Technical Interview Tips

iphone pen MG_7460-1300x866Many programmers and engineers dream of landing a prime spot at a successful tech company.  But how do you accomplish that?  What are some strategies for success?  In this post we’ll look at a few tips for interviewing for jobs specifically in the tech industry.

Before the Interview

Finding an inside track to the company that you want to work for can be difficult, but any inroad helps tremendously.  If you are interviewing for a specific role, find someone who does that job or who did it in the past and research their background.  If you are working with a recruiter they can be great resource, they typically will have some good “insider tips” that can help you hit a home run with your interview.

Learn as much as you can prior to the interview. Your recruiter should have good information for you based on past interviews and their relationship with the hiring managers.  They will have advice for interviewing and what to expect. They will also be able to share what skills, personalities and backgrounds the company desires for the role.  You can use all of this information to tailor your conversation and formulate solid questions to ask the interviewer.

In the Interview

Getting an interview means that you are no longer a faceless resume.  However, an interview is obviously not a guarantee, but an opportunity.  It is helpful to have extra copies of your resume in hand, even if they are not needed,  at least you show yourself as being prepared.

If you’re nervous don’t be afraid to let the hiring manager know this up front.  Their job is not to trick you, but to test your ability to interact with people and think on your feet.  Diffuse the nervousness straight away, then you can relax and be more like yourself in the interview.

A Two Way Street

Since the interview is a two-way street, the questions you ask the interviewer can be as valuable as the questions they ask you.  Do your homework on the company so you can ask intelligent questions about the position.

Also, the interviewer is your potential co-worker (possibly even a potential supervisor), so show interest in them and their work.  Find out how long they have worked at this company.  Ask them about their experience so far and what they enjoy about their work.  Solicit advice from them that might help you when you get hired.

Selling Yourself Short

The interview is your moment to distinguish yourself; don’t sell yourself short.  Showing the recruiter or hiring manager what you know and what you’ve done so far is the goal of your interview.  Some candidates don’t come prepared with a proper resume.  Others don’t talk enough about their achievements.  If you have worked on projects that are relevant to the prospective job, talk about them, even if the work was an internship or other unpaid work.  Also, if you have completed a project that you enjoyed and are proud of, talk about it.  Communicate your enthusiasm for the work, enthusiasm cannot be underestimated, it may be the single most important thing that you bring to the interview!

The Ideal Job?

Some candidates are looking for the ideal job.  The reality is that your ideal job might not be what you can get right now.  If you are beginning your career, experience is what you need.  It is fine to be selective, but being too selective could translate into not getting a job.  The priority should be getting a job in the tech industry and gaining valuable experience in a professional environment.  Also, knowing that you can actually apply, interview, and get a job does wonders for your confidence level. If you are further along in your career, you can be a bit more selective and be sure to share these things with your recruiter.  A good recruiter will ask questions that help to find you the perfect match for where you are in your career now and for where you want to be in the future.