How To Nail Your Tech Interview

Tech interviews are often a different animal compared to screening in other industries. The process may take longer and will likely be much more technical throughout. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re going through the grind of getting a job in tech.

Full Transcript Below:

Alexandra:

Tech companies are going to want to look at projects that you’ve done, code samples, repos, or even ask you to do some coding for them. I’m looking to understand how you handle challenges. But it is helpful to be prepared to share about yourself. The time commitment that tech companies might ask from you just in the recruiting process is usually going to be a little bit higher.

Cris:

As we’re talking about the hiring process and onboarding people. You obviously have a ton of insight doing the entire hiring process for Bixly with help, but really spearhead in that. What are some of the differences, not only with our process but just in general, someone that’s a candidate looking to get hired in the tech space. How is the interview process going to look different for a tech related job, as opposed to maybe just any other position that you’re going to go do an interview?

Alexandra:

Yeah, I think one of the biggest differences is how technical the screening process overall will be. So even when I’m first looking at candidates and their application comes across my desk, I’m looking at their resumes. I am looking for those technical capabilities that they have experienced in the specific areas or in the specific tech that we’re using for our projects or testing suites. It gets very, very technical. So that’s always a good thing to have on your resume, even if you’re new to the tech industry. So we have actually hired quite a few people who are transitioning from the legal field, from medical, from all kinds of different backgrounds. And they’re transitioning into tech. When you’re architecting what your resume should look like, even if it’s just a personal project be sure to include that so that we can start to get a sense of what your technical capabilities are.

Alexandra:

And then going from there, you are going to have, again, technical questions in your interview process. A lot of the tech is really based on your logic and reasoning skills. So you could have some unusual questions that you wouldn’t normally see in an interview if you’re working in another industry that you will quite frequently see in tech interviews. And then a lot of times tech companies are going to want to look at projects that you’ve done, code samples, repos, or even ask you to do some coding for them as part of, like, a technical test. So all of that together, I think really differentiates what you might see in an interview that we would have for a tech company, as a programmer, as a software engineer versus what you might see for a more, a different industry. You would never really see stuff like that happening.

Cris:

It sounds like it’s a lengthy process. So there’s screening to maybe even just get up to what would be more considered a conventional sit down, have an interview style process. It sounds like it’s a long process, it’s not short.

Alexandra:

It is a long process. And we’ve talked about it before we have other episodes kind of detailing exactly what our recruiting process looks like. And I think, obviously every company does it differently, but it’s very common to have multiple rounds of interviews. And a lot of times I will have the coming back from the candidate, especially if they’ve gone through the interview process a lot, how many rounds are there? And I expect? That’s always a really good question to ask when you’re in that first initial phone screen. Just so you can know how much time commitment the company is really looking for from you. And I think that is a reality of the tech industry. Is that the time commitment that tech companies might ask from you just in the recruiting process is usually going to be a little bit higher than what you might see in other industries.

Cris:

It’s probably going to be weeks not days.

Alexandra:

Right.

Cris:

And asking those questions of, “Hey, how many rounds?” That sounds like it’s a two-way street because it both shows intelligence on the part of the candidate that they’re aware of time that goes into this. And for us personally, if someone asked us that it shows that again, you know, you’re aware, so as a company, maybe you want to look out for candidates that are asking those kinds of questions.

Alexandra:

Yeah, I think so. And I think it’s okay to be upfront about what you’re available to do. So I recently had a candidate who’s obviously applying multiple places and he was like, actually I have a couple of tests that I’m doing for these other jobs. Is it okay if it’s schedule your test at such and such time? And we want to be respectful of the time that our candidates have, the obligations that they have outside of their… I’m not expecting them to just focus on Bixly 100%. They have their own responsibilities and commitments that they’re handling. So making sure that we’re communicating clearly about what kind of time they can give me and they’re going to understand I’m actively recruiting. So if I hire someone before we get your tests done and that’s okay, but we’re kind of having that balancing conversation to make it work for everybody involved.

Cris:

That’s good. And you mentioned being able to jump in and kind of talk through specifically Bixly’s kind of screening, hiring process, onboarding all that. There’s a good episode for that to check out. But just as a highlight specific to the interview, you’re sitting down across the table from a couple people or now, or digitally for your remote employee, that sort of thing. What does that interview process kind of look like a little bit and what can be expected? Not only for us, but just maybe again in general. You’ve touched on lots of it, but the things we haven’t touched yet perhaps.

Alexandra:

Yeah. For sure, definitely, as a candidate show up be ready to be professional. Show up be ready to have a conversation. If there have been times where someone’s maybe a little bit more of a quieter personality or a shier personality and that’s totally fine, no discrimination on personalities or anything like that. But it is helpful to be prepared to share about yourself. For some people that’s really uncomfortable when I ask you that question. So tell me a little bit about yourself? That opening question that I like to ask everyone. It’s sometimes it can be a little bit hard for us to talk about ourselves, but be prepared to do that because me as the recruiter, I really do want to get to know you. I really want to get a sense of who you are as a person and what your experiences and even what some of your hobbies and interests are. Like a fairly well rounded picture.

Alexandra:

Like I’m happy to know that about you and that helps me in my assessment process. So if you are maybe a little bit of a quieter personality and that’s a little bit more difficult, practice those types of questions to loosen up and have the two-way conversation that we’re looking to do. And I think another thing to keep in mind with Bixly is the reason why we’re hiring, it’s not because we actually burn through people. Actually, we have a very high average retention rate. It’s actually five years at Bixly, which is a very high number for any company really. But really for a company-

Cris:

Even tech.

Alexandra:

But tech, for a contract firm because we’re working with so many clients. I mean, we really work really very hard to make our job interesting, fun, give our people challenges. Keep them growing, keep them on their toes. Pay attention to what their needs are, hear what their feedback is for us. Like it’s very important for Bixly culture. And part of that is hiring people that we want to work with. So we have it on every job description, no jerks, no punks, no know-it-alls. And that’s because they’re not the people that we’d like to work with. So when we’re talking about building Bixly culture, a lot of times that looks like who is the person and how do they integrate with the culture that we’re really safeguarding here at Bixly. And so, yeah, that’s highly, highly important to us in our interview process.

Cris:

Yeah. And that could be something that differentiates us from another company. Not that the other company is incorrect. But when you come into an interview, I’m not hiring you. You’re not hiring. We are not hiring a Bixly for a project that then is going to wrap in a year or whatever it is. We’re hiring an employee that is going to be part of the company for years and years to come. Whereas there are tech companies out there. And so as a candidate, you could be aware of that, that you might actually just be getting hired for a project. And then after that, it’s one and done. Years of being able to like have an employee at a company is really cool. [crosstalk 00:08:01]

Alexandra:

Something to be proud of. Yeah. And it really ties into, I think our culture of like, we want to invest in our employees as much as they give of their time and expertise and really are giving that to the company as their effort of the team, we really appreciate that. So when we can point them in the direction of where they want their career to go. Technologies that they’re interested in, having those opportunities to grow and develop and gain experience. We are very much interested in investing back into them as much as we are really excited to have some of the best programmers in the world. And it’s not an overstatement working for Bixly.

Cris:

No, it’s not. Oh, that’s good.

Alexandra:

Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday. If you have any questions at all about what we talked about today, how to get into tech or anything else about our recruiting process, go ahead and leave those questions in the comment section down below. You can also find a link to our free custom software guide in the description to this video. And that will help you if you’re looking to plan out an app. You can also check us out at bixly.com and see all of the different positions that are currently available at Bixly, in the footer there’s a link that says join our team. Or you can sign up for a free hour consultation with Cris.