Tips for a Successful Interview.
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
~ Alexander Graham Bell
Technology Navigators wants you to succeed in your job search. To help you prepare, we gladly provide the following interview tips to help you be your best. Do you have additional ideas you feel would be valuable to fellow techies? Let us know and we’ll share your insight with our family of candidates.
Before the interview: do your research, know your audience.
Technology Navigators will share as much information as possible about the position we are recommending you for, but you should also do some research on the company that you will be interviewing with. Because of our history and experience with our client companies, we can help you walk into your interview with knowledge about the cultural environment, the preferences of the hiring manager, and the type of character the company feels would be a good fit for them and experiences of past applicants.
While doing your own research, we recommend that you learn about the company’s products and services, vision for growth and trends in their industry. Review their website, read their blog, scan their social media pages, find your interviewer on LinkedIn or Facebook and take note of their job skills and what they bring to the table professionally. You want to know as much about the company as possible. The interviewer will ask questions about your knowledge of the company, we can almost guarantee it.
Prepare to talk about yourself.
Along with knowing the company, know the position you are interviewing for. Review the job description and know how to answer each required skill set with your past experience. In general conversation, they’re usually looking for signs that you’re constantly working to improve yourself, so share about your out of work interests and hobbies, books you’re reading, and the like. Don’t ramble aimlessly about your extended job search or non-relevant topics.
Prepare your answers to common interview questions.
While interviewing can be challenging for even the most confident person, the more prepared you are the easier it will be. There is always the possibility that a question will take you off guard, but typical interview questions include:
- What do you know about our organization?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What important trends do you see in our industry?
- Why are you considering leaving your current job?
- Why did you leave previous positions?
- What do you enjoy/dislike about your current job (or last job)?
- Tell me about your greatest failure at work. What did you learn?
- How will you be able to contribute to our organization?
- How long would it take you to become a meaningful contributor to our organization?
Practice, practice, practice.
Interviewing is a skill, and like all skills it requires rehearsal and preparation. People likely hear this all the time, but it really is the difference from being prepared and stammering through an interview.
Based on your research, write out every question you feel an interviewer might ask. Answer each question using action oriented verbs (planned, created, initiated, developed, etc.) that show how you were instrumental in achieving results in your previous positions. Write out your answers and rehearse them out loud. Practice in the mirror, have a friend pretend they are interviewing you, or even video tape yourself. Pay attention to what you are doing subconsciously. Are you saying words like “um” or “like” repeatedly? Are you fidgeting with your hands or hair? It might feel awkward at first, but practice until you are confident with your information and your fidgeting has subdued. You will be much more comfortable during the actual interview
Carefully plan your interview attire.
First impressions are still extremely important. And while Austin is an extremely casual city, you should still dress professionally for a job interview. Do your research and choose an outfit that would be appropriate for the company you are meeting with. You don’t want to appear too laid back or too high maintenance. Research shows that 70% of employers claimed they don’t want their interviewees to be fashionable or trendy. A whopping 65% said that clothes alone could be the deciding factor between two candidates. Take it seriously!
During the Interview Come prepared and express your interest.
With your research and practicing down, make sure you are physically and mentally prepared. Bring multiple copies of your resume along with a notepad and a pen. Take notes throughout the interview – it will demonstrate your interest in the job.
Make sure you have accurate directions to the interview location. Allow an extra 30 minutes drive time for unexpected traffic delays and plan on walking into the actual interview 10 minutes early. Whatever you do, don’t be late. Shake hands firmly with everyone you meet, smile, look everyone in the eye and be confident.
Have the right attitude.
Be friendly, be flexible and be open-minded. Demonstrate that you have high drive and that you are energized about the position. Throughout the interview, you should be interacting in such a way as to answer the implicit question “Why should they hire ME?”
Try to be as genuine and authentic as possible – a smile goes a long way. A touch of humor can ease the tension, but be careful with jokes. Again, you only get one chance to make a first impression. The person interviewing you is potentially your future co-worker. Make sure they are excited to not just hire you, but also to work with you.
- Maintain eye contract throughout the interview.
- Know your resume, forward and backward. Be able to speak to the bullet points in your resume and highlight how they are relevant to the job.
- Be prepared to voice your opinion when asked questions.
- Don’t be afraid to ask bold questions, such as:
- What are the short- and long-term objectives of your department?
- What makes a successful employee in your organization?
- Are there any reservations you have in hiring me?
- Remember an interview is a chance to sell you.
- Compliment the interviewer on an aspect of their professionalism.
- Make a positive comment about the company based on what you learned in the interview.
- Make a positive statement about your ability to handle the position.
- Before leaving, be sure to tell the interviewer that you want the job.
- Give your interviewer, and anyone else they bring in to meet you, a firm handshake. Research has shown that a firm handshake is fundamental to landing a job. You want to let you interviewer know, not only are you confident about the interview, but you are also a confident person.
When you think that the interview is coming to a close, be sure to hit the following points:
It may seem like a lot of work, but this is the difference between an excellent candidate and an average candidate – MAKE SURE TO SET YOURSELF APART!
After the Interview
After the interview, do two quick things.
- First, call your recruiter immediately to give your honest impressions. We want and need your feedback so we know how to best respond when we speak with our client about your interview and potential job offer.
- Second, promptly send a thank you note to the interviewer via email. They will note your courtesy and it could make the difference in receiving a job offer. Here is a sample note you can use.
Dear Mr./Ms. _____ :
Thank you for inviting me into (Name of company) for an interview for the (name of position) position. I am confident that (Name of Company) is the kind of company I would like join. Furthermore, I am confident that, with my background and experience, I can make a significant contribution to your organization.
Once again, thank you for the hospitality you extended to me. I hope to hear from you soon.