How to crack any Technical Interview
Technical Interview is one of the easy phases to go through in a company’s recruitment procedure if you approach this the right way, otherwise it can be one of the toughest obstacle to overcome. I have seen people struggling in Technical Interviews for so long and then I’ve seen only some of them getting selected in the end. That’s why this article is to help you understand what any company seeks in interviewee while they are conducting Technical Interviews.
Here are the steps you need to follow in order to get through this phase with flying colors:
- Do background search : This is really important step that you do background search about the company before sitting in the interview. This will help you learn what kind of questions that particular interviewer would ask. Let’s get this straight that every company has a type of question that they ask and more often than not, these questions are repeated and that’s why doing a background check is useful about any company’s interview. For example, you would not like to study dynamic programming a day before interview if the company always asks questions about DBMS or OS in their interviews.
Utilize your time : When you get shortlisted for the interview, usually there is not a lot of time remaining from that time to the actual interview, so utilizing your time is really necessary. After doing background search, if you think you are good at the topics that any particular company asks, then search for hot questions on that topic. For example, 20 most frequently asked queries in SQL in interviews. There might be a topic in which you will be good and another in which you feel rusty. In that time, never revise the “good” part but focus on the “rusty” part and prepare that only. Because when asked a question about some topic in which you are good, you will generally find a way to give a right answer.
- Right Answer vs Right Attitude : There is a misconception about interviews that if you want to get selected, you must give all the question’s answers. But often the interviewer checks your attitude about how are you handling the question. Even if you get 5/10 answers correct in a right attitude, you will get selected in the end. Now what i mean by right attitude: When a question is asked to you, do not answer right away, even if you have faced that question before. Act like you are hearing it for the first time and then put your thinking cap on. Take a little time to revise the solution you are trying to give. Usually even if you get closer to the answer rather than actually arriving on the exact answer is good. Do not give up so quickly but at the same time, try to give at least some answer in max 3-5 mins, if you can’t do that, straight away tell the interviewer that you can’t solve this question that will give time for another question for him/her to ask that you may answer.
- Think out loud : Suppose you are given a coding question in which you have to write the code. After interviewer has given you the question, you take your time and in about 10-15 mins, give your answer in the paper. This approach is wrong! While solving any coding question, it is important to think out loud, that means telling the interviewer what your approach is to solve that problem, what you are thinking at particular moment when you are stuck. For example, “I have got a solution but now am thinking how to optimize it and do it in linear time” rather than thinking silently. This will show your explaining skills that most of all companies seek.
- Give a right logical algorithm when you can’t code : In interviews, you may face this situation that you know the logical algorithm to solve a problem but can not quite code entire answer in a language. This may be due to lack of implementation skills but in an interview, there is no time to improve on that. In that case, you can simply say the interviewer “I do not know the exact code but I can write the algorithm or pseudo code for the problem”. Failing to do this, interviewer will think you have less problem solving skills but in truth you have less implementation skills, and most companies do not focus a lot on the latter one.
- Keep it clear : When you are paper coding in an interview, it is important that you keep the sheet clean and readable rather than cancelling a lot of portion of the code in between and writing it in the end, etc. You have to make the job of interviewer easy, so write code only when you are sure that it is right. There are no backspaces when actually writing with pen. You can master this trait by practice.
- Last but not the least: Stay cool In my personal interview experience I was told to find 10 data inconsistency and 5 inaccuracy problem in a database of 200 tuples and 12 columns in 120 seconds. The interviewer literally started a stop watch from his phone in front of me. These kind of questions are to test your stability in pressure situations. Be prepared for such tasks and keep calm in these situations. Getting hyped up is not going to crack it for you. Be confident, maintain eye contact and a smile throughout the interview.
So, that is how I think anyone needs to prepare and behave for Technical Interviews.
I took part in my college’s placement procedure and I have given technical interviews in 2 companies 1) HSBC Technologies India(SDE) 2) ZS Associates(BTA) and have got selected in both of them. Cracking Technical Interview is not a tough ask and I hope this article provides enough information to do it.
Related Article : Practice for cracking any coding interview