Interviewing raises our anxiety for many reasons. One reason is that we don’t know what to expect. If we don’t know what to expect, we can’t create a solid plan to succeed. Technology interviews can be particularly challenging because the candidates are put through the paces with an array of tests and questions. You can enhance your performance if you can anticipate what is expected of you in your next technology job interview.
These are a few examples of how you may be assessed in the selection process for a technology job:
If a major part of your responsibility relies upon your proficiency with certain technologies, expect to be tested on your proficiency using a computer app. At minimum, expect to answer questions to discuss your past use of the technology and your understanding the benefits. The best way to prepare is to research the position in advance of the interview so you know the key skills required. Visit sites such as Lynda.com to polish your skills. If you are completely lacking certain skills, it is best not to fake it. Instead point to similar skills and assure the interviewer that you are a quick learner and are interested in gaining new skills.
The interviewer may ask you to critique a sampling of work. For example, if you are applying for a position as a programmer, you may be asked to critique a sample of code. In other roles, you may be asked to review a spectrum of software from various vendors. For some analyst roles, the interviewer may ask you to evaluate a situation and the merits of a proposed strategy. It is important to explain your reasons for your critique and to walk through your analysis, step by step. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to support your analysis.
The interviewer may ask you to draft a brief plan, such as a sample test plan if you are applying for a quality manager position. Another example might be a plan for deploying a new application to company desktops. The interview is not expecting a full-blown project plan. They want to see your ability to assess a situation and consider the major factors involved in the particular type of plan.
Many organizations, such as Google, are famous for presenting interesting puzzles. This is an example of a puzzle question: “In a country where everyone wants a boy, each family continues having babies until they have a boy. Assuming the probability of having a boy or a girl is the same, after some time, what is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?” Solving a puzzle is a chance to show your ability to use logic to produce an answer. Often there is more than one answer and the method that you use to answer is as important as the answer.
Another interviewing technique is to present a hypothetical problem. You may be asked to illustrate your solution on a white board or simply to explain it to the interviewer. This is a test of your skills as well as your ability to perform under pressure. To cope with this stress, practice deep breathing and visualization techniques to help you relax as you work to solve the problem.
If you would like help preparing for your next technology job interview, email me. I would be happy to help you prepare an interview prep kit, customized for your target job.