Preparing for Your Tech Interview
“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!”
A fairly common statement that holds great value. Preparation is vital for anything you plan on doing, whether that be training for a marathon or interviewing with a company you are excited about working with. Regardless of the situation, if you don’t put in the work, the results are going to be disappointing which will then hold you back from your end goal.
So with that in mind let's talk about a few simple things you can do to enhance your interviewing skills and help things move in your favour:
Practice greeting your interviewer
It may sound a bit silly but how you start off the interview will set the tone for how it will play out. Opening up with a friendly and enthusiastic introduction will help to set up a positive atmosphere and put you at ease.
With most interviews now being done online, we have lost that physical interaction of a handshake so we now need to compensate with our expression and tone to make sure you start strong and confident. If you do have the opportunity to interview face to face ensure you are making the most of the opportunity with a strong confident handshake.
Make sure you know the appropriate dress code, arrive early. First impressions matter so simple things like this can help make a positive impression.
Interviews can be very stressful and a nerve-wracking experience for most, I would always advise candidates to be early so they can give themselves a few extra minutes to relax in the interview setting (office or zoom ) and start off the interview in a positive and confident manner.
Read the job spec
It sounds simple enough but going through the job spec and figuring out what will be expected of you, gives you an upper hand. Let me tell you why. If you’re able to relate your experience with that of what is expected of you, the interviewer is directly able to visualise the impact you will make within the team.
Additionally, you will be able to provide relevant answers. For example, I recently had a candidate mix up what team he was interviewing for and instead of talking about the decommissioning aspects of the team he was interviewing for spent his time talking about his interest in server installation and maintenance which in the end damaged his chances of successfully landing the role.
Attention to detail is key!
Research the company well
It’s imperative that you research into the company that you are interviewing with. Find out as much information about them as possible. Here are a few things I always urge my candidates to look into:
- What sort of tech do they use?
- What does their company culture look like? (look into their social media)
- Do they have a list of principles they value in their employees?
Knowing this sort of information can give you the upper hand in how you structure your answers and help build up a rapport with your interviewer.
Prepare for the technical aspect of the interview with the competency based questions
Ensure you understand the technical aspect of the role and what is required. You will not have the opportunity to showcase your technical ability and you should be in a position to comfortably discuss what it is you will be doing in the role.
I find repetition is key. A great way to prepare for these answers is to write them down and make them stick in your mind so you can come across sounding very competent to your interviewer.
Again, having prepared answers to commonly asked situational competency questions can give you an edge in the interview. Make sure these answers are actual personal situations you have dealt with rather than a hypothetical “this is what I would do”. The interviewer is looking to find out more about you and how you work in these situations, having these personal examples really allow the interviewer to get an insight into how you handle yourself and how you work.
Have questions ready to go
Make sure you have questions that you would like answered at the end of the interview. It is important to engage the person interviewing you and show a real interest in the role and the company. It is also a great opportunity to find out what the company can provide you if you are successful in the role.
- What is the history of the role?
- What will my first couple of weeks on site look like?
- What training is offered?
- What sort of progression opportunities are there in the role?
You can find more in our blog on the Top Questions Hiring Managers Need to Answer.
Don’t forget your manners
You’ve done all the hard work and sold yourself well to the hiring manager and have made a good impression. Make sure you complete the interview on a strong note, by not doing something extraordinary, but just by being polite and thanking them for their time. Closing out the interview with another positive engagement can help to leave a lasting impression.
Follow up with your recruiter
Last but not least, make sure you follow up. If there has been an agreed upon time and you have not got a response send an email or call to see if there's any update. This really helps show your interest in the role.
Preparing for an interview can feel like a daunting task in itself but you will really see the benefits if you prepare well. In the end, you will be looking at a smoother interview process which most people can feel like a nervous situation anyways. Give yourself every chance to succeed. Having done the leg work before the interview will be the foundation in your success in landing that dream role.