Technical Interviews within the Software Engineering Sector

Posted on 23 May 2022

How many technical interviews have you gone into not knowing what to expect?

Out of the entire job-hunting process, it’s definitely the most nerve-wracking step for the interviewee. It’s not just the fear of the unknown but also performing under pressure at the high level required which can be daunting. And, some steps within the process are frustrating to say the least... so how do you know it’s worth it?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the power to change the interview process. But, we can give you an insight into what to expect and we hope that helps.

Verbal Technical Questions

This one is a little tricky to know how to prep for as really you could be asked anything. It may seem obvious but you just need to know your stuff, go back to basics and hope that the topics of the questions are ones which you are familiar with.

The interviewer will ask this to:

  • See if you know the answer – obviously.

  • More importantly however, to see how strong your communication skills are.

    How are you relaying the answer to the interviewer? If you think about all the remote work that’s now implemented, being able to communicate with a team is essential!

Pair Programming Exercise

This is where there’s someone who writes the code and the other has to review each line as it’s typed; the roles then switch throughout the task. The benefits of this one are very similar to the above:

  • How well do you communicate and how well do you work in a team?

However, in this scenario you’ve got to make sure you’re keeping engaged. No matter your level of experience to stay involved in the task and contribute equally; even if it’s a case of questioning and discussing other solutions.

If you’re the more junior of the pair or you feel like they may have a little more experience, it’s easy to fall into a state of simply observing. So, remember to participate!

Live Coding

You can now answer data-structured questions which is great for the evaluator to see. The best way to prepare is to practice.

Try to record yourself when practicing and review it to see how you can improve. When you’re in the interview be sure to articulate your steps and state, or even clarify, any assumptions you’re making to the interviewer so they can better understand your thought process.

However, there are a few drawbacks. Again, it’s performing under pressure which means you might not be able to perform at your utmost. Also, creating data structures isn’t always the best indicator of ability which is irritating as your ability is what you should be analysed on.

So, practicing is your best bet!

Digital Prompt

Here you’ll be asked to code a UI using an online editor while on screen share with the interviewer. This way, they’ll be able to observe how you build.

The effectiveness of this method is a little blurred especially considering the challenge in comparing between candidates.

But in any event, be prepared as this is likely to come up.

Take-home Task

The advantage of this is it really mimics the reality of working within the company - a little insight into your potential day-to-day.

However, these do take some time to complete. Finding time in what is already a busy work/home life can be difficult.

Arguably, this is a good gauge for the interviewer to see how serious you are about the job too. If you’ve rushed the task, they’ll be able to tell and you’ll be withdrawn from the process – and you don’t want that!

 

We hope this has given you an insight into what to expect in Tech Interviews for Software Engineers. There will be stages that you prefer and ones you don’t like so much but the key takeaways are to prepare, practice and show genuine interest in joining the company.

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