Most Common Technical Interview Questions
Here is a list of the top technical interview questions that are most often asked by tech employers and recruiters. Depending on the job you're interviewing for, you will be asked about the skills, experience, certifications, competencies, language, processes, systems, and tools you have that are a match for the job requirements.
Be prepared to share examples of your skills as they apply to the job for which you're interviewing. Taking the time to match your qualifications to the job description will make it easier to respond.
Before you head out to a job interview, review the list and make sure that you're prepared with answers.
Why Are Technical Interview Questions Important?
An interview for an IT position will seek to determine whether you possess the necessary technical skills required to do the job well. Be prepared not only to have ready responses to your interviewers’ questions, but also to take advanced skills tests to prove your level of aptitude in software programs, coding / programming, and / or web development (as applicable to the job you’ve applied for).
As you structure answers to the most commonly-asked questions, jot down anecdotes and specific examples from your previous work experiences so that you have plenty of gist to elaborate upon.
50 Top Technical Interview Questions
When interviewing hiring managers in the tech industry, expect to be asked questions about your training and certifications, behavioral questions, situational questions, questions about your knowledge of tech tools and design, and questions about your work habits and processes.
Technical Interview Questions About Your Education
What They Want to Know: While some computer techs are self-trained, most have completed at least some secondary education at technical colleges or universities. Be sure to mention all technical certifications you have earned.
How to Respond: Emphasize your academic achievements as you describe the relevant coursework you completed during your training. Did you earn scholarships? Conduct a well-received capstone project? Perform an internship with a tech company? Describe key projects in detail, including mention of the technologies you mastered in order to complete them.
1. What are your technical certifications?
2. How did your education prepare you for this job?
3. What do you do to maintain your technical certifications?
4. How would you rate your key competencies for this job?
5. What are your IT strengths and weaknesses?
Behavioral Interview Questions
What They Want to Know: Behavioral interview questions are designed to find out how you have performed in typical workplace situations. As you develop your answers, it’s important to provide a specific example of how you have addressed an issue in the past.
How to Respond: Use the STAR interview response technique to describe a past situation, the technical task required, the action you took, and the result of your action.
6. Tell me about the most recent project you worked on. What were your responsibilities?
7. Describe a time you were able to improve upon the design that was originally suggested.
8. Tell me about the project you are most proud of, and what your contribution was.
9. Describe your production deployment process.
10. Give an example of where you have applied your technical knowledge in a practical way.
11. How did you manage source code?
12. What did you do to ensure quality in your deliverables?
13. When is the last time you downloaded a utility from the internet to make your work more productive, and what was it?
Situational Interview Questions
What They Want to Know: Situational interviews evaluate your problem-solving skills by asking how you would respond to and resolve a hypothetical situation in the workplace. Employers want to know if you’ve anticipated the challenges you’ll face at their company, and whether you’ll be able to deal with them when they occur.
How To Respond: As with behavioral interview questions, you can use the STAR technique to explain how you’ve successfully handled a similar situation in the past. Provide concrete examples, and remember to describe the tech skills relevant to the position that would enable you to reach your solution to the problem.
14. From the description of this position, what do you think you will be doing on a day-to-day basis?
15. What challenges do you think you might expect in this job if you were hired?
16. What would you do to ensure consistency across the unit, quality, and production environments?
17. You have been asked to research a new business tool. You have come across two solutions. One is an on-premises solution, the other is cloud-based. Assuming they are functionally equivalent, would you recommend one over the other, and why?
18. What would you do to ensure you provided accurate project estimates?
19. You have learned that a business unit is managing a major component of the business using Excel spreadsheets and Access databases. What risks does this present, and what would you recommend be done to mitigate those risks?
Questions About Tech Tools, Systems, and Security
What They Want to Know: Most tech employers make it quite clear in their job listings which technologies you must be conversant with in order to be a viable candidate for employment. If you know ahead of time that they are looking for a technical competency you lack, your best strategy is to sign up for a training program so that you can honestly claim to be currently honing your command of the tech.
