5 tough IT interview tactics and how to handle them

Take-home tests, whiteboard exercises and group interviews are becoming more common as organizations try to improve their new hire success rates. Don’t be caught off guard.

There isn’t much that’s fun about the job interview process. Competing against a crowded pool of talented candidates all vying for one coveted spot is stressful, nerve-wracking and time-consuming.

On the business side, the interview process is just as cumbersome. On average, it takes companies several weeks to make a hire. Given how lengthy—and expensive—the hiring process can be, it should come as no surprise that some hiring managers are getting creative.

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“Hiring managers might throw you some curveballs during an interview to see how you think and deal with the unexpected,”says Hallie Yager, regional recruiting director at IT staffing firm Mondo. “They want to catch you off guard and see how you react under pressure.”

These techniques—including take-home tests, white-boarding exercises and group interviews—are becoming more common, too, says Allison Hutton, chief talent officer at talent acquisition firm Allavanti Group.

“Most people should expect one of these to happen in most interviews these days,” she says. “Organizations are trying to improve their new hire success rates, which hover around 50 percent.”

Here’s a look at five IT job interview curveballs, plus how to tackle them when you have time to prepare and when you don’t.

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