Crack the Code: A Step-by-Step Guide to Acing Your Technical Interview

Crack the Code: A Step-by-Step Guide to Acing Your Technical Interview

With the new year among us, there's no better time to get an internship or a new job. To help you on this journey, I'll share some tips on preparing for a technical interview. To ace a technical interview, you'll need to prove that you have the skills and knowledge to do the job.

Let's start by going through the three stages of a technical interview.

Stage 1: A Phone or Video Interview

This is normally an introductory call that allows both parties to become familiar with each other. In some cases, you might be asked some theoretical questions.

To better prepare for a phone or a video interview, here are some tips to consider:

  • Know the audience that is interviewing you, and kindly request to know their roles in the company if they fail to mention them when introducing themselves. This will allow you to know how to approach the interview. If the interviewer has programming knowledge, you can use technical terms, but if they don't, flaunt your soft skills.

  • Communicate what interests you about the job and what projects you look forward to working on.

  • Answer questions in a way that's specific to the company you are applying to. This allows interviewers to see you are interested in joining their company and that you have done some research on them.

  • Sound excited about the company and the possibility of joining.

Stage 2: A Remote Coding Interview or Assessment

This stage involves undertaking a technical task. In most cases, it is a takeaway assessment.

Some tips to consider when taking the coding assessment include:

  • Ensure you understand the instructions and the requirements of the project.

  • Manage your time properly to get the task done on time.

  • Avoid implementing too many new concepts. In most cases, the assessment will require you to implement a new language. If that's the case, try to use the knowledge that you already have.

  • Ensure the code you write can be tested. If it can't, you might have to rewrite the entire thing.

Stage 3: Onsite or Whiteboarding Interview

This is the final stage of most interviews. During a whiteboard interview, you'll be required to write code in real-time. You could either do this in person or virtually over a video call.

To ace a whiteboard interview, take note of the following tips:

  • Try as much as possible to break down the code into simple concepts and write those concepts down. This will help show the interviewer how you reason and come up with solutions.

  • Imagine you are working with a team and note down how you would discuss, explain, and solve the problem.

  • Use the appropriate vocabulary to describe concepts.

  • Be honest if you don't know how to solve a problem; instead, let the interviewer know where you would look to find the solution.

  • Ask clarifying questions about any assumption you might have and talk through your solution. Most interviews aim to see if you can articulate your thoughts as you solve the problem.

How To Prepare for Tech Interviews

After looking at the three stages of a tech interview, let's discuss some tips that can help you prepare for them.

Research On The Company

Look into the company website for an article on how they conduct interviews. If they don't have this content, search through google for questions that previous interviewees have encountered.

Prepare for the Non-Technical Questions

It's important to prepare to answer non-technical examples. For example, you might be asked to provide real-life examples and stories of how you could solve a problem.

Some example questions to prepare for include:

  • Describing your experience when you worked as part of the team

  • Describing an experience when you showed leadership

  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work

Study Computer Science fundamentals

Do a lot of practice and study on Data structures and algorithms.

Some of the must-know topics include:

  • Arrays

  • Heaps

  • Search and sort algorithm

  • Hash tables

  • Dynamic programming

  • Trees

  • Big O Notation

  • Data Structures

Prepare a Project to Showcase During the Interview

Most job interviews list some of the technical requirements for a specific position. It's a good strategy to build a project with some, if not all, of the listed requirements. This will allow you to stand out to the interviewers.

Practice With Mock Coding Interviews

Interviewing is a skill; the only way to sharpen those skills is to show up and be interviewed. Platforms like AlgoExpert allow you to go through a mock interview with a human being.

Find a Study Buddy

Use your networks to find someone who is also looking for a job and pair up with them. Create a study plan and practice interviewing each other. This can help you get ready for your interview, and while you interview your friend, you'll practice thinking like a hiring manager.

There are more ways you can prepare for interviews, and one of the most efficient ways to do so is:-

Never Turn Down an Opportunity To be Interviewed

As pointed out earlier, being interviewed is a skill; the only way to become good is to practice by attending interviews.

Getting to the interview stage is not a small fete. Embrace any opportunity that you get to be interviewed. Finally, don't be too attached to getting a yes but remember that the goal should be to learn the gaps you need to fill to be the most suitable interviewee.

Meaningful Questions to Ask an Interviewer

Asking the right question is a meaningful way to impress the interviewer. Some of the questions you can ask during your tech interview are:

  • Does the company offer opportunities for professional development?

  • Is there anything about my resume that raises any questions or concerns?

  • What do you like the most about working here?

With these tips, you should be on the right track to getting that job.

Lastly, edit your CV/ resume to fit the job you are applying for. If you would like some useful tips on how to make your CV stand out, watch this youtube video by Joan Thuo