Before Your Tech Interview
This is the critical stage of the application process. To ensure you get your dream tech role, you will need to prepare yourself thoroughly for anything your job interview may throw at you. Here are seven things you should have done before you sit down.
- 1: Research the company
Think about how the company operates and its values, and what qualities they may be looking for in an employee.
- 2: Check the date, time and venue of the interview.
Arrive early and check the name and title of the interviewer; both polite and an easy way to make a good impression!
- 3: Ask to take notes
You might like to bring a pen and paper for notes, but this is optional. If you decide to bring some along, remember to ask your interviewer if note taking is allowed.
- 4: Have five questions prepared
Think of 5 questions that would like to ask the interviewer over the course of the interview. This will show your engagement with the role, and to show you care and actually want the job. These may include questions on company structure, opportunities for progression, technology questions, etc.
- 5: Ensure you are well-dressed
Make sure you look smart. Either ask your recruitment consultant for tips on appropriate dress code for specific clients, or use your judgement to gauge based on company style, images etc. For example, for clients requiring a suit you should wear a dark-coloured suit with a conservative tie, dark shoes and dark socks. First impressions matter, and the interviewer wants to know you will feel comfortable in their culture.
- 6: Review your CV thoroughly
Go through your CV, and make sure you know it back-to-front; interviewers may ask you about any area of your supporting documents.
- 7: Get a good night's sleep
Make sure you're well rested, and remember to eat and drink beforehand. You want to feel comfortable and to minimise distractions.
What Interviewers Are Looking For
The interviewer is looking to satisfy five key requirements:
- Do you have the relevant skills and experience to do the job?
- Do you fit the company profile/culture?
- Will you compliment or disrupt the department?
- Is the salary/package right?
- Can you, by joining the company, help the interviewer to be more successful in their job?
Although you may tick all the boxes for the interviewer, there may be other individuals in the interview process who also fill all the criteria. The interviewer will be looking for many personal qualities, including:
- Drive - you are goal-orientated and want to get things done.
- Motivation - you are enthusiastic in your role, willing to ask questions, take initiative and relish challenges.
- Communication - effective speech and written skills.
- Energy - you will work hard and give that little bit extra.
- Determination - you do not give up when things get tough, and will see the job through.
- Confidence - you are friendly, honest and open.
- Reliability - you are able to get the job done and on time.
- Honesty and integrity - you take responsibility for your actions and make decisions in the best interest of the company.
- Dedication - you do whatever it takes to see a project through to completion.
- Analytical skills - you can weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
- Listening skills - you listen to those around you, and respond appropriately.
- Profitability - you can make the company money through your contribution.
All of these personal attributes should always be backed up with relevant work examples to contextualise your skills.
Sample Interview Questions
An interviewer will be looking to understand your background and motivations to decide if you are good fit for both the job and the company. Below are a list of typical questions interviewers may ask you:
- "Tell me about yourself" Keep your answer to one or two minutes. Use your CV summary as a starting point, and elaborate where appropriate.
- "What do you know about our company?" Prepare this answer in advance of the interview (for other preparation tips, click here). Find out as much as you can, including products, company size, income, reputation, image, people, skills, history and philosophy. Be able to demonstrate an informed interest; let the interviewer tell you even more about the company.
- "Why do you want to work for us?" Talk about their needs; you would like to be a part of a specific company project, you would like to solve a company problem, you can make a definite contribution to specific company goals etc.
- "How long would you like to stay with us?" Answer by saying as long we both feel I am contributing, achieving, growing etc.
- "Why are you leaving your present job?" Regardless of why you left, do not speak badly about your current employer. Keep it positive, for example you may be looking for a greater technical challenge.
- "How would you evaluate your current company?" Be positive, for example explain that they afforded you many responsibilities and opportunities.
- "In your current position, what features do you like the most/least?" Be honest, but keep the sentiment positive.
- "In your current or last position, what are or were your five most significant achievements?" Refer to the key achievements already identified on your CV.
- "What do you think of your manager?" Be as positive as you can; negative statements will only reflect poorly on your employment prospects with that company.
- "What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?" Emphasise skills which can be contextualised with work examples. Do not be too negative with weaknesses; it is safer to identify a lack of a certain skill as an area for improvement rather than a shortcoming.
- "What was the most difficult decision you ever had to make?" Try to relate your response to the prospective employment situation.
- "What are your future goals?" Give long term goals relevant to the employment opportunity; what would you like to learn/develop/achieve in a certain project/etc.?
You should aim to prepare answers to both predicted technical questions and general questions. Preparation will give you confidence in the interview, give you control of any nerves and ensure you will remember all the details you want to discuss.
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