To many people, the idea of a job interview sparks feelings of anxiety and dread. After all, it’s often the only time you get to sell yourself to your potential employer. However, on average, only 2% of people who apply for a job get selected to go for an interview, so remember that your CV has already done some of the talking for you! If you have a job interview coming up for your dream tech role, our 6 tech interview tips will help you to feel prepared and ready to sell yourself.
The first thing you should do when you’re preparing for your job interview is to do detailed research into the company and role you’re applying for. However, it’s not just about knowing what they do, you need to have a good understanding of the market they operate in, their competitors and any trends/news which might be impacting them.
A useful thing to do would be to carry out a small SWOT analysis of the company – what are they doing well? What are their weak points? Do they have any current opportunities for growth, are there gaps in the market they could take advantage of? Finally, what are the threats, are there recent legislation changes which could impact their operations? By looking into all of this, you’ll show you have a wider understanding and haven’t just simply looked on google to see what they do.
They say practice makes perfect, right? By spending some time preparing answers to common interview questions, you’ll in turn feel more ready to answer them on the day. Some common questions asked in job interviews include:
As well as preparing for these common questions, it’s also a great idea to do some research into what kind of questions are regularly asked for the job role you’re applying for. For example, a software engineer would generally be asked what programming languages they use and which is their favourite.
Finally, be prepared to answer what your salary expectations are. If you don’t know what salary you’re looking for, do some research beforehand on the general average for the role and also based on your experience. You could answer a definitive amount or give a range, either will be acceptable. Ensure that if the job advert states a salary on it, it aligns with your expected salary before the interview so as not to waste their time and yours.
As mentioned above, your interviewer is very likely to ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. This question not only lets them know areas where you’re strong and not so strong, but gives them a good idea of the kind of person you are. Some people don’t like to talk about what they’re good at, but remember that you’re selling yourself and this is key information that helps your potential employer make a decision on whether you’re right for the role.
On the flipside, ensure you prepare to talk about what you’re not so good at too. Potential employers generally aren’t asking this to see what you’re bad at, but more to assess how self-aware and honest you are. So, instead of talking about your weaknesses negatively, it’s better to frame it as things you’re working on, or how you’ve turned a previous weakness into a strength.
As important as technical skills are in IT jobs, recruiters will also be looking for soft skills too. An interview is a great place to demonstrate these soft skills, and doing this will often give you the edge over other candidates who have the same technical skills as you do.
Soft skills are in demand, especially in the tech industry, due to the move to a more remote way of working for most organisations. A candidate who can effectively communicate electronically with a team of people from different countries, backgrounds and experiences will be hugely attractive to tech employers in this day and age.
Much of how you show soft skills in an interview will be how you come across to the interviewing panel. Make sure you show confidence, listening skills, communicate clearly & effectively and use your initiative when sharing stories and experiences you’ve had.
This might sound an obvious one, but listening in your interview is hugely important. And we’re not talking just hearing what the interviewer is saying, we’re talking actively listening. Active listening is described as fully concentrating and taking in what is being said, and asking questions (where necessary) to get the most out of a conversation. As important as it is to prepare what you’re going to say in an interview, it’s equally essential to ensure you’re engaged with your interviewer throughout the process.
At the end of the interview you can pretty much guarantee that the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. It’s key to have something prepared for this, as by asking nothing you will seem disengaged from the interview. Before the day, have a few questions ready either in your head or noted down. Another tip would be to ask one question off the back of something your interviewer has said during the session. This shows that you’ve actively listened and are engaged with what they’re saying.
Our final tip is simply to be yourself. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the nerves and anxiety of a job interview, but many people show nerves by being quiet or distancing themselves. Ensure that you stay confident and friendly – the interview is just as much about showing how well you’d fit into the team as it is about your technical ability. Remember, no-one knows more about you than you!