Preparing for an Interview

In the simplest terms, an interview can be defined as an intense information exchange.

Companies use the interview process to determine two things: 1) What does the candidate know how to do? 2) How will the candidate behave?  To best help the companies to answer these questions about yourself, it will take preparation.  This post will focus on the different steps needed to help you excel at your next interview.

Self-Evaluate

The best way to articulate to companies what you know and how you behave is to fully understand these qualities yourself.  Before even applying, take stock of your technical skills, education, and work experience, but also consider what you value, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what motivates you to excel.  Think about the teams and environments where you felt like you flourished.  Also, think about experiences where you felt constrained in your personal growth.

Having a full, in-depth picture of yourself will help you to inventory your background into snapshots which showcase your skills best.

Research Research Research

The research aspect has three components: the company, the people, and the technology.  Understanding each component is key to landing your dream job in IT.

Company:

Read through a company’s newsletters, blogs, and Glassdoor profile.  These will help you to understand the company culture as well as their vision for the future.  Some companies feel as though their work is vital while others feel as though they are making life easier for others.  Understanding these differences will help you better understand how to frame your answers.

People:

Who will your coworkers be?  Have they been with the company long?  Who is the hiring manager?  Understanding the people of the company is just as important as understanding the company itself.  Find people whose roles are similar to the one you will be taking.  By looking at their LinkedIn profiles, you can get a better understanding of turnover and upward mobility within the company. Additionally, finding a common interest with the hiring manager can turn the scary interview into a friendly chat.  But beware, it is a fine line between seeking information and coming on too strongly.

Technology:

When you are researching, be sure to find out what technologies the company uses and brush up on your knowledge of it.  Technology is constantly changing, so take a second to refresh your knowledge on the terminology.  We have seen times when candidates have used an extremely similar framework to what the company was looking for, but because they used the wrong terminology, they were unsuccessful in the interview.  Additionally, be prepared to answer questions about how you stay up-to-date on these various relevant technologies.  

Prepare Your Questions

At the end of interviews, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions.  It is vital to have a few prepared.  However, you need dynamic open-ended questions that make a statement about you.  Instead of asking questions like:

“How will my performance be evaluated?”

A more powerful question, that has a similar meaning, would be:

“For the top performer, what does he do differently to be in that position?”

This tells you what the employer looks for as far as performance, but it also implies that it is your goal to become the top performer.  Slightly tweaking your questions to make a statement will help you convince the interviewer of your value to the company.

Ask questions that pertain to the level of individual with whom you are talking.  For example, a question about work/life balance would be best asked to a future peer within the company.  Alternatively, a question about the long term vision of the company is better asked to upper level management.  

It makes a much stronger statement to the interviewers if you can illustrate your skills as opposed to simply telling them of your skills.  To get a better understanding of how to show off your skills in behavioral interview questions, check out our previous blog post, Behavioral Interviews and the STAR Method.

If you want help landing that perfect interview or would just like more information, contact us at jobs@in-momentum.com

Continue to come back for more career advancing blog posts!

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