Are you looking to break into the technology world? If you are, you know that the technical interview is one of the most difficult parts. Coming straight out of school, you might not know what to expect or you didn’t even know there was a technical interview component. My name is Taylor Knepper and I am the Talent Acquisition Specialist here at Softheon. I am going to guide you through the steps on how to ace your tech Interview!
Here at Softheon, we like to give people their introduction to the tech world. We do most of our recruiting through college career fairs. Your first step in acing your interview is to make a memorable introduction to the recruiter. Recruiters are meeting hundreds of students at these career fairs. You want to make sure that you make a connection with the recruiter long after the fair is over.
Attend a Career Fair
My favorite career fair that I’ve attended thus far has been the Stony Brook University IT/Computer Science event. Some students attend these just observing different opportunities but, some approach me and ignite a conversation about Softheon. A great response I’ve received was “I love that they are making Healthcare more affordable, accessible and plentiful.” Once students say that, it is an automatic top of the pile for resumes because they took the time to research the company and our mission statement.
The second step is to send the recruiter an email after the fair. A good email would be thanking the recruiter for their time at the fair and include a little extra statement recapping the conversation and why your meeting was memorable.
Submit your Application
Once you are ready to apply, the third step would be to find the role you are most interested in and submit your completed application. You will receive a coding assessment shortly after we process your information. This is our way of screening applicants and picking the candidates to call. Do not stress about getting a perfect score on the assessment. We want to see that you are trying. Be sure to read through the instructions completely, see when the assessment is due and if the assessment is timed. Once you take all of this into consideration, you should take the test and try your best. We want to see that you are putting in the effort.
The next step is phone screen. During the phone screen, try to relax. I know it is easier said than done, but just try to remember, the recruiter used to be in your shoes. Try and take a few deep breaths before the call and just remember that it is a conversation between two people. I like to ask candidates what they think their weakness are. For this question, I am looking to see if you can put a positive spin on your weakness. Instead of saying that it takes you a long time to finish projects, maybe say that you spend a lot of time on the project to make sure that all the required information is in there. During the phone screen, we want to know:
- How you got into computer science
- What your favorite coding language is
- Why you want to work for our company
Make sure to do your research on the company. We want to see that you are interested in us just as much as we are interested in you. After we ask our questions to you, we then turn it around to you to ask you what questions you have about the job or the company itself. I would suggest coming with at least 3-5 questions prepared. This can be anything from asking about the company culture or the hours of the job. Write your questions down beforehand so that when it comes time you don’t blank on the questions you wanted to ask. I move forward with candidates who show they are interested in the company and what we do and starting a career. I can tell when someone is just going through the motions of interviewing just to get a job.
Next up is the onsite interview. Make sure to read all the instructions that you are given to you in the email. I suggest arriving to your onsite interview at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the interview. This shows that you are eager to interview and that you are respectful of the interviewer’s time. Always bring at least 5 copies of your most up to date resume with you. Do not assume that the employer has a copy printed out already. If the meeting invite states who will be at the interview, you may want to do a quick LinkedIn Search on them to see who they are and what they do. Just like when you first meet the recruiter, in the interview, you want to try to make a personal connection with team that is interviewing you. The interview team typically consists of the hiring manager, a representative from HR, and a subject matter expert. These are the people chosen to interview you because they know the role best and these are the people you are going to want to ask the more technical questions to.
When you walk in the room for your interview, make sure to shake everyone’s hand and make eye contact with everyone. Be confident about your skills. This is your time to interview us as much as it is time for us to interview you. Come prepared to ask more specific questions about the role and team you are applying for. For the onsite interview you will most likely be asked a few coding questions. Feel free to talk through your process and ask for guidance along the way if needed. The interview team is there to help you. We do not want to see you fail, we want to see you succeed and knowing when to ask for help shows that you are willing to learn and ask for help when needed.
An ideal candidate interview is someone that comes in, is relaxed, and confident about their skills. This candidate should be someone that is interested in the company and shows that by the questions they ask and the knowledge of what the company does. We are not looking to just hire the best computer programmer. We are looking to hire the best person.
Post Onsite Interview
After the onsite interview, you will hear 1 of 3 things. We will either make you an offer, not make you an offer or do another round of interviews. Do not be worried if you are called in for another round of interviews. This just means that we are interested in you and want to ask you some more questions. You may also meet with some fresh faces in your second-round interview so that other people can meet you. Take a second-round interview as a good sign.
These are the steps you should take if you want to ace your technical interview. Do not be afraid to ask your recruiter for tips on interviewing for their company. They are the best person to ask and I personally love answering those questions. If you follow the steps listed below, be confident in your skill and stay true to yourself, you’ll have no problem acing your technical interview.
- Make a memorable introduction
- Send a thank you email
- Take a few deep breaths – Its just a conversation
- Turn your weaknesses into strengths
- Research the company you are interviewing for
- Create questions to ask during your phone screen
- Arrive 10 minutes early
- Bring 5 copies of resume
- Research your interviewers
- Firm handshake
- Specific questions about the role and team you are applying for
- Be confident in yourself
- Do not fear a second-round interview
The views and opinions expressed by the authors on this blog website and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Softheon. Please direct any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org