January 15, 2021
4 min read

5 Things You Should Avoid in Tech Interviews

When you're a software engineer looking for a job, one of your biggest concerns is the tech interview. That's why so many software developers look for guides to being interviewed for jobs.

We should tell you now, though: it's not always the best use of your time to look for specifics like developer technical interview questions so you can practise answering them. That's since things like that often vary wildly.

Instead, it's probably wiser to prepare yourself by making a checklist of things to do and things to avoid during interviews. Today, we'll cover the latter points for you in this guide to the worst mistakes you can make in a software engineering job interview.

Claiming Skills You Don't Have

One of the biggest mistakes software engineers or developers make, especially when they’re relatively inexperienced or eager for a job, is to talk the talk when they can't really walk the walk.

This means that they make claims to knowledge or experience that can’t be backed up by actual facts.

A common example is when software engineers pretend to be extremely familiar with a particular tech stack or suite just because their interviewer seems interested in it.

Some think they can pull this off by dropping buzzwords or surface-knowledge terms about the topic.

It’s a very risky move, though. If the interviewer actually happens to have deep knowledge of the subject, he’s very likely to catch you at some point.

That won’t leave a positive impression on the recruiter, for obvious reasons.

Just be honest about what you do know and what you don’t. You can always show your enthusiasm to learn about new things to make up for it, anyway.

Being Too Arrogant or Confident

Overconfidence is definitely one of the major mistakes people make in a software engineering tech interview.

It’s an obvious problem because it can put off employers, who often want devs or programmers to work in teams or in collaboration with other employees.

Nobody wants to deal with a monumental ego within the team!

It can also put you in a bad mindset if you want to negotiate the terms of employment later on in the hiring process.

Arrogance may lead you to make unreasonable demands, as you’ll think they need you badly. You don't want to do that, though: in most cases, companies don’t need employees so badly that they walk into such negotiations from a point of weakness.

Take pride in your accomplishments and competencies, by all means… but don’t get so cocky that you make it sound like no one can teach you anything any more. No software developer is beyond further learning!

Being Too Meek or Diffident

On the other hand, being overly timid or diffident can hurt you in interviews as well.

Many companies want people who are capable of leadership too, and who don’t need their hands held at every turn.

It’s important to strike the right balance here when doing a software engineering interview.

Be humble, but not to the point of devaluing yourself. Show them that you know you have more to learn and are willing to learn, but also have your own skills.

You Ask No Questions

This is particularly bad if you do it during a coding question you don’t quite know how to solve.

You see, a fair number of developer technical interview questions are designed to encourage problem-solving thought in applicants.

As such, most interviewers are prepared to discuss the questions with their interviewees!

They expect you to ask queries to clarify the problem, to determine its limits, to get hints as to where you should begin, etc.

If you don’t ask questions, you’re only making things unnecessarily difficult for yourself… and making yourself look silly if you go about solving the problem in a clumsy way as a result.

It also makes you look like you’re not the type who can be trusted to ask for clarifications when assigned an entirely new task.

Oh, and remember, asking no questions about the company itself is a no-no. That tells them you’re not really that interested in the job or the organisation.

You Don’t Talk Through Your Problem-Solving

This is another error interviewees often make during coding or whiteboard tests. It’s related to what we said about recruiters being interested in testing problem-solving ability.

That means you should talk through the problem they give you while solving it. It’s a good way to show them how your thought processes work.

Moreover, it can show them how well you explain ideas or solutions to others. This may be particularly important for those hiring people for a team or for leadership positions.

Of course, this may be something you need to practise, as communicating ideas and breaking them down for easy comprehension actually is a skill.

To that end, it may make sense to try and hone this ability. Try asking friends or colleagues to serve as your audience while you explain the solution to a particular coding problem, as an example.

You can also approach us for similar assistance.

At Skilledd, we have a team of experienced recruiters who can help candidates prepare for technical assessments, and even the non-tech portions of the average hiring process.

We give interview tips and feedback on how talents can strengthen and manage their profiles on our database, which tech companies access when seeking new recruits.

