What questions is the interviewer really asking in the technical interview?

Added: 17th October 2019 by CGG

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Technical interviews are an integral part of the assessment day for most STEM employers. As interviewers what are we looking for in prospective employees?

Does the candidate have knowledge of the fundamental principles that underpin what we do?

These ‘fundamentals’ may cover a range of STEM topics. A lot of the time demonstrating you have ‘knowledge’ is not as important as demonstrating your ability to gain knowledge.

Can you see the connections between what we do and what you have learnt? If you can make these leaps then maybe you have the ability to make other leaps; to innovate and add value to what we do. The questions you ask us can also be important in giving us this insight.

Are they genuinely enthusiastic and motivated to learn about what we do?

In a professional environment, apart from formal training, much of the time you will not be fed information but need to go and find out the information for yourself. This starts at the application stage with doing your research on the company and the topics suggested in your invite. Again, asking questions on what you have read is a good way to demonstrate what you know and your interest in the subject. Once in the job, finding out information for yourself can be easier than it sounds, as you will be surrounded by experts on all kinds of subjects. However it still takes self-motivation, and good communication and ‘people’ skills to do this.

Does the candidate have good communication skills?

Communication plays a huge role in day to day work life. As an example there will be tasks you complete independently. Although you may be able to complete a task in a logical way, if you are not able to adequately communicate the steps you have taken and to summarise your findings, then others may not trust your results. Additionally you may be summarising your results to your supervisor who is very familiar with your subject matter, or to someone who may not be, such as a client. The technical interview is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to communicate a topic you know well such as a final project to an audience not familiar with your subject matter.

Do I see this candidate fitting in with my current team?

Team work is essential in most businesses, so prospective employers will be keen to see if they think you will fit in with current employees. This is another benefit of assessment days over more traditional interviews as we can get to know the real you.

If at the end of the day the answer to all the above points is yes, then you are most of the way there.

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