Job interview vector illustration.

The technical interview is unlike any other job interview in that it is a specialized, rigorous procedure that assesses coding ability, problem-solving abilities, and personality. 

In contrast to other interviews, technical interviews include difficulties and assignments. They’re more akin to an exam than a standard question-and-answer session. 

Like the saying “show, don’t tell,” candidates must demonstrate their ability to execute the job rather than simply telling the interviewer they can do it. 

The goal of the technical interview, contrary to common assumption, is not to deceive candidates with riddles, brain teasers, or difficult questions. Instead, it’s to examine how they deal with real-world problems.

What exactly are technical/hard skills? 

Hard skills, often known as technical or IT skills, involve information and know-how gained through training and are frequently confirmed by a degree. They are also known as job or work skills. They describe the major features of a job role and are generally confined to certain areas of a job role. 

Mastery of a programme, a foreign language, a computer language, a precise tool, a machine, or any other technical “job” might be considered hard skills. Recruiters typically use these talents to pre-select candidates during the early stages of the recruiting process. 

These technical abilities are often included on the resume or CV as professional credentials and experience earned, and they attract recruiters’ attention due to their tangible, visible, and stable aspects.

A technical interview stages 

Technical interviews are usually divided into three stages: 

  • The first level is a technological phone or video screen. This brief social and technical screening step determines whether candidates are competent and eager enough to advance to the following technical round. This portion of the interview usually lasts 15-30 minutes. 
  • The second step is a remote coding interview/assignment. Some businesses wish to do a preliminary coding exam on candidates before inviting them to an interview. It might be done over the phone, through Skype or Zoom, or as a homework project. A remote coding challenge should only take a few hours if the employer considers the candidates’ time.
  • The third and final step is an on-site interview/whiteboarding competition. It consists of an in-person interview with coding challenges that candidates must perform in front of the interviewer on a whiteboard (s).

If a business is global, this might also be done remotely by video conference. Whiteboard interviews are usually 1-2 hours long, while the entire on-site technical interview might span several hours to a full day.

Analyzing a project

Candidates are asked to explain their most technically complex assignment from the past. It might be a school project if the individual is a student. They are asked to “walk through” the task step-by-step, detailing what they did, how they accomplished it, with whom, and so on. 

As the applicant recounts their job, the interviewer pushes for precise specifics and listens for indications of technical competence and confidence.

Beyond technical abilities, project analysis interviews help to understand a candidate’s: 

– Coding abilities 

– Interest in technology/coding 

– Curiosity 

Skills Assessment Interview 

A skill assessment interview validates job candidates’ practical talents by encouraging them to complete work-specific activities during the recruiting process. For example, if an employer is looking for a programmer to work on an AI solution, they may want to confirm their competence in utilizing Python in an AI project. The same is true for non-development roles such as QA testers. 

Employee skill evaluations can be performed both automatically and manually. The best arrangement is to use a platform like Adaface to test candidates’ skills, then choose the most qualified prospects and invite them to an in-person or remote skills assessment interview. Recruiters will save time by removing applicants whose talents appear impressive only on paper.

A few approaches for assessing work skills: 

– Pair programming interviews, in which the candidate collaborates with an internal programmer at a single workstation. The job candidate writes code while the other programmer observes. 

– Technical interviews are conducted by a technical person, such as a senior programmer, team leader, or CTO, depending on the size and structure of the organization. They frequently include challenges and assignments to determine whether candidates have the essential technical abilities to accomplish the job. 

– Interview coding exams (challenges) where applicants are given tasks to complete to screen their technical abilities and coding expertise. 

– Psychometric assessments to test a candidate’s cognitive ability, personality, and knowledge.

Beyond technical abilities, skill assessments help to understand a candidate’s: 

– Coding abilities 

– Problem-solving abilities 

– Creative thinking abilities 

– Analytical thinking abilities 

– Interpersonal skills and mentorship skills

Scales of competence 

On a scale of 1 to 10, the candidate is asked to assess their proficiency in a particular area. “How would you grade your JavaScript competency in terms of applications software on a scale of 1-10?” The interviewer then tailors questions to the candidate’s claimed level. 