To learn more, get in touch with us at Skilledd now!


When you're a software engineer looking for a job, one of your biggest concerns is the tech interview. That's why so many software developers look for guides to being interviewed for jobs.

We should tell you now, though: it's not always the best use of your time to look for specifics like developer technical interview questions so you can practise answering them. That's since things like that often vary wildly.

Instead, it's probably wiser to prepare yourself by making a checklist of things to do and things to avoid during interviews. Today, we'll cover the latter points for you in this guide to the worst mistakes you can make in a software engineering job interview.

Claiming Skills You Don't Have

One of the biggest mistakes software engineers or developers make, especially when they’re relatively inexperienced or eager for a job, is to talk the talk when they can't really walk the walk.

This means that they make claims to knowledge or experience that can’t be backed up by actual facts.

A common example is when software engineers pretend to be extremely familiar with a particular tech stack or suite just because their interviewer seems interested in it.

Some think they can pull this off by dropping buzzwords or surface-knowledge terms about the topic.

It’s a very risky move, though. If the interviewer actually happens to have deep knowledge of the subject, he’s very likely to catch you at some point.

That won’t leave a positive impression on the recruiter, for obvious reasons.

Just be honest about what you do know and what you don’t. You can always show your enthusiasm to learn about new things to make up for it, anyway.

Being Too Arrogant or Confident

Overconfidence is definitely one of the major mistakes people make in a software engineering tech interview.

It’s an obvious problem because it can put off employers, who often want devs or programmers to work in teams or in collaboration with other employees.

Nobody wants to deal with a monumental ego within the team!

It can also put you in a bad mindset if you want to negotiate the terms of employment later on in the hiring process.

Arrogance may lead you to make unreasonable demands, as you’ll think they need you badly. You don't want to do that, though: in most cases, companies don’t need employees so badly that they walk into such negotiations from a point of weakness.

Take pride in your accomplishments and competencies, by all means… but don’t get so cocky that you make it sound like no one can teach you anything any more. No software developer is beyond further learning!

Being Too Meek or Diffident

On the other hand, being overly timid or diffident can hurt you in interviews as well.

Many companies want people who are capable of leadership too, and who don’t need their hands held at every turn.

It’s important to strike the right balance here when doing a software engineering interview.

Be humble, but not to the point of devaluing yourself. Show them that you know you have more to learn and are willing to learn, but also have your own skills.

You Ask No Questions

This is particularly bad if you do it during a coding question you don’t quite know how to solve.

You see, a fair number of developer technical interview questions are designed to encourage problem-solving thought in applicants.

As such, most interviewers are prepared to discuss the questions with their interviewees!

They expect you to ask queries to clarify the problem, to determine its limits, to get hints as to where you should begin, etc.

If you don’t ask questions, you’re only making things unnecessarily difficult for yourself… and making yourself look silly if you go about solving the problem in a clumsy way as a result.

It also makes you look like you’re not the type who can be trusted to ask for clarifications when assigned an entirely new task.

Oh, and remember, asking no questions about the company itself is a no-no. That tells them you’re not really that interested in the job or the organisation.

You Don’t Talk Through Your Problem-Solving

This is another error interviewees often make during coding or whiteboard tests. It’s related to what we said about recruiters being interested in testing problem-solving ability.

That means you should talk through the problem they give you while solving it. It’s a good way to show them how your thought processes work.

Moreover, it can show them how well you explain ideas or solutions to others. This may be particularly important for those hiring people for a team or for leadership positions.

Of course, this may be something you need to practise, as communicating ideas and breaking them down for easy comprehension actually is a skill.

To that end, it may make sense to try and hone this ability. Try asking friends or colleagues to serve as your audience while you explain the solution to a particular coding problem, as an example.

You can also approach us for similar assistance.

At Skilledd, we have a team of experienced recruiters who can help candidates prepare for technical assessments, and even the non-tech portions of the average hiring process.

We give interview tips and feedback on how talents can strengthen and manage their profiles on our database, which tech companies access when seeking new recruits.

To learn more, get in touch with us at Skilledd now!


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