Top 5 Tips for Your On-Site Technical Interview
April 10, 2019
You’ve reached perhaps the most intimidating part of the interview process: the on-site technical interview. This interview will likely consist of both your typical behavioral interview questions and more technical questions that dive into your skills and knowledge. There may even be a whiteboard aspect for coding exercises. What’s important is to stay calm and prepare yourself.
Interviewers will look for many different things during the interview that range from cultural fit and communication skills to being able to understand the bigger picture and to think creatively. Whiteboard exercises and technical questions help interviewers assess your problem solving skills, analytical thinking, and coding skills. To help you get ready for your on-site technical interview, take at look at the following five tips.
1. Practice For the Technical Interview
One of the best things you can do to prepare for an on-site technical interview is to practice. A popular resource for doing this is Cracking the Coding Interview, which provides many different examples you can go over and help with some coding fundamentals. Check online for practice problems and examples of interview questions as well.
You will likely be given a whiteboard for any coding exercises during the interview. This is to encourage candidates to think a bit more and communicate their process and knowledge. If you have a friend who is also in a tech job, try having them help you practice interviewing.
2. Know Your Programming Fundamentals
Assuming you will be doing some sort of coding during your on-site technical interview, it’s important to know the fundamentals of data structures and algorithms, such as breadth-first search and binary search trees. Many interview questions assume that candidates know these things.
You should also know how to code in at least one or two programming languages. There are several resources available to help you learn these languages and other skills, such as Coursera and Udemy. It’s alright if you forget exact parameters, but you should know how to write reasonable code on your own, such as classes and functions.
3. It’s Okay to Not Know an Answer
It’s completely OK to not know an answer to a technical interview question, and sometimes interviewers might assume you won’t immediately know the answer. In some instances, questions are asked to see how candidates process the question and how they would go about figuring out the solution.
If you’re faced with a coding question you don’t know during a whiteboard coding exercise, write down the details of the question and try to think of input and output examples to help you come up with an answer. It’s important here to take a minute or two to think about what to do, don’t rush into the coding.
4. Be Prepared to Talk About 3-5 Projects or Challenges
You should be prepared to discuss in detail a few projects you have worked on or challenges you have faced. With challenges, be sure to talk about the most difficult technical situations, such as tricky bug fix, a new algorithm, or optimization, and not just how much you learned. The idea is to communicate that you can handle hard challenges.
5. Be Prepared with Questions
Interviewers expect you to ask some questions during the interview as well. When the interview asks “Do you have any questions for me?” you don’t want your answer to be “No.”
Some general questions could include: ”What is a typical day look like for someone in this position?” or “How would you describe the company culture?” However, with technical positions, it could be more beneficial for you to ask more specific questions about the position, such as:
- What new technologies/frameworks/tools do you use?
- How many people are in the team?
- Do you have a test environment?
- Who is responsible for live site issues? What if something bad happens in the middle of the night? Do you have on-call rotations?
- Does the company provide courses/trainings/workshops/conferences outside of the company?
While an on-site technical interview can seem intimidating or even daunting, you don’t need to worry. With some practice and preparation, you can walk in and crush that interview. Elevano can help you land the tech job you’re looking for.