No matter where you are in your technologist journey, interviewing for a new job can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do ahead of time to prepare. Check out these tips below, adapted from our new Ultimate Guide to a Successful Technology Career.
Research, Research, and... Research
Dig as deep as you can in the time you have. Start with the organization’s official website, particularly the “About Us” page, and its corporate blog. You’ll also want to check out any mentions of the company on Google News, Apple News or your aggregator of choice, which will provide valuable insight into the company’s strategy, latest maneuvers, and technology stack.
For extra credit, follow the organization on its social platforms to glean insights (i.e., culture, volunteering, staff spotlights, etc.) you may not be able to find elsewhere. If you’re working with a recruiter, ask them what you can expect during the company’s interviewing process. You can also use your research to come up with some good questions to ask the hiring manager during the interview, which will underscore your curiosity and interest in the company’s work.
What's Your Story?
Instead of a canned answer to “walk me through your résumé,” take the time to sit down and shape your narrative. How did everything on your résumé lead you to being prepared and perfect for this job? What have you learned from your experiences (school, side projects, etc.)? What technologies intrigue and excite you, and why?
Interviewers are trying to get a sense of your character as much or more than your skillset, so draw them in with a cohesive journey that helps them get to know the real you.
Prepare for the Coding Test
Certain kinds of job interviews will come with a coding and/or logic test. Sometimes these tests are take-home; sometimes you'll do them on a screen with an instructor watching, and sometimes you'll need to whiteboard a coding or logic problem.
Whatever the testing methodology, it’s more important to work the problem and show your thought process than provide the right solution (although right answers are always appreciated). Logic tests are also an opportunity to show off your creativity and approach to problem-solving.
Always Follow Up
Sending a personalized thank-you note to your interviewer is critical; if you don’t have their full name and contact info, request it during the interview. Don’t be afraid to follow up your interview by emailing a few additional questions; that just reinforces that you’re interested in the role.
If you want the job, don’t be afraid to show your passion and interest in your responses. What about this company and its current projects interest you the most? The hiring manager needs to know you view the job as a unique opportunity, not just a paycheck.
And remember: no two jobs are the same, and you’ll always need to approach each new opportunity with a fresh mindset. For more tips on how to shape a unique tech journey, check out the Ultimate Guide to a Successful Technology Career.