Tips For A Successful Interview
Congratulations – you landed a job interview! Now what? Here are some tips about preparing for an interview so that you impress your potential employer. Your BravoTECH recruiter has additional tips for phone, video and in-person interviews.
PREPARE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT YOURSELF
Review your resume and think about how your education and experience apply to the job you’re seeking. Some of your experience may have happened a long time ago, so it’s good to refresh your memory. Think about how your experience can help the company solve its problems.
- Review your career history
- Review dates, duties and responsibilities, and accomplishments on your resume
- Know your strengths and weaknesses and be willing to discuss
- Think about a few specific examples of accomplishments/experience that can be used to help this company solve some business problems – For example, if you were part of a team that helped complete a major project ahead of schedule, which allowed the company to save money or roll out a product sooner, be sure to highlight that experience.
- Concentrate on your most recent positions, but don’t neglect your early career or education if it’s relevant
- Be prepared to discuss why you think you are qualified for the job
- Be enthusiastic — sell your positive attitude and energy
- If there is an aspect of the job you’re not familiar with, stress your willingness to learn new skills
ANSWERING TOUGH QUESTIONS
Some interviewers ask difficult or open-ended questions to see how you will react under pressure or test your communications skills. Below are a few example questions and some tips about how to answer them.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Give a brief overview of your education, including degrees and certifications and your career. Stick to your career history rather than your personal life.
- Why did you leave/are you leaving your last job?
- Keep your answer positive – “I’m looking for greater challenges,” “the job wasn’t a great fit for my skills,” etc. Avoid complaining about past working conditions or a difficult boss)
- What are your short-term goals? Long-term goals?
- Answer honestly. Some people are happy at their current level, while others are seeking greater responsibilities, such as a management role, in the future.
- What are your weaknesses?
- Try to spin your answer in a positive light. For example, “I would really like to gain experience with newer software,” or “I would like to take on greater responsibilities than my past positions have allowed.”
- What are your strengths?
- A good answer to this would be one that focuses on the strength in the skills listed as requirements for this position. Examples: expertise in the programming languages that are required, strong written and verbal communications skills, attention to detail, ability to work collaboratively with design and development teams, etc.
- Tell me about the worst boss you’ve ever had.
- This is a trick question. Avoid criticizing a former boss’ personality or saying he/she was too demanding. This could indicate an inability to get along with future managers. A good answer might be that your worst boss was someone who had a difficult time delegating work, but then got frustrated when projects were running behind.)
- What do you look for in a job?
- A good answer: You are looking for a position that allows you to utilize and improve your current skills and learn new skills. Don’t mention work hours or benefits.
- How do you work under pressure, deadlines etc.?
- As an IT professional, you should always be prepared to work under pressure or tight deadlines and be available after-hours on occasion to handle an emergency.
- How you are best managed?
- The best answer is that you are a self-starter who can work independently as long as you have a clear understanding of your managers’ expectations and the business requirements.
- What kind of salary are you looking for?
- If at all possible, don’t discuss salary in your first interview. Talk to your recruiter about how to approach this subject, if asked.
- What are your biggest accomplishments in your present or last job? Your career?
- Have some examples ready to discuss. Perhaps you were involved in a project that helped your company save money, launch a new product, increase efficiency, or improve customer service.
- What mistakes have you made in your career? How did you fix them?
- Everyone makes mistakes, so the interviewer is looking for how well you turned a negative situation into a positive one.
- What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be successful in this business?
- Do some research on the business prior to the interview, and discuss this topic with your recruiter, since they will have insights on this topic.
- In what ways do you think you can contribute to our firm?
- Summarize how your skills and experience align with the job requirements.
- What new goals or objectives have you established recently? Why?
- Have you decided to earn a new certification or take a class? Get a degree? The best answer to this is how you plan to improve your skills, but keep your answer aligned with the job you’re interviewing for.
- What was the most difficult ethical decision you have had to make? What was the result?
- Today’s companies are highly concerned about ethical behavior and compliance with corporate policies. This question is designed to determine that you will be an honest employee who follows the rules.
