For some, technical coding interviews are no more than a dread-inducing fiasco, a stealer of sleep, and potentially, a barrier to a dream job.
Don’t let this big tech mainstay stop you from chasing a role – it’s probably not going away anytime soon, and there’s plenty you can do to get properly prepared. Just like any skill, interviewing gets easier (and less stressful) with practice.
At Trust in SODA, we’ve seen technical interviews come in all shapes and sizes, and admittedly, some of them could do with a bit of work. Still, you need to play in the parameters set by the employer. Here are a few of our favourite tips to help you improve.
Do Your Homework
Not all companies rely on code-heavy, multi-stage technical interviews, it’s a trend that’s far more common in big tech. It’s not unusual for startups to ditch the idea altogether, so before you plough your time and energy into vanquishing your coding interview fears, make sure it’s something you’ll be asked to do.
A good recruiter will have the inside scoop, so make sure you get as much info from them as you can about what the process looks like.
Get familiar with the format, questions, and tasks – they tend to look different everywhere, and they’re fairly unpredictable, making prior knowledge a huge advantage.
You should consider:
· Solving Coding Challenges Online – Websites like Leetcode and HackeRank are great places to brush up on your problem-solving skills, and they can provide you with some good experience for when the time comes to interview.
· The Language You’ll be Asked to Use – Some employers are happy to let you work with the language you’re most comfortable with, others, not so much.
· Your Ability to Explain Your Thought Process – Coding and talking about your thought process out loud may seem like an impossible feat, but it’s something you can practice beforehand and you will be expected to do it in the interview.
· Running Practice Whiteboard Tests – getting a feel for using a whiteboard, virtually or otherwise, can help mitigate some stress when the time comes to use it for real.
Reposition Your Mindset
You might be asked to solve a problem that you wouldn’t ever come across in your working life. It seems absurd, but the point is to reveal your ability to think critically and perform under pressure. This could require a mindset shift. There’s every chance you’ll have already solved the problem you’re presented with before – solving it isn’t the full story.
A good way to contextualise your decisions is to reference your previous experiences, it can help your interviewer understand how and why you choose to apply your coding skills in real-world environments. These don’t always have to be professional examples either – if you’ve got a passion for coding in your free time, let your prospective employer know about it!
Mistakes are common too. Your employers are on the lookout for your ability to self-correct, it’s indicative of your ability to learn quickly and solve errors in the heat of the moment.
Remember, interviewing is a two-way street, you’re there to see if you like it too. It’s not just the technical skills they’re looking out for (despite the name).
Everything Follows the Basics
Nail your coding fundamentals and do the rest of the interview prep later. This could mean you revisit aspects of coding like data structures, common syntax, debugging, variables, flow control structures, object-oriented programming, or loops.
The data doesn’t lie! Get the basics right and the rest will follow with practice. If you’re struggling with where to start, don’t hesitate to reach out to the SODA squad today. We can find you a role and help you conquer the technical coding interview – our consultants have the means and know-how to level up your career in the digital tech space.
· If you’re on the other side of the recruitment fence and you’re struggling to attract new talent, Trust in SODA can bridge the gap and deliver the talent you need to succeed. If this means revisiting your hiring process, our consultants are on hand to help. Find out more by contacting us here.