Tech industry interviews have a few unique features, which can seem terrifying to newbies. Zayd Hendricks, Software Development Manager at Electrum, offers candidates a few tips.
Interviews can be stressful. It’s easy to feel you’re under the microscope, and there are always going to be a few surprises. But some insight into what tech companies like Electrum are looking for in a candidate can help you prepare for your next interview.
Successful candidates don’t always get it right, but they never give up.
The first thing to know is that the ‘interview’ is usually a series of interviews. Here’s what to expect:
- CV and transcript screening
- Phone screening
- Technical interview
- Cultural interview
There are many good resources online to help you put together a good CV for the tech industry. Make sure yours is clear, accurate and not too long. Phone screening helps the interviewer narrow down the candidates. You’ll be asked some background questions about your work and study experience and specific skills. You’ll probably also be asked why you want the position on offer and what your salary expectations are. The cultural interview includes some questions about work style, communication style and how you handle pressure. It’s important – for both employee and employer – that there is a cultural fit. Be prepared to give examples from your work experience.
- Know your CV
- Know the requirements of the job on offer and a bit about the company
- Take the call somewhere quiet and private
- Practice your answers ahead of time – it’ll make you feel more comfortable during the interview. Don’t wing it!
The technical interview
For some, this is the bad boy of the whole process. The company wants to test your theoretical knowledge and your problem-solving skills – usually right in front of them. Try not to see it as a Navy SEALS selection test, but rather as a fun challenge.
…our devs work with difficult problems and need to be able to communicate concepts with each other effectively.
At Electrum, it’s usually a 2-hour interview, starting with a few theory questions. We ask people to talk about certain concepts to see whether they can verbalise ideas and processes – our devs work with difficult problems and need to be able to communicate concepts with each other effectively. It helps to go over some of the theory and concepts of programming before the interview so you don’t get flustered in the most important part of the interview – the practical.
The practical usually takes the form of a problem we pose to you, which you’ll then work through on the white-board. You should ask questions to clarify, and talk through your thinking as you go. At this point, we are assessing your problem-solving skills, thought processes and communication style. Successful candidates don’t always get it right, but they never give up. Rather give the problem a go and conclude the wrong answer than no answer at all – that way we still get to understand how you think.
Back to basics
You don’t want to put the interviewer off before the interview has even begun. These basics are important because they show you care about the position.
- Show up on time – or even better, arrive early
- Be respectful and attentive
- Be interested in the job – know what the position involves, and find out as much as you can about the company
- Ask questions – this shows you’re interested. Remember, it’s your interview too – try to get a feel for the people and processes to see if the position is a good fit.
- Bring a pad and pen – write down thoughts for discussion as they come up
- Get enough sleep before the day of your interview so your brain’s working at its best
What makes a great candidate?
At Electrum, we look for a combination of good technical and communication skills. We also like candidates who show an interest in the company, especially if they come prepared with lots of questions. In fact, the best candidates we’ve interviewed have been those we could have healthy debates and discussions with. We love people with a passion for development, who usually have a couple of personal side projects going on – you learn far more about how things work under the hood when you’ve had to build something from scratch.
Interviews require a skill of their own – so it’s worth practising and preparing as much as possible. We hope these tips help you show off your abilities, and land you a great job.
Why not check out our Careers page to see if there’s a job that’s perfect for you at Electrum?