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Employers Advice for Mastering the Technical Interview

Mastering the Technical Interview

​Mastering the technical interview process is crucial for employers seeking to navigate the competitive nature of tech talent acquisition. The technical interview, an effective evaluation process, assesses candidates' skill sets, ranging from technical expertise to essential soft skills such as problem-solving and communication.

In the competitive tech industry, these interviews play an essential role, allowing hiring managers to assess candidates' ability to meet specialised job requirements and align with the company's culture, values, and objectives.

In this guide, we unravel the complexities of the technical interview, providing top tips on how to master the process whilst also recognising its significance for employers in attracting top tech talent and consciously building good business credibility.

What is a Technical Interview?

First, let's define exactly what a technical interview is and why it is essential for employers during recruitment.

A technical interview is an evaluation process designed to assess various candidate skills, ranging from technical skills, such as coding and programming languages, to soft skills entailing problem-solving and communication abilities. Unlike traditional question-and-answer interviews, technical interviews typically involve challenges and assignments, mirroring an exam-like structure.

The specific format of a technical interview varies across companies, including written tests, technical challenges, and whiteboard interviews. Candidates are expected to showcase both soft and hard skills, revealing logical problem-solving abilities, proficiency in technical challenges, and the nature of their thought processes when tackling problems.

In the tech industry, technical interviews play a vital role. They allow hiring managers to gauge a candidate's capability to fulfil the position's specialised requirements. Additionally, these interviews serve as a means to assess whether a candidate aligns with the company's culture, values, and overall objectives.

Now that we have answered the fundamental question of ‘what is a technical interview?’ and explored its importance for hiring managers, let's delve into the top tips for employers to master and streamline the technical interview practices:

​How Can Employers Master the Technical Interview?

Below are some essential steps employers must take to master the technical interview process. By following our advice, your business will be well-positioned to attract and retain extraordinary tech talent.

Create a Clear Job Description

Before conducting the technical interview process, it is essential for employers first to establish a clear job description. Managers must ensure the job description clearly specifies the position's duties, necessary skills, and qualifications. According to an Indeed survey, 42% of employers said they had to revise a job description after posting it because they received many unqualified applicants.

Accurately outlining the job details attracts candidates who are the best fit for the role and have the correct skill sets to meet the requirements, thereby minimising the necessity for time-consuming screening of applicants who may not be suitable.

By shifting your focus to candidates who directly meet the job specification, your business can streamline the recruitment process and access suitable candidates over a shorter period, saving time and money on additional resources.

Here are the top tips on how you can create a concise job description:

Highlight precise responsibilities of the role - It is important for hiring managers to understand and pinpoint exactly what they require from the role. Including precise and essential qualifications, job requirements, responsibilities and desired skills is crucial in attracting a smaller talent pool of suitable candidates.

Use a clear structure - To receive only relevant applications from candidates you are targeting for the role, it is essential to include separate sections to outline the job title, job description, responsibilities, and qualifications. Hiring managers must ensure their job descriptions are well-structured and easy to follow and understand.

Write concisely - Using a direct, clear writing style means employers can effectively convey the role's requirements, avoiding unnecessary and irrelevant applications. Avoiding jargon and keeping sentence structure simple maximise clarity for the reader.

Review - Presenting draft job descriptions to relevant stakeholders for review and feedback ensures they are accurately targeting the correct audience, where readers can easily understand the description and requirements of the role.

To learn more about distinguishing a clear job description from a job specification, discover our insightful guide - 4 differences between a job description and job specification.

Create a Well-Structured Interview

Implementing a well-organised and standardised interview process with predefined steps is essential for streamlining recruitment. Before initiating the candidate search, your company should establish a standardised method for assessing candidates, promoting consistency, and enhancing efficiency. Structured interviews will enable more informed decision-making about new hires and manage potential bias in the selection process.

