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Career Hacker: Common mistakes to avoid in your next IT job interview (part 1)

February 3, 2015 | By Jennifer Doran

woman in a job interview with a tablet

With more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry and as an IT recruiter, I've received countless pieces of feedback on IT professionals’ interview performance and mistakes they made. Interviews can be the most daunting part of the IT job search process, but they don’t have to be if you just prepare and do your homework. The in-person interview is the time for you to shine and to bring the name on your resume to life.

We’ll bring you a two-part series focused on some common mistakes.

Here are some fundamental tips—from a recent Network World article I was interviewed for—to think through as you are preparing for your next IT job interview.

Mistake 1: Not knowing the company

There is a ton of information available to you leading up to the interview. Use it to your advantage and read the company’s white papers, press releases and any other available information so you have some idea of what, or how, the company is doing.

Mistake 2: Not researching the interviewer

Tools like LinkedIn and the Internet can be huge assets to finding out information about your interviewer. Spend a little time getting to know them so you can ask questions around how they've moved up the ranks, what they've accomplished, even where they went to school. Doing this will help you avoid asking a vice president if they are a project manager, when he or she is likely running an entire division or region.

Mistake 3: Overselling yourself

This applies to the interview, but more importantly it extends to your resume, too. Some candidates include information about what their team was responsible for, but not what they were specifically responsible for. If you took a one-day course on a specific program but never used it on the job, it shouldn't be on your resume. If you put it on your resume, be prepared to answer questions about it in the interview—a false step here could make or break your chance at landing the job.

Mistake 4: Failing to show enthusiasm

Do you really want the job you are interviewing for? Then show it. Candidates are often daunted by the formality of the interview and can hinder their own chances by failing to express their enthusiasm for the opportunity. If you’re interested and excited about the job, communicate it to the interviewers. Look them in the eye and say, “This is my dream job, I’m super-excited, I can’t wait to hear back, I want this job.” It shows initiative, decisiveness and a go-getter attitude.

Read the next part in the series, Common interview mistakes to avoid in your next IT job interview (part 2). If you have any other questions or are interested in learning more about the various IT job opportunities TEKsystems has available, contact a local TEKsystems recruiter to see how they can help you take your career to the next level!


Jennifer Doran, Consultant Program Manager for TEKsystems, develops, manages and supports the company’s national programs that represent the voice and needs of IT professionals in TEKsystems’ network.