Interviews can be nerve wracking but being prepared can help you to feel calm and confident. As the old saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail… and we want you to sail through your interview smug in the knowledge that ‘YOU GOT THIS.’
Well done! You’ve bagged yourself an interview, so what next?
First thing’s first, get the date and time in your diary and make sure you know exactly where the interview is to be held and how you are going to get there; making sure you have a plan and know how long it will take you will help to prevent you from having any last minute dramas with sat-navs, public transport etc. This sounds obvious but people often don’t plan ahead and get caught out; don’t let that happen to you.
Find out exactly what the format of the interview is, don’t be scared to ask if this hasn’t been made clear, it shows that you’re putting in effort to prepare. Find out if there are any tests; technical, practical, logical? You don’t want to be caught out on this one!
DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND KNOW YOUR STUFF
Read the job spec thoroughly before you attend the interview (have some examples lined up in your mind of your relevant experience for each point) and research the company by having a good look on their website. Depending on the sector it may be worth having a think about who their competitors are so you’ve got some contextual knowledge on the playing field in which they operate.
HANDOUTS AND SUPPORTING INFORMATION
Take a copy of your CV for each person in the interview (including yourself, it’s handy to refer to) and have these readily available in a folder or a plastic wallet. If you have any work examples or certifications bring these along with you as well. We also recommend that if you have a GitHub, it’s definitely worth submitting this to the prospective employer prior to the interview or bring your laptop along with you to show them during the interview.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING
Always wear a suit (unless you have been told otherwise). It’s crucial you look smart and show that you take your career seriously and want to be seen as a professional. It also shows respect for the prospective employer. We know a lot of Techies who work in their jeans and t-shirt, but save that for when you get the job!
While waiting for the interviewer in reception or the meeting room, DO NOT take out your phone or laptop or sit there yawning and looking disengaged. Your interview starts from the moment you walk in the building. Be alert, attentive and polite to anyone you meet by just saying ‘hello’.
Remember the interviewer is just another normal person who has been in your position, relax and enjoy the conversation as if you were speaking to one of your friends or colleagues about a project you are working on.
If you are asked a question and you don’t know the answer, please give it your best shot! Let them know that you are not familiar with the topic but that if you were to hazard a guess it would be “(insert answer here)”.
In situations like this we believe it’s always best to have a go and show that you are willing to learn rather than look at the floor and say you don’t know the answer. Hiring Managers like to see that if you don’t know the answer to a question you won’t just give up, but will ask somebody, research it online or pick up a book and figure it out for yourself; initiative and proactiveness is valued!
DEMONSTRATE YOUR INTEREST
Have questions ready to ask the interviewer – this shows that you are genuinely keen to learn more about the role and company. Maximum of two maybe three questions. A good one to end on that can often paint a picture of the company environment for you, is “What do you personally like best about working for “(insert company name)”
SHOW THEM WHO YOU ARE
Be passionate about what you are talking about, make it clear that you’re good at what you do and that you enjoy it. Are you ambitious? Let them know that you’re keen to develop your skills and experience. Let your personality and professionalism shine through.
RELATE IT BACK
If you’re asked technical questions, always try to relate your answer to a project that you have worked on, whether at University or in your previous role. This demonstrates that you have practical experience in the area you’re discussing and adds weight to your statements, showing that you know your stuff.