Interview mastery: How to ace your technical screening

Article author
Sarah Seiwert
  • Updated

Congratulations! You've made it to the third and final step of our application process. Below is a short list to help you prepare for your live, technical screening:

πŸ–₯️  1. Check your internet connectivity, and confirm your camera and microphone are working before your scheduled interview! If the picture isn't clear or you're experiencing sound issues, you might need to buy a mini webcam with a built-in microphone.

πŸ€– 2. Please ensure your coding environment is set up for the interview. This is applicable to Software Engineers, including QA.

πŸŽ₯  3. Turn on your video! This helps bring your answers to life. If for some reason your camera isn’t working, please let our interviewer know.

🀫  4. Find a quiet place and backdrop to take the call so our interviewer can hear you clearly.

πŸ“±  5. Do not use a mobile for your interview or take your interview while you are β€œon-the-go.”

❓  6. Prepare answers for some common interview questions and think especially about your technical experience and examples of work you have done.

πŸ˜€  7. Don't panic when they ask something unexpected or difficult; keep your cool and get back on track.

πŸ—£οΈ  8. Enjoy the process and conversation!


Still want more tips on how to become an interviewing ace? Then keep reading! 

  • Listen closely: During an interview, carefully listen to the interviewer's introduction, as it can provide valuable insights about their position, the company, and the job you're applying for. Adapting your communication style to match theirs can establish a stronger connection and leave a better impression. Tailor your language and level of technical detail based on the interviewer's background and expertise. For technical interviewers, emphasize your knowledge and use specialized language, while for non-technical managers, simplify your terms and focus on aligning your skills with the company's objectives. Being attentive and adaptable can create a positive and productive interview experience, building rapport and making a strong impression.

  • Responding about skills you do not have: During an interview, being honest about your skills and experience is essential. If you're asked a question about something that you have little knowledge or experience with, it's okay to say so. However, it's also essential to approach this positively. Instead of saying, "I don't know," you can acknowledge the gap in your knowledge and express a willingness to learn and grow. For example, you could say, "While I don't have much experience with that specific technology, I'm confident in my ability to learn quickly, and I'm excited about the opportunity to expand my skills."

  • Understand the question: During interviews, fully understand the questions before responding and ensure you understand what the interviewer wants. Questions allow you to highlight your skills and achievements, so leverage them to your advantage. Differentiate between questions, such as factual versus experiential, and tailor your responses accordingly. For example, a question like "What is Java?" requires a different response than "What is your experience with Java?" For technology-related queries, provide a concise definition followed by a description of your experience. Keep your answers focused and be ready to elaborate if necessary. Adapting your responses to the audience and question type demonstrates effective communication and showcases your qualifications for the position.

  • Time Management: During an interview, time management is crucial. Keep your responses focused and concise to cover the necessary information. Avoid going off-topic or providing excessive details. Allocate your time wisely and avoid spending too long on any one topic. If you've provided a thorough answer, offer to elaborate further if needed. Remember that the interview is a two-way conversation, and the interviewer wants to learn more about you. By being mindful of time and delivering relevant information, you can make the most of your interview and leave a positive impression.

  • Live coding: Preparing for a live coding interview can lead to success with proper practice and readiness. Follow these tips:
    • Practice coding problems using platforms like LeetCode, HackerRank, or Codewars.
    • Review programming basics, including data structures, algorithms, and syntax.
    • Get comfortable with the programming language used in the interview.
    • Explain your thought process and decisions as you code.
    • Test your code with various inputs and edge cases.
    • Stay calm if you face challenges, and ask for clarification or assistance.
    • Utilize good coding practices for readability.
    • Seek understanding before starting to code, and don't hesitate to ask questions.
    • Showcase problem-solving skills, not memorized syntax.

  • Communication:  If you struggle to understand the interviewer's accent, here are steps you can take to enhance communication:

    • Ask for clarification to ensure understanding.
    • Paraphrase what you heard to confirm understanding and allow the interviewer to correct misunderstandings.
    • Focus on keywords and utilize context to piece together the question. If experiencing difficulty, politely address the issue by requesting the interviewer to speak more slowly or repeat the question. Being honest about communication challenges is essential to avoid incorrect answers or pretending to understand. Open communication can help the interviewer adjust their style to aid comprehension. Maintain patience and respect throughout the interview process, demonstrating thoughtfulness and engagement.

  • Follow up: After your interview, send a thank-you email to your interviewer. This may seem like a small gesture, but it will also demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in Andela!

With these tips in your back pocket, you're going to be ready to handle any question or situation that comes your way. Good luck to you! 

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