When you are applying for any sort of technical position, you should expect to be asked a lot of technical questions. This is true for IT jobs as well as engineering, scientific, or almost any role that requires significant specific technical skills and expertise.
You’ll be asked about the usual things such as your education, background, and certifications. But you will also be asked, either in the main interview or in a separate interview, more technical and detailed questions. The specific questions will differ, depending on the industry and role you're applying for.
This article will give you information about technical interview questions and how to answer them:
What is a technical interview?
Types of interview questions
10 examples of technical interview questions and answers
What is a technical interview?
Technical interviews are standard practice for most employers recruiting for an engineering, scientific, technology, or software position. They are interviews to assess your technical ability for the role, and the amount of knowledge you have in the field.
Technical interviews can also be used to measure your problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills, as well as your ability to work under stress. Companies use this process to apply examples and issues that come directly from their business. This allows them to evaluate how you would solve real-world problems for them.
Categories of interview questions
There are lots of different questions that you can be asked in an interview. However, they all fall into a few categories. It is useful to know what these categories are because even if you have never been asked a specific question before, if you know what category it falls into, then you will have a pretty good idea what sort of answer they are looking for.
Behavioral interview questions
Any question that is related to how you would perform in a certain workplace situation is a behavioral question. While these types of questions may not be highly technical, the technical interviewer will use some sort of technical situation to frame the question.
Some common examples of behavioral interview questions:
Give me an example of a complex problem you solved at work? How did you come up with a solution? (Problem-solving)
Tell me about a time when you had an unforeseen problem. How did you correct it? (Handling challenges)
Share an example of when you had to deal with a very stressful situation. How did you manage it? (Stress)
What’s your proudest professional achievement? Why is it important to you? (Achievement, ambition)
Tell me about a serious failure you had and how you overcame it. (Dealing with failure)
Tips on how to answer behavioral questions:
Don’t rush or just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. Take a moment to breathe and gather your thoughts before you answer. The interviewer will expect you to take your time answering. It’s not a race.
Be Specific. Your answer should be short, but include enough detail to explain how you handled the situation. Don’t be too vague, or they’ll think you're faking it.
Always have a positive outcome. They’re not trick questions, but you don’t want to get tripped up by using a bad example or getting into things that may reflect negatively on yourself. Stay positive, even if the example is about a bad situation. How did you learn or benefit from it?
The best framework for answering a behavioral question is the STAR method:
Situation: Describe the situation or problem you were faced with.
Task: What needed to be done?
Action: What steps did you take?
Result: What was the outcome?
Situational interview questions
Situational interview questions involve asking the interviewee about what they would do in a hypothetical situation. They are also referred to as scenario-based or hypothetical questions. They usually start with “What would you do if…?” or “How would you handle…?” These types of questions are used to evaluate a candidate’s abilities and how they would react in certain situations. They are also used to assess your problem-solving skills and how you would respond to unanticipated challenges.
Some example of situational interview questions:
What would you do if you disagreed with someone on a project? (Conflict and communication)
You’re on a tight deadline, another team member isn’t contributing to the project. What do you do? (Conflict, communication, teamwork)
What would you do if you had a problem you couldn’t solve? (Creativity, resourcefulness, stress)
You don’t have enough information to complete a task. How would you handle this? (Communication, clarification, initiative)
You’ve made a mistake, causing your team to fall behind schedule. How would you handle this? (Responsibility, learning from mistakes).
Tips on how to answer situational questions:
Refer back to our tips on answering behavioral questions. All the same things apply.
Another key thing is to be prepared. Review common questions and even come up with some of your own, based on your work experience. Write out the answers and practice them.
You will definitely get asked some situational questions. Rehearsing questions and your answers will greatly improve your chance of getting hired. With proper preparation, you can walk into the interview with confidence!
Interview questions about your education and knowledge specifics
You will also be asked clarifying questions about your training, education, certifications, licenses, and technical skills. If they are not part of a behavioral or situational question, then they are simply looking to get some additional details about your expertise and previous work.
