Finding Your IT Edge: Top Tips to Succeed in any Interview
Interviews can be daunting – this is fact. However, what a lot of people don’t realise is that every candidate has some degree of power when it comes to determining whether they will be successful in their interview or not. Being technically and personally capable to perform a job is of utmost importance, but the impression you leave on your interviewers also has a significant effect on the outcome.
In short: preparation is vital, it is key, and it matters. A lot of people tend to brush over a role and job spec. presuming they will just wing it at the interview on the day. If you want to be ready for an interview, you need to approach it with the right amount of preparation. Your research before the interview is equally important. Ensure you have the following figured out before the day arrives:
Locate the Venue: How far away is it? How will you get there? How much time do you need to allow yourself?
Do your Research: Study the company and its culture. Don’t give the impression that you aren’t concerned about the company’s story or their business background.
Who are you talking to? Find out who you will be meeting and check out their LinkedIn. It will give you a good idea of the interview panel, and their role within the company.
Know your CV: If you are asked about something listed on your CV and struggle to confidently explain or remember the details, it will not impress. The format of the interview is important, so you can prepare for the type of questions you could be asked on the day.
Ok, you’ve checked off the list above. Now what?
Next, is to prepare yourself for what kind of questions you could be asked. These days, a lot of companies will go down the route of competency-based interviews, meaning it’s important that you prepare for these type of questions, having effective and impressive answers ready.
The key thing with this, is to recall good examples of where you took ownership of difficult situations and developed a successful resolution. This, in turn, acts as a reflective of how you will re-approach a similar situation in your potential new role.
To answer these types of questions well, I advise using the STAR guide:
Situation: What circumstances were you under? What had just happened/failed to happen?
Task: What did you need to do to achieve a good result from the situation?
Action: How did you carry out the task you needed to perform? What resources did you use? Who did you ask?
Result: What was the result from the situation? Did it work out in your favour? Who did it benefit in the organisation?
What else do you need to consider?
Dress Code: Like it or not, first impressions tend to stick. That’s why it’s important to dress appropriately. This varies depending on the company, so make sure you have checked this and are completely sure before arriving to the interview on the day.
Show Enthusiasm: Don’t limit yourself to only answering the questions asked of you. Show your eagerness for the role by volunteering information, asking relevant questions and engaging properly with your interviewer. In my experience, if you have two candidates interviewing for a job with similar qualifications, the one who displays real enthusiasm will be successful.
Body Language: As body language frequently acts as a lie detector, it is hard to fake. Make sure to relax as much as possible and be at ease when in an interview. A tense body leads to a tense atmosphere. Try these tips to help yourself stay on track while interviewing:
- Slow Down: Often when we operate at the speed of our minds, we lose control of our body language. Taking the time to speak slowly and articulately will help pave a reliable path to having greater control over your body and body language, enabling you to settle in to a more relaxed, natural state.
- Eye Contact: Maintain frequent, though intermittent, eye contact. Sense the comfort level of the interviewer and give them slightly more than equal eye contact. This relaxes you both and helps you engage better in the conversation.
- Posture: Sit upright, but in a relaxed position so that your shoulders drop naturally, and your back is straight, but not flexed backwards.
- Angles: Direct your shoulders so that you are facing the manager. This suggests openness, rather than avoidance.
- Leaning: Lean in fluidly when appropriate, but always return to a natural sitting position.
- Hands and Feet: Find a few comfortable poses that suit you. In general, your feet should be flat on the floor (if possible) and hands should be in a neutral state unless speaking. When you do speak, gesture sparingly.
Finally - stay in your chair, not your thoughts.
Remember: an interview is only a conversation, and you have had thousands of conversations throughout your life. If you think of it as a performance, you are likely to find it difficult to relax and be at ease, which will affect your body language and the overall atmosphere of the conversation.
The key to succeed in any interview is to prepare. As I said before; know where you’re going, know who you’re talking to and know your CV. You would not be interviewing for this job if the hiring manager didn’t think you were qualified, so all you have left to do is calmly and confidently describe yourself and your qualifications. Make sure to be present and not to overthink a situation.
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The IT market is highly competitive right now, but we can help you cement your position there. Send your CV to the email address below and watch your tech career, unfold.