As a talent acquisition professional in the tech space, I have had the advantage of conducting initial interviews with a mix of candidates with different specialisms and experience; from engineers to programme leads. I’ve also assessed a significant amount of candidate feedback from some of the most influential tech firms for senior level hires. I therefore thought it would be helpful to summarise a few key things that I believe will help you to stand out at interviews and make a great impression to your prospective employer.
- Do your research – it is always important to do your homework about the company that you want to work for. And there is no excuse to not do some digging as everything is out there on the www. You can look on the company website, click the ‘news’ tab on Google and find out the most up to date company news and insights. You can also search LinkedIn to look at other people (potential colleagues) that work for the business and how your role fits in with what they do. Doing prior research would be glaringly obvious and attractive to a hiring manager and its never time wasted as you’ll normally learn something interesting about a company that you respect.
- Be on time and punctual. It goes without saying but it’s important and this leaves a good impression and shows that you respect other people’s time.
- Up your communication skills. Never underestimate the power of soft skills such as communication. Although communication can sometimes be underestimated in the world of tech, its vital as you must be able to articulate your thinking clearly and concisely and also listen to and discuss matters with your team.
- Don’t hide your personality. Many companies now conduct cultural chats to see if there is good rapport and value alignment between the candidate and team members.
- Ask good questions. Most candidates ask the same, conventional questions that hiring managers have heard over and over again. Pull a few other questions out the bag that make companies stop and think. You can even get more personal and ask questions such as what attracted them to the company, what are their key milestones and how do they see you fitting in to the team structure.
- First impressions count, so make a good one. Did you know that it only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression? Research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness. On that note, despite the fact that many tech companies having relaxed, casual dress policies (which I am all for), I believe it’s still important to make a ‘tidy’ appearance. I.e., ideally you haven’t just rolled out of bed on to a Zoom interview but instead, you’ve taken a bit more care and consideration in your appearance.
Words by Maleek Montgomery, Specialist Consultant in Data and Engineering