Few people in this world enjoy going on interviews; they’re often nerve-wracking, time-consuming, and the last step standing between a candidate and a job.
I have been an IT recruiter for 25 years, and when it comes to interviews with large banks, elite hedge funds or small financial shops, I've seen just about everything. The IT job interview is different than others because in the IT world there are many solutions to questions that are asked and at times the interview becomes a clash of egos, who’s better, the interviewer or interviewee?
Here's the best advice I give to candidates:
1. Do your homework BEFORE you go on the interview. Make sure you study up on the critical aspects of the technical skills the interviewer will be questioning you about.
2. Gather as much information about the group and the interviewer as you can. Look them up on LinkedIn, see what they are doing in the group, where they worked before their current company and where they went to school. Get familiar with the interviewer as much as possible.
3. Try to find people or interests you have in common with your interviewer. For example, do you know anyone who may have worked with them? If so, make sure this person will speak well of you. If you see that you have a common interest, try to work that into the conversation. It's OK to say you looked them up on Facebook or LinkedIn.
4. Never be late! In an emergency or if something happens out of your control, call ahead to inform the hiring manager or HR that you will be delayed, it is better than not arriving on time without prior notification.
5. Make sure you bring a copy of your resume with you. Please do not assume that the interviewer has it or has ever seen it. Give a good representation of yourself without it being too lengthy. Stay in areas that you know well so that if they ask you questions, you will be able to drill down in an area of strength.
6. When facing questions where you are not sure of the answer, preface your response with, “I’m not 100% percent, but this is what I would do,” and include additional information on how you would go about finding the correct answer. Interviewers may give you partial credit for an answer especially if they can follow your thinking.
7. If, during the interview, concerns arise about the details of the position or expectations, try to keep your attention on the interviewer. Do not lose focus or overtly show that you are disinterested in the job.
8. Any questions you may have, keep them focused on the details of the position. Stay away from topics like title, compensation, and benefits until you hear from the hiring manager or until the client says that they want you to join their firm.
9. Once you are finished with the interview, either write down how it went or use your smartphone’s recording feature to record your thoughts about the position, as well as the people whom you have met like, the hiring manager. You’ll be glad you did!
10. Try to stay away from giving any answer to compensation questions an interviewer may ask you. You do not have to tell them what you are making now or in the past. Should the interviewer ask what you are looking for, tell them you would consider their best offer, or say that you haven't interviewed lately and don't know the market for someone with your experience/level and would like time to think about it.
To those who are going out on interviews, I hope this assists you in the pursuit of that position you want.