DiceTV: How to Ace a Technical Audition

Cat: Well, hello. Come on in, I’m just rehearsing for my job audition.

You see, they’re holding a casting call for programmers at my favorite company and I’m auditioning for a major role. Oh you might call it a technical interview, but I’ll tell you why you should think of it as a job audition. I’ll even share my preparation secrets with you. I’m Cat Miller and this is DiceTV.

I call technical interviews “job auditions,” because the IT director will be evaluating your problem-solving techniques and your  temperament – along with your technical knowledge. He’ll want to see how you handle pressure and interact with others as you develop solutions to real problems.

So here’s a tip: Think of your audition as just another day at the office. That way you’ll feel more confident and avoid stage fright.

The questions you’ll get usually revolve around the company’s classic technical challenges or infrastructure requirements, not some obscure problem.

Prepare by reviewing the job description and learning as much as you can about the company’s technical infrastructure. That’ll help you develop a list of possible questions.

Read the director’s bio and ask for the names and titles of anyone attending the audition, because questions they ask will likely be related to their areas of expertise

Even the most accomplished actors wouldn’t audition without previewing the script. Without studying, you might forget details about basic data structures or how to tackle problem-solving questions. Review certification exams and vendor manuals to refresh your technical knowledge. Build-up your endurance by tackling a few brain teasers and riddles.

The first question might be a bit ambiguous or intentionally have a few gray areas so the director can test your problem-solving skills. Clarify your assumptions before offering a solution, and walk the director through your decision-making process. That’s going to be just as important as your answer. Directors often ask a series of progressive questions; Offer a simple solution first, so it’s easy to expand upon your answer

No matter what – the director is always right. Don’t argue if he challenges your solution and ‘fess up right away if you don’t know the answer to a question. Then explain the steps you’d take to find the solution on your own. The director doesn’t actually expect you to know all the answers, but he does expect you to know where to look to find them.

Got it? Now you’re ready for your close up.

I’m Cat Miller, and this has been DiceTV. We now return you to your regular desktop.

Comments

  1. BY Lisa Gallow says:

    how long will it take for feed back if i was to go and audition, and how would i go about auditioning?

  2. BY Lisa Gallow says:

    how long will it take for feed back if i was to go and audition, and how would i go about auditioning?

  3. BY Algis Kemezys says:

    Dear Dice,

    Liked your presentation and loved your last frame sequence about the desk top.
    How about some rolling dice though ?

    Cheerio
    Algis

  4. BY Algis Kemezys says:

    Dear Dice,

    Liked your presentation and loved your last frame sequence about the desk top.
    How about some rolling dice though ?

    Cheerio
    Algis

  5. BY JB says:

    Rolling Dice…. Good idea. However too expected. I Believe the Ping Pong Game afterwards compliments the video after watching it. As in an interview you are, in a sense playing pong back and forth with questions and returning with answers, You definitely don’t want to drop the ball and lose the game.

    Rolling the dice afterwards would leave your brain with the impression you are rolling the dice at the chance for a successfull interview.

    - Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Joseph Balestrino
    Seattle, WA

  6. BY JB says:

    Rolling Dice…. Good idea. However too expected. I Believe the Ping Pong Game afterwards compliments the video after watching it. As in an interview you are, in a sense playing pong back and forth with questions and returning with answers, You definitely don’t want to drop the ball and lose the game.

    Rolling the dice afterwards would leave your brain with the impression you are rolling the dice at the chance for a successfull interview.

    - Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Joseph Balestrino
    Seattle, WA

  7. BY Lori Howard says:

    When I was a hiring manager, I used auditions as part of the interviewing process for mid- to senior- level positions in development, qa, and configuration management. It helped me test out an applicant’s actual skills and problem-solving in a way I couldn’t do with only interview questions.

    And I’ve been “auditioned” as well. I’ve spent a lot of time prepping for interviews, because you never know when the audition will be sprung on you.

    Excellent information.

  8. BY Lori Howard says:

    When I was a hiring manager, I used auditions as part of the interviewing process for mid- to senior- level positions in development, qa, and configuration management. It helped me test out an applicant’s actual skills and problem-solving in a way I couldn’t do with only interview questions.

    And I’ve been “auditioned” as well. I’ve spent a lot of time prepping for interviews, because you never know when the audition will be sprung on you.

    Excellent information.

  9. Pingback: How to Answer 'Tell Me About Yourself,' and Other Job-Hunting Tips from DiceTV - Dice News

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