Technical Interviews

What are Technical Interviews?

If you are applying for a technical job, employers may well ask you to attend a specific Technical Interview (or they may ask you some technical questions as part of a general interview). This is so they can find out more about your technical skills and abilities, whereas competency interviews will be looking at behaviours and skills like teamwork and communication.

What might they ask?

Technical Interviews are not just about which programming languages you are familiar with. The aim is to uncover how you think,  how you approach problems, and how you deal with learning new areas.

Be prepared to talk about technologies that are relevent to the company or industry. This could include your ideas about how they will be using technology in the future.  You could also be given a scenario and asked how you would tackle a particular problem. Often interviewers will want to know which decisions you would make and why, rather than be given the exact answers.

You will be asked about your experience of technologies from your degree course and from any other projects you have been involved with outside of studying. Remember when talking about projects to be specific about what your key responsibilities and actions were.

Technologies You Haven’t Studied

You wont necessarily have studied or be familiar with all of the technologies that an organisation is using. However it is important to show an interest in the area and a willingness to learn.

Employers don’t expect you to know everything. They may deliberately ask you a question about something you are not familiar with to challenge you and see how you respond under pressure. In these situations keep calm and show them how you would deal with the problem.

Remember some questions may be deliberately open-ended and broad e.g. “how can we make this process run faster”, so there may not be one right ‘textbook’ answer . If you really don’t know something be honest. It is much better to do that and keep a professional image, rather than try and blag at an answer. You could always ask the interviewer for further information before you jump straight in and go off topic.

How to prepare

Make sure you read the job description thoroughly so you are familiar with what the requirements of the role are. they are unlikely to ask you about things which are not relevent to the job.

Read about the projects that a company is involved in (this information is often available on their website). This will help you anticipate the questions they might ask you.

Look at industry news and professional association websites to find out about what is happening in the industry. What are the latest trends and growth areas?  Browsing the websites of the company’s competitors can also give an indication of what is happening in the sector.

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