Interviews are an important part of an IT professional’s career. You’ve probably had, or will have, many interviews over your career – some that went well, some not so well. I’ve listed some tips below that I hope prove useful on how to nail an interview.
How To Nail An Interview Before It Starts
Much of the work for an interview is done before the actual interview starts. It gets you set up and into a good position to get the job you’re going for. Some suggestions on things to do before the interview are:
- Research the Company – Look up the company, their website, any news articles about them. Find a bit about what they do, and what they look for. You may have done this when you prepared your resume, but this will help to get it fresh in your mind.
- Bring Your Resume – Not many people do this anymore, and recruiters usually have a copy with them. However, if you bring a copy of your resume, it shows you’re committed and prepared for the interview.
- Bring a Notepad – If you bring a notepad to an interview, it shows you’re willing to take notes and are interested in what the recruiter has to say.
- Dress Smart – The clothes you wear to the interview play a big part in the first impression of you in the interview. Dress appropriate for the job and the interview. If you’re not sure, dress on the more conservative side – business attire is recommended.
- Set Your Facebook Profile to Private – It’s common practice among recruiters to check a candidate’s social networking profiles, such as Facebook. Even if you don’t have anything embarrassing on there, it’s a good idea to set it to private or friends only.
- Be On Time – Nothing gives a worse first impression than arriving late to an interview. Make sure you’re on time. Ensure you take into account anything that can go wrong in getting there – delays with public transport, lack of car parks, elevators not working. It’s better to be thirty minutes early than five minutes late!
- Turn Your Phone Off – Ensure your phone is turned off for the interview. Turning it onto silent may be an option, and if you do that it’s a good idea to turn off the vibrate function, as a phone vibrating in your pocket may distract you during an interview. If you want to nail an interview, you don’t need any distractions – to either you or the interviewer.
- Research common interview questions. A lot of interview questions are standard, and if you know the right way to answer them, it can really help.
Advice For During The Interview
This is the time that you’ve been waiting for. The opportunity to speak with someone from the company and hopefully get a position with them. Several ways to improve your chances are:
- Smile and Be Polite – When you meet the recruiter, smile and shake their hand. Be polite and friendly. They don’t want to hear about your life dramas. A positive attitude and a nice smile go a long way.
- Don’t Badmouth Your Previous Employer – It may seem like it’s acceptable at the time, or you may need to explain the reason you’re there, but there’s no reason to talk negatively about a previous employer. They may think you’ll do the same to them when you look for your next job.
- Mention Your Goals – This displays confidence and direction for your career, as well as passion for what you do. If you know where you want to go, and how the position fits into your goals, it shows the employer you know what you want. It also helps the employer in determining whether they want to hire you or not.
- Promote Your Accomplishments – The biggest tip to anyone going for an interview is to be able to sell themselves. Interviews are about convincing an employer that they should hire you. The best way to do that is to promote your accomplishments. Mention things you’ve done in the past to be able to meet deadlines or deliver projects or work in teams. Even if you have no experience, you can mention that you’ve successfully passed a degree or certification and achieved certain marks. Focus on the positive!
- Ask Questions – This part of the interview isn’t just a pleasantry. It’s a good chance to show you’ve been paying attention and are interested in the company. Try to come up with a few questions from your initial research, and maybe one or two from the interview itself. Questions about salary, or taking leave days, or anything like that are best left to later in the process when you’re confident you have the job.
Finally, Some Advice For After The Interview
Once the interview is over, congratulations, most of the hard work is done! However, there are a few things you can do to help your chances a little bit further and learn how to nail an interview:
- Thank Them For Their Time – When leaving the interviewer, say goodbye to them in a similar way you greeted them. Smile, shake their hand, and thank them for their time. This will show consideration and professionalism.
- Send A Thank You Follow-Up – This isn’t something that everyone does, which is why I think it’s a good idea for you to do this. Thanking the interviewer a day or two after the actual interview is a great little trick to stand out from the crowd. It should help your chances for getting the job, and even for hearing back from them!
I hope these tips show you how to nail an interview – if you have one coming up or just for a bit of general interview knowledge!
What other advice do you have on going for an interview?