Employer-ready candidates understand how to speak confidently about their technical and transferable skills in ways that sell their professional value to employers. View a more detailed interview prep guide in the Behavioral Interview Prep Guide.
Tell me about yourself.
Think about your past (previous experience and education), present (what you’re now doing professionally and how it’s preparing you for this role), and future (why you want the job you’re interviewing for). Use clear and effective communication skills and describe both hard and soft skills that make you a suitable candidate for the role.
What strengths would you bring to our company?
The primary reason for this question is to identify if your strengths align with the job’s responsibilities and the needs of the company. Carefully read the job description and highlight the required skills. Make sure your answer mentions their desired skills, as well as unique skills that will set you apart from other candidates. It’s okay to “brag” about your computer science skills.
What is your greatest weakness?
Answer this question carefully; you don’t want to cast any doubt on your ability to do the job well. Share a “weakness” that isn’t essential for succeeding in the job or discuss a skill that you’re actively working to improve. Describe the weakness, then explain what you’re currently doing, or did in the past, to overcome the weakness.
Why do you want this job?
Demonstrate that you have researched the company, what you like about it, and why your skills are a good fit for the job. Explain how the role will contribute to your career progression and what you can contribute to the team. Be specific and express enthusiasm about potentially working for the company.
Tell me about a project you completed recently.
Interviewers ask this question to get a sense of your work ethic, how you deal with challenges, and how you work on a team. Use the STAR Method to craft a concise, yet thorough answer. Make sure your answer demonstrates your ability to set priorities, make decisions, meet deadlines, and collaborate with team members. Don’t be afraid to bring up mistakes you’ve made, as long as you emphasize the lessons you learned as a result. Draw on your course projects and work experience.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
This question is designed to probe your career goals and vision. Tell the interviewer about your career aspirations and ambitions in computer science. Express your desire to succeed and explain how this job will contribute to your progress. This is an opportunity to show that you are goal-oriented and that you have a plan to achieve those goals.
What are your salary expectations?
Prepare thoroughly for this question. Research salary ranges for this particular job, this industry, and your geographic area. Use websites like Payscale.com or Salary.com. The interviewer wants to know how you value yourself. It’s okay to ask how the interviewer values the role before stating your expectations. Aim high, but within the range you’ve researched, and be prepared to provide examples of why you’re worth the salary that you cite. Attend our salary negotiation workshop to learn more about negotiating a salary you deserve.
How would you explain a complex technical situation to a non-technical audience?
This question assesses your communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as your industry knowledge. These skills are vitally important to a computer science career; interacting with non-technical audiences is a big part of what you’ll do. Give an example of a complex technical situation that you simplified for people unfamiliar with the industry’s technical terms. If you haven’t had this experience, imagine how you would explain a complex technical situation to a child. Use the STAR Method to formulate your answer.
What programming languages do you know?
Use this question to demonstrate your research on the company and the languages they use; discuss any experiences you’ve had with those languages. Provide additional examples of experience with other languages that could set you apart or discuss your favorite languages and why you enjoy using them.
How do you keep your technical industry knowledge current?
This is an excellent opportunity to show that you are passionate about computer science and willing to put forth the extra effort to stay abreast of the latest technology trends. Cite three to four ways you track the industry and how each process or tool is effective for you.
How familiar are you with machine learning and artificial intelligence?
Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are emerging technologies in computer science. When asked questions about ML or AI, discuss your knowledge of the technology and draw from your course or work experience. Your answer should cover the technology’s purpose and specific programs you’re familiar with.
Do you have any questions for me?
Interviewers often ask this to gauge your interest and see if you’ve researched the company. Prepare a few questions in advance, but keep in mind that some may be answered in the course of the interview. To show you’re engaged with the interview process, generate questions related to work, company culture, or day-to-day responsibilities of the job.
Pro Tips: Always keep answers positive.
Demonstrate what you’ve learned from your program and work experience.
Structure anecdotal examples using the STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) for behavioral questions to provide details about your accomplishments, transferable skills, and business prowess.