October 26, 2021 • 2 min read

This Age-Old Writing Technique Will Help Software Engineers Ace Their Technical Interviews

Ship 30

Ever feel overwhelmed jumping into a technical interview?

There are so many variables at play. You're meeting an experienced engineer, showing off your skills, executing on the fly. Worst of all you're having to listen, interpret, and deliver a well-thought solution to a complex problem in under an hour.

Here are just a few ways engineers go wrong in their interviews -

  • Don't ask enough questions to clarify expectations

  • Don't communicate their thought process to the interviewer

  • Start coding a solution immediately after the problem is explained

Engineers assume they aren't moving forward in the process because they didn't finish their solution or produce the expected answer, when in reality the problem was in their approach.

If you're ready to start acing your technical interviews, steal this age-old writing technique to ensure you don't make these mistakes ever again.

You need to be prepping the page.

Prepping the page involves outlining your thought process like a fill in the blank exercise. You build a framework using comments and function annotations to ensure you're hyper focused on the correct path of execution. All that's left is to connect the dots and program your solution to fit the outline.

With a little practice, prepping the page will be a game changer during your interviews.

Don't believe me? Here's how prepping the page corrects the three pitfalls mentioned earlier -

  • You force yourself into a place where questions are critical to ensure your outline is accurate - method parameters, expected behaviour, time complexity

  • Whether you choose to verbally communicate your thought process or not, the outline will do some of the talking for you by showing your intended approach

  • Based on the first two points you won't be coding right out of the gate, which gives you time to step back & calm your mind