The Technical Interview: Coming to a Company Near You

calculationsHave you applied for a job that requires a “technical interview” as part of the process? Not sure exactly what a that could entail or how to prepare for it? Good news: we can help!

Many people are surprised when recruiters tell them that their interview will include a technical component as part of the process. It’s true that the technical interview is a fairly new divergence from the standard behavioral interview that companies have employed for decades.

As it turns out, dozens of competitive companies use the technical interview to assess potential employees. Household names like Google, Procter & Gamble, Caterpillar, and Facebook consistently use such interviews to weed-out candidates. Like their consulting brethren, these firms also have found value in pressure-testing their candidates with brain teasers, business problems, and market sizing questions.

So what exactly are companies assessing in a candidate during a technical interview? How can you master the science and the art?

Logical Structuring:

  • For example: How many people watched YouTube in the last hour? Can you break-down complex problems into simplified, solvable steps? The final number is much less important than the logical process used to arrive at the answer. Moreover, usually the interviewer has no idea what the actual answer is!

Quantitative Prowess:

  • For example: How much revenue did the 2014 World Cup make from ticket sales? Can you quickly perform mental math as you work through your logical structure? Do you know when to choose easy, rounded numbers? Are you able to take a step back and consider whether your answers even make sense? Business people have to make quick decisions each day. Your ability to “run the numbers” real-time can be invaluable for an employer.

Communication Skills:

  • For example: Explain a search algorithm to me as if I were a 10 year-old. Can you grasp a complex, technical concept and explain it in straight-forward terms to another person? To earn a management position, you should be able to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical team members. Also, the ability to simplify a complicated concept is an indicator of how well you actually understand that concept.

Interest Level:

  • For example: How would you improve Google Maps? How well do you know the company, its customers, and its products? Have you taken the time to identify and solve development areas for the firm? To answer these questions, you must think like an owner, which makes you a much more attractive recruit.

Analytical Abilities:

  • For example: If you were the CEO of Ford, would you be concerned about Tesla? Can you analyze the company’s industry? Do you understand the implications of current events? Successful employees are often those who have the ability to analyze current-state trends and anticipate what needs to happen in order to outperform competitors in the future.

Whether you’re targeting Silicon Valley titans, brand-name retailers, or the top consulting firms, our coaches are ready to prepare you for your technical interviews.


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