Tech interviews. Preparing for one is kind of like getting ready for a blind date at a certification class. The more you know about the person you’re about to meet and the subject you’ll be quizzed about, the better.
To boost your chances of making a great impression and scoring high, try these 10 tips. They come from Adriana Ganos, a Senior Technology Consultant with Winter, Wyman in Waltham, Mass., and Matthew Ripaldi, a senior vice president at Modis in Jacksonville, Fla.
- Background the company and the hiring manager. Reach out to your recruiter and your network to find out about the interview process. Do they try to slay candidates with tech questions or get at your experience by listening to you describe the tools you used at previous positions?
- Prepare a couple of comments about recent company news, or the interviewer, to use as an icebreaker. I just saw the news about the award you received. Or, the blog you wrote about XYZ was great. This shows the hiring manager you’ve done your homework. “Some of the best interviewees can tell me where I’m from, where I went to school and my career path,” says Ripaldi. “It shows their level of interest in the position.”
- Create a (or review an existing) cheat sheet. If you’ve recently graduated, review the computer science fundamentals you learned as a freshman. If you’re mid-career, review anything you lean on doing your your daily job that you won’t be able to access during the interview.
- Get a handle on the company’s current IT strategy. Know where it’s at in the life cycle of its current software and prepare some questions about what the next big project will entail, Ganos says.
- Prepare examples of ways you’ve used the technology you’ll work with in this position. If the job requires Oracle, be ready with stories that highlight your experience level and ability with it, says Ripaldi.
- Figure out what problem the hiring manger is looking for you to solve, so you can tailor your answers to feature the critical skills and knowledge you offer that can tackle that problem.
- Come up with questions for when the manager gives you a chance to ask what you want to know from them. Remember, your goal with these questions is to show how well you understand the technology, company and industry. So, make them insightful, not basic.
- Come up a few “I don’t know” phrases you can use in case you’re asked about a technology you haven’t worked with. I haven’t been exposed to that or I’m not sure what the answer is but here’s how I’d work on that problem are both good options.
- Warm up your interview brain by doing some programming brainteasers and puzzles.
- Prepare power sound bites that sum up your strengths. Start your power sound bite with a transition phrase like I was part of or in fact, to make it easy to toss into the interview just in case you’re not asked a question that allows you to use use it. For example, I was part of an Oracle implementation team at my current employer or In fact, I have five-plus years of Oracle implementation experience.
Reported and written by Dona DeZube