You’ve been able to tweak your resume for your technical interview using the tips we shared previously. With no experience in the tech industry, how do you ace your first technical interview?
This is probably going through your mind and explains why you are here. We’ll answer this question for you by providing trusted tips and tricks as well as direction to help you make the best of this opportunity.
This article is also helpful for any person who isn’t necessarily going in for a technical interview which requires high coding knowledge. So it can be applicable for product management, sales development roles, etc. If this is your first interview at a tech company, then you should check this out!
We’ve also included tips from interviewers we have worked in the past with. So this is up to date utilizing recent interview experiences from some of our clients as well as our knowledge.
Most tech interviews or tech companies usually come in three basic stages:
- 1st stage: the technical phone screen. The company would usually have reviewed your resume at this stage or an interviewer might have reached out via LinkedIn. This is usually where they consider if you are a suitable candidate.
- 2nd stage: coding interview/assignment to be done at home. Some companies will test your coding skills with a preliminary test which you can complete at the comfort of your home. It may be conducted over the phone, virtually, or homework-type assignment.
- Final stage: onsite interview/ whiteboarding challenge. This stage involves an in-person interview with coding challenges you have to complete on a whiteboard in front of the interviewer or a panel. In some other cases, it’s a mix of situational and behavioural interviews as well.
1. Have a story
There is something termed ‘the art of story telling in job hunting’ and we can’t emphasize this enough. Of course, you want this job because you want a pay to live a comfortable life. However, this isn’t a convincing story and won’t compel an interviewer to hire you over another qualified candidate during a technical interview.
So how do use story telling to your advantage?
A good story has a beginning, middle and an end. The safe way to go about this is asking: what, why, when and constructing this in such a way that moves the listener to buy into your story. This helps reinforce your personal brand which is key to any technical interview success and is particularly sought after in most new generation tech companies since they are big on culture.
If you are a new immigrant, draw into your experience as a new comer. People are moved with such personal stories, however, pull your story back to the job at hand.
For example: if you are asked what your biggest project you have ever worked on is, you can share something like this:
“I recently moved from my home country (Name of Country), but before then, I knew that I would like to work in a software company in (Name of function, e.g. Product Management), however, I didn’t have skills in this area.
Tapping into my dream, I had to work on having the right requirements to actually relocate, but even though I had the right requirement, I knew that I wanted to work in my ideal environment so I started planning well ahead of time. I began reading sites like XXXX which gives a lot of knowledge on this field and got my admission early enough so that as I arrive the country I’m better aligned for my goals.
Being here today for this interview, is a result of all of that planning and strategy. I believe I can definitely apply the skills I’ve learned even to my work if I am given the opportunity. I’ve learned dedication, time management and focus.”
Of course, your story telling during an interview doesn’t have to be extremely personal, but there are instances where you can draw into personal experiences unique to you because this helps stand you out from other interviewers.
If you have work related experiences, you can tie into that as well when answering questions. However, if you’ve used a work related example over again and want a fresh story which is personal especially when you have limited experience, you can simply ask the interviewer: “Do I need to use a work related experience or can I share a personal experience?”
It’s acceptable to ask such question which equally allows you stay in line with the interviewer’s expectation so that you don’t derail from the topic. In story telling, use your intuition and the communication being received from the interviewer.
2. Gather as much knowledge utilizing available resources
Doing well in technical interviews or for most tech companies requires practice! So practice over an over again before the interview day.
Check out Glassdoor, to look up the types of companies you want to work for and read the reviews left by people who have concluded interviews there. You’ll find tips and pointers. They may leave the types of questions they were asked which will provide you with insights. Depending on the company and NDA they may also provide answers.
Also use Udemy to quickly get affordable courses that you can watch to prepare for technical questions that could come up. Learn the lingo.
3. Show your work and ask questions
Depending on how technical the role you are applying for is, you may need to check your assumptions and explain why you made them. Most companies will require whiteboarding for many technical interviews like software developer or architect roles.
To do this ask follow up questions with the interviewer as problem solving is key in most technical interviews and you want to show that you have this skill.
In most cases, the interviewer is looking out for your process and not really the answer. Share why you are doing something or thinking in a certain way depending on what the question is rather than aiming to have the right answer especially when coding is involved. Think of how you can make your work/ code more efficient afterwards and explain your findings.
Most of all, be honest in letting the interviewer know your skill level rather than being dishonest about your level of programming knowledge.
4. Research who you’ll be taking to during the technical interview
It’s an extra point when you research your interviewers first by looking them up on LinkedIn. It can help a a great deal in putting a face to the name and could also help you find mutual ground on a topic that interests you both when you find that’s the person’s specialty.
Also, this gives you an upper edge in preparing for questions to ask. During the interview, if you are asked a question that the interviewer is an ‘expert’ on and you aren’t sure, be honest about this and explain what you are familiar on.
Acting like you know something when you don’t may come back to hunt you as they might have follow up questions that could leave you hanging. Most tech companies what to see the areas that you may require training on when you get the offer.
5. Don’t underestimate the phone interview
Many people are of the opinion that the phone interview is simply for HR interviewers to ask simple questions. This might be true for some companies but the top tech companies these days are finding ways to sieve out candidates faster and now conduct technical interviews over the phone via their recruiters.
It may come as quick multi-choice questions or may be one where you have to give an answer. Either way, prepare well enough by studying hard depending on the area you are interviewing for.
Check out additional tips we’ve shared on A Guide To Nailing A Phone Interview
Lastly, be yourself as that’s the best you can ever be. You are almost there, go get that job!
You can also read this article which is quite detailed on preparing for your tech interview and what you can expect.
- Review your job description and write out the technical questions that could come up. prepare for those.
- Check out this article: How to Answer Commonly Asked Interview Questions & Sample Responses
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let us know. We are here to support you in reaching your goals! You can use the chat box or send us a quick email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.