The hardest part about getting into a new role is, sitting through an interview and waiting to hear if you made it to the final stage. Sometimes one can tell that an interview went well by noticing the choice of words used by the interviewer. Other times one is left guessing and replaying the interview session to see if there were any clues given that they will proceed to the next stage.
Sitting through several interviews has taught me one crucial lesson, preparation is key. If you are very serious about getting the job, there is no place to “wing it” at interviews.
The usual common stages in a technical interview are:
- An introduction call with the recruiter/hiring manager
- A technical test — can be a real-time or take away assignment
- A follow-up call to discuss your technical test
- An oral/onsite interview with other important stakeholders in the organization
Usually, you can tell if things are going well at the final stage of the interview process, even though it may be too soon to start celebrating. I remember I once went through all the stages of an interview and on my way out, I bumped into the next interviewee after meeting one of the stakeholders and later it occurred to me that instead she was chosen for the role. I was gutted! really.
Here's a simple checklist to use when preparing for tech interviews. It's one of the ways to make sure you don't go into an interview clueless.
- Study the job description before applying for the role.
- Know at least one programming language — Java, Python, Kotlin etc
- Prepare notes while highlighting your strengths related to the role, to guide you as you give your brief introduction.
- Prepare questions in advance for the interviewer/recruiter.
- Find at least one thing to be passionate about in the role.
- Take time to study and practice before attempting the technical test and document your code because you will have to justify your thought process anyway.
- When it comes to salary negotiation, know your worth and don't settle for less. Remuneration doesn't always come in form of cash, consider other incentives like house allowances, travel allowance, paid leave etc
- If possible, talk to a current/former employee in the company you hope to join to find out what the culture looks like.
For a more detailed breakdown on tackling the technical test, take a look at Oleksii's published article on Technical Interviews.
As you plan for interviews in the future, I hope you find this helpful.
PS: A few claps go a long way :-)