6 tips to land a job in tech (part 3- the interview)

By Courtney Jones

tech interview tipsSo you wanna be a tech superstar?
And live large, a big house, five cars?

Well, we may have gotten a bit overzealous with the whole five cars thing, but Cypress Hill’s Rap Superstar lyrics seemed to really radiate Monday motivation… and although the correlation is tenuous at best, inspiration is inspiration. Right? Let’s talk tech.

“Know the company, dress to impress, ask the right questions, don’t be late…” These are the most talked about interview tips, but when you wanna be a tech superstar, you’ve got to go above and beyond…

Whether you’re a recent grad lacking experience or experienced in the workforce but seeking a career change, try demonstrating these tech interview tips to communicate you’ve got the skills for tech super stardom.

Practice… Practice... Practice…

Techies are problem-solvers, puzzle piece placers and creative practitioners; they need to think like the box doesn’t even exist, and innovate like it’s going out of style. Before any interview, review the technologies that you’re expected to know but haven’t recently used, and remind yourself of the terminology and key concepts that might come up during interviews. Some career experts suggest up to 10 hours of practice before your meeting. How? Join a programming team or find coding questions online and be prepared for creative problem solving questions and brain teasers.

AND practice your coding!

Show how you can adapt

Being adaptable in your position means you’re going to have to demonstrate in the interview that you can Darwin the roll. Because in tech, if you don’t adapt, you won’t survive. When it comes to IT, you can expect that everything can and will fail; employers want to determine your thinking capabilities and how you’ll come up with solutions. During the interview process, recruiters are determining whether or not they like you, if you know your stuff and if you’re passionate about the field, a potential employer wants to know if you’re adaptable, flexible and productive—so highlight situations where you had to pivot for productivity.

Build on your experience

To be the architect of your own employment, you need to build on your experience. During the interview, target events and projects from your professional or academic experience where you faced one or two challenges and how you overcame them.  Keep it short and sweet: Give a sentence about your general role, and then focus on one challenge or problem that you solved. A simple rule to remember is to never put something on your resume that you barely worked on or that you don’t know much about. You’ll be asked about it!

Get comfortable

While you prepare for the question portion of the interview, you should also prepare for the physical component; this means getting rid of practical obstacles. It makes a difference when you’re asked to write formulas on a white board, on paper or on a computer. If you’re a visual thinker and need to scribble, ask at the beginning of the interview if you can have a piece of paper to write things down. These little things can go a long way.

Be online before you’re in-person

You don’t need a complete website, but you do need to have examples of your work online. Github.com allows you to quickly and easily upload an open source project and share it with chosen people. You can also send the link in an email before you meet.

Follow up—but be relevant

Post-interview etiquette demands a quick thank you note after you meet, but if you want to really stand out in tech, be a bit more interesting than your candidate counterparts by including something relevant to what was discussed in the interview. Along with your felicitations, send along a code element or the link to a project you spoke about during your meeting.

The road to tech superstardom is getting closer! If you missed part one or two of our three part series, you can check out them out here and here!


by Courtney Jones

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