These questions are very straightforward to answer because they will be factual details about your background. Just make sure that you know everything on your resume and online profiles (LinkedIn, GitHub, etc.). Make sure you don’t say anything that contradicts other information you have provided. It is very important that your resume and online information are up-to-date and 100% accurate. Never lie, because it will come back and bite you.
10 Examples of technical interview questions
1. “What programming languages do you know well?”
2. “What scripting languages do you know? What projects have you used them for?”
Scripting languages are very popular coding languages for IT professionals. They make it easier and faster to complete coding and other tasks. Here are some of the most popular scripting languages: Bash, PHP, Ruby, and VBA. The key to answering this one is less about the specific tool and more about how you have used it. Have a great example or two of how you solved a problem using scripting.
3. “How familiar are you with design software? What applications do you know?”
Any role that involves designing things will require knowledge of software to design, create, edit, and manage designs. Whether you are designing websites, cars, or software, design software is going to be relevant to the job. Some examples of popular design software packages are: Canva, Figma, InDesign, Photoshop, and Solid Edge. Look at the job description for specific software brands they may be looking for. Have your list of tools memorized and be ready to answer this question.
4. “Have you used any content management systems? Which ones?
Content management systems (CMS) are software tools used to create, edit, maintain, and manage website content. They are generally easy to use with minimal technical knowledge, and require little or no knowledge of coding. Some examples of popular CMS: Joomla, Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress. This is another example of a technical question where your answer should be more focused on the outcome of your work, rather than technical details. What problem did you solve with a CMS? What did you achieve?
5. “How do you effectively troubleshoot issues?”
Troubleshooting can be done in many different ways, but the interviewer is looking for a methodical process. Remember to keep your answer concise and use best practices. Here is an example of a generic troubleshooting process: problem identification, information gathering, recreate the issue, root cause analysis, and problem resolution. A common follow-on question will be about an example of where you had to troubleshoot a difficult problem. So, have a past example prepared and thought out to demonstrate how you successfully applied your troubleshooting process.
6. “How familiar are you with the Agile methodology?”
Agile is a framework for project management that divides projects into many phases or sprints. It helps teams complete IT projects on time with better quality. A few benefits of Agile are: enhanced deliverable quality, increased control over scheduling and tasks, reduced risks, and more flexibility. As with most technical questions, the interviewer will probably follow up with a question about a project or initiative you completed using Agile. Be ready for that.
7. “Why is a UX framework important?”
A user experience (UX) framework aids IT professionals in streamlining the design and development process and creates consistent and high-quality user experiences. Examples of popular UX frameworks are: Bootstrap, Ionic, and jQuery. Some key benefits of using UX frameworks are: enhancing customer loyalty, improving brand reputation, and increasing user engagement. Have an example of how you utilized a UX framework to complete a project. How did the UX framework benefit the project?
8. “How would you prioritize two competing project deadlines?”
Meeting deadlines is critical in any job. The key to answering this question is to present a clear and methodical process for dealing with competing deadlines. Explain how you would evaluate them. It is always useful to provide a real-world example where you had to do this. Some things you could include about an approach are: setting realistic goals, clarifying project objectives, holding meetings to discuss timelines and status, assessing resource requirements, closely tracking all tasks, and evaluating critical paths.
9. “How are SDKs and APIs different?”
An SDK is a software development kit, and an API is an application programming interface. SDKs provide tools, libraries, documents, and code samples to create software applications. APIs act as a set of rules that enable applications to communicate with each other and are used to access another system’s functionalities or data without knowing details of its implementation. Give specific examples from your experience of how you utilized SDKs to develop software and work you have done on APIs.
10. “What are the advantages and disadvantages of imaging software?”
Imaging software is a type of graphic design software used to create, edit, manipulate, and manage digital images on a computer. Advantages of imaging software include: advanced image-editing and design features, compatibility with many different file formats, and non-destructive editing by preserving the original image. Disadvantages: expensive and they do not easily recover from errors.
Need help preparing for your interview? Check out our service page!
Do your homework. Research the company and job, so you can highlight your relevant skills and experience.
Practice. Find examples of technical interview questions, create answers, and go over them until you are comfortable.
Share examples where you've handled similar situations in previous roles (as appropriate).
Be confident and calm. And nail that technical interview!