When it comes to intimidation during the interview process, the technical interview takes the cake. No matter your level of experience or education, you never know if you are fully prepared for what you will be asked to do. And being faced with an empty whiteboard and a panel of interviewers can make even the strongest candidates stumble.
But even if you feel confident about your actions, how do you know that you were actually successful? While the answer isn’t as black and white as your technical interview responses, there are a few signs that suggest a positive outcome.
The “Right” Answer
As with any test, getting the answer right is the key to success. However, technical interviews don’t always involve a single right answer. Some scenarios can be managed through a variety of approaches, so whether your method was sound matters more than the precise direction used. As long as your method can produce consistent results should the variables change, you should consider that a success.
However, it is helpful to brush up your skills based on information in the job posting. For example, if a particular programming language is explicitly listed on the announcement, then make sure you are comfortable with it before heading into the technical interview. Whether that means breaking out textbooks from your college days, taking an online refresher course, or simply practicing at home, give yourself an opportunity to get those concepts back in mind before facing unexpected questions during the interview.
While writing the answer on the board is an important part of the process, so is clearly communicating your methods and reasoning. Technical interviews give interviewers and hiring managers indications regarding how you think when faced with a problem. And their assessment is based on how you manage these scenarios in real-time. Strong candidates are able to keep their composure and articulate their reasoning as they proceed through the task.
This doesn’t mean that you need to speak to your approach with the ease of a well-prepared speech, but you do need to be able to manage it like a comfortable conversation. If you keep everyone engaged and maintain a professional tone during your interview, a few stutters and missteps won’t be your undoing.
Most people don’t spend significant portions of their day writing on whiteboards for other’s benefit. And writing on a vertical surface isn’t generally as comfortable as something placed on a table. However, if you begin your technical interview and your handwriting is illegible, then you may run into trouble.
Now, no one is expecting elegant script during these exercises, so don’t stress about the attractiveness of your handwriting. If it can be easily read by everyone in the room, you should be fine. Often, simply slowing down your writing can keep everything in the realm of reasonable, so just try not to rush.
If your technical interview met the criteria above, then it is possible to consider it a success regardless of whether you are selected. As with any interview, every time you repeat the process, you will be more prepared for the next one. If you are looking for more tips on technical interviews or are interested in new job opportunities, The Armada Group is here to help. Contact us and see what positions are available in your area.
It's easy to feel like the company has all the power during an interview. After all, you're there because they have something you want: A job. But it's important to remember that the interview is a two-way street. You should be evaluating the company as thoroughly as they're evaluating you. That's why you should always take advantage of the opportunity when an interviewer asks if you have questions. If you don't, you can look like you aren't interested in the position, but you're also missing out on the opportunity to learn what the job would really be like.
Ask Follow Up Questions
Ask for more detail about something the interviewer mentioned only briefly. This shows that you were paying attention during the interview and that you were interested in what the interviewer said. Both are flattering to the interviewer and can make them feel positive towards you. More importantly, it lets you gently probe deeper into topics the interviewer mentioned glossed over, perhaps to conceal some less positive aspects of the job.
Ask About Life on the Job
Find out what your work life will be, both now and in the future. What stage of development is the project in? Is there a deadline crunch? Do they expect there will be one? You'll also want to look ahead towards your long-term future with the company. Ask about support for continued training and what kind of career path you can follow. Will the company support you whether you want to remain technical or move into a business or management track?
Ask About the Company
You should have researched the company prior to the interview, and you certainly don't want to ask basic questions about its business. Instead, ask about how the company is meeting its challenges and distinguishing itself from its competition. You'll gain insight into how the company perceives itself and whether there will be long term stability, growth, or failure.
Working with a technical recruiter can help prepare you for your interviews by providing a full picture of the opportunity. The Armada Group has been matching candidates to positions for more than 20 years. Contact us to start your search now.
A job interview is a sales call. Isn't it? You're there to convince the hiring manager that you're the right person for the job. That means you have to sell yourself hard. Doesn't it?
It shouldn't. Go to an interview focused on selling yourself, and you'll be focused on yourself. That's the wrong focus. An interview isn't about you; it's about the company and the company's needs. Focus on understanding the company, the job, and the problem the company needs to solve, instead of on yourself, and you'll automatically stand a better chance of getting hired. Why?
By paying attention, you'll answer the questions that are asked – and the questions that weren't asked.
If you go to an interview with stock answers that you think will impress the interviewer, and then look for opportunities to throw out those lines, you won't be answering the questions that are asked. You'll be missing the opportunity to show your understanding of the company or project through answers that are tailored to the question, or by referring to related subjects.
