Interviews can be stressful; if you want a new job you are going to have to interview for it, there’s just no way around it! But don't worry; one of the reasons they can be so stressful is because you haven’t prepped sufficiently. Here are some top tips to help you through your interview.
How to prepare for an interview
Tech Tests/Tech Questions – Do Not Panic
It does not matter if you do not know the answer to a technical question. This is a common mistake that most people make. They panic, they think they’ve blown it because they can’t answer a question. Not knowing is not the problem, panicking is.
Most clients don’t care if you can’t answer certain technical questions, what they do care about is how you react. If you panic in the room the client will think ‘How are you going to react to an actual problem?’
The answer? First off, never guess, EVER. Also never just say ‘I don’t know’. You need to give a solution. The next best thing to not knowing the answer is knowing how to get it. If you don’t know it you can explain how and where to get it, including going to GitHub or some other online resource. Say something like ‘I actually don’t know that, but this is what I would do to find out’; It shows you are proactive and not fazed by a problem.
Questions to ask – Make it about them!
Generally, everyone asks the same kind of questions; What are the hours like? What’s the culture like? What’s the training like? Why should I work here?
They’re not bad questions but you just won’t stand out, as everyone else has already asked them. You’ll think you are having a good chat and engaging with them but you could end up blending in with everyone else.
Whether they like to admit it or not, everyone’s favourite subject IS to talk about themselves and everyone likes to be the centre of attention. Make your questions about them, get them talking about themselves, not their personal life but their experiences at the company. Use their LinkedIn profile to put yourself at an advantage, name dropping their last company to show you’ve done your prep. Ask questions like ‘What was it about this company that made you want to leave your last employer?’, ‘Since you’ve been at this company how have you found it?’ Or ‘What’s kept you here at this company for X years?
If you ask the interviewer questions about themselves, they will be more engaged, more honest and you will stand out from the crowd.
Research the business
We shouldn’t have to put this in there, but it’s scary how many people don’t bother doing this. Don’t just read the ‘About Us’ page on their website. Look through their Twitter feed or other social media accounts and drop stuff into the conversation; you want them to know you’ve done your prep. Find a way to drop little bits of information they may have announced recently into your interview.
I cannot express how key this is. Enthusiasm is almost as important as your technical knowledge, and in-fact some businesses even rate it more so. You need to be enthusiastic about you, what you do and why you do it. This also helps with any questions you don’t know the answer to; if you can be enthusiastic in your response you will naturally come across as someone who has the ability to figure it out and more importantly wants to figure it out.
Take A Pad & Print Out The Spec
Get yourself a writing pad that’s presentable enough for an interview, write down the name of the person you are seeing, their job title, the address and some key questions you want to ask. Print out the job spec and highlight key parts relevant to you.
The reason for this is that the interviewer will see this and straight away their impression of you is that you are someone that has come prepared, is organised and has taken some time to prepare for not only the interview, but also for them.
All this sets you up for a good chat before you even start; you’ll get alot in return for relatively little effort.
Never Talk About Money
Not that there’s anything to hide, we don’t like when clients bring it up either. Salary such a sensitive subject that can change the tone of the interview and can ruin all your hard work. Just avoid it if you can. If they ask, keep your answer short, something like ‘I’m currently on £XXXX and I believe Client Server has sent me over at £XXXX’.
The Most Important Things To Remember
If you only take away a couple of things from this article, then the two most important pieces of advice are to not panic when you don’t know the answer and to be enthusiastic. Those two things can make up for a lot when other parts of the interview don't go as well as they could. Try and think of your interview as different subjects or sections and try to tick off as many points as you can in each.
If you need any further advice then any one of our Consultants here would be happy to help so please do not hesitate to call.
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