How To Respond: Be prepared to delve deeply into the “nuts and bolts” of systems development, programming, and / or security in your answers. You can also emphasize your ability to learn new systems quickly, providing examples of when you have done so in the past.
20. What development tools have you used?
21. What languages have you programmed in?
22. What source control tools have you used?
23. Describe the elements of an in-tier architecture and their appropriate use.
24. Compare and contrast REST and SOAP web services.
25. Define authentication and authorization and the tools that are used to support them in enterprise deployments.
26. What is FTI and when should it be used?
27. Have you used Visual Studio?
28. Have you used Eclipse?
29. What is a SAN, and how is it used?
30. What is clustering, and describe its use?
31. What is the role of the DMZ in network architecture?
32. What is a cross-site scripting attack, and how do you defend against it?
33. In network security, what is a honeypot, and why is it used?
Interview Questions About Database Design
What They Want to Know: Again, employers are interested in how much “hands-on” experience you have in computer design. Expect to be tested on your technical knowledge, just like you would be in a college exam.
How To Respond: Hopefully you will know the correct answers to questions like these – so answer with confidence. If, however, you are asked a question you aren’t sure about, admit this and explain how you would go about finding the right answer.
34. How do you enforce relational integrity in database design?
35. When is it appropriate to de-normalize database design?
36. What is the difference between OLAP and OLTP? When is each used?
37. What automated-build tools or processes have you used?
38. What is the role of continuous integration systems in the automated-build process?
39. Describe the difference between optimistic and pessimistic locking.
40. In databases, what is the difference between a delete statement and a truncate statement?
41. What are transaction logs, and how are they used?
42. What are the most important database performance metrics, and how do you monitor them?
43. What is the role of SNMP?
Questions About Your Work Habits and Processes
What They Want to Know: IT specialists may be called upon to work both independently and as team contributors, so employers are interested in your teamwork and communications skills. They also want a sense of whether the processes you’ve used in the past align with those of their own teams.
How To Respond: Even as you express your opinion in your answers, try to also demonstrate your flexibility and your willingness to adapt to new processes. Research the company before your interview so that you’ll have a good idea of how they operate – ideally, your answers should reflect their own methods.
44. How important is it to work directly with your business users?
45. What elements are necessary for a successful team and why?
46. What percentage of your time do you spend unit testing?
47. What do you expect in the solution documents you are provided?
48. How much reuse do you get out of the code that you develop, and how?
49. Which do you prefer; service-oriented or batch-oriented solutions?
50. What technical websites do you follow?
More Tech Interview Questions
Tips to Answer Technical Interview Questions
Here are a few more tips to help you build confidence as you prepare for your technical interview.
Learn as much as you can about the company and the department to which you are applying before you walk into the interview. Candidates who are able to confidently answer questions about the company are far more likely to proceed to a second interview than those who’ve failed to do their homework.
Prepare answers to standard interview questions as well as for technical ones. Employers will be interested in how you’ve conquered challenges in the past, whether you’ll fit into their corporate culture, and if your short- and long-term career plans are conducive towards your remaining with their company.
Anticipate some curveball questions. A few hiring managers will ask challenging questions to interviewees to ascertain whether they can think on their feet under pressure. You may also be asked a few questions with no right or wrong answers – here, your attitude and tone-of-voice will be as important as the answer you devise.
Develop a few questions to ask your interviewer(s). Most interviews end with the hiring manager asking if you have questions for him or her. Arrive with a few questions prepared ahead of time – this will demonstrate your interest in and enthusiasm for their operations.
A few suggestions: ask about current projects in their pipeline, challenges facing their IT team, their development process, and / or their plans for future research and development.
How to Make the Best Impression
In order to impress your interviewer, you need to arrive to the interview ahead of time, well-groomed and dressed in professional interview attire. It's also important to maintain eye contact, listen to the interviewer without interruption, and be aware of your body language.
When technical questions arise during the interview, it’s fine to ask for clarification and to “think aloud” as you work through possible solutions for hypothetical problems. This will provide the interviewer a glimpse into your thought processes, and will also show your ability to communicate effectively and engage in a productive dialogue.