Acing your job interview can boil down to following some general best practice guidelines. From thoroughly researching the organization you would like to work for, to anticipating and preparing for the technical and non-technical questions – and answers – you are likely to receive; the key is preparation.
Getting your foot in the door for a tech role might well require a little more in terms of showcasing your skills when it comes to the interview stage. Again, the secret is solid preparation and the extra effort to stand out from the crowd.
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential employer for a second:
- What will they want to know about you?
- What kind of skill set do you think they are looking for?
- How will they know that you are the right person for the job?
The tech interview is a chance for a company to really put the skills of a potential employee to the test.
To prove that you can actually do the job, your interviewer might want to test you across a range of disciplines, give you on-the-spot puzzles or problems to solve, and expect you to think on your feet. The chances are, if you get the job, you will be expected to hit the deck running. And that means demonstrating that skills are up to date, and as sharp as possible.
Know the Market and Industry
You will need to not only sharpen your skills – but ensure you have the right skills. Employers are looking for candidates who are on track with the market and the demands of the job. So you will need to thoroughly research the latest innovation, competencies, and the technical knowledge that the company – and the role - will demand of you.
Do not give into the temptation to improvise or rely upon your wits alone. Expect your interview to be as rigorous as possible. Do your homework and be sure that you are ready to answer any question related to the field you intend to work in.
Remember the Fundamentals
Your basic computing skills and core concepts reinforce good practice in any tech position. So do not neglect them. Make sure that you have spent adequate time reviewing and revising the theories that might have become rusty. Anything mentioned on your Resume or in your LinkedIn profile might come up in your interview.
Remember it is likely that your interviewer will be seeing several other candidates besides you. So there will probably be a basic standard that you will need to ensure you have captured and need to do better than. Do not let the fundamentals let you down.
Anticipate the Distractions
Working in tech means problem solving, trouble shooting, and thinking on your feet. Do not assume your interview will be any different.
You might be presented with a situation or scenario and asked to work it through. What your interviewer might be looking for here is not necessarily the right answer – but the correct set of thought processes and problem solving skills.
One way to practice this is to spend some time on logic puzzles or brain teasers online. Or ask your instructor to walk you through some case studies or real life problems.
Remember to Communicate
Communicating clearly is a skill. And it is one that can be refined and improved. You might want to do a mock interview with a friend or colleague ahead of the real interview to sharpen up your answers.
Good interviewees are oftentimes mindful of the flow and dynamics of conversation. That might mean asking questions. Do not be afraid to ask if you do not fully understand something; or check to see if you have answered the question.
Remember to come prepared with good questions to ask the interviewer about the role, the responsibilities, the company as well as the next steps.
Look and Behave Professionally
When you show up for the interview, be there at minimum 5 minutes before the start time. Showing up early is important, but do not show up at the office an hour in advance—you will leave a bad impression.
Be dressed professionally and present yourself in a manner suited for a workplace. It is important your hygiene, demeanor, appearance, and behavior are all on a professional level. From your hair to your shoes, your entire appearance will influence if your interview will be a success – it is not just based on your qualifications and conversation.
No matter how sharp your skills, how well-suited you might be for the job, or how well the interview seems to have gone, there is no harm in going that little way extra to stand out from the crowd.
It is good practice to follow up, after the interview, with a brief email thanking your interviewer for their time and expressing your interest in the company. There is no need to go overboard, but a little courtesy might just be enough to tip the scales – and reassure your future employer that you are the kind of team player they need to have on board.
Reaching the interview stage during your job search is filled with excitement as well as uncertainty. Give yourself the advantage by preparing adequately for your interview. Take the extra time before your interview to prepare and you can better position yourself for success.