7 top tips for your next IT interview
Do you have an interview coming up soon and want to stand out from the crowd? Use these seven tips to ace your next IT interview.
We know you have lots of experience and your technical prowess is on point. However, interviewing well is a skill set of its own. To help, we have compiled seven top tips drawn from our team of 'TEKxperts' with years of experience and thousands of successful placements.
1. Research, research, research!
In most aspects of life—including when going for a job interview—knowledge is power. That is not to say you should present yourself as a 'know it all', but doing a level of research into the company you are interviewing with can go a long way. Simple Google and company website searches will likely yield a lot of free information including:
- Past financial reports
- Company news
- Published articles
- Reports about new initiatives or projects being launched in the business
This information will provide a clearer picture of the company itself, its business drivers, what the company executives prioritise and often why the project or role you’re interviewing for is hiring. All of this information can be brought to the interview, showing the manager that you have really done your homework.
If reading up is a given, then to go above and beyond, take your research a step further by experiencing the company. If you can, use the company’s product, website or mobile app before your interview. A well-prepared interviewer may choose to assess the level of research you’ve done on their company by asking your opinion of the user or customer experience.
2. Connect the dots
With the growth and reach of LinkedIn, connecting the dots between interviewee and interviewer has never been easier, and doing so can massively increase your chances of success.
Although there are mixed views about connecting with an interviewer before an interview, we believe it is crucial to review the hiring manager’s or other interviewers’ LinkedIn profiles to understand their background and establish common connections that you can speak to while preparing for the interview.
Things to look out for include:
- Previous companies worked for and if you have any in common
- Shared interests outside of work
- Recent industry events they attended
- Where they are from or where they studied
Understanding some of these factors can help illustrate your interviewers’ background, helping you quickly build rapport and show them you’ve gone above and beyond to prepare.
3. Maximise your one chance to make a first impression
Interviewers typically form their opinion in the first several seconds of a meeting. From the moment you are picked up in reception to the moment you leave the building, consider the impression you are making. Plan your travel to ensure you arrive with plenty of time, and give yourself enough time to settle in the reception area before you meet the interviewer. Find out in advance about the culture and dress code and dress accordingly. The IT world is no longer always suited and booted, but ‘business smart’ still makes a good impression.
4. Showcase your passion for technology
Possibly the most important driver of success in an IT interview is demonstrating that the subject matter is of genuine interest to you. The technology market is constantly evolving; prospective managers are becoming more interested in how you keep up to date with this ever-changing scene and how you keep your skills up to date. At interview, bring to life your focus outside of work such as attending meetups, hackathons or training as well as certifications you are completing. Side projects outside of work can be a great topic for conversation and demonstrate a passion for your technology.
5. Don’t be afraid to show your personality
While a large part of working in any technology role relies on technical skills and abilities, focusing on the outcomes you deliver shouldn’t overshadow your soft skills. Many roles--particularly in the Agile space—rely on teamwork and collaboration in short sprints. They also require a considerable amount of communication and an engaging approach to work successfully. Often, managers will hire for a “cultural fit” with a view to upskilling once the employee comes on board. Be positive, passionate and upbeat, and whenever possible, provide examples where you can to show how you engage and handle situations.
6. Remember that honesty is the best policy
If you are asked a question that stumps you or that you have not experienced before, be honest and use this as an opportunity to showcase your willingness and ability to learn. If possible, take your time to consider what you’re going to say before you answer. If you don’t have an example, share what you would do in a hypothetical situation to demonstrate an ability to think and problem solve. Don’t make up an answer, since this will create problems if you are probed further. Fabricating answers is a common reason for failing interviews but is also easy to avoid through honesty.
7. What type of questions should you ask in an interview?
A good interview shouldn’t be a one-way conversation. Coming prepared with well researched and relevant questions gives you a chance to differentiate yourself from others and demonstrate that you have fully prepared. Having a few killer questions up your sleeve can also be a great way to reaffirm your level of interest as well as help with your decision-making.
Some examples include:
- If I am successful, what can I do between now and when I start to ensure I hit the ground running?
- In relation to the role you are interviewing for, what is the project or business outcome you are hoping to achieve?
- If I am successful, what would a good first 30/60/90 days look like?
- What is it that you enjoy most about your role, and what keeps you with the company?
This seven-step guide will get you started preparing for interviews, but our TEKsystems consultants will help tailor this preparation depending on the role and customer. Good Luck!