This September we hosted our Software/Tech Practice Interview Night to help future software engineers prepare to ace their interviews. We hosted over twenty students for a whiteboarding session with professionals working in the industry. Students were able to hear feedback on their approach and execution, and gain a real sense of what a technical interview looks and feels like. 

We had professionals join us from companies such as Bloomberg, Cedar, and Amazon to coach students in a 45-minute interview session. 

We asked the pros what they would recommend for students preparing for technical interviews. 

If you prepare, it shows. If you did not prepare, it shows.

Our pros could not emphasize enough that students must practice technical interviews before coming in for the real thing. As far as the coding side of the preparation, they recommended working with your older peers or in student clubs to work on problems. They also recommended hackathons and several online resources listed below.

APPROACHING THE QUESTION

Our pros shared that they pay close attention to how candidates approach a question. If they slow down and take the time to come up with a well thought out approach, the coding aspect should be fluid. They want to see how you think about the problem presented and all of the edge cases that may affect your solution.  All of our interviewers agreed that it is a good idea to test your work. 

COMMUNICATION DOES COUNT

Several of our pros said that quality communication is not only important in explaining your solution, but also as they consider “would I want this candidate on my team?” How well an interviewee can communicate will directly impact their work as a teammate and they value candidates who can demonstrate strong communication skills.

THE QUALITY OF THE QUESTIONS YOU ASK CAN PUSH YOU FROM “MAYBE” TO A “YES”

The pros agreed that the interview is not over when the interviewer asks “do you have any questions?” One pro, Anthony Neis of Bloomberg, said it succinctly, the Q&A portion is when a candidate can go from being a “maybe” to a “yes.” The questions you ask can demonstrate how well you have done your research or thought about the company’s work, challenges, and/or opportunities. This demonstrates your interest in the company/team and clearly indicates you take initiative. It also allows the interviewer to visualize you as a teammate or peer, answering that “can I see this candidate as a member of my team?” question.