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How to prepare for (and ace) the technical interview

Rich Hein | Aug. 28, 2013
As developers and IT pros you need to do all the things everyone else does to prepare for a job interview such as update and focus your resume as well as work on your communication and presentation skills. However, you also have the technical interview to deal with.

A good practice, according to Nathanson, is to spend some time going over what you would like to cover and how you want to present yourself.

"You are selling you - so know your product and your audience, and have a plan going in. Study the job description, do some research on the people you will be meeting and definitely do some homework on the company beyond just their products," says Nathanson. Check out social media places where you can research the company and its people like LinkedIn, Facebook and Glassdoor.

Be Ready to Whiteboard
While whiteboarding isn't a standard requirement for technical interviews, it happens often enough that you need to practice a bit. "This is a key way to prepare, because it is often used to interview candidates. Practicing on the whiteboard and being prepared to do so ahead of the interview can often make a big difference, especially to those to whom this kind of interaction does not come naturally," says Nathanson.

Be Familiar With the Job Listing
The best resource is the job listing itself. Human Resources puts a lot of time, thought and energy into these, and they will give you a deeper insight into the technologies used at the prospective company and how you may best apply your knowledge and skills to the problems they face.

"If it's in the job description, it's important to be able to talk to it and how you may solve the problems they are looking to fix. Make sure you really understand the technical requirements outlined in the job description. They were put there to provide guidance on what the company is looking for to ensure candidates are the right fit," says Nathanson.

Refresh on the Core Principles and Basics
Brush up on any aspects of the prospective programming language that may be rusty to you, or perhaps you know only the broad strokes, but could learn more. Expect questions ranging from the fundamentals to some higher-level concepts and anywhere in between.

What you have to be prepared for as a candidate is that you are going to have to demonstrate your programming skills and there isn't a standard process. That said, if you are interviewing for job that calls for PHP developer skills, you will probably want to brush up on those skills, maybe take some online tutorials. "You want to read through and familiarize yourself with formal technical jargon and acronyms around PHP. This is a good idea because many times when you go in and you have the skills and can perform the tasks, what you call something may not match up with the formal terminology, says Reed.

 

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