by PDX Code Guild - July 18, 2017
5 Tips to Prepare for a Technical Interview

Technical interviews are somewhat unique to the programming world. They can include whiteboarding, knowledge-based questions, and brain teasers. Technical interviews are designed to test technical knowledge and how you handle pressure.

Technical interviews are a space that give partial credit – get all the credit you can by following the following tips.

Stay Calm. Remember that one of the big things these interviews are designed to assess is how you deal with pressure and not knowing the answer. They will often get progressively harder specifically to get you into a space where you don’t know the answer. Don’t argue with the interviewer about the quality of the question.

Don’t refuse to answer. Ask clarifying questions and for context as needed. This demonstrates that you are comfortable asking for help, allows you to have a dialogue with the interviewer, and gain context if you aren’t certain what is being asked. Walk the interviewer through your thought process. If you know the answer, it is important to show how you got to the answer. If you don’t know the answer, talk the interviewer through what you do know and how it applies to the question or how you would go about getting the answer.

Use psuedo-code if you need to. It is better to demonstrate that you understand the underlying logic but can’t remember the syntax than to leave the question on the table. Practice the following phrases. Practicing how you will handle getting stumped is a good way to ensure that you keep a cool head when it happens. I don’t know but here is how I would get the answer. . . I am excited to learn more about that topic. Here is how I would go about learning more . . . I don’t know but drawing from my knowledge of these related topics I would guess . . .