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Fresh tips for preparing for your next IT job interview

May 23, 2014

Job interviews can be extremely taxing. It’s understandable that they create both nervousness and excitement, but you can mitigate that anxiety—and set yourself up for success—with these simple steps.

Illustrate your prior experiences with interesting stories

Be ready to answer questions with specific examples and illustrations from your real-life experiences. Guaranteeing that you have stories and examples to support a variety of questions is incredibly important. In my past life as a recruiter, I witnessed that people who demonstrated their experience through stories were usually placed easily at our customer sites. When candidates provided general answers to interview questions, our clients were not as excited about their experience … probably because they didn’t stand out as much! Prior to your interview, take some time to think about the most positive and negative experiences in your career. Think about how you can relay those stories and use them to paint a picture of your history.

Practice makes perfect

It’s not a secret … the trick to nailing a job interview is preparation. Just answering the questions dictated by your interviewer is not enough. Make your preparation time worth it by practicing and repracticing your responses to specific questions until your replies sound natural. Having organized thoughts and sounding confident will lead to a much better presentation than stumbling through your answers. Everyone wants to work with the articulate and smart fellow who interviewed last week!

Be ready to answer these specific questions

While it’s impossible to know everything interviewers will ask you, it is very possible to anticipate some likely questions. I have sent hundreds of people (if not more) through IT job interviews. In almost every scenario, most of the following questions were asked. Here are the questions/prompts you need to be ready to answer:

  • Why do you want this job?
  • What do you like about your current (or previous) position?
  • How does your technical or functional experience relate to what we do here?
  • Tell me about a time your project failed.
  • How did you turn failure into a positive experience?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about your prior experience as an IT professional interacting with the business.
  • What is your most recent professional accomplishment?
  • Who inspires you? Why?
  • What do you foresee being your biggest challenge in this position?

Spend time preparing your thoughts and stories, and share your experiences with your interviewer in an organized way. Anticipate and be ready to respond to questions quickly. I promise you will nail the interview!

Want to learn more from Melissa about how to ace your next IT interview? Read Unlock the Mystery of the Most Dreaded Interview Question.

Melissa McFall has worked over nine years in the IT staffing and services industry, including six years as an IT recruiter. She is an expert in recruiter/client relations and service delivery.

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