No matter how many you go on, job interviews can always be nerve wrecking. I always used to be nervous before any technical interviews even though tech is my forte.
Apart from the skillset and confidence I admit that sometimes they get bit difficult to crack, but they shouldn’t have to be that difficult if you plan properly – The best way to for anything is to do your research ahead of time.
In general, everyone will have their own way of handling when it comes to job interviews, But from my personal experience I put together some pointers to follow before preparing/attending any technical interview.
When it comes to any interview, there are two stages that we need to concentrate.
STAGE I – Preparing for the Interview
- Prepare concepts – not syntax
- Always know its limitations
- Always have example scenarios in mind – not the definitions
- Think logically – don’t remember syntax
1. Prepare concepts – not syntax
Whenever you start preparing for an interview always remember that you learn the technical concepts/features before going into syntax or more concrete versions of the concepts.
Let me run you through an example, Suppose you are preparing for an interview on Angular framework in couple of days and you don’t know what to expect in interview. Many people in situations like these might google some questions on Angular framework and try to remember the answers written by some blogger – It’s normal, but here we need to understand that the answers given by any blogger is based on his/her understanding of the framework which you may or may not understand. So if you try to remember which you don’t understand is complete disaster. Trust me that is what we’ve been doing our whole academic life – If there is any one take a way from our whole academic life is that don’t try to remember anything for the sake of a moment.
Coming back to interview – Assuming that you have some knowledge on the given topic – you need to list down the main concepts/features in angular framework like
Two way binding etc
Now understand each of these topics in dept, am not going to go deeper into these topics, but once you get a complete picture of these things then you will be bit more confident than you were when you started.
2. Always know its limitations
Once you are familiarized with all the concepts and you are able to articulate your own understanding of the concepts then its time for next step, i.e list down the limitations of that technology/framework. Like what it can do and what it cannot do etc. If you can prepare your own set of questions then its fine, but at least try to answer below questions
- Why it come to existence
- Why it is so popular
- What type of applications we can build with it
- What are the disadvantages
- ……. so on, you can go like this
No one is going to ask above questions but knowing those makes you look more confident in the room.
3. Always have example scenarios in mind
I cannot emphasize more on this point – Understanding major concepts and features of a technology is one thing but knowing usages and real time scenarios of each of those is a real deal maker. It proves that you have in dept understanding of that technology.
For example, if an interviewer asked you what is exception handling ? – Now instead of telling exceptional handling is a way of handling excepted or unexpected errors in the execution flow, give him a nice example.
Something like: a media player application trying to look for a media file to play a song but unfortunately the file was not present in the expected location. In this case instead of shutting down the application abruptly, the exception handling feature allows us to show a user-friendly message to the user that ‘file not found’ and then continue running without shut down.
The more scenarios you have in your mind the more chances you get out of the interview room with a smile.
4. Think logically – don’t remember syntax
If you are a fresher or having < 1 year experience, then any typical interviewer would test whether you have a logical mindset and thought process, And of course this applies to experienced professionals as well.
When I gave my first interview, the interviewer is about 50 years old (I think he was senior manager). he asked me a simple logical question that – “I have a dial which has only 6 hours in it (not 12 as our typical watches) and where do you think the dial will be after 43566 hours?”.
I kept thinking for a moment and understood the logic that after every 6 hours the dial goes back to 1, So assume that if the dial completed 43566 hours and this number is divisible by 6 by leaving 0 reminder then after all the hours the dial arrives at 1.
Now finally divided the 43566 with 6 and the reminder is 0 – So the answer is that is stays where it started.
It took couple of minuets to break down but whats important that whether you have logical mindset and approach to solve any problem, even if you never came across such problem earlier in your life.
STAGE II – during the interview
- Make some first impressions
- Maintain Clarity
- Structure your answer
- Say No – That’s fine
1. Make some first impressions
First impression is the best impression – as they say.
An interviewer will not be interested in your “good excuse” for running late. Plan to arrive a few minutes early, and allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn. Arriving early is much better that arriving late, and is the first step toward creating a great first impression.
Try to be professional during the whole interview process. many people trying to be professional end up being serious face. It’s fine to use sense of humor and fun talk when you find a situation.
physical appearance matters. The person you are meeting for the first time doesn’t know you, so your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on.
But, don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that you need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression. Anything looks formal and professional is fine.
2. Maintain Clarity
While you are explaining a technical concept, Always make sure to explain like you are teaching him the concept – not like you are answering his question. This is where having scenarios comes in handy. Even if you don’t remember the official definition of the topic you can still convey it with couple of example scenarios.
Most of the technical interviewers would ask about your previous assignments, be prepared to explain the whole assignment (project) and your role in it. And it is always recommended to tell him/her about couple of tricky situations you encountered in your previous projects and how you solved. This tells them your active involvement in the team and project.
3. Structure your answer
Even though many have a very good understanding of a technology, sometimes they fail to convey their understanding of the concepts.
Follow a thought process that once you have been asked a question, first explain the topic properly, then explain a scenario/situation where we can use it.
If you think you can do better on paper to convey something, then feel free to ask for a paper.
4. Say No – That’s fine
You don’t leave any negative impression by saying No, when you don’t know about something or you never come across it. By saying no doesn’t mean that you are being rude, selfish, or unkind. These are all unhelpful beliefs that make it hard to say no. Successful people say No more often than yes.
If you never worked on a technology but anyway interviewer asked a question around it – then its better to say that you never worked on that technology, but you are quick and self learner and you can learn it in no time.
Or if an algorithm is tricky and you couldn’t explain it properly. You can excuse, and explain him/her that you never used it earlier so taking some time.
No matter how much strong you are technically, if you don’t convey it properly you might lose a chance to get your dream job in your dream company. This is not some success mantra everyone should follow – but I think these are the things which makes an interviewer decide whether you are right fit for the job.
Thanks for your time, if you learnt something here please feel free to share it and do not forget to like our facebook page.