10 Technology Interview Tips

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You have the education, and you have landed the interview. Now it is really time to become the ultimate salesman of yourself. So, what are some tips to help you succeed in the interview? University of Waterloo career advisor Tanya Gillert offers ten interview tips for your consideration and examination.


Know the Employer: Here is one I am glad to see at the top of the list. I have mentioned this one time and time again in previous articles dealing with interviews, and it is an important one. You should never walk into an interview without first researching the company and having a grasp on their history and functions. It is nearly impossible to sell yourself as the perfect fit for a company’s culture if you have no idea what that culture is or what the company does.


Know the Position: Most tech specialists have many skills that may be in a wide range of technical areas. Be sure to know and understand exactly which of your skills are most pertinent to the position being interviewed for, and be prepared to highlight and promote those the most. Be prepared to be asked specific questions relating to the skill set desired for the position, so knowing exactly what those skills are is crucial.


Know Yourself: Practice interviewing in front of others. Set up scenarios where you have to perform coding functions on the spot, and be prepared for the occasion. Technology students can expect to be asked about things like coding and common algorithms, design and redesign, puzzle and brain teasers, number theory, and data structures, according to Gillert. Know your strengths and weaknesses ahead of time and practice.


Dress Like the Interviewer: Part of being prepared is to know the company, as previously mentioned. Knowing the company means knowing the company culture. Part of that culture is the dress expectations. Knowing what is typical for the position/company will help you to avoid both overdressing and underdressing. Of course, why shoot for the typical – dress for success! They say not to dress for the job you have (or in this case, the one you are interviewing for), but to dress for the job you want. Step it up a little without going overboard. Coming to the interview looking professional and ready for success is the key.


Stand Out from the Crowd: This can mean a lot of different things, but in the end, be real, be honest, and go above and beyond offering just the typical scripted bullet-point responses. Break out of the bounds of the typical education and experience synopsis and share related experiences that show your skills in action. Learn to develop and brand yourself in a concise manner.


Show Your Passion: There can be a fine line between being passionate and arrogant, so watch that, but be sure you show the passion you have for your skills. If you do not love what you do, it will probably show in your discussions, and that can be a detriment for you.


Be a Problem Solver: When it comes to the types of interview questions you may encounter, some may be pretty off-the-wall and designed to try to throw you off and see how you think on your feet, while others may be more typical but still not be handled well. Practicing your interview skills and how to handle perplexing questions is always good. “In the tech world, everything can and will fail, so they want to determine your thinking capabilities and how you will come up with solutions…Think about practicality, scale, components, service, how things are used, who uses them and how much things costs,” Gillert says. So, kick into problem solving mode and keep your cool.


Ask Questions: While you are being interviewed for the position, you likewise need to be determining if the company and culture is fully compatible with your needs. Hopefully you have done some of the research already and have a general idea on these things, but ask any questions that help you clarify the position, its duties, the future possibility for advancement, or anything else that is pertinent to your decision.


Exchange Contact Information: Leave a business card or connect through social media sites like LinkedIn. Even if you end up not getting the position, you may have just established a future contact for networking. Making additional contacts in your career field is always a plus, so be sure to exchange contact information.


Practice, Practice, Practice: Check with your former school for any free resources that may help with the interview process. Career advisors may be able to help find resources that can help you work through mock interviews. Practicing as much as you can will help you feel more at ease for your presentation, and allow you to practice keeping cool when thrown a curve ball situation.


As you proceed in your job search, be sure to learn from each experience, and use that new knowledge to be better prepared for the next time. It is never a bad idea to jot down some notes immediately after leaving the interview, some things you feel you dropped the ball on, and then use that to practice and overcome that obstacle the next time.


Image courtesy of Ambro - Freedigitalphotos.net


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  • Jeff McCormack
    Jeff McCormack
    Thanks for the comments everyone - and for those who seemed to pick up on it, yes, this article was specifically written with the new graduate in mind - so the tips are more geared from that angle.
  • Manny R
    Manny R
    Very good input. I like the tip about dress, and sharing contact info - all good ideas. Thanks
  •  Pam M
    Pam M
    Great advice, Tanya. Very concise and informative for all jobseekers.  Thanks for the tips!
  • Mack S
    Mack S
    This is good to know, great information.
  • Gisele M
    Gisele M
    Excellent advice!
  • Roberto P
    Roberto P
    it is good!
  • Alfred C
    Alfred C
    Good advice for people just coming out of school and slightly brain damaged. Boring, nothing stands out! Old news. You may want to do some research on how to interview, this really needs work.
  •  Cathy H
    Cathy H
    Hi,Enjoyed your write up and will pass it on to my son and others Thanks
  • Ellen E
    Ellen E
    Good article. Very well written.
  • Paul N
    Paul N
    The tips are really informative and well researched.They will help a job seeker to be prepared to face any interview panel.Once read, followed and adhered to, an interviewee will be empowered and emboldened to stand and express himself/herself without stage fright.
  •  Paul D
    Paul D
    Dress Like the Interviewer?!? Uhm there is no way to know what a hiring manager dresses like. Obviously press professional. It's far better to be over dressed in a suit and tie than to be under dressed and not taken seriously.
  • Shelley H
    Shelley H
    I think you guys are !@#$%& morons. You "dress for success." Suit and tie...PERIOD. The average dress in a software development shop is t-shirt and jeans. If I wore that to the interview, I wouldn't get through the door."Stand out" is pure BS. Doing stupid things so you're different from the crowd only makes you look like and ass and creates EXACTLY the WRONG impression.When was the last time any of you idiots actually went on an interview?
    Thanks. It is a very good resume what and how to do things before, during and after the interview. Helped me to review the necessary steps for the process. Liked.
  • Chris K
    Chris K
    Was very helpful. I have been on so many interviews where I just walked in cold with minimal knowledge about the company or position feeling like it was their responsibility to tell me about what they want, even though I knew I was totally qualified to fit their needs. Will not make this mistake again.
  • John W
    John W
    Good for the young or newly graduated candidate but specifics for older candidates are overlooked. What is the best way for a 55+ candidate to address themselves for a job that is lateral to their career rather than upward? Not everyone is meant for management, etc.
  • Gene C
    Gene C
    I've interviewed with some who ask if you don't mind drinking with the guys after work, or if you can do certain things beyond what is asked for.  Know what you can do and can't do. What your limitations are.  Be truthful and tell them that you don't drink, but what they do after work and off the property is their own business. If you know you are not able to perform certain task now before you do them, tell the truth. Finding out later looks bad for you and the employer.
  • Ehia a
    Ehia a
    Very useful tips. I like it. Thanks
  • R. W
    R. W
    Including in "know the company", if it is a local company take time to drive to their parking lot and talk with current employees and discuss what they like and dislike about working there.  Ask if there are known pending issues or initiatives important for you to know and develop customized questions for the interview.
  • David B
    David B
    Excellent advice and exactly what you need to know to interview with Google or any large technology company, even medium and small ones will use these techniques to separate the wheat from the chaff.
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