If you've ever been to an interview, then you know that employers often ask the same questions. It can be hard to prepare for a technical because you don't know what type of questions they will ask. These include "What is your favorite programming language?" and "What is an algorithm?".
In this article, we'll go over some of the most common questions asked at a technical interview. You'll learn how to prepare for these so that you can answer them and impress any employer!
1. What do you consider to be your major strengths?
It's a popular question among many recruiters. It's important to prepare concrete examples. This shows that you are self-aware and have a good understanding of your abilities. If you are aware of your strengths then you know also about your weaknesses and the things you have to work on.
People often give generic answers like: I'm hardworking, I'm a good team player. To differentiate yourself you can elaborate a bit on your answer for example:
"I'm hardworking, in the last 5 months, I took part in 4 courses. Today I have 4 certifications that get recognized around the globe."
2. Do you take part in other recruitment processes?
That's a question that gets asked more often in the IT world. If you are taking part in a different recruitment process then the recruiter will try to convince you to join their company.
The market is incredibly competitive and we know that there are many headhunters that are looking for great talent. There is a good chance that during the recruitment process someone else will contact you. Tell the recruiter about that so they stay up to date with everything that can influence your decision.
3. What is your dream job?
If your interviewer asks you what is your dream job, they are trying to figure out if this position aligns with the things that make you happy. If someone isn't passionate about their work it will come through in an interview and even more so on the job. An answer like "I want a role where I am constantly learning." is okay, but you can tell also about your aspirations.
Tell the recruiter if you want to be a Team Leader or a Senior Java Developer, it will help them understand where you want to be in a few years. The employer will understand what skills you will have to learn. Most companies want their employees to grow and to do that, they support them to achieve their dreams.
4. Why did you change companies before?
This is a question that you should be prepared to answer. If the reason was salary then you should say it, just don't complain too much. There can be many reasons, think it through and explain how you felt when you started looking for a new job.
People often change jobs because they look for new challenges, if that was the case explain why you couldn't grow at that company. Tell the recruiter about the challenges you always look forward to, maybe there will be a project where you will perfectly fit in. It's important to be honest with your answer.
5. How does your typical day at work look like?
There is a good chance that you applying for a position that is similar to the things you already do, it's good because you will talk about the things you know. Tell the recruiter about the time you start work, about the meetings you have every day and how many hours per day you have to code.
If you like reading blogs and do it during work hours then say it, it's normal that we watch YouTube or read something during lunch. It can be that you and the recruiter will like the same creators and you will find a common interest.
6. Do you prefer to work in a team or individually?
Everyone is different, some people are great team players and others shine when they can work alone. It's good to let the company know what you like most.
If you don't like working in teams then say it, but also about how much time do you usually spend on your own doing some tasks. If they ask why is that important tell them the exact reason, it can be that you are more focused and productive when working alone.
On the other hand, if you like working in a team say it also, tell the recruiter about the upsides of collaboration. Tell them about the things you like most about it, you can also mention how it looks when working from home. We know that remote work in a team can be sometimes difficult, but maybe you have a way to make it easier.
7. Do you prefer to work in corporate or noncorpo style?
There are people that like to work in corporations and like to have a formal structure in the organization. But there are also people that hate it and prefer to work in a startup-like atmosphere. If you worked in both environments you surely know this huge difference!
When answering this question tell about a situation from your experience. What was it like to work in a corporation and what's the difference? Explain why you feel best in a given environment.
8. What do you consider to be your major weaknesses?
It's a similar question to the one about strengths, but the answer is completely different. People tend to turn weaknesses into "strengths", for example:
"I have trouble saying "no", but I'm great at time management and can multitask when needed".
Don't do that, be open about your weaknesses and say the truth. When talking about your weak points give an example like:
"I have trouble saying "no", because of this I sometimes missed deadlines and had more to do than I could handle. I know that this can become a problem when people rely on me. But in the last months, I started using a project management app to see how many things are on my plate."
