Whether you’re a junior or experienced developer, the technical interview can be scary. Since programming is about problem-solving, many of these tests look as much at your ability to troubleshoot under pressure as they do how you code. This article will help you get a handle on what to expect and how to prepare for the technical interview.
Understanding the Technical Interview
The technical interview for a developer usually consists of a coding test. This may come after the initial interview with a recruiter, or later on. Think of these exercises as exams that require you to prove you have the skills required to do the job. These tests are not meant to trick you with impossible equations to solve, but they’re important because they often illustrate your skill level with core languages and frameworks.
The technical interview often comes in three parts:
- The initial phone screen with a recruiter. Most of the time the recruiter has only a rudimentary understanding of code. However, they do understand the basic job requirements and can screen for specific skills such as whether you’re a Java or .NET developer, familiar with SQL or have cybersecurity expertise.
- If you make it through the first hurdle, there is typically a coding assessment. Often this is an online assessment. Sometimes it is an onsite test with whiteboarding and meeting an in-house developer team. It could also be a homework-style assignment that isn’t timed or perhaps a call with a software engineer that asks more technical questions than the recruiter had the skills to ask.
- The third phase of the developer interview process is typically onsite at the company where you would work. Usually, there is an interview with a department head or a technical team. The whiteboard exercise may occur in this phase. Generally, the phases of the technical interview screen vary by the employer.
No matter the process, an interview can be a little nerve-wracking, but especially the tech screen. Here are some ways to stay prepared.
Preparing for the Developer Tech Screen
As in any interview process, it’s important to understand whom you’re interviewing with. This is especially true if you’re going for an onsite tech screen, where you’ll whiteboard in front of other developers. Make sure you understand company values and look up your audience of recruiting screeners on LinkedIn so you understand their credentials.
Because developers go through such a rigorous process to confirm that their resume skills are real, it’s important to never hyper-inflate your experience and expertise during the interview process. Do, however, share your passion for coding and prepare a few examples of how you used your initiative to troubleshoot projects or taught yourself new skills in order to get the job done. Many times, companies are just as interested in your ability to learn new things, as they are your skill level in what you know now.
Sharpen Your Interview Skills & Land Your Next Job
Blackstone is standing by to help you prepare for your next technical interview. We help developers continue to move ahead in their career and can offer you a confidential, free assessment of your resume and skills. All you have to do is make the call.