A guide to technical interviewing in 2021

A technical interview is a pretty much standard hiring procedure when it comes to software development roles. Depending on the size and the policy of the business, the structure of the technical interview may vary. Things may get even more complicated with the variables of seniority and how the company got to the candidate added. But one thing is for sure – there will be a tech talk at some point before you qualify for the official job proposal.

What may be specific to an outsourcing business is that many companies try to optimize the hiring process as much as possible. You will receive the necessary information about the whole hiring process prior to the tech interviewing. It is not unusual the process for the tech interview may be customized for different clients within one company. Therefore, it is always good to have all the information before the tech interviewing itself. That way, you can decide whether you are willing to go through the process then or maybe would like to skip it for the time being.

So, let’s start with the steps on how to approach the technical interview in an outsourcing software development company, even if it is your first one or not.

We previously wrote about steps to take when preparing for an HR interview in another article, and in this one, we will focus on:

What Technical Interviewing Involves

The point of technical interviewing indeed is to assess primarily if your technical skills match the project requirements. However, it is often much more than that. As in any other form of interaction, it will also show other skills as well. It includes your problem-solving skillset, approach to a problem, collaboration level, and personality in general.

Despite the earlier popular myth that the goal of tech interviewers is to bomb you with tricky questions and general brain teasers, it is relatively far from true. In most cases, although they may seem challenging, these riddles are usually related to the real problems you would tackle when you become a part of the team.

Tech Interview Overview

As you already read or had the chance to experience, every company has different approaches to this stage of the hiring process. What we will try to go over here are some most common situations you may come across.


A guide to technical interviewing in 2021

The introductory theory part may be a separate meeting or it can be a part of around 90-meeting. During this part, you will usually get questions about the projects you have been working on so far and the technologies you used. Furthermore, the interviewer will ask you about challenges you met and the code guidelines you generally follow. Since this conversation is usually with a senior developer in your niche, they can lead to exciting discussions and spark new ideas.
This part of the technical interviewing will be in the form of an informal assessment. Especially at a startup and especially if you are already a senior-level expert.

Coding assessment – Generally speaking, there are three ways the task you get to do at home. The assignment is given through some testing platform or as a customized task created at the company. Some companies still prefer whiteboard/notebook challenges, while others organize the code challenge through a shared screen in real-time.

Team-meet – In some cases, the meeting with the tech staff happens at the previous stage. In case you did the coding through an e-mail sent task or a testing platform, here is a moment for meeting some of the dev team in person and discussing the tasks you did while exchanging ideas for different approaches.

What to expect during the technical interview itself

As we already mentioned, there is a lot of flexibility regarding how different companies handle the technical interviewing process.

  • Sometimes, you will get a link to an assignment through some testing platforms, such as TestGorilla. In this case, you will have a limited amount of time for completing the tasks. Although it is not always mandatory, the interviewer usually advises you to keep the camera on.
  • You will also solve problems through screen sharing when the interviewers watch how you approach tasks in real-time. As for the tools, sometimes it may be a Google Doc and sometimes some web-based editors.
  • With some companies, you will get an at-home set of tasks. If this is the case, interviewers will probably ask you when it is the best time to send you the assignment. From that moment, you will have a limited amount of time for completion, usually 48 hours.
  • And after the general phone interview with smaller startups or teams, you will probably get the invitation for a shorter on-site or online tech interview.

How to prepare for the technical interview

A guide to technical interviewing in 2021

“Tell me something about yourself and the projects you have been working on so far”. This is still a standard opener in both an HR and tech interview. And it will remain so for a while. It allows the interviewer to get the first impression of you. And it should be an opportunity for you to shine there as well. One rule of the thumb is to prepare an elevator pitch that is 30 seconds or 1 minute long and let the story go from there.

One of the follow-up questions tends to be about the project you are most proud of. And of course – why. If you are applying for a position straight from the college or a course you took, think about an assignment you learned most from. On the other hand, if you already have working experience, think of a project that challenged you in some way through your career and point out what you learned most from that experience.

It is not a secret that there will be a question related to algorithms and/or arrays during most interviews, no matter the specific position or seniority. Having that in mind, it would be a good practice to go over them before the interview if you did not look at them in a while.

The tech interviewing stage should not only be about you answering the questions. The interviewers should be ready to address your questions as well. And in many companies, they will be more than happy to do so. So, go ahead and prepare questions you will ask on your technical interview, whether they are related to the potential project you will be working on, technologies, or anything related to it.

What is good to avoid during the tech interview

Well, for starters, being entirely unprepared for the interview. 🙂 With that out of the way, simply rushing through the questions is a second ‘no’.

It makes some sense if the assignment is computer-based and there is no human interaction during it. Yet, whenever there is real-time discussion, it is preferable to manage time well and finish the assignment in the given time. But most interviewers want to see your thought-flow and critical thinking skills. So, take your time, and even if you get stuck, communicate whenever possible.

What to do after the technical interview

technical interviewing

Well, at this point most job is done, you survived, and either you will get feedback right away or pretty much soon. 🙂

And you can take a look at our Careers page and see the open position we currently have there.


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Vesna Radović calendar

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