Interviewing with a Tech Company? 5 Recommendations to Successful Interview Preparation

How to Interview with a Tech Company and Advance to the Next Stage

You’ve done it! You’ve crafted your resume, applied for a job with a tech company, gotten the recruiter’s attention, and are moving forward to interview with the team. That’s exactly what you were hoping would happen! What now though? How do you prepare? Here are some best practices to set yourself up for success during the interview process with a tech company, and to advance to the next stage.

Here are 5 Recommendations to Successful Interview Preparation:

Study the Job Description.

The job description summarizes the essential role and responsibilities, function, duties, required & preferred qualifications, and skills for a position. Understanding the job description will allow you to map the skills needed for the role to your experience. Below are a few tips on how to leverage the job description:

  • Make a copy of the Job Description. You’ll want to have the job description to be able to refer back to. Companies will often remove the job posting once they have received enough qualified candidate applications.

  • Ensure that you understand the entire job description. Companies, tech companies in particular, may use industry specific jargon in their job description. If you find a term, phrase, or acronym that is not familiar to you, look it up.

  • Find your fit. Review each bullet point and envision your relevant experience or transferable skills that relate to it. What skills can you contribute to the role?

Research the Company.

Having an understanding of the company including industry, size, product(s), services, competitors, and culture will help you to prepare for your interview with both responses and questions that are relevant to the role itself. Show you’ve done your homework!

  • Review the company’s website. You’ll want to gather enough relevant information for you to be comfortable with the company’s purpose, mission (the organization's business, its objectives, and how it will reach these objectives) and vision (where the organization aspires to go).

    • What does the company do? What are the company’s products or offerings?

    • Who are the company’s primary competitors? Who are the company’s customers?

    • What is the company’s culture? What are the company’s goals? What are the company’s values?

  • Explore company reviews and latest funding rounds. Glassdoor, Comparably, and LinkedIn can provide insight into company ratings, while Crunchbase can supply company funding round details. Remember that reviews can be both objective and subjective. Please take situational reviews into account (ie. negative feedback around and during the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.).

  • Company Articles and Blogs. In addition to the company website, the company may have been recognized and featured in external articles or blogs that provide additional company details.

Get to Know Your Interviewers.

The interviewers you meet with will have a connection to the role for which you are interviewing. The interview is the best time for a candidate to connect with potential coworkers, show up as their best self, and share why they believe they are a strong candidate for the role. Having some knowledge of the interviewers and their relationship to the position you are interviewing for will help you to better engage with them.

  • Explore your Interviewers’ LinkedIn profiles. Based on their profile, do you see any commonalities? Have you worked at any of the same companies? Do you know anyone who works at the company who can help provide more insight prior to your interviews?

  • Knowing more about your interviewer can make the interview process less intimidating. Having more information can help you avoid feeling awkward or uncomfortable. It is also important to understand the interviewer's relationship with the open position. Will they be a stakeholder, teammate, supervisor? What is important to that person from their perspective. Knowledge about your interviewer and their relationship to the position makes them more relatable, ensures that you have something to talk about with them, and allows your confidence to shine through.

  • Ask your recruiter for a prep call with you to share:

    • The interviewer’s relationship to the role you're interviewing for and any potential types of questions they may pose

    • If there are any particular areas the interviewer will focus their questions on

    • Helpful tips to prepare

  • Prepare questions for each interviewer. Use the knowledge you’ve gained about each interviewer to develop specific questions relevant to their relationship to the role.

Prepare Your Examples - Interview Questions Types.

Prior to  your interviews, reflect on and review past examples that showcase your work as it relates to the job description for the position. If the recruiter has provided areas of interview question focus, ensure to incorporate them. Write your examples out and familiarize yourself with them to allow you to respond to questions with confidence and ease.

  • Ask clarifying questions during your interview. To provide a strong and relevant interview question response, first ensure you understand what the interviewer is asking and what they are looking for in your response. You’ll want to avoid any confusion. Then, take a moment to develop your response using a solid example.

  • Stay on topic. Be concise, to the point, and share specific examples.

  • Three Types of Interview Questions. Your interview questions/format will likely be one of the following:

    • Behavioral: Questions based on discovering how you performed in specific, relevant situations. Behavioral questions imply that past behavior will predict future behavior. An example of a behavioral question is “Tell me about a time when you worked cross functionally to complete a task”.

      • The STAR Interview Response Method is a structured manner of responding to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing.

    • Hypothetical: Questions where the interviewer puts you in an imaginary and experimental situation to assess how you handle that situation. An example of a hypothetical question is “How would you complete a task if you did not have all of the information you needed ”.  (If an interviewer asks you a hypothetical question, it still makes the most sense to answer using experiences from your past, as your past response will likely predict your future response).

    • Functional/Technical: Assignments that showcase the technical skills which are necessary for the position. Examples are:

      • Whiteboarding

      • Code challenge (computer science questions or algorithms)

      • Code challenge (reasonable coding problem)

      • Take home project / Case Study

Give Thanks and Follow Up.

After your interviews, a Thank You email is a great way to set yourself apart from the other candidates. Thank You notes leave a lasting impression and show the interviewers you respect and value the time they shared. They also allow you to reiterate your interest in your position.

  • Recruiter and Recruiting Coordinator. Thank each for their help during the interview process.

  • Interviewers. Send Thank You emails to each of the Interviewers (if you don’t have the interviewers’ email address, reach out to the recruiter either for the email address or to share the Thank Yous you’ve written, directly with the interviewers). Highlight some of the areas you discussed, and let them know that you remain very interested in the role.

  • Follow Up. The interview process takes time and you may not receive an update immediately. Ask the recruiter when you can expect to receive an update and when you should follow up if there has not been an update. Be patient but also committed to advancing to the next stage.

Here are some tips from Indeed about Interview Thank You etiquette and how to write a Thank You email. These tips will help you to further emphasize your interest and commitment!

Final Thoughts. You’ve been invited back for the next interview round? Terrific! Your hard work and dedication has paid off. Now, remember everything that you learned and used in your last interview round. You’ve mastered the process, but ensure that you focus your preparation on this next round of interviews. Or better yet, maybe you’ve completed the final interview round and received an offer for the role. Outstanding! Your commitment has been rewarded. Congratulations and best wishes for your successful career!