When defining the process, several key steps should be considered. Here are our top tips you should follow to create a well-structured technical interview:

Provide interviewers with training - Before conducting any interview process, the first step is to provide all interviewers with the necessary training to conduct a technical interview. Training can involve minimising bias, asking relevant questions, and actively listening and taking notes to ensure a consistent, effective hiring process.

First-stage interview - Once you have reviewed all applications, it is important to call successful candidates for a first-stage interview, typically conducted via video call in a remote setting. The first stage interview is the perfect opportunity for you as an employer to learn more about a candidate's educational background, qualifications, career aspirations and relevant experience. By implementing this step, employers can easily decide whether they want to proceed to the next stage with the candidate.

Technical assessments - Following the first stage of the interview, it is important for employers to conduct a technical assessment to examine whether a candidate has the technical ability for the role. Depending on the advertised role, technical assessments can include coding challenges, where candidates must complete a coding task within a specific time frame. Conducting such assessments allows you as a hiring manager to identify key skills in real-time environments, such as coding, problem-solving and communication skills.

Written tests - Besides technical assessments, employers can request that applicants complete writing tests, which could entail answering a series of technical questions or writing pieces of code. According to a recent study, 73%of employers desire employees with strong written communication skills. By assessing performance during written tests, employers can quickly identify pivotal skills, such as clearly communicating technical concepts and knowledge and demonstrating problem-solving and collaborative skills.

Whiteboard interview - Once you have selected successful candidates following the initial coding and written assessments, the whiteboard interview comes next. Whiteboard interviews entail a live assessment, where candidates conduct the task and demonstrate their thought processes on a whiteboard in front of an employer. Candidates may be required to demonstrate knowledge of elements of coding, programming languages and data structures, as well as soft skills involving communication and problem-solving.

Questions - Employers need to ask the correct questions throughout each interview stage. Questions must be designed to evaluate whether a candidate can apply experience, meet the role requirements, and have the correct attributes to be a good fit for the company.

Assess Technical Skills

Now that we have outlined the ideal structure for a technical interview and explored the different stages of assessment let's explore the most essential technical and soft skills employers should look for during the recruitment process.

Knowing which skills to look for is essential in choosing the correct candidate for the role. Employers must focus on both the technical skills needed to complete complex aspects of the role and soft skills relating to character traits necessary for working well within a team and delivering excellent communication.


Below is a general overview of some examples of the hard, technical skills employers must look out for in candidates during technical interviews across various industries:

Security awareness - During a technical interview, employers must look for candidates with pivotal cyber security awareness knowledge. Candidates who acknowledge potential vulnerabilities surrounding the task they are given are essential.

Programming languages - Employers must look for proficiency in programming languages such as Python, Java, and C+ during technical assessments and writing challenges, particularly involving coding.

Debugging and testing - Again, if the job role is related to software and hardware development, during live assessments, employers must look out for proficiency in solving complex problems relating to debugging and testing hardware and software components.

Financial modelling - If the technical interview surrounds a job role within the financial and accountancy sector, looking for skills and expertise in elements such as financial modelling and accounting principles is crucial in selecting suitable candidates that meet the role's requirements.


As well as the technical skills necessary to tackle challenges within a job role, it is equally important for employers to look for essential soft skills within potential candidates to assess whether their personal attributes are a good fit for the company and align with company culture and values.

Here are some of the most essential soft skills employers should look for in candidates during a technical interview:

Problem-solving - During live assessments, employers must look to see if candidates can apply problem-solving skills and analytical thinking when faced with complex problems. Technical interviews create the perfect environment to assess how a candidate responds to real-time challenges directly relating to the job role.

Communication - Employers must pay close attention to how well candidates communicate their logical thought processes during a live assessment. They should explain how they have approached the task and walk through the process step-by-step. This will allow employers to gauge how well a candidate can communicate with other team members and clearly convey logical information.

Collaboration - Employers must look for evidence of strong collaborative skills during a technical interview, particularly as candidates discuss thought processes and logical reasoning, providing valuable insight into how they communicate with others within a team to convey precise technical concepts.

