There’s a lot of work involved when it comes to landing IT job interviews. Maybe you competed with thousands of other job seekers by applying to a job online, or perhaps a recruiter worked with you to fine tune your resume and find relevant positions with desirable companies. It’s a lot of work to get to the job interview, but that’s not where your effort should end.
Have a more successful IT job interview
Your resume may be stellar, but if you fail to stand out and make an impact during your IT job interview, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be chosen for the job. In my experience in the IT industry, I’ve seen job seekers do some things really well, and some others make critical mistakes. Here’s a list of some of those “do’s and don’ts” to help your IT job interviews be more successful:
- Do your research. Once you’ve learned the company name for your next IT job interview, it’s time to do some research. Visit the company’s website to learn more about what they do, recent news and achievements. Conduct a Google search for the company name to find relevant articles about that company and information about any new technology initiatives they have going on. A quick LinkedIn search can help you identify key players and their achievements so you can speak somewhat knowledgeably about their team during the interview as well. Your recruiter can provide you with some of this information, but taking the initiative to do some research on your own can help you gain even more of an edge during the interview process. Coming to an interview prepared by doing some research can help you immediately stand out as a top candidate.
- Don’t forget your recruiter. As I mentioned in the previous point, your recruiter is armed with information about companies, their people and their job openings. Don’t forget about your recruiter as an integral resource for job interviews. Prior to your interview, talk to your recruiter and find out about the company culture, ask about the recruiter’s relationship with the company, clarify the job description to ensure you fully understand the role or ask for insights into what may make one candidate a better choice for this employer than another one. Take advantage of the experience and knowledge your recruiter possesses.
- Don’t forget the little things. You may be surprised how many candidates forget to give a firm handshake or make good eye contact. Small details count when it comes to IT job interviews, and ensuring you remember those small details can make a big difference to hiring managers. Just before stepping into the interview, ensure your collar is properly folded and your shirt is tucked in nicely - it’s the small details that make a difference.
- Do ask for the job. It’s the simplest of steps, but one that is critical (and often forgotten). If you feel that an interview has gone particularly well and you are excited about the opportunity, don’t leave the interview without asking for the job. Take a moment to summarize why you’re the best person for the position (be specific!), then directly ask for the job. I’ve spoken to many candidates who feel great after a job interview, only to find out that they never expressed direct and enthusiastic interest in the position. If you don’t overtly express your desire for the position, why should a hiring manager choose you over someone who did express that desire? Also, don’t you want the last thing an interviewer hears during your interview to be a summary of why you’re the best candidate for the role?
- Do be prepared. You’ve done your research, now be prepared to take notes or ask questions during the interview. These are essential components of a successful IT job interview. A small pad and paper show that you are there to demonstrate your own abilities, but also to show your interest in the organization by learning more. Also, don’t forget a copy of your resume - the interviewer may have forgotten a copy, or perhaps another person will decide to step into the interview. Be prepared with a copy (even if it’s just for your own reference), and you’ll help demonstrate that you’re ready - not only for the interview, but for the job.
- Do ask questions. Make sure you are asking questions throughout your interview (not just saving them until the end) - this shows that you’re engaged in the process and truly see yourself making an impact in the role and organization. Even if you meet with multiple interviewers and you feel like you have the lay of the land, never, ever say you are all set and that you have no questions. If in a pinch or you draw a blank, repeat a question you have asked previously of a different interviewer. Saying you have no questions could show disinterest to that particular interviewer. Also, asking thoughtful questions gives you a chance to show off the research you’ve done by wrapping your question around an article or fact you found about the person or company. Bottom line…always ask questions!
- Don’t be late and don’t be too early. This may seem like a no-brainer, but being late or too early is one of the easiest ways to kill a job interview. I typically tell candidates to arrive 15 minutes early for their IT job interviews. No earlier, no later. Showing up any earlier means that you are interrupting whatever the person was doing prior to your arrival. They may feel disrupted or like they have to drop what they are doing to greet you. If you arrive late, it shows that you may not be reliable or organized (Not exactly the first impression you want to make!). The interviewer has set aside a specific time to meet with you, be respectful of those parameters. This demonstrates that you value the interviewer’s time, and that the interview itself is important to you as well.
Follow the suggestions in this list, and you’ll have some of the most critical skills and tools in place for a successful IT job interview.
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