A technical interview can be intimidating, especially when you are not meeting your interviewer in person and are relying on videoconferencing to make a good impression. However, there are many things you can do beforehand to help yourself feel more prepared and ready when your time comes. Here’s a list of some recommendations:
1. Make sure you know what to expect.
You might not know what questions you’ll be asked, but the other details of the interview need not be a mystery. Reach out to your recruiter with any questions — they’re there to help you in the process and they should be able to give you all the information you need to confidently plan and prepare.
It’s also useful to check with your recruiter about any audio / video technology that might be used during your interview. CodeSignal’s interview platform has a built-in videoconference tool so you will not need to simultaneously navigate multiple windows.
2. Know your languages.
Many roles expect you to code in a specific language, so it’s a good idea to know in advance the ones you might be expected to use. Make sure to practice with your programming language of choice beforehand, so that during the technical interview you’ll be able to focus on the problem without being tripped up by syntax. Many coding assessment platforms, including CodeSignal, support a variety of languages — so you can work with the one you know best.
3. Practice in a realistic environment.
It’s a good idea to try out the IDE that you’ll be using in your technical interview ahead of time. This can help you get familiar with how the assessment platform works. CodeSignal’s IDE is built on the same framework as VSCode to make it familiar and comfortable for coding. You can take practice assessments before your interview, so you can get used to customizing the language, theme, and formatting in the way that works best for you. If you’ve prepared with CodeSignal before, you will not even need to create a new account.
4. Review your previous work.
Go through the code for some of your past projects. Since you might be building out a feature in your technical interview, being able to quickly refamiliarize yourself with past projects hones an important skill. It also helps make sure that you have a few examples at the front of your mind to answer questions about past experience with debugging or implementing specific features. This can also serve as a helpful reminder that you’ve done this sort of work before!
5. Rehearse what you’ll say.
During your technical interview, it’s really helpful to narrate what you’re doing so your interviewer has a sense of your thought process. This can feel unnatural if you’re not used to it, so practice talking as you code even when you’re doing sample problems. This way, talking as you code becomes a tool to help articulate your thinking, rather than a distraction from other tasks at the moment.
It’s also useful to practice your introduction and to prepare some examples that demonstrate your skills so you have familiar phrasing to fall back on during the interview.
6. Set yourself up in a good head space.
Make sure the rest of your life is settled away — set out an outfit, pull up the webinar link, and plan a nutritious breakfast or lunch so you’re not worrying about those details on the day of your technical interview. Also, do your best to get a full night’s rest the night before, and remember that it’s normal and even expected to be nervous!
7. Tidy up and dress up.
Dress for your virtual technical interview the same way you’d dress for an in-person interview: business casual is great. Take care to clean up your background beforehand, and do your best to make it a quiet, well-lit, and distraction-free space so you’ll be easy to see and hear.
8. Check your technology setup.
Do a thorough check of all the technology that you’ll be relying on during your technical interview, so you are not scrambling the day of. Make sure you’re using a browser that will support all features that your technical interview will use, since some platforms require certain browsers to allow video conferencing. CodeSignal recommends an up-to-date version of Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome for the best experience.
Check your internet connection, test links, and make sure your laptop is charged or plugged in. It can also be helpful to tidy up your tabs in the window you’ll be working in and to turn off desktop notifications to avoid distraction during the technical interview.
Best of luck! You’ve done a great job setting yourself up for success. Even if this technical interview does not go as you hope, know that the work you’ve done to prepare will still serve you well in the long run since it means you’ll have had this experience before.