Leadership - As candidates complete live assessments, employers must look out for leadership qualities, assess how candidates approach a task, lead conversation and complete an assessment to a high standard.

Asking the Correct Questions

By asking relevant questions during all stages of a technical interview, employers are able to make well-informed hiring decisions and are one step closer to building a successful team, ensuring your business hires professionals who are not only equipped with the necessary technical skills to drive innovation but also posses the attributes that align with your business goals and visions for success.

Asking the correct technical interview questions allows employers to:

Unlock relevant skills - Technical interview questions unrelated to the job may evaluate knowledge or skills incorrectly, resulting in poorly matched hires. Customising questions to align with the specific role and necessary skills ensures the identification of candidates who genuinely meet the team's requirements.

Assesses problem-solving abilities - Standard questions fail to unlock a candidate's problem-solving approach or capacity to think analytically when facing complex challenges. Exploring specific real-world scenarios and challenges relevant to the role allows for a more thorough assessment of their analytical skills and the practical application of their knowledge.

Evaluate passion and interest - Standard questions lack the ability to spark engagement. Asking precise questions about the company's work, challenges in the industry, and upcoming projects helps gauge a candidate's true passion and interest in the field. This approach allows employers to compare a candidate's aspirations with the vision of your business.

Encourage open communication. When a candidate is aware of how to answer technical interview questions, sticking to on-topic questions initiates conversation, presents challenges to the candidate, and maintains the interview flow, creating a more engaging and productive experience for all participants. Demonstrating an interest in a candidate's skills and attributes builds trust as well as a lasting positive impression of your business.

Prioritise Candidate Experience

Prioritising the candidate's experience provides a range of benefits for your business. An organised, well-structured interview will ensure candidates perform technical interviews to the best of their ability. By creating a positive candidate experience, your business credibility will improve, and candidates will recommend your business, attracting potential future talent.

Below are the best tips you can use to prioritise candidate experience during the technical interview:

Set clear expectations - Offering candidates precise details regarding the interview procedure, what they can expect, and the different interview stages establishes satisfactory expectations, contributing to a positive and seamless candidate experience.

Streamline the Recruitment Process - Keeping each interview as short as possible yet efficient, asking only relevant interview questions, eliminating any unnecessary steps and prioritising candidate communication in a timely manner are essential in creating a positive candidate experience.

Communicate and Provide Candidate Feedback - According to recent research, 63%of candidates are unsatisfied with the amount of communication they receive from employers after applying for a job. Consistently communicating with applicants and ensuring communication channels are key to building a positive experience and boosting business credibility.

Create a respectful environment - It is essential for employers to create an inclusive environment in which candidates feel comfortable, valued and respected, ensuring candidates feel confident in showcasing their abilities, which will effectively achieve positive candidate experiences.

Final Thoughts on Mastering the Technical Interview

Mastering the technical interview process is essential for employers within the competitive technical field. When answering the question ‘What is a technical interview?’, we uncover that a technical interview goes beyond assessing technical skills, where soft skills are equally crucial for success. As an important aspect of talent acquisition in the tech industry, these interviews enable hiring managers to assess a candidate's ability to meet specialised job requirements and align with the company's culture and objectives.

This guide aims to support employers seeking to refine their technical interview process. From creating clear job descriptions to building a well-structured interview process and assessing both technical and soft skills, the outlined tips offer a strategic approach. By asking relevant technical interview questions and prioritising the candidate's experience, businesses can not only attract tech talent but also build credibility, creating a positive reputation in the competitive tech talent market.

Ultimately, creating well-structured technical interviews empowers employers to make well-informed hiring decisions, shaping a workforce that meets the industry's demands and seamlessly aligns with the organisation's vision and goals.

Connecting Top Tech Talent to Global Businesses

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Survey: How to Improve Your Job Postings to Attract Better Candidates, Indeed.

​The Importance of Effective Workplace Communication – Statistics, Expert Market, Sept 2023.

Candidate experience statistics, Standout CV, March 2022.