Technical interview is arguably the most challenging aspect of the entire candidate selection process. We want to make that challenge significantly easy for you by giving you technical interview tips that actually work!
Most candidates are terrified of tech interviews, mainly due to the large number of applications for these positions leading to stiff competition, and of course the lengthy and arduous interview processes. While it may seem like an almost impossible task to crack technical interviews at big tech companies, with thoughtful and systematic preparation it’s possible to land your dream job.
At Interview Kickstart, we work closely with candidates who want to secure technical positions in the top tech companies of the world. In this article, we discuss 13 most important tips to crack technical interviews that have helped our candidates get offers from FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) and other tech companies. You too can follow them and accelerate your career growth.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Different formats of technical interviews
- Technical interview tips to follow before the interview
- Tips to follow during the technical interview
- Bonus tips to mentally prepare yourself for tech interviews
- Frequently asked questions
Different Formats of Technical Interviews at FAANG Companies
Technical interviews at large technology companies can have any of the following formats. It can also have a combination of two or more formats from below.
- Writing code on the spot or in real time (this can also happen on a shared screen where the interviewers watch as you code)
- Creating a presentation on any technology related topic
- Technical problem-solving challenges in competition with other candidates and presenting to the interview panel
- Solving technical problems on a whiteboard
- In-person interviews to assess your programming and problem solving abilities
- Take-home projects such as development of an application or coding assignments
- Phone screen round (learn technical phone interview tips)
Now that you know the different formats of technical interviews you could face, it’s time for the preparation tips!
Important Tips to Follow Before Your Technical Interview
Here are the 7 most important technical interview tips that will help you prepare for your next technical interview at any large tech company, including Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google.
1. Understand the Interview Process
When preparing for the technical interviews at any specific company, the first step is to understand the formats and processes it entails. The best source of information here would be the HR person you’ve been communicating with. Ask them what technical rounds and formats you can expect and if they have any recommendations on how best to prepare for them.
The next step is to go through the company website and look for interview related resources and guides. Some companies have key information such as interview prep questions, guides, and tips to prepare for interviews. Going through this will not only ensure a thorough well-directed preparedness at your end but also show your genuine interest in the company.
In addition to this, you can also refer to Quora or other online forums where past candidates have explained the technical interview processes of the companies you are interested in.
By the end of this step, you should know the following:
- The interview format
- How long each format can last
- How many rounds the tech interview has
- The kind of questions to expect in each format
2. Get Your Fundamentals Right
If you want to crack the toughest coding interviews, especially at FAANG companies, your preparation has to be comprehensive. But more importantly, your fundamental knowledge should be solid. Your technical interview prep should cover the basics of Computer Science and programming such as:
- Data structures
- Algorithmic coding
- Systems design
- Algorithmic design
3. Prepare for a Wide Range of Topics
Covering a wide range of topics will help you answer and solve a lot more questions than an average candidate. The languages, technology, and skills you should cover in your preparation will depend on the job description and the technology and languages you’ll be expected to use and work on after you get hired. You’ll also be asked questions about the languages you are proficient in.
In addition, be prepared to answer any questions pertaining to the technical projects you’ve mentioned in your CV or portfolio of work. Some of the interview questions could be around the tech stacks used and the reasons behind using them, challenges faced during the projects, and how you tackled them.
4. Practice Programming and Coding Problems
Successful candidates who’ve cracked exacting coding interviews at FAANG companies testify that practicing as many problems as they could was the key focus of their prep. We cannot stress the importance of practicing coding problems when preparing for your technical interviews at FAANG companies.
Dedicated practice will make you less startled at complex and ambiguous problems, giving you the confidence to solve even the seemingly challenging ones while also enabling you to identify inherent patterns in them.
This is especially important because you may not face exactly the same problems in your interviews as the ones you practice, but there’s a good chance that the nature of those problems might be similar. Companies often rotate between an existing set of questions, especially regarding systems design and algorithmic coding.
Therefore, if there’s one thing you take away from this article, let that be this — practice as many coding and programming problems as you can preferably involving the technology and languages mentioned in the job description.
5. Take Mock Interviews
One of the most crucial tips to crack tech interviews is to practice mock interviews. During technical interviews, interviewers try to gauge your problem-solving and communication skills in addition to your coding skills. Have a friend with a technical background take your mock interviews and assess your performance. Mocks should help you practice:
- Explaining your thought process when solving problems
- Explaining algorithmic logic
- Presenting your code, program, or solution to the panel
A simulated environment has the right ingredients to bring out your innate tendencies during an interview, allowing you to identify and correct your mistakes effectively. The best part about taking mock interviews is it’ll give you an understanding about the adequacy of your preparation and what you need to work on.
Imagine how beneficial it would be if you got to practice mock interviews with actual hiring managers and tech leads who’d give you real-time feedback on your performance? You can get this huge advantage by enrolling for Interview Kickstart’s Technical Interview Training program. To know more, register for our Webinar now!
6. Demonstrate Your Passion for Technology
Every team wants to work with people that love their job and are not merely working for the money. People that are passionate about what they do are constantly trying to expand and upgrade their skills. How can you demonstrate this trait?
