An important part of any job interview for a technical role is the technical interview or skills test. It is one thing to be able to say you have the necessary skills or list them on your resume, but demonstrating those skills is imperative. If you want to be prepared for the all-important technical screen, here are a few tips on what NOT to do throughout the interviewing process.
- Do not forget to research the company: As a candidate for a position, it is important to understand the company history and culture. A strong fit, even for a technical role, will include fitting into the company culture. Prior to the interview, research the company, their values and the individuals you will likely be speaking with.
- Do not assume your resume speaks for itself: Your resume can’t exclusively speak for you. Yes, hiring managers will definitely read through your resume prior to speaking with you, however they will often ask you follow-up questions based on your listed qualifications and experience. By asking about your skills and your process, hiring managers can better understand your communication skills and your technical thought process. A resume will only tell so much.
- Do not forget your portfolio: If you have examples of past work you have completed readily available or examples of how you resolved technical roadblocks, bring them along to your interview. Having more examples will better demonstrate the breadth of your work.
- Do not embellish your skill set: While to most this may sound self-explanatory, it is important that you are truthful and honest when disclosing your skills. In a technical interview, you will likely be asked about the extent of your experience with different technical stacks and programming languages. Be honest and confident about the level of experience you have and your willingness to get up to speed if additional training is needed.
- Do not come across as over-confident: It is important to remember that, in technology, there isn’t only one way to complete a technical problem. Be mindful when answering questions about how you phrase your opinions. Your way is never the only way to complete a project. Demonstrate your experience, but don’t seem closed off to another methods of completing technical tasks.
- Do not feel you are above the technical screen: Whether the screen is a skills assessment, coding challenge or personality test, refusing to complete the test will make the hiring manager believe you either do not possess the skills on your resume or that you are above it; neither of these will reflect well in your favor. Use a technical screen to further demonstrate the skills you possess. Don’t take the easy path and copy code from a previous screen or work. Treat each screen like a full-time job; try to complete the test with your best effort.
- Do not go into the screen rusty: Do not forget to practice before you perform the technical screen. If the screen includes a coding test or exercise, having the skills fresh on your mind will be a big advantage and will hopefully impress the interviewer. The more relaxed and prepared you are, the greater potential for success you have.
- Do not discount soft skills: Yes, a technical interview will be testing your programming skill set and experience; however do not forget about your soft skills. Your soft skills, including communication, leadership and teamwork, are incredibly important and can come across in certain technical interviews and the interview process as a whole. A top candidate can wow hiring managers with both technical and soft skills.