You may not realize this, but interviewing candidates costs employers a significant amount of time and money. Hiring mistakes can affect a company’s operations and reputation; this is why hiring managers are very careful in who they choose to recruit. They take a variety of factors into consideration – you could be a great addition to the company but showing any red flags may get you cut from the line. Here’s a list of tips to get you through your tech job interviews:
Many tech departments have a more slack environment; it’s not uncommon for people to come to work wearing sweats and sneakers. However, you should definitely not be doing this for your interview! I have heard many co-op students think it’s fine to wear a graphic t-shirt and jeans to an interview because that’s what the tech employees dress like on their Facebook page. NO! It’s always better to be overdressed than under. Coming dressed too casual may come across as a lack of seriousness to the interview and company. Business casual is always safe, Google that term and you’ll see what we mean.
Half the battle in hiring is finding someone with the needed skills, the other half is about finding someone who will fit well within your work culture. Employers don’t want someone who won’t get along with colleagues and quit resulting in more time to find a new hire. Therefore, it’s important to be personable during an interview; every question thrown at you is a window for conversation. This means, you shouldn’t be giving short responses. If they ask you if you’ve worked with a certain program or technology don’t just say “yes” – elaborate on how you did so and what you enjoyed about it (keep it positive). If you haven’t, say so and explain why you haven’t gotten the chance or why you’re looking forward to. Employers are much more willing to invest in a well-spoken junior who can be trained than someone with lots of experience but does not communicate well. Another tip which may seem obvious (but commonly ignored by techies) is to not come across as arrogant. You’re in tech, we know you’re smart – but no one wants to work with a cocky know-it-all!
Speaking of communications, did you know that over half of communicating happens non verbally? We’re talking about body language, and whether or not you’re aware of it your brain receives subtle cues of other people’s body language and affects the way you feel or perceive them. Some basic body language tips for interviews is sit up straight and have an open posture (no arms folded across your chest). This signals a welcoming and confident character. Try not to fiddle your hands or scratch your nose or ear too much (or at all). Fidgeting may communicate nervousness and poor confidence; if you don’t know what to do with your hands the best thing to do is place them on the table or together (imagine Mr. Burns from the Simpsons, but place them lower to be less creepy).
This should be obvious but is commonly overlooked by interviewees. You should show that you’re interested in the company; hiring managers want to know you’ll be happy to be hired and that you’re not just interviewing for “a job”. Although that is the case many times, showing you’re genuinely interested in the company will give you bonus points over the other applicants. People want to hire people who like them and like the company. Think of ways you could show your interest during the interview like expressing how you’ve always wanted to work in this industry or how close your commute is to work.