If you’re applying for a highly technical role, you can expect a job interview filled with highly technical questions. Depending on the company, the interviewer might ask you to whiteboard a problem, or solve some fun-sounding but devilishly hard puzzles, take some sort of online test, or tackle a question verbally. However the interviewer frames the questions, these tips will help you solve them as quickly—and correctly—as possible.
Take the Obvious Route: Some technical questions demand an elegant solution, but others are satisfyingly straightforward—most of the time, the job interviewer just wants to see if you have a basic grasp of the concepts and skills at hand. If an “obvious” answer jumps out at you, don’t second-guess yourself: pursue it. If you have additional time after delivering that answer (such as on a written test), you can play around with alternative paths to a solution.
Ask Tons of Questions: Much of the time, job interviewers care less about the final answer to a technical problem, and more about how you arrive at the solution. Asking the right questions can show the interviewer that you’re a meticulous and analytical thinker. Query about parameters, goals, and inputs; question whether you can think “outside the box” and approach the problem from a way other than presented.
Never Say ‘I Don’t Know’: Continue working the problem, even if frustration builds: That’ll show your potential employer that you’re someone who hangs in there, even if things get really tough. When in doubt, it can sometimes help to analyze a similar, simpler problem and use any insights from that to solve the conundrum at hand.
Don’t Act Frustrated: The job interviewer isn’t just evaluating whether you can answer a technical question—they’re also judging your reactions and communication skills. Even if the question seems idiotic, don’t let on that you think so—just answer in as straightforward a manner as possible.
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