We have a look at some excellent interview tips for tech jobs and related STEM careers.
You might have just graduated or had years of experience with an impressive CV. However, finding the right job can be quite challenging. Companies use different recruitment processes. These usually involve some form of psychometrics and one or more rounds of interviews. For a tech job, you will most likely be subjected to a technical interview to show your work and knowledge base.
Psychometrics would usually consist of a Verbal and/or Non-Verbal reasoning tests and a personality assessment. For more on Passing Verbal Reasoning tests or Non-Verbal Reasoning tests, have a look at Brilliant Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests and Brilliant Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests by Rob Williams. Everything you need to know about verbal or numerical reasoning will be covered in those.
Once you are past the Psychometrics and possibly a phone interview, it’s time for the big day.
What can you expect and what should you focus on? How can you stand out from the crowd?
Tips from the experts.
- Do your research. Know the company you have applied to. Find out what their most recent achievements or challenges are and see if you can ask questions around that. Although this might become a bit tricky if you are preparing for a few interviews. In that case, make sure you set a Google Alert for the company or keywords within your field of expertise. There are many aspects you could find online about a company. A good place to look for information on anything from the interview process to the popularity of the management team is Glassdoor. Showing that you’ve done your homework is always impressive.
- Show your passion. Showing enthusiasm for technology is great. Your interviewer might ask questions relating to how you stay up to date with your field. Elaborate if you can on events you have attended. Online courses you have undertaken recently, or even groups or discussions you follow online or in print. This all in order to gauge your level of interest and commitment to the field.
- Display your cultural fit. You need to have a feel for the company where you will be working. Not only that, they need to make sure you will be comfortable and happy within the company. Recruiting the best potential employee can be an expensive exercise. They need to make sure you will be happy within the company and its culture.
- Be a softie. Even in the tech world, soft skills are appreciated.
- Show your worth. Get your geek on. Show them what you are made of by impressing the interviewer with your portfolio or examples of previous projects. For a technical interview, see below.
Top tips for a technical interview:
- Focus on the fundamentals. These are where the main questions will be focused on. Make sure you are comfortable with your fundamentals. There will not only be questions on the fundamentals like data structures, algorithmic complexity analysis, class design, and so on. There will also be questions where you will need to use your fundamentals in problems presented. You should be comfortable with things like strings, arrays, basic syntax, data types, linked lists, trees, graphs, stacks, queues, and hash tables. Be sure you can answer the Fizz Buzz Test
- Be ready to solve problems in different ways. This is where the interviewer might move away from fundamentals to see if you can apply them. These will most likely involve open-ended questions. A sample question might be something like: You’re given an arithmetic equation as a string. This equation will have single digits 0-9, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and parentheses. Write a function that takes this equation and calculates the correct answer. Example inputs include “1+1” and “2*(1+9)-((2+5)-9”).
- Make sure to think out loud throughout. This will give the interviewer an idea of how you think.
- Practice, practice, practice. Imitate the interview environment. If you are doing a phone interview, practice on Stypi or Google Docs. If you are doing an in-person interview, make sure you practice on paper or a whiteboard. Get a friend to ask you questions and explain it to them in as much detail as possible. Make use of prep tools available.
The rise of non-tech jobs
The rise in tech jobs and the growth in tech companies have brought on the inevitable growth of non-tech jobs within tech companies. A recent article on research done by Glassdoor shows the rise in non-tech jobs quite clearly.
Some of the key findings from this research:
- As tech companies grow, so does the need for operations managers, marketing, sales, finance etc.
- Over half of the job vacancies at tech companies are for non-tech roles (54%).
- The five most in-demand non-tech jobs are an account manager, operations manager, account executive and marketing manager.
- The five most in-demand tech jobs are a software engineer, product manager, software development engineer, solutions architect and a web developer.
- According to this research, the average median salary for tech jobs at tech companies in the UK is £40 400 and for non-tech jobs, it is £38 100.
Non-Tech jobs most commonly hired by UK tech companies
|Non-Tech Job Title||Open Jobs at Tech Companies||% of Open Non-Tech Roles|
|Business Development Manager||199||1.6%|
Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)
Tech jobs most commonly hired by UK tech companies
|Tech Job Title||Open Jobs at Tech Companies||% of Open Tech Roles|
|Software Development Engineer||367||3.5%|