All but the final hurdle between a software engineer and an offer, the technical interview is important to ace for everyone from first-time job seekers all the way to lead developers that can code in their sleep. Practice (and preparation) makes perfect, though, so here are 6 tips to how to get past the technical interview to negotiating the offer you deserve:
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1. Be Ready to Whiteboard: This is generally a go-to interview tactic for tech companies to evaluate engineers during the interview process. It’s always smart to practice solving technical questions on a white board to see how your brain operates/critically thinks when not in front of the computer.
2. Be Ready for Core Principles and Basics: Always make sure to brush up on any programming languages that may be rusty. Expect to be asked questions ranging from the fundamentals of certain languages to some higher-level concepts. For example, if you are interviewing for a PHP job, it is helpful to brush up on the fundamentals of the LAMP Stack and the MySQL Database.
3. Be Ready With Code Samples: It’s always a good idea to bring code samples and github profiles with you to the interview. Companies are looking for writing ability and the ability to communicate technical thoughts through code documentation.
4. Be Ready With Questions: An important part of the process is to ask questions about the role to show that you are interested and engaged. Make sure to prepare 2-3 questions to ask at the end of the interview that show genuine interest and thought.
Does the interview rarely go well for you? Contact us to get tips and work with a recruiter who can help you avoid common pitfalls.
5. Be Prepared to Close Strongly: Once the testing is over, that doesn't mean the interview is. Maintain a professional image and don't let the end of the interview fall flat like a bad ending to a great movie. Be enthusiastic and summarize why you're the best for the role.
6. Be Ready for Follow-Up: Sending a thank you note is always a good thing to do when you finish any interview process with a company, but it's easy to forget while focusing on the tech. You want the company and the people you met with to remember you for the right reasons. Always address why you would be a good fit for the role and bring it back to the job description and what was covered in the interview.
If you do all of these things, the odds of you getting a final-round interview, or better yet a job offer, will increase significantly. So always remember, preparation is the key to success in landing your dream job.
Related career advice you may be interested in:
A $1.5 billion jackpot on the lottery is attractive enough to bring Canadians across the border, create wrap-around-the-store lines and inspire lottery parties centered on the drawing. While it’s easy to get pulled into the thrill of winning the world’s largest lottery and being free to travel the world, don’t quit your job if you win the lottery.
Here are 6 great reasons not to leave your current gig (or a reason to find one), even if you score $1.5B in the lottery:
1. For the six months directly after you win, you shouldn’t make any drastic changes. Instead, set aside a small (celebratory, perhaps?) amount of money, and make a plan. It will give you time to set a budget, consider any investments and let the buzz die down.
2. It’s easier to say no if you seem like your normal self. Once the cat is out of the bag you’re rolling in it, friends and family will come out of the woodwork offering ”great investment opportunities” and calling in favors you never recalled using. Before telling your friends, in fact, Mark Cuban told The Dallas Morning News that a tax attorney should be your first call when you win, and you should consult him before you say yes to anyone.
3. Just quitting your job won’t mean immediate happiness. “If you weren’t happy yesterday you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness,” said Mark Cuban to the Dallas Morning News. “If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It’s money. Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.”
If you’re a tech professional unhappy with your current job, contact the local Workbridge Associates for career advice.
4. You might not be quite as rich as you thought you’d be. You won’t be a billionaire right away, unless you get a lump sum instead of annuities. However, if you get a lump sum you won’t be a billionaire at all, since even pre-tax, the lump sum is under $1 billion according to Money. With annuities, you get a set amount each year so a lavish lifestyle unregulated by career might bankrupt you until the next year.
5. On that note, you might need your job’s income. "Seventy percent of people who land a big windfall, lose it within several years," said this NBC News article. Many winners don’t plan a budget and overestimate what their lifestyle should be.
6. Your career is about more than money. While we all need to pay the bills, a fulfilling career is about more than just the dollar signs. For some it’s about passion, for some it’s about making a difference and yet others truly love what they do. If you love your current job, there’s no reason to leave it behind. If your career is on the right trajectory, instead use this opportunity to augment what you’re already excelling at.
