How to take a technical interview?

3 mins |

November 25, 2021

Technical interviews are hard for both interviewer and interviewee. After taking hundreds of interviews. I have some tips to make the interview process bit better.


Before you step into the interview room (or join a zoom call), there are few things to keep in mind.

Know what you are interviewing for

This might seem straightforward, but I have been part of interviews where the interviewer wasn’t sure what he was hiring for. It could be true for large organizations where the exact role is not known to everyone. Even in that case at least make sure you know what criteria you are evaluating for. This leads to my next point.

Don’t judge for too many criteria

In a single interview round, don’t try to judge too many parameters. For eg. let’s say you are interviewing for a frontend role, don’t judge CSS design skills and JS programming in the same round. Define your interview rounds such that you are only judging 2-3 criteria at once.

Validate your questions with peers

While coming up with questions for the interview. Validate the questions with your peers. Check how easy it is for them to understand your question. How much time it would take them to solve the problem.

Don’t ask a business domain-specific question

We might be tempted to ask questions specific to our business domain. If your company is into e-commerce, using business-specific jargon might throw them off. This is also hard to validate among your peers because they will be accustomed to the jargon.

Avoid giving home assignments

Giving take-home assignments might be difficult for the candidates. They will be attending other interviews. They will have to do assignments/tasks from every company they have applied to. Along with this, they would also do their regular work.

Giving tasks for 1-2 hours might be a better solution. Though this isn’t perfect either. Due to the limited amount of time, it would be difficult to give a real-world problem.

Communicate about the interview

Give the interviewee a clear idea about the interview process. While the interviewee might know how many rounds of interview they might attend. Give them a clear picture of what to expect in the interview. Will it be a DS/Algorithm round, or Problem-solving. This would help the candidate in preparing for the interview.

Make sure you tell them if they are expected to bring a laptop. Or any other tools you might want them to bring(or have).

Don’t be biased

If your peers have already taken previous rounds of interviews, avoid getting reviews from them. This might give a bias on how you conduct the interview.

It could also be that you know that the person you are interviewing. You know that they are a good fit for the role but they are not performing well in the interview. So you might be a bit biased to give them a pass. There might be other good candidates but they were also not performing well in the interview. In such scenarios, try not to be biased. But also try to improve your interview process such that this performance anxiety isn’t costing some a job.

During the interview

Start with easy to answer question

Start the interview with some easy questions. Something they will be able to answer. Starting the interview with the right answer will give them a confidence booster. You could ask some basic questions from your domain or it could also be some questions on what they are working on currently.

There might be instances where they would have prepared some monologue to start the interview with. Sometimes when I ask them about their current project, they start answering with “What all they have worked in thier career”. It’s okay, don’t penalise. Make sure this behaviour of not answering your question isn’t repeated during the interview.

Help them to complete the solution

Sometimes candidates might get stuck. Try to help them with some hints. But sometimes, they might get stuck in something critical and helping them would mean almost giving the solution out. So if they solve it now, it might be of any use to you. Even then try to help them. This would help them in having some confidence while attempting the next question.

Ask similar questions to everyone

Avoid asking very different questions to candidates interviewing for the same role. It would be difficult for you to judge if you asked different questions. That doesn’t mean you have to ask exactly the same question. You can start with same questions and then have different variations based on what the candidate is comfortable with.

Post interview

Write down what happened immediately

Write down what happened in the interview immediately after you are done. Though you can take notes during the interview, I prefer writing them down post the interview. Taking notes during the interview might distract me or the candidate. This would also help you in being unbiased.

Have your opinion

Before you discuss the candidate’s performance, make sure you have your point of view. You can be persuaded by your peers or you can persuade your peers. But Before you discuss, it is good to have your opinion.

Let us try to make the interview experience a bit better

Got a Question? Bala might have the answer. Get them answered on #AskBala

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Written by Balavishnu V J. Follow him on Twitter to know what he is working on. Also, his opinions, thoughts and solutions in Web Dev.