How to conduct a technical interview and not waste time
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How to conduct a technical interview and not waste time

It’s no secret that in a tech interview, you don’t just assess candidates. You build a candidate’s loyalty toward your company. Given the hot competition in the tech industry, a technical interview can be a game-changer. But if you do it right. 

No wonder an experienced interviewer goes far beyond the traditional technical interview questions. Let’s explore the key elements of a strong tech interview:

  • Accurate preparation
  • Soft skills assessment
  • Tech skills assessment
  • Positive candidate experience 

To refine your interview process, let's delve deeper into each point.

How to prepare for a technical interview

1. Determine key evaluation criteria  

Let’s be honest, behavioral and technical interview questions determine the outcome of the meeting. But before googling the most common questions, try to imagine the qualities and attributes your ideal candidate should have. 

When you become familiar with those qualities, it will be easier to identify the right person during a face-to-face interview. To animate your imagination, use these questions: 

  • Which type of developer are you looking for? 
  • What qualities make a person efficient in this role?
  • What type of environment a candidate will delve into? 
  • What sort of challenges does a person need to tackle?

To get an even more detailed picture, you can look at the top performers in your team. 

Their behavior will help you spot great qualities that a candidate is also expected to possess: 

  • What qualities make them outstanding leaders? 
  • What educational habits do they have? 
  • How do they tend to communicate with clients and colleagues?

With these answers, you can draft more precise tech interview questions. However, it might seem tempting to figure them out during an interview. But then be ready to employ the wrong person. 

Now you hold an ideal talent profile in your hands. Next, you can invite your colleagues for one of the planned interviews.

2. Involve people 

Typically, recruiters invite for an interview a candidate’s direct supervisor and the manager of the supervisor (or CTO). However, you might involve other participants.

If you seek talent with entirely new expertise for your company. In this case, an external industry expert can be invited to a technical interview. You can ask any folks you know out there or get professional assistance from Juggl tech leads. Then you need to structure an interview flow.

3. Define the number of interview rounds

The number of interviews depends on your company's size, type, and goals. For instance, industry giants like Google tend to hold their candidates tight throughout 4+ interview rounds while smaller businesses limit the number to 2 Zoom calls. But there's no one-fits-all solution.

Try to design your interview loop by looking at some examples: 

  • One split interview that includes a technical interview and screening.
  • One phone screen with a recruiter and after a few days a technical interview.
  • Three or four technical interviews.

The number of interview rounds also depends on the new hire’s position. The higher the rank, the deeper the assessment. 

For example, when hiring a team leader, interview questions should examine not only technical and soft skills but also their managerial style. But here there is a danger of losing a candidate.

Companies race for decent tech talent. That’s why statistically a long hiring loop turns potential candidates off after 10 days. If you worry that your recruitment pipeline restrain the business growth, learn about alternative ways to hire without delays.

Don’t forget that applicants appreciate it when you explain the interviewing stages at the beginning of a meeting. That helps them feel more at ease.


Regardless of the number of interview stages, they all encompass soft skills and tech skills assessment.

How to assess soft skills 

1. Ask behavioral questions

Different technical vacancies demand different qualities. But along with that, there are universal soft skills that most skilled developers possess. 

Check the list below. It includes the integral skills of a technical talent and related interview questions. 

Communication skills 

Finding common ground with colleagues and clients is crucial for effective team play. At least because an engineer can solve issues faster. Check him or her with the following questions: 

  • How would you explain the technical elements of your work to a non-technical person?
  • Tell me about a time when miscommunication impacted one of your projects. How did you handle it?
  • How well do you communicate with clients to explain technical concepts and answer their questions?


I can guess you expect your future talent to build a quality product or deliver a well-structured service. In both cases, consistency is vital. It allows them to minimize errors, allocate time wisely, and guarantee technical clarity. Ask these questions and listen to the answers:

  • Could you give an example of when your planning led to effective results?
  • How do you keep being effective when managing several projects?
  • How do you track your progress on work?


If you want to push forward your company, you need a responsible person. Believe me, having such a candidate is great luck. You can identify a potential decision-maker through critical thinking and self-discipline. 

