3 Insightful Tips on How to Ace Your Tech Interview
You’ve landed the interview, learn how to master the process with ease
Interviews can be nerve-wracking. You wouldn’t be there if you did not want the job. You also want to do everything possible to make the best impression, but that can be hard when it feels like there is a hive of angry bees in your stomach and your hands are sweating. Perhaps you are shy. Maybe you get awkward around people you don’t know well (guilty). Maybe your mind blanks when you get put on the spot. With a little bit of knowledge and a lot of prep, you can ace that interview and come off cool, competent, and confident.
There are 3 things every interviewer wants to know. It doesn’t matter what industry, position, or company – there are 3 cardinal things to cover.
- Can you do the job? Clearly demonstrating your background and skills is key to nailing an interview. Do your homework and review the job description and study the company website. In the interview, really listen to what the interviewer is asking, and make sure you take every opportunity to clearly show how your skills and background will apply directly to performing the job. This is a little trickier for new grads, but it is very doable by using examples from classwork, projects you’ve done, and work you have done on your own time, internships, and personal research. Anything and everything counts. If you can tell a story that shows how your experience applies to the situation in question, you will show the interviewer you are listening and have the experience to handle the same circumstances in a professional situation.
- Will you fit in? Every company has its own unique culture. You’ll either thrive within it or… you’ll see yourself out. Establishing you fit in is as much for your own benefit as the company. If a company is extremely fast-paced and you are a methodical perfectionist, it won’t be a good fit. If a company likes to cut corners and you prefer to follow all the rules, no one is going to be happy.
Plenty of people often overlooks company culture as a key part of their job search. Our advice; don’t. It’s a huge mistake. The average person spends 90,000 hours of their life at work. The people you surround yourself with during your career will impact you, influence you, and either help you aspire to grow or drag your career to a screeching halt. Find ways to make a connection and show how you will fit in well with the team.
You will also need to take cues from the interview itself, so pay close attention to how the interviewer talks about the company. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions. To get a general understanding of the company culture you can ask:
- What is the overall management style in the company? (Are they agile? Do they use a waterfall approach?)
-How does the company approach team building and communication?
- What are the opportunities for career growth/advancement and learning
- How are employees recognized for their efforts?
Compare those answers to your own preferred work style to ensure they fit well together. If it’s a match, let the interviewer know by giving an example. For instance, if the interviewer mentions that they encourage employees to seek out speaking opportunities at industry conferences, and one of your goals is to become an expert in a specific area, those two goals are mutually beneficial.
- How long will you stay? This might not be as critical as the previous two, but it is still important. Companies spend a lot of time and money bringing in new hires and helping you develop your career. They want to know they are going to get a good return on their investment. It’s true that many people in tech move around and it’s uncommon for developers or engineers to spend their entire career at one company, but companies won’t want to invest in you if you only plan on staying for 6 months. For companies to want to invest in you, they want to see that you are committed to investing your time and energy in them.
So that’s it. Beyond demonstrating your technical expertise and your smarts, you will need to make sure a hiring manager knows, without a doubt, that you can do the job they need you to do, you will fit in with the team, and you will stay long enough to make it worth their while. This is the magic formula to make you stand out from other candidates and make a positive impression in an interview. (And always remember to send a follow-up thank-you email after the interview!)
Interested in learning about new technology positions at Egen? Check out our careers page.
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