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Non-Technical Tips for Nailing Your Technical Interview

So you made it to the technical interview round and you’re probably feeling some combination of excited and terrified. Regardless of your level of expertise or the language you’ll be coding in for the challenge, there are some universal things you can do to prepare.

1. Talk To People From The Company

Unless the technical interview is the first round of interviews at the company, you already have at least one contact there. Whether it’s HR or your future boss, there are a few questions you should absolutely ask before you head into the challenge.

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After you’ve drained HR of all in the info they can share with you, try to find someone else that you can convince to grab coffee with you before the big day. Head to LinkedIn and start sleuthing! Maybe there is someone you have a mutual connection with and can ask for an introduction, or maybe you can just be bold and send a message letting them know you’d like to pick their brain about the company. (Note: Anyone mentioned as someone who will be in the interview with you may not be allowed to meet ahead of time, so try to find a fresh face.)

Once you have gotten someone to agree to meet with you, you have a great opportunity to feel out the culture of the company and ask some more specific questions about the gauntlet you are about to walk into.

2. Relax

You’ve made it to the day of the interview! Hopefully you got some good sleep and weren’t coding as much as usual in your dreams. Up until today, you’ve been figuring out what to study and studying it, doing coding challenges and reviewing terminology and your brain is stuffed. It’s time for the easy part - relax! This is where you do all the things you know you’re supposed to do. Eat a good meal with brain food, step away from your screen and go for a walk. All of this will help to put you in the best mindset possible to walk into your interview.

If you really want to do something productive, review your notes on the company or who you’ll be interviewing with. Always good to make sure you don’t forget any names off the bat. Just try to avoid solving any complex algorithms.

3. Focus On What You Can Control

Of course you’re walking into this interview wanting to absolutely kill it, but know that you likely won’t be able to answer 100% of what they ask correctly. These challenges are often built to push you and see what you do when you get stuck (because that happens fairly often in coding, as you’ve probably noticed). Once the day of the interview has arrived, your level of knowledge on a topic or the speed at which you can retrieve said knowledge from the corners of your brain is fixed. So instead of stressing out about that one design pattern you don’t quite understand, focus on what you can control, because those are going to be some of the things that matter most in an interview.

4. Pump Yourself Up

How confident you feel walking to an interview will not only be noticed by your prospective employer but could even affect how you perform (don’t believe me? check out this article). So figure out what it is that gets you psyched and makes you feel ready to tackle anything that comes your way. Can’t think of any? Take some of my favorite ideas:

You’re ready! Go in there and impress the heck out of the interviewer. Because you’re awesome and they would be lucky to have you.

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Todd Motto

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