Interviews in the tech field have more layers than a simple pass or fail. Whether you have always been in the technical field or making a career change, you can only prepare for an interview with the information you have.
TechHouse CEO and Founder Kathy Durfee recently shared her insight on the interview process for her IT Consulting and Solutions company at the Panel Discussion: The Do’s and Don’ts of Technical Interviewing with Computer Coach Training Center. Though Kathy makes the final decision after an interview, she has created a framework where her team leads the interview process. We want to share key takeaways from TechHouse’s interview process that any candidate will do well to keep top of mind.
We will cover our interview process to give you an idea of what to expect when interviewing for a technical company, typical interview questions for technical job roles, how to present yourself as a candidate, and what to do if you are new in the technical field.
What to Expect During Your Interview
Most importantly, we want to know whether the candidate compliments our company culture. Two-thirds of the interview we spend getting to know the candidate and for them to get to know us. We take the time to see if we have similar goals and values.
One-third of the interviews are technical. To qualify for an interview, candidates answer written questions to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. The written questions are an open-book test demonstrating your commitment to finding the answers, your precision in the response, and the thought process you use to get the answer. During the interview, an experienced TechHouse team member will ask a few additional questions. They are listening for aptitude as well as specific technical skills. In our company, we greatly value conceptual understanding and the ability to think in all team members. Knowing answers to foundational technical questions is critical. For advanced topics, we are less concerned about knowing the “right” answer and more interested in allowing you to demonstrate your ability to think and problem solve.
A quick tip: As you select your role when applying, focus on the strengths that help you excel – what comes easy to you.
Preparing for Interview Questions for Technical Positions
Candidates applying for technical job roles related to consulting, an architect, or similar roles can expect questions that reveal if they know how the tech industry works. We do not check answers as incorrect or correct, but responses are evaluated based on context. In other words, internalizing information goes a longer way than memorizing information. In the tech industry, you will rarely see the same problem. When you have a mind that understands the moving parts of tech, you can solve problems as they come.
Perhaps you are more interested in a help desk position, then your understanding of standard process steps to solve problems will benefit you. If you are interested in Quality control testing, what tools are commonly used? Take some time to research common errors and resolutions, so you can understand how people solve those problems in the real world. If possible, go into the interview knowing as much as possible about the company’s tools and the problems they solve for their customers.
Why would you hire you if you were hiring yourself for the position instead of others with a higher knowledge base? There is a reason. Find it. You have talents that you should not deny the world, figure out what they are and apply them.
A quick tip: If you hear a technical question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t fret. Admit you don’t know the answer and give an example of a similar situation to which you can provide an answer. If you don’t know anything similar, let the interviewer know what areas you did study.
Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Use anecdotes to remind your interviewer that you are human. You are not just a bot looking for a job. Seize the opportunity to build relationships within the time of your interview. Kathy mentions how her family calls her the half-blood cook – like the half-blood prince – because she enjoys and is good at creating delicious meals out of whatever crazy leftovers and odds and ends are in the kitchen. Some may see this as an excellent skill for her home, while others realize her creative problem-solving strength.
Set yourself apart from other candidates with your enthusiasm. Again, let the interviewer know who you are with your hobbies, history, and personality. However, be strategic with what information you share. Allow yourself to shine through and show how you align with the job you are seeking to fulfill.
Ultimately, be yourself.
A quick tip: If your interview gets off to a rough start, remember that decisions are often not made within the first 15 minutes. All candidates are a good fit in some ways. Staying present during your interview lets you leave knowing you genuinely allowed your interviewer to understand what you bring to the table.
New to The Tech Field? Do Not Worry
No one can be everything or know everything. A good hire is someone with some full and some empty buckets—the company and the team members benefit when learning takes place on both ends.
Everyone has experience. You have skills and talents, don’t be modest about them. Express how you can add value to the company. Are you great at communicating? Do you have strengths in analyzing data? How well are you with problem-solving? Are your time management skills exceptional? Let your interviewer know. You can fulfill a need within a company – it is your job to show the connection between you and them.
If your interviewer asks you to apply again, do that. Please do not take it as a reflection of what you may lack; often, there are far more qualified candidates than openings. Again, take the time to build relationships during your interview process because you connect with people within the tech industry each time you enter an interview stage.
A quick tip: Connect to the interviewers on LinkedIn. Building relationships can go a long way. You never know who may mention your name in rooms you are not in.
You Made It to The End of The Interview
Use the end of the interview to gain more information on the company and the expectations for your role. Not only does it show you are engaged, but you can also clarify any blurred areas you may have.
Follow-up questions work to your benefit as you can see if the company is a good fit for you.
Send a quick note thanking them for their time and reminding them of your interest and why they are a great fit.
A quick tip: Take note of the company’s website and have questions ready that their site does not answer.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended to assist candidates with their interview process and does not guarantee a hire.