Be proud of your code

If you have some project or code snippet you are proud of, add it to your application. As an interviewer, it can be helpful to see some code from the person.

I think it is positive to see if a person participates in open source projects, writes blog posts, publishes YouTube videos, or has an active Twitter channel.

A good example is WesBos. He has an exciting Twitter channel, is an active YouTuber, sells products (his courses website), has an active GitHub profile, produces a podcast, and talks at conferences. Of course, this is special, but as you can probably imagine, this can be impressive for interviewers.

So get yourself out there and make yourself attractive to other people.

Talk about yourself and not about others

Talk about the decisions you have made in projects; this is the interviewer's most exciting part. This way, the interviewer can see if someone can make a decision and compare and advocate it against others.

It has a negative connotation if the interviewee only talks about other people's decisions.

Learn to hand write code in front of people

It's an essential skill that you should train. Take some coding challenges and practice them on a whiteboard or flip chart. You should feel comfortable as this can happen in any technical interview.

Most of the time, you will have to solve an algorithmic problem. I would suggest following these steps in such a situation:

  • Take your time and think about a solution (do not start to write code immediately)
  • Find a brute force solution and talk about its Big O notation
  • Try to find a more efficient solution and talk about the improved Big O notation
  • Write down the steps of your solution in clear text. It's helpful for the interviewer and the interviewee to see if the proposed solution is correct
  • Write down your code
  • Test your written code with different parameters and check if it works
  • Talk about possible code improvements and unit tests

Be a specialist in a specific topic

You should be able to describe your profession in 1-2 short sentences. It's helpful for interviewers to identify your technical focus, and you will probably be mainly asked about stuff you are good at.

Bad example: Software Developer

Good example (again from Wesbos): Designer, Developer & Entrepreneur making the web an awesome place

Reading the second sentence gives me a clear picture of this developer in only one sentence.

Additionally, it is easier to find the perfect job offering if you are a specialist in a specific topic. If you are, for example, a JavaScript expert, you can explicitly search for corresponding offerings. Otherwise, as a generalist, you will likely have a broad knowledge of different programming languages and technologies but not in-depth in a particular topic.

Be able to draw project architectures

You should be able to draw a high-level project architecture of a project you worked with in an understandable but technically correct way.

An excellent example of a complex project:

Google Cloud Hue Architecture

Be passionate

Let the interviewer know that software development is your passion. Talk about your favorite features of your preferred programming language, tool, or framework. Let the interviewers know how you keep yourself up to date and why you love to write code.

Conclusion

Of course, I cannot guarantee that you will succeed in every technical job interview if you follow my tips. But I am sure you are more confident, less nervous and better prepared