Tips for Acing Technical Interviews with Non-Technical People

January 24th, 2014 | Articles, Interviewing | No Comments »

technical interview with non technical people

Explaining technical jargon to non-technical people can be as frustrating as trying to find your way around a foreign city. It is essentially like you are speaking another language. The problem this presents for IT job seekers is that they often have to go through a non-technical person (i.e. recruiters and HR reps) before they can gain access to a department head.

These corporate recruiters may know their company inside and out, but chances are they are not familiar with the technical jargon associated with the IT department. Yet their job is to ascertain whether or not you could be a good fit for the job. So how do you explain your technical skills and achievements to a non-technical person?

Simplify, but not too much

Yes, you know your stuff. And yes, you want to impress the recruiter, but talking down to them will not get you to the next step of the interview process. Never assume that the recruiter doesn’t understand what is said. You’re not trying to explain the Internet to your great grandparents, so avoid talking to the recruiter as if they have no conception of technology.

The trick is to break the information down into something that they can understand while keeping in mind that they are intelligent human beings, not monkeys. Stopping to explain every term is unnecessary may come off as demeaning.

Translate it into a universal language

No, not love. I’m talking about numbers. The recruiters for the company may not understand the finer points of application development or database management, but they will understand what you have accomplished. Explain how your applications drew in a record number of financial transactions or hits for your company’s website.

Quantifying your achievements will get you a lot further than explaining how complex your coding skills are. Recruiters not only want to see that you have the skills and experience necessary to get the job done, they also want to see positive results. Anyone with a solid grasp of the English language can spew out technical jargon. Numbers will not lead you astray during the interview.

Hit your keywords and get out

Remember that the recruiter doesn’t need to understand the concepts like you do, just the results behind them. Hit each one of your talking points, get your skills and accomplishments out into the open, and then get out before you talk yourself into a hole.

Want to skip the HR department altogether? Contact one of our recruiters today. They can help you get your foot in the door of the company without you ever having to explain your technical skills to a non-technical person.

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of Common_Cause via Flickr