Jan 15, 2019

How to Handle Technical Interview Questions

A coding or technical interview is a major part of the job application process for many tech jobs. While your portfolio may be enough to attract attention and prove that you're a good candidate, it's the technical interview that allows you to really show off how you work and what you know. These tips can help you ace your coding interview questions.

Draw From Preparedness

As with any interview, you need to prep for a technical interview. Look into sample questions for the exact type of position you're applying for. Complete those sample questions and check your answers. You may even want to go back to your notes from your Intro to Programming program to make sure you aren't getting too focused on the most advanced languages you know. You might actually get asked a question like the classic fizzbuzz problem, which might not be answerable with whatever code you've been working with most recently. But don't go too crazy trying to cram. If you're applying for a job as a front-end web developer, focus on the most relevant languages for that job, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Be Prepared to Answer Non-Technical Questions

Though you may have already covered the "why did you apply for this job?" type questions at an earlier stage of the process, some people like to ask some ice-breaker type personal questions before jumping into the actual coding work. These questions may be focused on your work style or professional behavior, like "tell me about a time you disagreed with a coworker" or "what's the most challenging problem you've faced as an engineer?" Even if you're nervous, you want to answer these questions in detail. It's still an important part of the interview, even if you knock the coding part out of the park.

Be Flexible and Adaptable

Your coding interview will probably take place in a meeting room with other people from the team you'd be joining, and you may work on a whiteboard instead of a computer. This is an unusual coding environment for people who've never done this before, so it's worth practicing beforehand. Whether it's a whiteboard, paper, or computer, try to focus on the task at hand and don't get thrown off by the lack of familiarity. Also be aware that you're being observed for your behavior and your willingness to be a team player, in addition to your expertise. If someone in the room gives you feedback or tries to help if you seem stuck, don't get upset. The interviewers might take that as a sign that you aren't willing to take criticism and don't work well with others. At the same time, you don't want to appear helpless. Try to strike the same balance you would on an average day at the office.