  • Do you prefer supervision or self-management of your daily tasks?
  • What is the hardest decision you’ve made in your job?
  • What will you do when you've made the wrong decision?
  • What decisions are most difficult for you?


A proactive developer would be especially helpful in solving urgent problems. They usually don’t wait for exact instructions to deal with issues. You can discern an initiative candidate if he or she turns out to be self-taught through YouTube tutorials and books. 

  • Tell me about a time you improved a process or system.
  • Tell me about a time you took the initiative.
  • What would you do if you noticed a coworker was doing something incorrectly?


Naturally, every project has some troubles. An honest colleague would not hide a mistake, so a team would be more likely to fix the harm as soon as possible. Therefore, openness defines the time to troubleshoot.

  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How have you dealt with failure in the past?
  • Tell me about a time when a situation tested your integrity.

While walking candidates through these questions, listen attentively not only to what they say but how they say it. Nobody is prevented from scripted answers. If you need a reliable person, it’s better to use an additional test.

3. Examine a candidate

True professionals excel at resolving internal conflicts and handling challenging clients without causing harm. How can you assess these skills during a tech interview?

To reduce distorting hiring results, ask situational questions or imitate stressful real-life circumstances. Here we have some techniques to get the full insight into how a candidate behaves in real:

  • Background check

Ask an engineer to explain his or her role in the last project. While a candidate is talking, compare the speech to the resume. At every point, request more details. 

  • A hypothetical dilemma

Put the candidate in situations where they need to solve a moral dilemma. In such conditions, they are likely to show their true personality.

  • Unsettling a candidate

Check the stress-resilience of an engineer by using an unusual manner of dialogue. Some companies take candidates through a quick-fire quiz or ask the same question several times during the conversation. Just observe the reaction. 

While you pass a potential worker through such an assessment, try not to go too far. Less pressure, less stress. 

Remember that disrespectful treatment might dampen your company’s reputation on LinkedIn or Glassdoor. 

How to evaluate hard skills

This stage of the interview is like showtime. Or an exam time? 

Here your future talent demonstrates all thorough knowledge while solving a programming challenge and responding to tech questions. Again, quality talent emerges after rigorous vetting.

1. Ask technical questions

To attract senior developers, design an interview questionnaire focusing on problem-solving skills and coding style. You can estimate these abilities by posing technical questions that resemble real work.  

Please, don’t miss precious minutes during the interview on trivial interview questions. For engineers with a profound background that would spoil the impression of your company as an employer. However, pay attention to what you ask and how you ask.

Candidates would be pleased if you would create a friendly atmosphere during a technical interview. To ease the tension, try to convert formal dialogue into a more trustful and casual conversation. Then estimate their skills in a coding challenge.

2. Give a coding challenge

A programming challenge is an optional aspect of an interview. If you wish to assess a developer's coding ability, consider including a brief programming exercise in the evaluation.

You can create a coding challenge that addresses real-world issues in your industry or tap into online testing services like 

In any way, feel free to improvise! However, while fishing in a candidate-centered market it’s worth also paying attention to your behavior during an interview.  

How to sell the job

In today's high-demand tech market, skilled talent considers simultaneously several offers. The best you can do to single out amidst other employers is to create an attractive candidate experience. Сandidates form their impression based on several factors:

  • Smooth process
  • Questions that are straight to the point 
  • Friendly interviewers
  • Relevance to the job description
  • Timely feedback after an interview

Check out your interview loop. Does it meet the talent requirements? We hope it does.

To make double sure, you can screen candidates' reviews to various employers on Glassdoor. All sorts of developers describe the dos and don'ts of the technical interview. Your candidates will say thank you for aligning the process with their true wants.

Final thoughts

Assessing if an engineer can handle real work challenges isn't always straightforward. That's why a comprehensive evaluation of both hard and soft skills is essential. 

But remember that a tech interview is a mutual process; a candidate also assesses you. Try to leave a positive impression and not push away your candidate with stressful or boring interview questions. As you practice more, you'll know which areas to focus your preparation on.

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