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How to pass a technical interview in 2021

Darko Atanasov

We have done hundreds of technical interviews this past year at Remotesome. Doing so, we spotted a few patterns where many talented engineers fall short to pass a technical interview. Surprisingly, many developers easily pass their interview in their second attempt.

Reason: they know what to expect on the interview.

This is why preparation for technical interviews is key.

Before we start, I would like to emphasize one thing: being a good developer is not correlated to performing well in a technical interview.

‍Working on difficult problems or working on architecture and app scalability for thousands of users takes weeks of time.

However, during the interview, you usually have about an hour to show-off your knowledge and skill. And this is why at technical interviews, two things are paramount:

  • That you can solve problems
  • And that you can solve them fast

In some ways, this is very different from most of the work you are tackling every day.

Mastering an interview takes practice and it is a skill on its own. Like coding (or anything else really), working on a similar problem for the second or third time will result in you performing better and faster than the first time. There’s a pattern, but sometimes you need to learn to recognize it. And then it unfolds perfectly.

Mastering an interview takes practice and it is a skill on its own.

That’s why we prepared this guide - to help you prepare for the technical interview. Or any other interview you might have in the future. We believe that with some preparation every talented engineer can easily pass the technical interview. As with everything, it takes practice to make perfect, but good is usually enough. Just put in work to practice presenting yourself properly.

We have split the guide into two categories: hard skills and soft skills.

Hard skills are basically everything related to what you are intellectually or physically able to do - code, calculate, analyze … in other words, hard skills are quite internalized, they pertain to you and you alone. You make an input, out comes the output. End.

Soft skills are in reality hard to explain but pertain to everything else on the spectrum of your interaction with the world. How well do you communicate? Do you tend to be short on explanations or water down every argument with unnecessary talking? Do you know how to read what your interviewer wants from you, face mimics? These skills are undervalued because they tend to sound a bit esoteric. But they are essential as they reflect your interactions with other people.

In other words - that’s how you show you are a good fit for the company.

We included both segments, but both in relation to real-life coding interviews, so you can prepare for your technical interview accordingly.

P.S.: None of the links in the article are affiliate and we do not get any proceedings from your potential purchase or usage. It's there solely to save you a click.

Hard Skills

Get your Gear Ready

Nearly 100% of software engineers are running remote nowadays. Due to the nature of running remote interviews, you must make sure there are no connection issues and that your computer is ready for the interview.‍‍

Test your connection

Surprisingly, one of the most common issues is related to your internet connection. Test your connection and check whether your internet is stable. No amount of excellence and talent will help you if your screen lags and connection drops every fifth second. Test your connection and an app where your technical interview will be held.
Just in case you need it, here are some top places to check your connection:

  • www.speedtest.net - Developed by Ookla, one of the most used speed test tools online
  • www.speedsmart.net - they claim to be more accurate than the competition, offering also some stats as a neat bonus
  • www.measurementlab.net - a more privacy-friendly option, source code also available

There are roughly two ways on how companies prefer to handle technical interviews. Some want to see you coding on apps such as HackerRank and some want to see how you code in your own environment.
If the latter is the case, get your coding environment and IDE ready so you don't lose precious time during the interview. Better have everything in place so you don’t lose precious time.

At Remotesome we tend to avoid typical questions in the technical interview. On the other hand, the majority of companies still use algorithms and data structures as the main source of questions for the interview.
There are few resources on which you can go through to prepare for the interview. These resources will help you prepare yourself for the technical interview and work on the issues you might have.

IN THIS ARTICLE:
Hard skillsSoft skillsBe engagedInterviewing is a skill