Acquiring your dream tech job requires more than just your technical skills. If you could rely on just these, you’d get through the interview without an issue, but often, people come up against interview questions and stumble. With New Zealand’s technology sector employing over 110,000 people in 2020 (with that number rapidly growing), it’s important to stand out from the competition.

Read on to discover our top 5 tech interview tips and insights to help with acing your job interview, including common interview questions and how to position yourself with outstanding answers!

What to Expect from a Tech Interview

During a tech interview, you can expect questions addressing your specialised skills and knowledge: this could include coding challenges, algorithmic problem-solving, system design scenarios, or other questions specific to the role you’re applying for. Ultimately, these aim to give the interviewer an idea of your ability to effectively approach technical problems – the key to any tech job!

In addition to technical questions, expect behavioural or situational questions that assess your soft skills, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving approaches. These aren’t trick questions, and there is no ‘right’ answer – organisations simply look to assess how you respond to different situations and challenges, collaborate with others and think critically. Be prepared to provide concrete examples from your past experiences to demonstrate your skills and highlight your achievements.

Research the Company

Before your interview, research the company and understand its values, mission, and recent projects. This knowledge will allow you to better demonstrate your genuine interest and dedication to the company, giving you an edge over other candidates who may not have done their homework.

Additionally, researching the company thoroughly can give you more of an insight into their interview process, including typical questions they ask and which hard and soft skills they’re looking for. Knowing this can help instil you with a greater sense of confidence going into your interview!

For example, a number of candidates who interviewed for Software Engineer, Software Developer, and Product Owner roles at Xero in Wellington list valuable information about the interview process here in their Glassdoor reviews – from the length of the process, style of questions and what the organisation is looking for.

Think Ahead to Increase Confidence

Anticipating potential questions and crafting thoughtful answers in advance will showcase your preparedness and allow you to deliver more concise and confident responses. Here are a few common questions that might be asked in a tech interview:

  • Tell me about yourself.” Prepare an ‘elevator pitch’ style answer to this common question, with a brief overview of your professional background, highlighting key experiences and skills relevant to the position you’re applying for.
  • Tell me about a project where you collaborated with a team. What was your role?” Emphasise your teamwork and communication skills, highlight your specific role, and discuss how you contributed to the project’s success.
  • Describe a time when you faced a difficult deadline. How did you manage your time and prioritise tasks?” This question evaluates your organisation skills – express your ability to delegate tasks when necessary and provide a concise example of how you have employed effective time management techniques to meet a deadline.
  • Technical questions. Depending on the role and your expertise will likely be asked specialised technical questions (ie. a question about optimising SQL queries). Ensure you’re prepared for these, and brush up on any specific things you may feel rusty on.

Ultimately, thinking ahead will allow you to enter the interview room calmly and feel collected, meaning you’re more likely to perform at your best!

Remain Calm

In addition to researching the company and thinking ahead about what sort of questions might be asked of you, there are some other techniques you may like to employ to beat the pre-interview jitters:

  • Practice proper posture: Good posture not only exudes confidence, but it also helps you feel more in control. Sit upright, align your shoulders with your hips, and keep your chin level.
  • Utilise breathing techniques: Deep breathing exercises can help alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation. Before the interview, take a few moments to inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth.
  • Visualise success: Spend time visualising yourself excelling in the interview. Imagine confidently answering questions, engaging with the interviewers, and showcasing your expertise. This will help reinforce your belief in your abilities, and know what it will take to succeed in the interview.

Highlight Relevant Skills and Experiences

During the interview, emphasise your relevant in-demand technical skills and experiences that align with the role you’re applying for. Be prepared with specific examples of projects you have worked on that reflect the job role and the skillset the interviewer will be listening for. You can also cover challenges you have overcome, and the impact you’ve made in previous positions.

It may be worthwhile to reflect on your previous work experiences, and what you have learned from them. In an interview situation, it’s easy to freeze and forget all your previous experiences when asked to draw on them – but thinking ahead reduces the chance this will happen!

Organisations value candidates who are passionate about their work and demonstrate a strong desire to learn and grow. Showcase your passion for tech by discussing personal tech projects, open-source contributions, or your involvement in relevant communities.

Bonus Tip: Enlist the Help of a Recruiter

Preparing for your interview with a specialist recruiter in the competitive NZ tech industry can be a game-changer. With an in-depth knowledge of the industry, including current market trends, sought-after skills, and the hiring landscape, working with a recruiter will equip you with the skills and knowledge to land your dream tech role.

As specialists in Technology and Digital recruitment across Auckland and Christchurch, we advertise a range of permanent and contractor IT positions to connect you with. For more tech interview tips or assistance snagging your dream job, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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