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Understanding Technical Interviews in the Post-COVID Era

Posted on 
July 13, 2020
Abhinav Rawat
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About The Author!
Abhinav Rawat
Abhinav Rawat
Product Manager at Interview Kickstart. The skilled and experienced mastermind behind several successful product designs for upscaling the ed-tech platforms with an outcome-driven approach for skilled individuals.

Technical interviews have undergone a significant change in process since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

While many companies have hit the brakes on their hiring operations, big tech firms including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, among others, continue to hire for tech-related roles. A large majority of tech majors are adopting innovative hiring policies and alternative solutions that seamlessly promote remote exchanges between recruiters and candidates. 

A growing community of recruiters has started using videoconferencing platforms to interview candidates for prospective roles and artificial intelligence to interact and connect with candidates. 

Here's what this article entails:

1. How interview processes have changed since the onset of the pandemic

  • 1.1 The Phone-Screen Interview
  • 1.2 The On-site Interview
  • 1.3 The Behavioral Interview

2. Tips to prepare for remote technical interviews during the Covid pandemic

  • 2.1 Prepare extensively
  • 2.2 Get help if you need it
  • 2.3 Make sure your laptop or mobile is in working condition
  • 2.4 Dress professionally and adopt a professional tone
  • 2.5 Keep distractions away
  • 2.6 Don’t stare at yourself
  • 2.7 Familiarise yourself with the video platform
  • 2.8 Give Mock interviews

In this article, we’ll look at how interview processes have changed since the onset of the pandemic. We’ll also look at some useful tips that will help you nail these interviews amid this changing global dynamic. 

The Phone-Screen Interview

Phone-screen interviews at the biggest tech firms remain largely unchanged. The phone-screen round is metaphorically seen as the first hurdle of the interview race. This round doesn’t involve any physical interaction between recruiters and candidates. Candidates are asked to solve a fairly straightforward coding problem via a shared screen. This process remains unaffected by the pandemic situation.   The round lasts about 30 minutes on average. 

The phone screen round happens after a human resource professional from the recruiting team contacts you via telephone or email, and interacts with you to see if you’re a fit for the prospective role.

The On-site Interview

The on-site interview involved inviting shortlisted candidates on-site to appear for technical interviews (3-4 rounds), conducted over the course of one day. The on-site rounds aim to test a candidate’s strength in a number of technical areas, usually covering data structures, systems design, algorithms and problem solving. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, on-site rounds don’t require candidates  to be physically present for the interview. Instead, remote interviews are the new norm - the entire process that was once conducted on-site is now conducted remotely. 

You will still face with the same type of questions in a remote technical interview as in an on-site interview. This shouldn’t alter your approach to preparing for the interviews.

The Behavioral Interview

Behavioral questions are an equally important part of the interview process. Even though you’ve prepared extensively for the technical rounds, and probably even aced them, failing the behavioral round can hamper your chances of getting an offer..

You can expect to be asked the same type of behavioral questions in your remote interview as you would in an on-site interview.  However, questions pertaining to how effectively you manage time, what you’ve learned about yourself during these trying times, and how you prioritize tasks when you have copious amounts of time at your disposal can take precedence. To stay prepared, make sure you do your research on different behavioral questions that are asked at technical interviews. Check out these 9 behavioral questions asked at top tech companies. 

Tips to prepare for remote technical interviews during the Covid pandemic 

Prepare extensively 

 Practice several questions that commonly feature at these interviews, and identify patterns in coding problems. The number of hours you put in can decide  the outcome of your interview.

Get help if you need it 

If you think you need help with your prep, don’t eliminate the option of signing up for a technical interview prep course. A good training course can equip you with all the essential tools you need to crack even the toughest interviews. 

Make sure your laptop or mobile is in working condition 

Test your laptop and mobile device to identify any snags before your interview. Charge your devices to avoid unnecessary hiccups while giving your interview. 

Dress professionally and adopt a professional tone 

Your interviewer will be able to see you online. Dressing professionally will add to your confidence and also create a good impression. Adopt a professional tone when you speak. Using unprofessional language and talking too casually will create an unfavorable impression.   

Keep distractions away 

Distractions, however insignificant, can force you to make errors and affect your concentration and focus. Ensure all  distractions are eliminated before the interview. 

Don’t stare at yourself

Staring at yourself on screen during an online video interview is easily noticed by the interviewer. Look at the camera when you speak to establish eye-contact with the interviewer. 

Familiarise yourself with the video platform 

There are a number of video platforms available these days to conduct online interviews. Before your interview, familiarize yourself with the online video platform to know how to navigate through options during the interview.   

Give Mock interviews 

Mock interviews i.e. interviewing in a simulated environment, will boost your confidence and help you correct mistakes. 

While you’re at it, check out these interview guides for Microsoft, Facebook and Netflix.  

Last updated on: 
September 22, 2023

Abhinav Rawat

Product Manager @ Interview Kickstart | Ex-upGrad | BITS Pilani. Working with hiring managers from top companies like Meta, Apple, Google, Amazon etc to build structured interview process BootCamps across domains

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