Saturday, July 20, 2024

Tackling Technical Interviews In 2017 Requires More Than Just Theoretical Preparation

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If you are a fresh engineering graduate looking at starting work right after college, it is vital that you learn the tricks of the trade before taking the plunge. Here, by tricks of the trade, we refer to pre-interview skills that promise to make your interview process much smoother and easier. Multiple recent surveys and pattern analysis have brought to light the inadequacies, with respect to preparing for technical interviews, that are the culprits depriving engineers their dream job.

Now, it is worth remembering that engineers (across branches) are compulsorily required to face technical interview rounds irrespective of companies and job domains. Getting through technical interview rounds can normally be challenging even if candidates possess skills; but lack of technical interview skills acts as deterrent here.

Therefore, to offer clarity on technical interviews, to fresh engineers, and to enable them prepare better for facing these interactions to land dream jobs, we consulted both career experts as well as their technical counterparts to generate information.

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Be your technical self during face to face interactions

Before anything else, fresh engineers should keep in mind the fact that companies generally employ two methods of evaluating technical skills of candidates. One is in the form of a written assessment, and the other face-to-face. Sometimes, personal level interactions are held after written tests to re-evaluate technical competency of candidates. Therefore, it is vital that candidates (fresh engineers here) prepare for both the modes.

“Fresh engineers are generally viewed as assets, more than resources, by proper employers (companies working in the technical domain). Therefore, it is only natural that they would be subjected to intense technical scrutiny before hiring,” states Rajesh AM who works as senior recruiter at a reputed Bengaluru-based multi-national corporation (MNC) that is into software development.

Rajesh advises freshers to maintain their technical selves intact during interviews. It is vital for the interviewer to understand that you are technically (and technologically) competent.

However, the above parameters slightly change during written technical tests. In these scenarios, oral communication techniques do not come into picture. Remember that getting through written tests is directly proportional to the amount of your technical expertise.

Now, preparation for technical interviews starts from analysis of your academic background.

“Do spend a lot of time, as soon as you receive the interview call, and prepare a chart consisting of all the skills you have acquired during your academic study. Evaluate if your skills work in tandem with the job requirements. If not, do a refresher of your academics, it does not hurt,” states Dr Radhakrishnan HK – a Bengaluru-based career counsellor. Dr Radhakrishnan possesses more than two decades of experience in helping students grow professionally and make the right career choices.

Dr Radhakrishnan also advises fresh engineers to prepare a technical resume consisting of only technical skills, projects handled, and innovations developed during the engineering course. This is only for your reference and not to be presented during interviews. As per the career counsellor, having an exclusive technical profile offers skill refreshes whilst suggesting areas for improvement. This should help immensely during your technical interviews.

Take the bull by the horns

As far as the exact technical interview is concerned, fresh engineering graduates should remember to adapt the ‘take the bull by the horn’ approach; this is with respect to tackling tricky interview questions. Experts here advise you to always play with a straight bat, rather than beating around the bush.

“During technical interviews, always answer questions only to the point. Don’t exaggerate. This would make you look foolish,” states a Bengaluru-based senior recruiter working for a popular job search portal.

With precision being the key, engineers should also remember to avoid certain aspects that have been found (by experts) to result in rejection at the technical round itself. Check these out, below:

  • Eliminate technical jargons. Using these conveys to the interviewer that you are beating around the bush.
  • Don’t hide your technical weaknesses. Openly tell the interviewer about these, also offer (and then implement) to conquer your technical shortcomings by mastering the required skills before you get on the job. Do offer to attend one more technical round after you acquire the required skillsets.
  • For programmers, remember that recruiters always check for the output of what your code. Eliminate thinking that you can get away with erroneous codes or that the interviewer (s) would not actually run your code.

With these eliminated, your head should now be cleared of unnecessary clutter before you are physically present before the interviewer.

Resume Content is equally important

“Stereo typed internet copied resumes are very cliché and are a strict no-no today,” states Priyaa Arya, mentor and counsellor at Bengaluru-based Banjara Academy; a leading career counselling firm.

Therefore, remember to highlight only those technical skills in your resume which you are a master at. Do not exaggerate skill-sets as recruiters are easily able to detect these.

Think from the real-world perspective; make the interviewers aware of this

In today’s cut-throat competition, it is vital that you look at solving real-world problems via application of your technical skills. State enough examples to your interviewer to prove that you have the skill-sets that are fit enough to make an impact on society.

Here, remember that engineering is about ‘engineering of solutions’ to issues that plague society.

Even if you are a software programmer or professional, do write up programs during the technical interview (by requesting additional time) to offer solutions to real-world issues. Now, this is not to impress the recruiter, but to hold a mirror to your acumen and societal concern.

Adapt Lateral Thinking

This is one aspect that really comes in handy when you are facing an interview. The interviewer could pose questions that could completely stun you.

“Today’s recruiters have become smart. The technical round generally presents them an opportunity to showcase their brilliance. Here, you should think laterally and logically, than from an academic and personal viewpoint, in these situations,” advices Dr Radhakrishnan.

Fretting over ‘unexpected’ technical queries is not required; you could also choose not to answer these; but this approach is associated with more risk as pure denial could cost you the job. Nonetheless, you could borrow more time to analyse the issue and then come up with suitable solutions.

Seeking time is definitely not an offense during technical interviews.

Communicate with your interviewer; educate as well

It is vital to always ask questions (only valid ones) to the interviewer; these are welcome even when the actual interaction is taking place. You could also educate the interviewer on the latest technologies that you have researched upon, how this can be used by the company, pros & cons, and a lot more. This creates a positive impact on the recruiter who then gets set to recommend you to the next levels of interviews.

Research, research, and research

Remember that even after the interview is finished, you should take considerable time to try and self-assess your performance. You could also ask for feedbacks from the company, in case the interview turns out to be negative. It is great if the interaction results in positivity, speak to your interviewer again and find out which were the skills (and aspects) that got you that ‘dream job’ that you have always wanted.

With this information, you can do a complete self-assessment, and decide the next step accordingly.

Dr Radhakrishnan HK a Bengaluru-based career counsellor possessing more than two decades of experience in guiding students
Rajesh AM Senior Recruiter at a reputed multinational software firm in Bengaluru
Priyaa Arya Mentor & Counsellor at Bengaluru-based Banjara Academy
A Bengaluru-based senior recruiter at a popular job portal who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity

Written by Rahul R, Senior Technical Journalist at EFY


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