What to expect in a technical interview

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If you are applying for an engineering, science or IT based role, it's commonplace to expect a technical interview. Technical interviews exist to assess your technical ability – usually specific to the role you are applying for.

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Technical interviews are designed to assess your problem solving abilities and how you approach the presented problem itself. Technical Assessment Centres normally go hand in hand with a technical interview or follow shortly after – quite literally testing your abilities.

Many technical interview questions will relate directly to the job role so read the job description carefully and make sure you feel confident with the skills they require.

What are technical organisations looking for?

  • Strong technical knowledge (specific to the job role itself)
  • A thirst to learn more about relevant technologies and the industry
  • An understanding of how you think and problem solve
  • Good reasoning and analytical skills
  • How you handle pressure

What technical interview questions can you expect?

  • Questions to demonstrate you have an understanding of the broader technical activities of the company
  • Questions that show you have an understanding of the technical work required
  • Questions about modules in your degree course (if relevant to the company)
  • Technical problem examples (examples that would exist in your day-to-day at the company)

Read five top tips for technology interviews

Tips for a positive interview

  • If you know you will be using a particular programme or system within the job itself – PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, so it's at the forefront of your mind on the day
  • Demonstrate an eagerness to learn by ask the interviewer questions
  • If you make a mistake – try not to let it throw you off guard. The questions are designed to challenge the very brightest of us
  • If you don't know the answer to a question, be honest. Today’s scope of technical abilities is pretty much endless and you'll probably be quizzed on your knowledge regarding a whole host of different programmes. Don’t lie or try to embellish your skills. Be honest, as you may be asked to prove them. Interviewers are not just looking for which boxes you tick but want to know where your basic abilities lie and where your base of knowledge can be built upon. It’s OK to say no if you’re not sure, but absolutely remember to express interest and willingness to adapt and increase your skill base. 
  • Be honest on your application. Technical interviews test your ability at working with a specific program or system. Do not say you are comfortable using a particular programme or coding language, if you’re not, as you will only be found out – which is far worse for everyone involved. Need more interview tips?
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