No matter how calm, cool, and collected you usually are, the job interview process is nerve-wracking at best and excruciating at worst. It’s particularly gut-wrenching if you’re seeking employment within the tech industry — particularly big tech — where interviewers notoriously pose confounding questions that throw even the savviest of individuals for a loop.
Your potential employers are simply assessing your problem-solving capabilities while seeking insight into your thought process. These are two factors integral to the success of any tech professional, so you need to be adequately prepared with competent, decisive answers.
As such, we’ve compiled a list of questions you’ll encounter in a job interview for a big tech company, and have broken down preparation techniques and answers for these questions.
What is Your Weakest Attribute?
Okay, we’ve started with a general question that’s common in job interviews for all professions. Meaning it’s a question every big tech company is going to ask you and your future employment hinges upon the quality of your answer.
Don’t be “that” interviewee who answers with strengths such as, “I’m too organized” or “I’m too hard-working.” These are ham-fisted, inauthentic, and outright arrogant answers. If you look close enough, you’ll notice your interviewer fighting back the urge to roll their eyes.
How to prepare/answer: Display your ability to be self-reflective, honest, and open to constructive criticism.
Now, don’t completely throw yourself under the bus. For instance, if you explain how you suffer from a lack of motivation mid-project once the thrill of the launch has faded, you need to explain how you’ve overcome this problem in the past. Follow up by breaking down your process of pushing past your challenge, such as compartmentalizing the project into smaller milestones and rewarding yourself for each accomplishment.
Such an answer displays your ability to be analytical of your own performance while highlighting your aptitude as a problem solver.
What’s the Biggest Tech Problem You’ve Faced, and How Did You Solve It?
This is a common question asked by many big tech bigwigs. The motivation is to ensure you see the larger picture as a member of a broader product team. Big tech companies aren’t looking for someone that just works out bugs like some kind of robot.
How to prepare/answer: The best practice for any tech professional is to record those instances where your capabilities have been pushed to the brink. Make sure to log how you’ve elevated your skillset to work through these issues.
What Kinds of Tech Are Essential to Your Life?
After learning about your job-specific tech skills, big tech employers are going to want to take a deeper dive into who you are as a techie. Your interviewer may want to know about your home computer’s internet speed, favorite apps and gadgets, mobile device, or tech pet peeves etc.
The method to this question’s madness is to see if you practice what you preach. Your potential employer wants to know if you live, eat, and breath the best tech practices.
How to prepare/answer: Always be on top of the latest tech trends; be it apps, devices, or websites. In order to design the best products, you need to understand the user experience. You can only under the end-user by actually being a user.
How Knowledgeable Are You About Any Given Programming Language?
Interviewers aren’t looking for a guru in any given programming language. They desire an employee who’s comfortable and highly adaptable to various programming languages. In fact, coming across as a specialist can actually hurt you, because expertise in one language could imply a lack of competency in another language.
How to prepare/answer: Remember to keep the focus on your aptitude as a coder and problem solver. Remain poised and don’t worry about your skill level in a given language because big tech companies are currently greatly challenged by a talent shortage — which works in your favor.
Is ‘Perfect and Late’ Better Than ‘Good and On Time’?
IBM is known for asking this question. A VP of HR at IBM Watson explained that he’s simply looking to see how interviewees answer and why they’ve answered in a particular way.
How to prepare/answer: There’s no right answer or way to prepare. We can only suggest being honest and providing a transparent glimpse into your process. If you offer sound logic, you’ll come off like a competent professional who believes in your skillset.
Although we’ve provided our version of a big tech job interview cheat sheet, we’re not going to insult your intelligence by claiming our advice will make the process a cakewalk.
You’re going to have to grit your teeth, do your research, and be ready to project an image of an exceptional tech professional worthy of a career in big tech.
We’ve given you the blueprint. Now the rest is up to you!
How to Answer the 10 Most-Asked Tech Interview Questions. From Indeed Prime: https://www.indeed.com/prime/resources/talent/how-to-answer-the-10-most-asked-tech-interview-questions
8 real interview questions you may hear if you want to work at tech companies like Facebook and LinkedIn. (2017, October 15). From Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/interview-questions-top-tech-companies-2017-10
The Most Important Technical Interview Questions You Need to Prepare For. From The Hard Refresh: https://skillcrush.com/2017/05/01/technical-interviews/