"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." ― Benjamin Franklin.
Even tech masterminds can have a tough day during rigorous and intimidating technical rounds, especially if they do not know what to expect. In this epic compilation of the most common technical interview questions, you will find the key to conquer this dreaded round and best showcase your skills and experience.
Stick to this blog for the next few minutes and prepare yourself for the test of life.
A technical interview is a role-specific interview round that assesses if the candidate is the right fit for the job. Technical interview questions can range from logic tests to behavioral reasoning and brain teasers.
Unlike popular belief, a technical interview's purpose is not to frighten you with impossible questions and riddles. Instead, it is a test of how you will perform in a real-life situation and tackle the daily challenges you are expected to face in the said job.
Thus, during the interview, the interviewer will not only assess your technical know-how but will also look for additional qualities that you bring to the table. The interviewer will judge you based on your soft skills such as interpersonal communication, problem-solving attitude, and teamwork, and leadership.
The dreaded technical round is a field day for hiring managers. Not only do they get to test the candidate's technical proficiency, but they also get to see the creativity and methodology prospective employees use to tackle real-life scenarios.
Here's a secret…
Hiring managers can predict more often than not when a candidate is trying to tell them what they'd like to hear.
"But how is this helpful," you ask?
You get to be YOU.
You can be creatively authentic when you answer technical questions, showcasing YOUR methodology that YOU developed with experience.
Still confused? Here are a few tips to help you out in this regard.
Honestly, hiring managers will often be intentionally ambiguous and throw an occasional curveball here and there. If you come across one such question that does not provide enough information to solve it, ask.
Verify that you understand the question and have enough data before you start solving the problem. Interact with the interviewer and extract as much information as possible. This approach also highlights your zeal, and giants like Apple and Google look for proactive employees.
For most of the technical questions asked in an interview, there is no right or wrong answer. When you are asked situation-based or reasoning questions, the interviewer is more likely to believe fact-based solutions than hypothetical stories.
Work with generic examples that you might come across every day. Pick up on big or small patterns that apply to the question. Draw parallels between these patterns and any problem you might have solved in the past. Remember not to give up mid-way.
Let the company know that you're one who doesn't give up easily.
"Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way" – Douglas Pagels.
More often than not, hiring managers will be looking for applicants who can see the situation with a set of new eyes. Sometimes, especially when facing deadlines, a direct approach using the most straightforward solutions works the best.
When challenged with aptitude technical questions, start with a generic, most obvious solution, and then build on it as you go further.
As mentioned above, technical interview questions have been crafted specifically to test the methodology rather than the final solution. Thus, most interviewers will be interested in how you reach the solution and improve upon your initial answer.
Always look for methods to refine your answer. Never leave a lousy solution unattended. Find the missing pieces in your response, points you may have overlooked, situations you might have missed, etc.
When you come across a question you think you could have answered better, take a note of it. Revisit this question later with a calm mind and think of ways to build on that answer.
A smart move would be to ask the interviewer the expected answer or clarification. Not only does this give you a chance to improve your response, but it also leaves the impression that you are a hard worker willing to learn new concepts without worrying about setbacks.
Before moving on to numerals and logical reasoning tests, the interviewer will possibly ask a series of questions to learn more about you and how you tackle problems in real life.
Technical round questions are similar to how other interviews usually begin: a set of generic behavioral problems.
The purpose behind these questions is to know more about the candidate as a person and how well he/she will alloy with the organization's culture.
Questions can range from teamwork and leadership to conflict management and work ethics. To answer these, make sure to provide a real-life situation to back up your answer and highlight your skills and problem-solving attitude.
Here are some of the most common behavioral interview questions that you might face during your interview:
After the behavioral round, the interviewers will, in all probability, throw situational questions next. In this round, they will test your abilities with hypothetical situations and then ask how you would respond to such workplace tasks.
Listed below are a few situational interview questions, most commonly asked in technical interviews.
