Main image of article Tips for Preparing for Your Next Interview

Coding interviews are tough, but for some tech pros, the “soft skills” and culture-fit interview portions are much more difficult. As much as we focus on preparing for coding interviews, we forget there’s just as much emphasis we should be placing on preparing for other aspects of the interviewing experience, as well.

We spoke to several experts on how you can best prepare for your next interview to help you land the job you want at a company where you’ll thrive.

How Should You Dress for a Tech Interview?

“During your background research of the company, you can check if they have a specific dress code and try to follow that to fit in,” says Stefan Chekanov, founder and director at Brosix. “If not, then I suggest going for a regular business casual outfit: neutral colors, dress shirt, tailored pants, jacket, or blazer.”

Alari Aho, founder of Toggl, agrees doing research on company dress code is smart, adding: “When in doubt, a clean, well-fitting t-shirt or polo, paired with slacks or dark jeans, can strike the right balance for most tech interviews. Remember, comfort is key; being physically comfortable can help maintain focus on the conversation.”

Keep in mind that while company websites likely don’t have details on dress code, you can check the company’s social media pages, particularly LinkedIn, and see how staff dress. Often, companies will share casual in-office pics or media from events that can help you know how to dress for your interview.

What Should Candidates Do to Research the Company They’re Interviewing At?

“Look at how the company engages with users and customers,” says Dominic Monn, founder of tech mentorship platform MentorCruise. “Community engagement let you gauge a company's culture, values, and priorities. By examining how a company interacts with its users and community on platforms like Twitter or GitHub, you can get a basic idea of their values, responsiveness, their vision, their priorities—all the things that aren't usually communicated in their official press statements or coverage. A strong community presence also shows a company's stability and reputation in the industry.”

To that end, check out the company’s website. “Specifically, visit the ‘About’ section and, if available, the ‘Teams’ page to get a feel for who you will be working for and who might be interviewing you,” advises Chekanov.

“[Try to] understand the mission, values, products, and services of a company,” says growth and development coach (and former Senior Manager of Global Talent Acquisition at Microsoft) Prestina Yarrington. “Understand the company culture. Use resources like word of mouth, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or news stories. The company website often has resources on how to prepare for an interview as well.”

“Research Interviewers,” Yarrington adds. “Know the background of the interviewers. This is especially important in a technical interview. You want to be able to distinguish which interviewers have a technical background, which are leaders or HR, and which are team members. Review LinkedIn for any articles or posts they've made. It is an added bonus to be able to mention to an interviewer something you know about their background and experience. They often remember these small tidbits. Talk tech language to the technically inclined and keep other responses general to not dive too deep with non-technical interviewers.”

What are Some Common Questions You Can Expect in an Interview?

A coding interview is meant to assess what you do with complex problems. In a general interview setting, an interviewer may want to know how you work, including the ways you collaborate and solve company-level problems. They might ask about your latest work, projects you’re proud of, or even how you approach new challenges.

Here are some sample questions you can expect in an interview, as offered by our panel:

  • What coding language are you most familiar with?
  • How do you keep your tech skills up to date?
  • Describe your typical work process.
  • Briefly tell me about a project that you recently worked on.
  • Can you tell me about a time you failed, why did it happen, and what did you learn from that lesson?
  • Explain a project you're most proud of and the technologies you used.
  • How do you approach troubleshooting a problem you've never encountered before?
  • Describe your experience with version control systems.
  • How would you optimize a given algorithm for time and space?
  • How do you ensure the security of your code?
  • Describe a time when you had a challenging (technical/software) problem, what was the problem, how did you solve it/or not, and what were the results?
  • What technologies are you most proficient in, what are your preferences and why?
  • Tell me about a time you had a conflict on a project or when collaborating with team members. What was the conflict and what steps were taken to resolve it?
  • How do you stay current with new technologies?
  • Tell me about a time you had a tight deadline, what did you do to manage your tasks and team, if it applies. Did you meet the deadline? Why or why not?

Monn reminds us that interviewers are looking to assess five things with these questions:

  • Technical skills
  • Project experience
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Your behavior in stressful situations
  • If you’re a cultural fit

How Many Interview Rounds Should the Process Have?

Our panel agreed the interview process (including coding interviews) should last no more than five rounds, and three or four rounds was most common. “The trend is to now reduce the number of interviews to improve the candidate experience and to not risk losing a candidate by extending the process so many of these steps could be combined or happen within the same day,” says Yarrington. “It is a good idea to be fully prepared during the first interview.”


Who you are is as important as how you work. Companies are now far less tolerant of masterful programmers who don’t work well with others or those who talk a big game but can’t back it up with technical skills.

Being relaxed in an interview setting is critical, perhaps just as important as being prepared to answer questions. One final note: get ready to ask a few clever questions yourself at the end of interviews. You could ask about the company, the team you may be working on, and how they envision you being successful in your time at the company. Instill a sense of deep interest in the company, the work you’ll be doing, and the team you’ll be joining, and you’ll stand out from the crowd.