How to prepare for a technical screening

Following these tips can help you ace the tech screening portion of an IT interview

2 min read

October 2023

Progressive Ask a Recruiter Video Series

Often times, IT jobs span a wide variety of technologies, applications, and infrastructure. To make sure people have the technical knowledge and experience needed for a position, employers sometimes ask applicants to complete a technical screening (or tech screen) to demonstrate their expertise.

Put another way, a tech screen is an opportunity to show you have the IT knowledge needed for the job. But if you’re not prepared, the interview team will have a difficult time understanding if your technical knowledge is right for the role.

Don’t worry … we’re here to help.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for a common form of tech screen: The question-and-answer format. In fact, this is the same type of tech screen we use at Progressive.

Prepare some of your examples early

Progressive often conducts tech screens via a video conference with one or more subject matter experts. The questions focus on your current or past experiences with the technologies needed for the job.

Be sure to think of specific and detailed examples of your experience with the technology beforehand. Don’t be vague or theoretical; employers like us want to know what the situation was, the actions you took, and the results of those actions. Examples of common tech screen interview questions may include:

  • Describe a time you used design principles to design an application.
  • Tell me about a time you had to troubleshoot a slow running query and what steps you took.
  • Describe a time you created a DEV to PROD pipeline, and the steps you took.

Set yourself up for success

Raise your hand if you’ve thought something would work and it didn’t right when you needed it to. I see those hands. With that in mind, don’t take chances with something as important as a tech screen. Do a test run so you know everything works. This includes:

  • Ensuring you have a quiet place to do the tech screen that’s free of distractions (including the furry and fluffy kind).
  • Checking your technology (like your microphone and video camera).

Be an active participant

During your tech screen, don’t forget to be an active member of the conversation. The tech screeners truly want to learn more about you and your experiences. Here are some ways you can be engaged beyond answering the questions:

  • Ask for clarification if the question isn’t clear. Tech screeners would rather you ask if you’re unsure than look things up online (which is a definite no-no).
  • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t know the answer. The goal for tech screeners is to understand what you know and what you still need to learn.
  • Since tech screeners could potentially become your new teammates, ask them questions to learn more about the role, team, or department.
  • And don’t be shy about sharing your passion for utilizing the technology. Tech screeners get excited about this stuff, too!

Hopefully these tips set you up for success. For more interview tips, visit Progressive’s interviewing page.

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