If it is clear that the candidate’s self-assessment is too high or too low, more or less complicated questions are utilized.

Beyond technical abilities, competency scale interviews help to understand a candidate’s: 

– Coding ability and conceptual understanding

– Alignment with the role requirements

Phone Screen 

A candidate’s chance to make a solid first impression is during the phone screen. 

They can demonstrate their technical knowledge to some extent, but some technical phone screenings will be less tech-focused than others. More importantly, emphasize the communication of soft skills (enthusiasm, communication, teamwork, etc.).

Beyond technical abilities, phone screening interviews help to understand a candidate’s: 

– Interest in technology/coding 

– Curiosity 

– Communication abilities 

– Cultural compatibility 

– Alignment with the company’s goal and values

Coding challenges

Companies conduct this technical round in a variety of ways. Some firms will provide a real-time monitored challenge to candidates to assess how they code. This is frequently accomplished with a video interview and a web-based code editor such as CoderPad, Collabedit, or even a Google Doc. 

Other organizations (often startups) may request candidates to complete an at-home project within a specific time limit—usually 48 hours. 

Smaller firms may not include a remote coding challenge instead of inviting candidates in for an on-site interview right after the phone interview, while larger corporations frequently do. (As a general rule, the more systematic the hiring process is, the larger the organization.)

Beyond technical abilities, coding challenges, and interviews help to understand a candidate: 

– Coding abilities 

– Testing code as candidates write it 

– Problem-solving abilities 

– Collaboration abilities 

On-site and whiteboard interviews

On-site technical interviews at small startups may be less formal than at larger corporations. There might not even be a whiteboard to practice coding on! 

During a whiteboard interview, also known as a technical interview, the interviewer will present applicants with a coding challenge and ask them to sketch a solution on a whiteboard. Recruiters utilize these interviews to assess candidates’ technical abilities, communication skills, and problem-solving approaches.

The challenge the applicant answers is typically an algorithm, but it might also be system design or one of the company’s real-world difficulties. Interviewers are more interested in the reasoning underlying candidates’ solutions rather than in their correctness in this case. They may even be requested to tackle a problem that extends beyond the scope of their role. 

Beyond technical abilities, whiteboard challenge interviews help to understand a candidate’s: 

– Coding abilities 

– Problem-solving abilities 

– Creative thinking abilities 

– Communication abilities 

– Analytical thinking abilities 

– Cultural compatibility 

– Candidates’ responses to comments 

– Ability to tackle issues in a structured and organized manner 

– Awareness of the larger picture. Candidates may be asked to step back from the application code and consider how data flows across systems and the enormous infrastructure implications.

Take-home assignment 

A Take Home Assessment occurs when a candidate is given a coding job to complete at home. 

Take-home tests allow a candidate to demonstrate their abilities in a non-pressurized atmosphere. Take-home assignments are a less stressful alternative to live-code tests since the ability to complete the examination in privacy benefits many people who would be immobilized in an interview. 

Take-home assignments are also perfect for junior employment since they allow people without an extensive portfolio to demonstrate their abilities and adaptability to new technology.

Another advantage of take-home assignments is that they are asynchronous, which means they do not interfere with anyone’s schedule. They also scale nicely, allowing you to simultaneously assign the same job to numerous employees. 

Beyond technical abilities, take-home assignments help to understand a candidate’s: 

– Coding abilities 

– Problem-solving abilities 

– Creative thinking abilities 

– Analytical thinking abilities 

– Ability to tackle issues in a structured and systematic manner

Code Analysis 

During a Code Analysis Interview, the employer evaluates the applicant by discussing how they would enhance the code in a genuine Pull Request / Component pulled from the company’s stack. 

PRs are the most time-efficient option since they require minor preparation. It enables the employer to learn about the candidate’s code quality standards and testing mindset. It is also the least stressful for the candidate and allows junior candidates to demonstrate their potential. 

Code analysis interviews are best when hiring for extremely junior or senior roles.

Beyond technical abilities, code analysis interviews help to understand a candidate’s: 

– Coding abilities 

– Ability to solve problems 

– Creative thinking ability 

– Communication abilities 

– Ability to think analytically 

– Capability to accept constructive criticism