Engineering

Acing the Technical Screening Interview

December 3, 2021

Written byRyan Freebern

Acing the Technical Screening Interview

Did you know we’re hiring? We want stellar people like you to join our team. For that to happen, you’ll need to show us what you’ve got.

An early stage in our interview process for our Engineering team is the technical screen. This is a first pass at getting to know you as a candidate, and that means understanding your technical background, experience, skills, and interests. While it may seem like a pretty straightforward conversation, you’d be surprised how many candidates come unprepared. For our third blog post in our twelve-day Advent series, I want to give you the secrets that will allow you to really shine in your Mixmax technical screen.

Understand the Goal

Our interviewers want to come out of a screening interview with strong evidence that you have the technical skills necessary to do the job you’re applying for. That means that your goal during the conversation should not simply be to list the jobs you’ve done or the projects you’ve worked on, but rather to show us through storytelling how your technical contributions helped bring a team or a project to success.

When describing your accomplishments, the best approach is to start at a high level. Briefly describe what you were doing at your last position and why your contributions were beneficial to the business. Then, dig into the details of a specific problem you solved at your last job and share your solution with your interviewer. Include which tools and technologies you chose and why, the roadblocks you ran into and how you overcame them, and the parts of the solution’s implementation you found most interesting.

And don’t simply talk about the code—your critical skills as an engineer are so much more than code! Include in your discussion details about how you communicated with stakeholders, collaborated with teammates, identified and mitigated risks, monitored your solution in production, and addressed any issues that came up after shipping.

Sell Yourself

The technical screen is a chance for you to explain just how much value you can bring to the team at Mixmax. Being overly humble and downplaying your skills or accomplishments during the interview won’t do you any favors here. Use this conversation as a chance to really sell yourself.

What’s the best way to do that, you ask? The stories you tell should focus on the impact you’ve had. Think about individual teammates, whole teams, and the organizations you’ve worked for. Mentoring a teammate is most impressive if you can talk about how your guidance helped them tackle and deliver on a new challenge that they were unsure of before, or if you helped them address an identified weakness. Working with a team and making improvements to processes is also impressive if those improvements led to a measurable advancement in the team’s ability to deliver. And leading a project to success most clearly shows your skills if you can demonstrate how that success impacted the business’s top-level goals.

Be Prepared

Before you start interviewing, spend some time taking stock of your past accomplishments that lend themselves well to this kind of storytelling. Ideally, you want a series of different scenarios and projects that demonstrate the many facets of your individual abilities and personal strengths. Consider how you can talk about them in detail and answer thoughtfully when the interviewer asks about specific choices you made, challenges you faced, or new information you learned.

Sure, you can always try to wing it—but as with so many things, preparation helps tremendously. Taking the time ahead of the screening interview to think, write, and even practice talking about your potential answers with a friend can be of huge benefit to you.

Come Join Us!

Now that you know what to expect and you’ve taken the time to get your own stories in shape, come apply to join Mixmax Engineering! I’m looking forward to hearing about you and learning how you’ll be a great addition to our team. And now, you’re really prepared to show yourself off. Check out our open positions!

Get Mixmax