Preparing for a Technical Interview: The Whiteboard Challenge

At Nicholas Bernard, it’s important to us that all of our candidates are prepared for each aspect of their interview process. 

We understand that businesses offer very different interview formats, and often a technical test can be part of the process. 

In this short blog, we’ll share tips on how you can be best prepared for a Whiteboard Interview Challenge, including an example test question and best practice.

A Whiteboard Interview Challenge gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your technical knowledge through a coding problem. Some companies will expect even a new graduate to be able to successfully complete a challenge to their level of coding ability, so it’s important that you’re confident with how Whiteboard Challenges work.

Often these challenges can take over an hour, and sometimes the interview can last a whole working day. During the interview and the whiteboard challenge, it’s important to remember that the hiring managers analyzing your Whiteboard Tests are not only looking for your coding skills but also using the test to understand your take on problem-solving. 

The best way to ensure that your interviewers understand your thought process is to “think out loud”. This allows your interviewers to understand the reasons for your answers, eradicating any concerns and ensuring everyone involved is on the same page throughout.

Our second recommendation is to practice. You don’t want your first ever whiteboard challenge to be at the interview, so we recommend you buy a whiteboard and practice a series of scenarios as interview preparation.

One example to start with could be: “Design an MMO game server on the whiteboard.”

This is a question that is known to come up at interviews directly with SAP, and has been shared on Glassdoor by previous interviewees.

The more practice you have in front of a whiteboard, the more comfortable you will be at the interview. Even simple things like getting used to whiteboard pens as opposed to coding directly on your computer can make the process feel different, which could affect your performance.

Another way to get more comfortable with Whiteboard Challenges is to watch someone else complete a challenge too. Often we learn more from observing than we do from doing, so watching another person complete a challenge is a chance to see another persons take on problem-solving and may open your mind to new and better ways to complete your own challenges. 

Lastly, no matter how your challenge is going it’s important to stay positive and engage your interviewers until the end. Try not to worry about hiccups or things you may think you have done wrong – perseverance and confidence are two very underrated aspects of success in a Whiteboard Challenge. We wish you all the best, and if you’re in need of further advice or support, you can reach out to a Nicholas Bernard consultant.