10 tips to prepare for a technical interview from a recruiter:
Ace the technical interview
Technical interviews can be a little bit different from your average interview, so here are a few tips to help you be prepared!
1. Make sure you research the company you are interviewing with, whether it is a startup or established tech company, you need to know as much as you can. Review the company website, see who the top executives are and how the company got started. If you know the name of the person interviewing you, read their corporate profile and look at their LinkedIn. If you find that you have common interests, try to bring it up during your interview (in a non-stalker way, of course). It’s common to look up a person’s LinkedIn, but you do not want to sound like a stalker and admit you Googled them, or looked up their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr.
2. Review the job description word for word. When it comes to a technical position, they want to see every technology listed in the job interview highlighted on your resume. Now, nine times out of ten, your recruiter has already qualified you according to the specifics required by the company looking to hire you. You want to be prepared to go into detail about how much, or how little, experience you may or may not have with the desired technologies. Some companies have a list of required skills a mile long, but we, as recruiters, know what they are really looking for and in need of. If your recruiter tells you specifically what to be prepared to discuss during an interview, PLEASE take their advice! We are paid to know what the company is looking for, and if you make it through us to the hiring manager for an interview, you are in very good shape!
3. Be at least fifteen minutes early for your interview, with a copy of your resume, salary history and references or reference contacts. If you have a cover letter specific to this position, bring that in as well. The order you present your “packet” is cover letter, resume, reference and salary history last, unless the hiring manager has asked for specific items, or a specific order. You may not even need to show these documents to the interviewer, but its good to have for yourself, in case you need to reference anything.
4. Dress professionally and for the position you are interviewing for. It’s ok to ask the interviewer what the dress code of the company is. If it’s a laid back start up, dress up with clean slacks, a button down, and no tie (men & women). If it’s a more conservative environment like a bank, wear a black or navy blue suit and tie for men, same color pantsuit or conservative skirt and blouse for women. Gentlemen, make sure you are clean shaven or have groomed your facial hair, and your shoes are shined. Ladies, please wear natural makeup and have your hair pulled back or styled neatly, and off your face.
5. Be prepared to make a presentation, depending on the technology and position you are interviewing for. You may be asked to do a whiteboard presentation, code something or bring samples of your work.
6. Be prepared to talk about yourself. The hiring manager needs to be sure you will fit in with the existing group. If you enjoy hiking or playing a sport, mention it. If you are both alums of the same college, mention it. If you enjoy just coming home and watching TV with your dog, that works, too. Look around the room: is the he or she a Trekkie? Are they displaying family photos, diplomas, stuffed animals, and kid’s artwork? What do you immediately see that you can find a connection with? Use that to your advantage during your interview.
7. Ask questions. Ask what exactly your role would be. Ask about the current projects in that specific department. Ask what a normal day is like in the office. Is it a mellow, casual group? Is it a fast paced, everything is due yesterday kind of group? What should you be expecting during your first week?
8. Maintain eye contact, even if you are used to being the fly on the wall, display all the confidence in your body language, from the initial handshake to your posture during the interview. Don’t fidget or fuss in your seat, don’t play with your hair or touch your face, unless you are adjusting your glasses. I know interviews are nerve-wracking, but remember, you made it this far, and you obviously have the skills they are looking for, so own it!
9. If you are going through a recruiter, know which firm has presented you to the company interviewing you. There is nothing more embarrassing than going into an interview, and not knowing the name of the firm presenting you. Hopefully, if your recruiter has done an amazing job, you already know everything about the firm they represent.
10. Be yourself, be genuine! If you are not the most outgoing person, or get nervous in interviews, it’s ok! We have all been there before; especially when it is for a position we REALLY want! But you have to remember to be honest and true, and own you! Somewhere along the line, more than a few people saw the potential in you. So now it is up to you to land this job!