Common Errors To Avoid During A Technical Data Science Interview


Responding to a job posting that matches your qualifications and aligns with your professional goals is only half the battle won. Clearing several rounds of interviews that test your technical prowess can be quite challenging, irrespective of how knowledgeable you may be.

If you are consistently getting rejected for jobs you think you are perfectly qualified for, you need to look inward and try to ascertain where you are going wrong. In this article, we expound on the mistakes candidates are likely to make in technical interviews, and how they can avoid that from happening.

Not Asking Enough Questions

Technical interviews involve plenty of algorithmic coding questions that need to be solved in a given time. While you may experience success in some of these questions, trickier ones demand that you ask the interviewer ample questions to get more information. 

The biggest mistake you can make here is to shy away from asking critical questions in order to answer a question well, fearing you may come across as incompetent or less knowledgeable if you do. What is more, by asking more questions to the interviewer, you are giving them a peek into the way you think, which is a critical piece in the overall interview process.

Laying Out Everything You Know

A snob appeals to no one – least of all your future employer who may have to work with you on a regular basis. While you should definitely be proud of the learning you have accrued over the years, there is a way to communicate that to an interviewer without sounding arrogant. Talent may be desirable, but not overconfidence.

Companies, especially those hiring for data science positions, prefer candidates who can break down complex technical concepts for a lay person’s understanding, and you should find a way to do that without sounding condescending. Furthermore, even as companies may benefit from the skills of a seemingly arrogant person, they are likely to reject them since they may be difficult to work with in a team. Always keep in mind that an interviewer wants to understand your way of thinking and not necessarily what you have learned over the course of your lifetime.

ALSO READ: Top Courses To Help You Prepare For Job Interviews

Profuse Use Of Buzzwords 

While it may be a good practice to demonstrate the breadth of your knowledge in a technical interview, an overuse of buzzwords may indicate to an interviewer that the candidate may not have sufficient or in-depth knowledge about the subject, and is leaning too heavily on common knowledge on the topic in order to clear an interview. It is okay to not know everything and most companies understand that.

However, if you must use them, it will be helpful if you can expound on these buzzwords without merely referencing them. Always remember, especially during technical interviews, it is more important to be transparent since there is little to gain from pretending to know about something you may have a real need for if you get the job.

Forgetting The Requirement

Oftentimes, candidates tend to go too deep into details when answering questions, missing the objective of what was asked and its relevance to the position they have applied for. Always keep in mind the requirements of the job when answering or responding to questions. This is because while your skills are greatly appreciated, an interviewer will only select those candidates who are the best fit for the role. 

What is more, by diving deep into a problem, you are leaving the interviewer compelled to ask you fewer questions in order to meet the time allotted for the interview. It may also give them the impression that you are trying to deflect from the problem by getting into unnecessary details. 

ALSO READ: Top Questions To Detect Unskilled Professionals In Job Interviews

Sticking To Technical Parts Only

While technical interviews are predominantly conducted to test the technical prowess of candidates, keep in mind that they are also looking for people who can deftly work in a team. In other words, they also want candidates who have good communication skills.

Coupled with other skills like time management, problem-solving, etc, these candidates are likely to catch the attention of interviewers, even if it is for a technical position. This aspect can trump the most accomplished candidates, but with technology increasingly merging with daily business operations, the skill sets that can enable this synergy is deeply valued today.

Being Dishonest About Technical Knowledge

While a job application may carry a long list of tech expertise as basic requirements, be transparent about your knowledge – or lack of it thereof – of these technologies if it comes up during the interview process. More importantly, do not make the mistake of adding a skill set that you are not proficient in, unless indicated otherwise.While it is acceptable to say that you are taking relevant certifications to upskill in certain areas, claiming professional experience in the same when you have none can never end well in a technical interview.

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Anu Thomas
Anu is a writer who stews in existential angst and actively seeks what’s broken. Lover of avant-garde films and BoJack Horseman fan theories, she has previously worked for Economic Times. Contact:

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