You don't connect with the interviewer.
he point of the interview is to get to know you; when you focus on selling a prepared image, the interviewer can feel that you aren't being genuine. When you stop concentrating on selling yourself, you are free to let your real self show and the interaction with the interviewer feels much more natural and comfortable to them.
Selling yourself requires hiding parts of yourself.
If you're focused on selling yourself, you naturally try to conceal parts of yourself. You try to avoid talking about times you failed; your answer to "what is your biggest weakness" is that you work too hard. Besides the fact that hiding takes energy, interviewers are likely to be more impressed if you acknowledge a shortcoming or a time that you failed and discuss how you addressed the issue to ensure a better outcome next time.
When you work with The Armada Group, we'll match you to jobs that fit your talents and aspirations so you can be yourself and still land the job. Contact us to stop selling yourself and start an effective job search now.
Going to be looking for a new job in the new year? Update your resume and brush up on your interviewing skills with these 10 tips:
1. Have good manners.
Be nice to everyone you meet during the hiring process, including the administrative assistants who schedule the interviews and bring you into the office. Even if the hiring process doesn't formally solicit their feedback, you can be sure any bad impression you make on them will find its way back to the hiring manager.
2. Don't focus solely on technology.
If you're interviewing for a leadership or managerial role, your job is more about people than tech. If you are looking for a technical job, you'll have to interact with co-workers and colleagues in other business departments. If you make it clear you enjoy those interactions, you'll appear more flexible than someone who wants to keep their head down and just code.
3. Be ready to explain how you'd get started.
Companies are often hiring because they have an urgent need. Be ready to explain how your skills, background, and approach will let you hit the ground running.
4. Dress appropriately.
It's rare to need a suit and tie when interviewing for a technical position, but you should still bump your style up a notch. In some startups, casual, even sloppy, dress may still be appropriate for an interview, but even if you're rumpled, you need to be clean.
5. Be ready to show your portfolio.
Particularly for positions that emphasize creativity, such as user interface design roles, you may be asked to show samples of your work. Be mindful of any confidentiality or nondisclosure agreements you have with your current employer, but bring examples of your work when possible. (Don’t force an uninterested interviewer to look at it, however!)
6. Be ready to ask questions.
You can plan questions in advance based on information you gather about the company online, but you'll make an even better impression if you ask relevant questions about the specific opportunity that relate to information the interviewer gave you.
7. Indicate your interest in continuing development.
No one can afford to stop learning, whether in a technical or managerial role. Express your interest in continuing to develop your capabilities, including technical and leadership skills, and the company will know that your value to them won't end just because a technology becomes obsolete.
8. Have your references ready.
Companies expect that you'll be able to provide references; not having a list of names handy makes you seem unprepared and can raise suspicions that you don't have anyone who will vouch for you. Make sure you let your references know you'll be giving their information out and they are willing to respond on your behalf.
You don't want to give canned answers to interview questions, but you don't want to ramble, either. Anticipate what you may be asked and think about your answers in advance. You can't anticipate specific technical questions, but you can brush up on the relevant technologies to refresh your memory.
10. Remember the evaluation process goes both ways.
Interviewing isn't just about you impressing the company; the company also needs to impress you. Pay attention to the facilities and people you see; do you think you'd fit in and enjoy working here? That's the most important interview question of all.
It used to be simple to decide what to wear to an interview. A business suit was appropriate for both men and women. Almost no technical jobs require wearing a suit at work, though; some offices are casual enough for jeans and sneakers, or even shorts in the summertime. And when you're interviewing with a recruiter, you aren't interviewing with the employer, anyway. So exactly how do you dress for meeting a recruiter?
The key is to remember you're trying to convince the recruiter to pass you up the hiring chain and get you an interview with the company. They'll ask about your technical skills, but recruiters aren't able to judge the depth of your knowledge. Instead (and this isn't disparaging their skills) they need to make judgments based on non-technical factors. Your ability to present yourself well, which includes your body language, speaking ability, and, yes, how you dress is key to succeeding at this meeting.
Dress to Impress Anywhere
Because the recruiter may have positions available at multiple companies, you can't easily tailor your outfit to match the norms at a specific employer. The best choice is to wear something that would be appropriate at almost any employer. This means smart business casual or a suit. The more senior the position you're aiming for, the more formal your outfit should be. You can use an accessory or two to show your personal style, but tilt conservative.
For any interview, whether with a recruiter or an employer, make sure everything is clean and neatly pressed. It's best not to wear something brand new, though. You want to be sure there won't be any problems, like the fabric making you itchy and uncomfortable. That physical discomfort can translate into odd mannerisms or facial expressions during the interview.
Ask the Recruiter's Advice
When you meet with the recruiter, it doesn't hurt to ask them about the dress code at the employer and how you should dress for your interview there. The recruiter wants you to succeed and get the job, and they'll give you the best advice to help make that happen.