What is a technical interview?
These interviews are designed to gauge your problem-solving skills, your ability to think under pressure, and your technical knowledge in your chosen field. In a technical interview, the interviewer wants to see how you think through a problem to reach a solution. Reaching the “correct” answer is not necessarily a requirement.
How do I know if an interview will be technical in nature?
Ask the recruiter what to expect in the interview. This will allow you to prepare appropriately.
What types of technical questions can I expect?
Technical interviews may include general problem-solving questions or logic puzzles as well as focused technical questions that are specific to the job you are applying for.
General Problem-Solving Questions:
These test your analytical thinking skills rather than specific knowledge of your field. They may be open-ended with a variety of possible answers (“How would you improve the design of this pen?”), or they may be more precise, requiring a definite answer (“Why are manhole covers round?”). Some employers may ask you to solve logic puzzles.
Focused Technical Questions:
These relate to specific knowledge and skills required to perform the job. To prepare, familiarize yourself with the job description and the technical skills required, and then brush up on those skills.
Resource: Technical Interview Preparation Course (free external resource)
What is the best approach to answering a technical question?
- Think out loud. According to recruiters, the most important thing to remember when answering technical questions is to verbalize your thought process. The interviewer is as interested in your problem-solving approach as he/she is in your solution.
- Ask clarifying questions. Make sure you understand the question and have all the information you need to solve the problem. Some questions may be intentionally ambiguous to gauge your confidence in asking questions and your ability to gather data to tackle problems that are not clearly defined.
- Don’t bluff your way through an answer. If you don’t know the answer, take some time to think it through. Think out loud as you consider possible approaches. If you have absolutely no idea, admit that you don’t know. Admitting that you don’t know is better than bluffing.
Types of Interviews