During this round, the hiring manager wants to know your educational background, role-specific technical training, and how you prepared for the job role. Without bragging much, get straight to the point and mention your academic accomplishments, special certifications, and on-job training sessions relevant to the position.
This round can include questions like:
After the three rounds above, the interviewer will move on to test your technical prowess and experience. Apart from confidence over your skills, exhibit your soft skills, such as your communication skills and comprehensive abilities.
The specific questions will vary a lot based on the role that you are applying to, but a standard set of questions include the following:
What they want to know
As you might have guessed, technical interview questions, most of the time, have a predetermined fixed solution. Employers will mention clearly in the job listing the topics a candidate must be conversant in and have complete command over them.
Apart from your proficiency in the said topics, interviewers will be looking for how you arrive at the solution, i.e., your methodology.
This approach allows them to look for role-specific qualities, such as leadership, management, hardworking, strong work ethics, etc. Thus, your fact-based solutions should highlight your knowledge and contribution to a project and your creativity in tackling a question.
How to respond?
Prepare to dive deeper into the essentials of programming, development, and cyber-security. While answering such technical questions, highlight the following characteristics in your answers:
These skills apply not only to big guns, such as Google, Amazon, and Netflix, but also to other companies in various fields. That being said, exhibiting these skills is easier said than done.
For the theoretical questions, you will most likely know the answers from your preparation. However, do not be blunt about the definition and try to back up your answers with real-life examples whenever possible. If you do not know the answers to a particular question, admit it to the interviewer and tell him/her how you would follow up and find the correct answer.
So, here are some of the most common technical questions asked in an interview for you to prepare beforehand.
As a database designer, your primary job role is to determine what data to store and how they correlate and fit into the database model.
What they want to know
Once again, the interviewer is mostly looking for applied knowledge rather than theoretical definitions. You will be asked questions based on your technical familiarity gained with experience, similar to college exams.
How to respond
If you have previously designed databases or worked with automated-build tools, you will hopefully know the answers already. Therefore, exude confidence while answering, and focus on your skills while providing situations based on your experience.
Here are some of the most common interview questions on database designing:
Technical interview questions for freshers
Freshers should focus more on their curriculum and highlight the experience gained through internships (if any), as the technical interview questions will often resemble the college semester exams. Some technical interview questions for freshers can include:
IT companies look for 'quality' people along with 'quality' code in this super-paced age, which is the primary notion behind questions on your work habits.
What they want to know
As an IT expert, you may be required to work solo or as part of a team, depending on the project requirements. Therefore, your prospective employers want to know how you work as part of a team and communicate with other team members.
How to respond
Since these questions will be mostly opinion-based, the interviewer will look for hidden skills and traits in you through your answers. Express your willingness to learn new concepts and adopt new processes into your workflow. Demonstrate your interpersonal skills and back it up with situations you might have faced at your previous jobs.
Some common work habit questions you might be asked include the following:
Do your homework.
Hiring managers expect applicants to be curious about the organization. During the interview process, you should find a lot about the company culture and work environment, but that is not the time for all the details.
"Use time as a tool, not as a couch" – John F. Kennedy.
Take some time before the interview to research the necessary information about the company. Tap into online resources and your network to find specific information regarding the interview process to get an edge over other applicants.
Brace for a whammy.
Expect a few curveballs, as hiring managers like to see how a candidate performs under pressure. Maintain your calm and display a positive approach to answer the question. If you get stuck on a question, do not be afraid.
Sometimes, you will face a few technical interview questions with no right or wrong answer or a sensitive topic such as intercultural smoothness.
While answering these questions, remember that your tone and attitude are equally as important as what you give voice to.
Many companies' technical interview process involves a phone screening, whiteboard coding challenges, and remote coding projects. While you may not have to submit an assignment during the first technical round, be prepared for a few brainteasers here and there.
Don't just talk - be ready to personify your expertise.
Remember, the best way to sharpen your skills is to use them.