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Tips to Ace your IT Interview

Be on Time (In fact…be early!)

There’s really no reason you should be late for an interview.  Leave plenty of time so that you arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes before your scheduled interview time.  Even if you hit unexpected traffic along the way you’ll wind up being on time.

 

If you are running late, call your recruiter and let them know in advance of your scheduled time so that your interviewer can be notified.  Even though you’re tardy, it shows that you still have respect for that person’s time.

 

Do Your Homework

The best way to ace an interview is to be prepared!  Research the company you are interviewing with and learn a bit about their products and services.  Make sure you have thoroughly reviewed the job description and have an understanding of the duties and expectations and how your skills and experience align to them.

 

Be Nice to Everyone you Meet Along the Way

From the receptionist to the person in the elevator all the way to your interviewer, assume that everyone is part of the hiring process. Greet and treat everyone with courtesy, friendliness, and respect. That person next to you in the elevator could be the CEO.

 

Practice Your Answers to These Common Interview Questions

 

  1. Tell me about yourself. You would think this one should be easy to answer but many interviewees actually do poorly with this question. Don’t dive into a line by line regurgitation of your work history that is what your resume is for. Instead, develop a concise and articulate response of about one minute in length that reveals something about your personality and work style. Are you passionate about network virtualization, always up on the latest development trends or someone who enjoys the arcane details of data analytics?
  2. What do you like about your current job? Develop a thoughtful answer, and make sure what you like about your current job is relevant to the job you’re seeking.
  3. What is your most recent professional accomplishment? Again, this answer needs to be more forward-looking not retrospective. Pick an accomplishment that shows you can excel in the position you’re interviewing for.

 

 

Understand How to Answer Technical Questions

Some IT interviews contain portions in which you’ll be asked to solve technical problems. It should help to know that not getting the exact answer the interviewer has in mind is not always a bad thing. Interviewers often prefer candidates who reveal how they approach solving a problem, which helps them learn more about how you think and work. Some interviewers will even steer you in a better direction if your initial approach won’t take you to the right solution.

 

 

Prepare to Ask Questions

See “Do Your Homework.”  You’ll want to come prepared with two types of questions.

 

  1. Questions that show intellectual curiosity and an interest in the company: Read the company blog or newsroom to see what initiatives they’re rolling out, and ask a question that demonstrates that you understand how your role or team might impact (or be impacted by) it. Flatter them with your interest.
  2. Questions that help you understand whether a job is right for you: You’re interviewing a company and manager as much as they’re interviewing you, and this is a good time to see if the company and role are the right fit. Hiring managers will respect you more for knowing your own worth, and these questions also help show you don’t take a job change lightly.

 

Avoid these Topics During the Interview

While you want to learn if the position is a good fit for you, certain topics are considered taboo during an interview. These include salary and benefits conversations, and whether you can take leave for that long summer vacation you planned. You’ll have time to figure those issues out once you have an offer in hand.

 

 

IT Interview Dress Etiquette

There’s an old saying…”Dress for the job you want not the job you have.”  Take your cue from the company culture—but dress at least one step up. If you’re not familiar with the company or industry, try asking friends who are. Scour the company’s website and social profiles for employee pictures, which can also provide important clues.

 

 

Generally, women can’t go wrong in a stylish dress (worn to the knee or lower) and a tailored jacket, or a neat pants suit. Men generally should wear a jacket, but whether or not to wear a tie or matching suit might depend on the company culture and position you’re interested in. Hint: The further up the leadership chain you go, the more formal your attire should be.

 

 

Use Your Recruiter or Network for Knowledge of the Hiring Manager in Advance

One of the best reasons to work with an IT recruiter is the pre-interview coaching and post-interview feedback they offer. Your recruiter or account manager uses their relationship with the hiring manager to prepare you with insights about what they like and don’t like. He or she also gets feedback and can share that with you to help you improve your interview skills. If you’re not confident about the interview, don’t hesitate to let your recruiter know so they can spend some extra time preparing you.

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“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

– Steve Jobs