While some of these questions seem difficult, the key to answering effectively is to be prepared, truthful, and positive. Frame your accomplishments in terms of your ability to help your team, department or company meet its goals. When discussing your past work and associates, focus on the and avoid discussing personality conflicts or making judgements. Frame any negative circumstances in terms of how you proactively solved the problem or stayed productive despite obstacles. If you have questions on how to respond to any of these questions, please contact your BravoTECH recruiter for suggestions and tips!
HOW TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SKILLS
Your answers to questions about your skills and experience are critical – so being prepared is key. Here are some recommended techniques as well as detailed tips about answering common questions during an interview.
- Take your time formulating your answers. If you need clarification or time to consider your answer, confirm the question by repeating it back to the interviewer.
- Never just say “yes” or “no.” Back up your answers with a fact or example. The more detail you provide, the less you will be quizzed later, and the more knowledgeable you will appear.
- When asked about your prior position, state your area of responsibility and the name of the project(s) you worked on. Detail the different steps taken to make the project happen and tools you used. Describe how you accomplished or completed the project in a logical order so the interview can follow you.
- Keep in mind that the interviewer is interested how you went about doing the job, how you overcame obstacles and how you collaborated with others to achieve the goal.
- Remember to sell yourself. Relate personal or technical strengths that enabled you achieve each goal or successfully complete each project.
- IT professionals must continue to learn new technologies, so show your enthusiasm about learning new skills on the job, attending training classes or gaining new certifications in your spare time.
- If you don’t have experience with a specific technology, don’t simply say “No.” Instead answer in one of the following ways:
- “I have not had the opportunity to work with XX, but I am currently taking a course in it.”
- “No, but I am studying XX online at home, because I want to add it to my skillset.”
- “I have not worked with XX, but I’d be very excited to learn it and I know I could pick it up quickly.”
- Above all, craft your answers in a way that shows you are flexible and can adapt to a new environment. Employers want to know that they can rely on you as new technologies are deployed and new business challenges arise.
RESEARCH THE COMPANY
Your interviewer is interested in how you can be an asset to their department and organization – and that starts with an understanding of the business. Sources for information about the company include your BravoTECH recruiter, the company website, financial reports and business contacts (keep the position confidential).
Based on your research, prepare a few questions about the company and its current and future direction. Show your interest and enthusiasm in the company’s industry, markets, competitors and growth. A few example questions are:
- I noticed you grew 25% last year, which is impressive. What kind of growth do you see for your company in the next five years?
- You have offices in 5 states now. Tell me about the company’s future growth plans.
- How would you describe the leadership of the company?
- What is the work environment like?
- What have been the department’s successes in the last couple of years?
- What do you enjoy about working here?
RESEARCH THE POSITION
Your recruiter should be able to give you a detailed understanding of the position, requirements, responsibilities and expectations. Use the interview to gain a greater understanding of the position so that you can make an informed decision. Be prepared to ask specific questions, such as:
What are the main qualities you look for in a candidate?
- Who’s been successful in this position and why?
- Who’s failed and why?
- Who would I report to? And if applicable, Who would I supervise?
- What needs to be done in the first six months; in the first year?
- What are the career paths in this department?
- What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this job?
- What are the skills and attributes you value most for someone being hired for this position?
- What are the most immediate challenges of the position that need to be addressed?
- Could I meet my potential co-workers?
- The best question: How can I help you the most with my background?
Be enthusiastic and interested in learning more. As a reminder, do not discuss salary, benefits or work-from-home in initial interviews. Your recruiter will advise you on these topics.
CHECK YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Potential employers are likely to check your presence on social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow these tips to make a good impression.
- LinkedIn: If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, create one. Choose (or take) a photo of yourself wearing business attire for your profile picture. Update your experience if needed. If you need help creating a profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-create-killer-linkedin-profile-get-you-noticed-bernard-marr/
- Make sure there are no offensive or questionable posts or photos on of your social media accounts. If there is a photo or comment that you wouldn’t want your future boss to see, delete it. Also check any posts in which you have been tagged, as these will come up in a search. For more tips: https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2018-04-18/quick-tips-to-clean-up-your-social-media-profiles-when-job-searching