Ah, the dreaded technical interview. Maybe the word Hackerrank sends shivers down your spine, or maybe Excel formulas haunt your dreams. If you work in the tech industry as an engineer, data scientist, or another technical role then chances are you have faced one of these on your road to landing the job.
Technical interviews can be intimidating, especially if you are completing one for the very first time. Thoughts of getting stuck and being unable to work your way out or even fears of not understanding the technical assessment software itself can be hard to ignore. While it is perfectly natural to be a little nervous before any sort of interview, technical interviews, in particular, seem to strike fear into the hearts of candidates.
Please note: there are many types of technical assessment, including screening tests (typically taken on your own time independently), and live tests (taken with an interviewer or panel). In this article, I will specifically be talking about the live technical interview process.
While I have never taken a technical interview (recruiter with non-technical background over here!), I have been at countless feedback meetings during which the hiring team has debriefed me on how the candidates did in the technical assessment. Time and again, I hear the same reasoning from teams when deciding who to extend an offer to based on the technical interview. And it might not be what you expect…
Do not get me wrong, it is important to practice, prepare, and brush up on skills before a technical interview. But the number one thing that distinguishes a candidate during a technical interview and takes it from a good interview to a great interview resulting in a job offer? Collaboration.
Surprised? I was as well. When I began recruiting, I assumed that hiring teams would want to hire whoever performed “the best” technically on an assessment, whether that meant finding the most optimal solution, identifying every bug in the code, or even completing the assessment in the shortest amount of time. However, as I began to recruit for more technical roles, I began to understand that having the strongest technical skills does not equate to having the “best interview.”