If you are looking for a career in the IT sector, you should be prepared to be part of a technical interview. Unlike normal interviews, technical interviews are specially tailored processes that aim to identify a candidates’ hard skill, technical ability and critical thinking skills. However, technical interviews can get quite nerve wrecking, especially if you aren’t familiar with the company’s process. It varies across sectors.
As IT recruitment specialists in Malaysia, we want to help you land your dream job as an IT professional! Hopefully, these guidelines can help you ace your next tech interview and land that tech job that you’ve always wanted, especially if it’s your first one!
Roles Most Likely To Require Technical Interviews
Data scientists who work closely with AI and Machine Learning (spot this in the job description)
Software/ App developers (Front end, back end, full-stack developers, etc)
Framework specialists that specialise in framework modules like angular.JS, node.JS, ember.JS and others)
Network and systems engineers
Did you spot your next dream job in the list above? Keep reading and find out how you can ace that tech role.
What Is A Technical Interview?
Let’s start by looking at what technical hiring managers usually incorporate in technical interviews in a standard screening procedure. An average technical interview involves a series of challenges and assignments that candidates must accomplish under a designated period of time.
Technical employers use this opportunity to verify the skills that you claim to have, as well as give you close to real-world problems that you may face on your day to day as a tech professional.
What Should I Expect In The Technical Interview Process?
Each company may conduct technical interviews differently. However, an average tech interview would play out in three different stages.
Stage One: Phone Screening
Like any other interview process, the initial stage would start with a phone screening. Your interviewer will use this opportunity to check on your enthusiasm and social skills. Therefore, when you get a call after sending out your resume, remember to be as enthusiastic and polite as you can. By doing so, you will secure yourself a spot in the second phase of the interview.
Stage Two: Remote assessment
This is the part where your interviewer would hand you an assignment that you must complete under a designated period. Some companies would want to test your hard skills before proceeding to the next round. Use this opportunity to impress your potential employer by going all out! Many candidates make the mistake of completing this part of the assessment by going through the motion. Such behaviour could jeopardize your chance of being part of the third stage of the interview.
Stage Three (Final Stage): Onsite Interview
This is where the actual technical interview takes place. During this phase, you will be given a whiteboard and codes of problems that you will have to solve on the whiteboard. This procedure, commonly known as the whiteboard code interview, is where you will be monitored closely by the interview team, usually senior members of the firm as you attempt to complete the coding problems on a whiteboard.
Bear in mind that different companies may have different flows on how the interview is conducted. According to our IT recruiter specialist,Vivian, you can expect 3 interview rounds at least during an onsite interview.
For a more comprehensive view on what takes place during onsite interviews, we recommend that you read these entries from Rievo Kienan and Emma Bostian! They are industry experts who have been on both ends of a whiteboard interview.
How To Ace Your Whiteboard Interview
1. Practice Handwriting Your Code
Whiteboard interviews add additional pressure on candidates because it puts them on a crutch by asking you to write down your code by hand. You can easily waltz past the pressure by practising your coding skills at home with pen and paper. This practice enables you to be more alert at writing down your lines with minimal errors as you familiarise yourself to write codes by using your hand instead of using a keyboard.
2. Conduct Mock Whiteboard Interviews
If you know anyone who has been part of a whiteboard interview, you should ask them to conduct a mock interview session with you. If that isn’t an option, you can always seek help from professional developers on Codementor.
3. Explain Your Thought Process
Most coding problems are not easily solvable. The purpose of a whiteboard interview is to find out your thought process as you attempt to find a solution. Articulate your thoughts as clearly as possible as you attempt to solve the problem so that your interviewer can understand how you think in a stressful situation! Also, don’t be afraid to try new ideas if you are stuck as creativity is also one of the things that our employers typically want to see during your interview.
4. Ask Questions Before Starting The Task (As Many As You Can Think Of)
It’s good practice to clarify as many ambiguities as possible before jumping at the problem. Once you receive the test, take a moment to think whether you’ll require additional information from the interviewer to solve the problem. You might also receive hints from the panel that could help you arrive at a solution.
Note: The current situation has caused many companies to conduct interviews virtually. You may need to prepare for a remote coding interview this time, instead.
Preparing for a remote coding interview
Different companies may use different software to execute the interview. From video conferencing software to Integrated Developer Environment tools, be sure that you know what applications your interviewers will use during the interview by asking the interviewer before the interview. This will allow you to get familiar with the software that they use.
Pro Tip: Remote coding interviews allow you to go through the interview process in an environment that you are familiar with. Because of this, your panel will be less forgiving when you make mistakes on your coding. Pay close attention to your lines of code!
Now you’re all set! All that is left for you to do is ace that technical interview and land your dream IT job!
Make sure to check out BGC Malaysia’s job portal for tech roles that may be what you need to break into the industry. Our recruiters will match your skills with a vacant position in no time.