20 Jan 17 Interview Tips
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Interviewing for a job is perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking steps to finding a new career. In this post we’ll explore the ways in which you can stand out from the crowd and create a lasting impression on hiring managers. It can be challenging to showcase your skillset during an interview so here are our Top Tips on how to make the most of it.
The Technology market is becoming increasingly competitive, and the best businesses in the industry look for candidates who can match their vision for success. An interview is designed to elaborate on the two-dimensional “on-paper” version of your experience, and to bring your skill set to life. Review the job specification and tailor your approach to leave hiring managers with no question that you are the right fit. Candidates that can “show” their experience rather than just “tell”, are those that receive the best interview feedback. Relate as many answers as you can back to why your specific profile is the one they should choose.
Volumes and Values
While it’s important to highlight relevant projects and achievements, you've got to have metrics and data to back them up. Quantifying your accomplishments provides a tangible addition to how and why they were successful. Percentage figures, costs saved and growth statistics are all examples of how numbers can quantify your success. Show what benefits you can contribute to their business, including their bottom line.
Don’t be afraid to highlight failures
Nobody’s perfect and hiring managers aren’t under any illusion about this. Being honest about weaknesses and work issues you’ve had in the past isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Prepare an example of how you overcame a failure, this will show determination and resilience. Tech companies want to hire candidates that can acknowledge a mistake, learn from it and grow as an individual as a result.
Share a story
It’s fairly common for a Hiring Manager to ask a question that requires a story as an answer – “Tell me about a time when…” This technique helps to put experience in to context but also demonstrates your ability to communicate. A relevant story is a great way to highlight specific actions, such a overcoming a challenge or surpassing expectation during a project. Don’t forget to finish the story, delivering the results to finish with a flourish. Following the “Situation – Problem – Action – Result” structure with any story relating to your experience shows a transferable skill set. It ties together all of the elements that will engage your Interviewer and help them to remember you.
Demonstrate a genuine interest in the business
Before an interview, be sure to have done your homework. Give yourself time to learn fully about what the business do and how they do it. Read articles and press releases to supplement your knowledge beyond what’s on the company website. Enthusiasm and curiosity are two key traits that will shine if you’ve done your research. Have a play around with their software, download their app, or buy their product – this will give you a much more valuable insight in to their tech and show you’re bought in to them as a business.
Have passions outside the workplace
Hiring Managers want to see that applicants are more than just a list of skills and projects. Company culture is considered to be fundamental part of success for Tech businesses, so be prepared to let your personality show during the interview (whilst remaining professional, of course). Give details on any relevant “extra-curricular” activities that will emphasise your how invested you are in the tech community, such as attending events or contributing to a blog. If you’re not already doing these things, now’s a great time to get started. Sites like eventbrite and meetup list upcoming events across many industries, and LinkedIn allow users to publish their own posts on the platform. An unusual pastime or passion can be a vehicle to discuss your background in further details and pique the hiring manager’s interest.
It’s not all about you
Businesses aren’t simply looking for someone who is technically capable of fulfilling a job. The ability to work with other is paramount in an era where technology encompasses every part of a business. References or testimonials are perfect way to put your experience working as part of a team on paper, so don’t be shy about asking your colleagues to write you a review. Tech hiring managers are looking for adaptable candidates who perform well in collaborative environments, be prepared to speak about instances where you’ve worked as part of a team, and succeeded as a result of your relationship with others.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but by taking these tips in to account, you’ll be one step closer to sailing through that interview. As the (somewhat hackneyed) old saying goes, “Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail”, and in this case, it couldn’t be more true – proper interview preparation can be the difference between getting your dream job or not. Feel free to get in touch with your suggestion via our twitter. If you’re looking for a new role, take a look at the Burn Sheehan jobs page for all of our latest opportunities across Digital Technology. Discover what else we’re discussing on the Burns Sheehan blog here.