Mistakes You’re Making During Your Technical Interview That Are Costing You the Job


Between you and the job of your dreams lurks the technical interview. Interviewers agree on some consistent missteps that can be the difference between walking away with a new title and walking out with some new lessons. Here’s a quick guide to some areas to consider before your next technical interview.


You wore what?!

While casual Friday’s have moved from urban legend into a national holiday, an interview, and that includes a technical interview, is no place to rock your newest pair of ripped jeans. The days of dressing too formally have passed; it’s back to button-downs, ties, heels, and things that need to be dry cleaned/ironed to make a good impression. It’s perfectly acceptable to check your hair and take a bathroom mirror selfie if you need to see the back. Remember, this is a big deal and big deal rules apply here, that includes the no wrinkles and no rubber soles rule.


You would break the team with that attitude.

Attitude seeps into an interview in some unexpected ways. You may be the G.O.A.T., but now is the time to quietly bear the burden of that perfect ACT score rather than risk seeming arrogant by shouting it to the rooftops. Another slippery spot is appearing uninterested; ask long-range and big-picture questions about the issues the business is facing. Interviewers will realize you’re thinking long haul. While you’re asking those questions, be sure not to get bogged down in “what about me” questioning. Now isn’t the time to get into the nitty-gritty about the snack vending machine. Focus on creating a balance between the business’s needs and your personal wants. Don’t slip into a negative headspace, either. Nothing kills an interview faster than a negative attitude; you might have literally been in an office in a basement in an ice castle in Siberia in your last gig, but now is not the time to complain about how wearing parkas makes you itchy. Hold the conversation as positive as possible.


Communication is too important to the team for that.

When you’re answering the problems the technical team proposed to you, don’t drop the ball on good communication. Shine here by using a whiteboard to map out your solution before you even start and talk, talk, talk. Narrate the team through your thinking. This serves three purposes; 1) it shows them how you think (“I need a better name for this process” or “this really would need a neater process”); 2) if your interview runs out of time, it allows them to see where you were headed with your solution; and 3) it gives you an opportunity to ask better questions of the team. Don’t get fixated on the skills you have to exclusively– if you love C#, don’t try one size fits all and make C# the answer to every question. Versatility and flexibility are selling points.


Came in too unprepared.

Before your interview, read books with examples of interview questions, scour online for other people’s experiences and solutions, and check out videos of good interview problem solving techniques. Expose yourself to as many questions and answers as possible. Research the company so that you can predict the sorts of questions you might get asked. Take a pen and a nice portfolio notebook with you. Go out of your way to seem prepared.


I don’t know, the interview sort of just fizzled out.

You are selling yourself! Don’t forget to wrap the interview back around and close strongly. Thank your interviewers for their time. Make it personal to show you were listening to the conversation and the answers to your questions. Ask what the next steps are and re-emphasize how much you are looking forward to the position. Leave them wanting you to come back.

Work With a Top IT Recruiter in San Francisco

Technical interviews can be scary, but they don’t have to be a deal-breaker. Avoiding the sand traps and focusing on the best practices of successful interviewing can land you a new company badge. Consultant Specialists can get you there! Start by searching some of our openings; then contact us to for the next phase of your career.

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