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Technical Interview Questions, Prep and More

Doug Calhoun

The big day has finally arrived. After putting in a ton of time and effort, honing your skills, developing a portfolio and applying for jobs, you've been invited to take your first interview for a web developer job. Technical interviews can be both daunting and also thrilling (mostly daunting though). At Hack Reactor, we start each morning with practice technical interview questions. Our students also get several hours of one-on-one interview coaching with developers from companies like Microsoft, Google, Adobe and Twitter before they take their first interview. They also receive debriefing sessions to make incremental improvements to their performance as they take on more and more interviews.

Even outside of Hack Reactor's development bootcamp, there are plenty of places that you can go to prepare yourself. Here are a few to get you started:

  1. http://www.techinterview.org
  2. http://www.mytechinterviews.com
  3. http://www.techinterviews.com
  4. http://www.billthelizard.com/2009/06/programming-and-logic-puzzles.html
  5. https://github.com/darcyclarke/Front-end-Developer-Interview-Questions

If you really want to go overboard, we recommend the book Cracking the Coding Interview. Also, it's never a bad idea to search out other people's experiences interviewing with the particular company you're shooting for. Start by Googling: "GlassDoor company_name technical interview questions."

Once you get into the interview, all the standard rules apply. Be presentable, polite and engaged. One caveat: Even in the largest companies, most technical people eschew suits and ties. Wear a nice collared shirt and slacks or equivalent, at most.

Answering Technical Interview Questions

When it comes to answering technical interview questions, talk out your thought process as much as possible. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification and help where appropriate. A good interviewer will be rooting for you to do well (if they're not, you probably don't want to work with them anyway).

If you do hit a dead end, don't panic and don't apologize. Recontextualize the question, and try to connect it to something that you do know how to do. Sometimes interviewers will ask you questions that they know you can't answer because they want to gauge how you handle such a situation and what kinds of questions you'll ask.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask the interviewer questions as well. You should be interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you. Here are a few good, general purpose questions to get you started:

  1. What will my role be? What kind of work will I do?
  2. Team size? (You want to work with 3-6 other developers)
  3. How and when do they they ship code?
  4. Their processes: How do they use Git? What's their testing stack? What kind of code reviews do they do?

Don't expect to succeed on your first go-around. It will take practice and persistence to master the technical interview. However, if you debrief yourself or with others after each interview, practice answering questions you flubbed and researching technologies mentioned that you felt unready to discuss, you will inevitably receive an offer.

The job offer is a whole other can of worms which we will discuss in the next blog.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

Douglas Calhoun

Co-Founder, Hack Reactor