Your interview is the best opportunity you will have to gather information and market yourself to a prospective employer. You only get one shot to make a first impression; so why not invest a few minutes reviewing some interview tips?
Our top recruiters have nearly 20 years of experience each in the IT recruitment industry, and they've put together a list of the 10 most important tips candidates need to know prior to walking into the interview.
1. First Impressions
You're on stage from the moment you get in the parking lot. From this point on, anyone whom you run into, smile, look them in the eye, and be pleasant. Be nice to the receptionist/secretary and be courteous to everyone, even if you're in a rush. Don't be short ...you'd be surprised how much influence they can have in the hiring process.
2. It Goes Both Ways
You are interviewing them too. Not only do you want to identify 2 or 3 three qualifications in your background to bring forward, but you also need 2 or 3 things that are important to you about the potential working environment. Spend 15-20 minutes prior to the interview to plan your questions.
3. Know Your Audience
Don't assume they have done a thorough review of your resume/background. Be sure to bring a copy of your resume with you. It's your job to convey your strengths. Choose 3 things that match up well with their environment and convey those on the interview. If things turn out to be different that you expected, you need to be flexible.
4. Goals, Goals, Goals
You may be asked about your short and long term goals. Keep your goals realistic and along the lines of the things they're looking for. For example, if you want to own your own company, you might not want to mention that on the interview. Make your goals pertinent to the interview and the work environment.
5. Draw Comparisons
Try to draw comparisons to previous work experiences. A good way to answer questions is with real world experiences. For example, take a project you've recently completed and apply the experience to the company's current challenges.
6. Think Before You Answer
Always be sure you understand the question before you begin to answer. If you're unsure about what they're trying to ask you - which happens a lot in technology because it's so complex - check for understanding by asking them to explain what they're looking for.
7. Rate Yourself
Rating questions are tricky. When you are asked to rate yourself, don't give yourself the highest rating. Say "I feel good about my skills but there is always something new to learn - I'm sure I could learn something from you." Always qualify your example with real world experiences.
8. Show, Don't Tell
Body language is vital to the interview and accounts for over 50% of the message. A firm handshake, positive body alignment, and good eye contact are vital for a successful interview. You've probably talked to someone who will not look you in the eye; they make you uncomfortable and you wonder what they are hiding. It also shows active interest.
9. The No-No's
Personal questions - don't ask any! If they ask you questions such as where you live, etc., it is professional business etiquette to answer the question, as you will be building rapport; but always let the interviewer open the door first. Also, do not bring up salary! If they ask you what you are currently earning, go ahead and tell them. If they ask you what you are looking for in terms of salary, tell them that you are negotiable. Let your recruiter handle the salary negotiations for you.
In closing, before you leave, ask them "Based upon our interview, is there anything lacking in my background that would prevent me from getting this position?" This gives you one last chance to overcome any issues - no one can explain it better than you. Plus, it gives you a chance to turn a negative into a positive.