Industry Insight
Senior Technical Recruiter

4 Things Candidates Want Out of a Technical Interview

Most candidates in the tech field recognize the demands of a technical interview and how it differs from the process in other fields. Whether they have years in tech or they’re just starting out, most people know that preparation and research is key.

The same is also true for clients holding the interview. To get the most out of the process, including a clearer picture of whether a candidate’s skills and personality match with your company’s culture, here are four things candidates want out of a technical interview and how you can take them into account before they come in.

What to expect beforehand.

Although keeping some elements of a technical interview close is necessary, it’s important to at least tell candidates what to expect beforehand – how much time the process should take, how many past projects they should be able to discuss, the types of exercises you’ll have them complete, and who they will meet with during the interview. That way they can go in fully prepared and able to show you exactly what they bring to the table. If a candidate is anxious or thrown off by the type of questions they are asked to complete, you won’t get a clear picture of who they are and what they can do.

Plenty of time for each interview segment.

When planning for a technical interview, make sure your time segments are sufficient – but not too long. Candidates want to know they have sufficient time to complete the test; otherwise, they’ll feel rushed and unable to put their best foot forward. Putting some time constraints is completely acceptable as they can provide insight into how someone performs under pressure, but try to find a medium. On the contrary, candidates don’t want to sit around for excessively long periods of time in between each interview segment either. According to GlassDoor, a typical technical interview lasts between 45 minutes to 60 minutes and starts with one or two behavioral questions. Start with that as a guideline and move forward from there.

A chance to explain their thought process.

One major concern among candidates is the amount of time they are given to explain their thought process after the exercises or test are completed. Make sure you allow them to talk through how they got to their solution before the interview concludes. That provides you with a better illustration of what the candidate actually knows, and it shows them you care about what they have to say. If you have a stellar candidate, you want them to feel the company cares about their opinion from the start.

Flexibility to accommodate their learning style.

Taking into account lessons learned from the rise of remote work and the obstacles different people continue to deal with related to the pandemic, it’s a good idea to allow for some flexibility. If it works with the position you’re interviewing for and your company’s practices, explore how you can accommodate different learning styles with take home tests, code pairing, or hands-on exercises versus text book questions. In addition to fostering a sense of trust with candidates, offering options catered to how they best perform can help them feel more comfortable and able to showcase their abilities and expertise.

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