If you aren’t happy with your job, don’t wait for the lottery to change your life. Here’s why you should start looking for a new job before you NEED to.
Contracting can be a great opportunity to land your next job, fast track your career, and even give yourself a bit of a raise. When job seekers start a new contract position after switching from a full-time role, it's usually amazes them how quickly the process moves. “Wow… that was fast,” is a common response - but don't move so fast that you forget to ask yourself some important questions first.
While you consider the questions below, bear in mind that those who are critical of contract positions may unwittingly provide false information about these types of positions - anything but a full-time job lacks benefits and stability are among common misconceptions. Workbridge Associates actually offers a health care insurance package and PTO, which is a growing trend in companies that hire contractors. A contract role can be an easy and flexible way to gain employment in a fast-moving IT industry. Have kids? Imagine not being tied to a 9-5 schedule. Trying to get your foot in the door with a large company you already applied to in the past? An alternative path to the inside could be through contracting.
You can find a contract or contract-to-hire position on our job board here.
Be sure to have the answers to these important questions from the company, recruiter, or just yourself before committing:
How long is the contract?
Know how long you’ll be working on this contract. That way, you’ll know when you need to start thinking about the next contract or the next steps to converting full-time. Contract lengths can run anything from 4 weeks all the way to, well, forever.
Is this for a project that has been secured?
Find out if the business is already won by the contracting company because sometimes firms like to start the interview process BEFORE being awarded the business and have the ability to put contractors on. You certainly don’t want to turn down other offers you had when the job you accepted technically doesn’t exist yet. A simple way of asking is: “If I accept the offer, how soon can I start?” The answer you’re looking for should be a something like immediately, on Monday, or right after your two week notice.
Am I going to be hired as a W-2 employee or as 1099?
The main differences come down to taxes. As a W-2 employee, you will receive pay checks with tax withholding already taken, and you’ll receive an IRS W-2 from your employer in January of the following year. If you are hired as a 1099 contractor, you’ll get full pay with no tax deductions, but you are also responsible for paying your own taxes come April 15th of the following year.
It’s tempting to opt for a 1099 since your pay checks are bigger, but that smile quickly goes away when you realize you not only have to calculate how much you owe at the end of the year, but in fact you OWE MORE! You get tagged with self-employment tax which is another 13-14% of your income on top of the taxes you already pay. As a perk, however, you can write off multiple expenses for your work as well (transportation, computers, phone service, etc.) Think about these points before deciding which is better for you.
What happens when the contract ends?
It’s important to know what your options are. Some staffing companies have other projects they will have needs for, and it’s good to know if you might qualify for those. The benefit of using a technology-specific staffing firm is that a great majority of their other clients will have needs that match your skill set so that when you’re done with the current contract, you increase your chances of landing another quickly with minimal downtime.
What is the realistic time-frame of converting temp-to-hire?
If the job is a contract-to-hire position, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of when you might be converting to full-time status. This sets the expectations on both sides, and ensures that you and your potential employer are on the same page. Typically the timeline can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months. If you find yourself in the eigth month with no talk of conversion, it’s time to revisit the conversation with your hiring manager.
What salary should I expect when I accept a full-time offer following my contract role?
Most people get a bit nervous when talking about salary and compensation, but it's important to be aware of what the potential salary would look like if you convert to full-time. While it may be an uncomfortable conversation to have now, it’ll save you a headache down the road. You don’t want to find yourself having worked 4 months into a contract only to find that the salary they are thinking isn't close to what you were expecting. Of course, it’s important to be realistic as well. If you are a W-2 employee getting paid $45/hour, you should be considering a base salary of around $90,000 (inclusive of benefits and such).
Have more questions about being a contractor? Ask a Workbridge representative near you.
For a first-timer, a contract position can look intimidating. Don’t let that stop you from considering the opportunity and asking the essential questions before coming to a decision. Working with a recruiter can take some of the uncertainty out of the equation if you're unsure, but it comes down to getting all the answers you need in order to make the right decision.