19Nontechnical Questions

Nontechnical questions are an important part of the interview process. Some of these questions are asked early in the process to determine whether your experience, education, and goals make you appropriate for the job in question—there’s no point in proceeding with the technical interviews if you’re not the kind of candidate the company is looking for.

Other questions are asked after the technical interviews are over and the company is considering making you an offer. Although you won’t get an offer on the strength of your nontechnical answers alone, a poor performance on nontechnical issues can lose you an offer you otherwise might have received.

Nontechnical questions are challenging because often there is no single right answer. Different people can have different right answers to the same question.

Most interviewing books focus primarily on how to effectively answer all kinds of nontechnical questions. Rather than rehash what these books say, this chapter focuses on the nontechnical questions that are particularly common in programming interviews.


Nontechnical questions are often asked to assess a candidate’s experience and ability to fit in with other employees.

Experience includes your work history and your knowledge. Questions about your experience must be answered carefully and completely to allay any doubts about your ability to perform the job. ...

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