This honesty will be much appreciated!
9. Why do you want to work for this company?
It's another popular question and there are popular answers, but you can be different from others. Before the interview check the company website, check their story and values, it's also good to look at their LinkedIn profile. There is a good chance that there will be something unique about this company, something that will convince you to work there. When answering this question say what you did to learn about the company and what caught your attention.
10. What are your short-term goals?
Once again, you want to show off your ambition and motivation. Be honest because this is a common question for most companies. Don't forget that they are looking for someone who wants to grow with the company!
You can tell the recruiter about your career goals as well as your personal goals. If you want to improve yourself and are taking part in a 60-day challenge or something similar, it's good to mention it. It can be that you want to learn a new framework and are at the start of the journey, it shows your ambitions and the direction you want to develop your skills.
11. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This question relates to your dream job, people overestimate how much they can do in 1 year but underestimate how much they can achieve in 5 years. It's good to have aspirations that seem "impossible" today, thanks to that you have a north star that guides you in your career. Think this question through before the interview, even if they won't ask you about it, you will have a better understanding of who you want to be.
12. What did you like most about your last job?
Every company has something unique about itself. If you worked at your last employer for longer than a few months there has to be something you liked about it. Think back to what made you choose that company in the first place. Was it great benefits? Was it a mission statement that resonated with your own personal goals and beliefs? Think back on how you felt when you started at your last job, how did the first few months look like and what was nice about it.
13. What did you like least about your last job?
There is always something that we don't like, and it's good to say it loud. If you took your shot to improve the situation or change something, that's even better. By being open about those things you will show that you care about the company you work in. You will prove that you are a person that can bring positive change.
14. How would your colleagues describe you?
It's not a popular question but sometimes recruiters ask it. To answer it, think about your previous employers, past managers, or even your current colleagues. How would they describe you? Three words that often make the list are "passionate," "creative" and "dedicated." that's what comes most often to mind because those are qualities of a great colleague.
15. How do you manage many tasks/projects?
All of us have many tasks that we have to do. Some of them are easy and some need more time to be done. So, how do you manage multiple projects? What is your process? Tell the recruiter about your project management app or your routine for staying organized.
If you are bad at managing multiple tasks and have to focus on one thing at a time, mention it too. The recruiter will appreciate the honesty and will understand if it's the right position for you. Maybe there is a different opening that will suit you better.
16. How do you deal with stress and/or deadlines?
We live in a fast world where many things have to be done quickly, this means that we sometimes get overwhelmed with all the deadlines. It's important to catch some breath, you have to rest so your brain can function properly. There are people that are great at handling stress, they get easily motivated and find the right way to do things, but everyone has their limits.
If you deal with stress by doing exercises, reading books or taking walks that's great! You should tell about it and explain why it works for you. It's good to also mention the situations that stress you the most, thanks to that they will know if the job will be good for your mental health.
17. Why should we recruit you?
This question gets asked when there are many candidates for one position and some of the candidates may be more qualified than others. But it's the best moment to show how unique you are and passionate about the job. Make use of your biggest strengths and be ready to talk about them.
18. What are your hobbies?
This question gets asked in most interviews. You should always be careful with the way you answer it. If you like to paint don't say that painting is one of your biggest passions and that you spend all day long painting. It's better to tell them something specific about what kind of art you like painting the most. Use this question to explain how your hobby translates into your work. If you like painting and are a developer that means you know how a good UI looks like.
To sum things up
These are not all the questions that you can expect during your next interview. But some of them are pretty popular and there is a good chance that you will have to answer at least one of them. To increase your hiring chances think about the answers before. By doing so you will be already prepared and you won't stutter when answering.
Do your best to always stay professional and give detailed answers to open questions. It's a good practice to relate to a situation or challenge that you had. You will prove your experience and convince the recruiter that you are the right person for the job!