Interview Competencies 101

When prepping for your interview it’s important to take all the necessary steps to put your best foot forward. You only get to make a first impression once, and there are some key strategies you can use to help you succeed. If you are considering a job in tech, you’re probably trying to nail that job at Google, Facebook, or Amazon. This can feel intimidating at first but with the right resources, you can know what to expect from your potential employers. A confident and knowledgeable persona helps show your potential employer that you care, and you’ve taken the time to master your craft. Let’s break down the interview do’s and don’ts for these industries, from preparing to perfecting your first phone screen.

**PREPARATION **

The most important part of interview preparation is knowing the material and practicing problem-solving. If you are looking to land a technical job position, you will most likely need to be well versed in program management, cross-functional leadership, and technical skills. However, learning the science of non-technical interview skills is just as important. This step is often overlooked and can truly make or break the strength of your interview. You need to be prepared for a conversational format, where you might get asked questions you weren’t expecting.

How to prepare before you apply:

  • Sit down and think about the companies you are interested in working for. The secret to cracking the code of your interview is understanding the expectations, brand values, and goals of your dream employer. Think about your qualifications and what you have to offer, and align with the companies that realistically work for you.
  • Do your company research before you even submit your resume. Many people make the mistake of sending out a generic resume or cover letter to multiple businesses. Especially in the field of tech, competition can be extremely competitive. If you want to work for Google, you need to cater your resume and all accompanying information to them specifically. This not only helps you stand out, but it drives home the fact that you care enough to be well versed in their specific needs.
  • Create your resume for HR Staff and differentiate yourself. You need to present yourself as a professional if you want to be treated like one. If you jot down random facts about yourself and submit them as a resume, this isn’t going to drive home your expertise. Put yourself in their shoes. The HR Staff at these large companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google are busy. They most likely have a stack of resumes to go through. You need to include keywords that catch their attention and qualifications that help you stand out.

How to prepare for your initial screen:

  • Study the potential questions your interviewer might ask. No matter how qualified you are, it is essential to know what to expect during interview questions. You need to be prepared for a conversation and present the accomplishments that set you apart. Here are some things to consider when you are preparing for your tech interview. This can fluctuate depending on the position you are applying for, so make adjustments when needed.

    • Think about your technical and non-technical experiences and the related outcomes.
    • If you are applying for a leadership position, think about how you’ve taken the lead and driven the team towards success. Be prepared to talk about what you learned along the way.
    • Think about your cross-functional skills and how you’ve handled competing priorities.
    • Be ready to talk about technical components as well as your overall work ethic.
    • Think about the depth of your knowledge and specialties. Be ready to demonstrate them in an authentic way.
    • Think about ways you’ve worked out of the box, or delivered a project with minimal resources. This is a great time to show how you’re different.
    • Think about how you have influenced projects, strategies, and outcomes with your skills.
  • Focus on examples of ways you’ve helped deliver and bring success to previous projects. Be prepared to share some of these if the opportunity arises. Illustrate your expertise by showing examples of past work in the technology space, or spec projects. Push home the ways you are able to learn new technologies. Bring examples of your work if you’re able to.
  • Be familiar with your resume and everything on it. If your interviewer asks you questions you want to be well versed and familiar with all material.
  • Brush up on your technical knowledge. Especially in relation to the company you are interviewing at. Your role at Facebook might look a lot different than at Amazon, so be well prepared.
  • Think about your motivations and interests. Why do you want to work for this company? How did you find a passion for tech? How are you going to be a great fit for this business?
  • Prepare smart questions for your interviewers. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer questions at the end. This shows you are serious about the position and can help clear up anything you might need to know for the future.
  • Practice with a tech interview expert. This is the best way to feel completely confident during your interview. At techinterview.coach we offer services to help you become a master before you even step into the interview. If you want to feel and talk like a professional, this is the best way to get your skills up to par.
  • Practice with a friend. It’s great to practice interview questions with a friend so you can get an idea of how the conversation flows. This will help prepare you, and keep your responses focused. This is a good thing to do alongside coaching with your interview expert.

EXECUTION

How to succeed during the interview:

  • Plan ahead. Make sure you pick out your outfit, bring multiple resumes, a pen, and a notepad. Being over-prepared is better than anything. I also recommend bringing examples of past work and a list of references.
  • Clarify the question. It’s much better to ask for clarity on the question during the interview to ensure you are answering it correctly. You don’t want to waste the interviewer’s time or make a bad impression due to miscommunication.
  • Be upfront and honest. If you don’t know something, or don’t have experience with something it’s better, to be honest. Employers look up to integrity and are often open to helping you grow. This is much better than diverting the question entirely.
  • Keep your answers concise. After all your preparation it can be easy to want to go overboard with your responses. Your interviewer will get the most from your responses if you keep them direct, and just detailed enough to show your expertise.
  • Practice positive body language or a happy tone. Whether it’s in person or over the phone, you want to win your potential employer over. Have a confident persona throughout the interview, and be genuine. Positivity goes a long way.
  • Tie your answers back to your skills and accomplishments. You don’t want to brag but it’s effective to use your resources to support the questions asked. Don’t hesitate to tie in your experience, skills, and expertise throughout the interview.

POST-INTERVIEW

**How to succeed moving forward: **

  • Ask about next steps. It’s a great idea to ask your interviewer or recruiter about what you should expect moving forward. This will likely be a follow-up email or phone call. However, it shows you are taking initiative with the process, and assures you stay on top of everything for the future.
  • Send a personalized thank you letter after the interview. During the interview process ask for the business card from everyone that participated. Send them each a personalized follow-up email, including specific details from the session. This helps you stand out and shows that you value the employees and opportunities. This is a great way to keep your name in their mind. If you have an early interview, sending it on the same day is fine. If it’s later, you can send it first thing the next day.
  • Write down anything you want to remember. Aside from interview notes you jotted down, it’s a great idea to take note of things while they’re fresh in your mind. Maybe something your interviewer said, the office environment, or tips to keep in mind should you have a second interview.
  • Assess your interview performance. The biggest way to grow is to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Think about something you answered, but wish you said differently. Think of better ways to approach your interviewer next time. Maybe they’re more conversational, or very formal. Become aware of these things and make adjustments when needed.

RESOURCES

Learn more about these companies. Career expectations, company mission statements, and more!

This is a great launchpad to start preparing for your application, interview, and winning over your potential employer. Jobs in tech can take a lot of preparation to ensure you stand out against the competition. If you want to feel secure in your interviewing techniques and perfect your strategies, you need to use all your resources.


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