Some of the ways include by participating in hackathons and other coding competitions. You can also contribute to open source projects on Stack Overflow, GitHub, and other online community platforms. This will show interviewers your passion for technology and that it extends beyond your work.
7. Get Help from Experts
Many candidates sign up for technical interview training courses to help them navigate the high levels of difficulty of these interviews. Such courses are specially designed by experts to help aspiring candidates crack technical interviews and they’ve proven to be a game changer for a lot of candidates.
In fact, a significant percentage of successful candidates at FAANG and other tech companies attribute their success to an interview training course. If you think you could benefit from such a course, signing up for one might be a good decision.
Important Tips to Follow During Your Technical Interview
Being technically proficient doesn’t necessarily translate to a good interview performance. A comprehensive interview preparation includes developing technical skills and also preparing for the interview itself. Here are some important technical interview tips to follow during the interview.
8. Do Not Merely Focus on Technical Skills
Yes, you need to thoroughly practice and polish your technical skills before an interview. But, it’s equally important, if not more, to practice how to communicate effectively, interact and collaborate with others in a group, as well as present your thoughts, ideas, and approach to problem solving clearly.
9. Forgive Your mistakes
It’s normal to make mistakes in technical interviews. However, what’s not okay is to let that affect your performance in the rest of the interview. If you make a mistake, forgive yourself, forget about it, and move on. Don’t let your mistakes throw you off as it also shows your ability to perform well under stressful situations.
10. Don’t Pretend to Know an Answer You Don’t
You should always try as hard as you can to answer the questions. But if you don’t know the answer to a question or cannot find the solution to a problem, say so. Perhaps, the interviewers may ask you to explain to them where you’re stuck and nudge you toward the right answer/solution. Pretending to know an answer is not a good idea — your pretense will show.
11. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Clarification
It may be regarding a problem question or an assignment, but if you feel more information is needed for you to solve the problem or complete the assignment, be forthright about it. This is critical because your understanding of the problem or question is crucial in finding the right solution for it.
Bonus Tips to Prepare Yourself Mentally for Technical Interviews
In addition to the above tips, here are a few bonus tips to help you calm your nerves before your technical interview at FAANG or any tech company.
12. Don’t Get Perplexed by Curveballs
The technical interview rounds at the biggest tech companies are designed to test your ability to think quickly, solve problems, and present solutions through your programming skills. However, some problems are deliberately constructed and designed to assess your reactions.
They may seem bizarre, ambiguous, or puzzling in nature. Expect such problems. When you confront one, think and analyze it calmly, and let the interviewer know your thought process.
13. Expect the Interview Process to be Lengthy
Technical and coding interview rounds can often span across 3-4 different rounds or more depending on the company and position you’re applying for. Do not get overwhelmed by this or the highly challenging nature of these interviews. With the right kind of preparation and guidance, you will be able to crack them.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I prepare for the behavioral interview?
Your technical interview is not completely disengaged with the behavioral interviews. While most organizations have behavioral interviews as separate rounds of interviews, there are ample opportunities for technical interviewers to assess your behavioral fit with the company as well. The final outcome or verdict of your candidature heavily relies on the combination of both.
Here are some examples of behavioral interview questions:
- How did you overcome a roadblock in a technical project?
- What were the biggest technical problems you’ve solved in your career?
- Case studies based questions where the interviewer will put you in tough situations and ask you about the best course of action according to you.
- Can you tell us about a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker and how did you handle the situation?
If you’re looking to prepare for the behavioral interview rounds with tech companies, head to this post where we walk you through 9 Behavioral Questions for Your Next Big Interview.
- What do interviewers look for in technical interviews?
In technical interviews, you will be generally assessed on the following parameters:
- Programming skills
- Creative problem solving skills
- Analytical skills
- Communication and presentation skills
- How you handle pressure and stress
- How you take feedback
- What if I don’t know the answer to a technical problem?
As mentioned in one of the tips above, if you cannot figure out the solution to a problem, be open about that. Most often, interviewers don’t want the right answers from you, they want to see:
- How you approach a problem
- How creatively you think of solutions
- How much stress you can take
- How effectively you convey your analysis and thoughts to the panel
Don’t worry much about finding the right answer; instead, focus on how to think more creatively and communicate your understanding of the problem.
Ready to Nail That Tech Interview?
Those were our 13 tips — whether you’re an experienced programmer or a recent college graduate, these technical interview tips will help you take on your next tech interview with FAANG and other global tech giants. Check out our blog page for more tips and guides.
A majority of candidates get intimidated by the thought of applying to positions at big tech companies dreading their extensive technical interview processes. Whether you’re an experienced programmer or a recent college graduate, here’s one thing you should understand ― cracking technical interviews at FAANG and other tech companies is not impossible like it’s made out to be. But it does require dedicated efforts and guided practice. As long as you’re open to that, you won’t be that far from your next dream job.
If you’re looking for the right guidance to help you prepare for your next technical interview, we encourage you to register for our webinar on How to Nail Your Next Technical Interview.
Kickstart your prep today!