Making an impression during an interview is, by no means, easy. Yes, you have caught their attention with a great CV, but what next?
Do your research
Know the company! There is nothing worse than sitting in an interview, and the first question is, “So, what do you know about us?”, and you have nothing to say. Familiarise yourself with the technologies and languages they work with. Tell them why you are interested in the company and the role you are applying for. Throw in a few lines about their achievements, or what you have heard about them in the news recently.
A big part of acing an interview is knowing how to answer questions about yourself. From successes to failures, the interviewer is likely to delve deeply into your professional life to see how you evaluate your own performance.
Here is a list of questions you can use to prepare yourself:
- What are my biggest strengths?
- What are my biggest weaknesses?
- What are your goals?
- What motivates you?
- What would your previous manager say about you?
Every interaction is important
From the reception desk through to hiring managers, every interaction you make with the company is crucial. Be polite, say hello to everyone, and smile. It is not an uncommon practice for hiring managers to ask others how you behaved on arrival and before leaving the office premises.
As simple as the word sounds, it is not an easy feat to achieve, but not impossible. During an interview (especially, your first), it is quite easy to get flustered and start panicking. Always remember that the interviewer wants you to do well – they would not arrange a meeting with you, taking time out of their busy schedules, if they thought otherwise. That being said, if you do find yourself rambling on, take a few deep breaths and answer the questions using the STAR Philosophy:
- Situation: Give a background of your story, i.e. set the scene.
- Task: Describe what you were doing previously, elaborating equally on your achievements and failures.
- Action: What did you do to complete the task on hand? How did you neutralise the challenges you faced on a project?
- Result: Speak in great detail about the final outcome. Remember to demonstrate your skills, as well as anything you have learnt on the job.
The STAR philosophy is great for answering those questions about your technical aptitude, such as:
- Tell me about a project you have worked on and how you completed it successfully.
- What does MVC stand for, and what is its purpose?
- What are your thoughts on unit testing?
- Draw the system architecture of one of your projects.
- How would you go about debugging?
Always ask a question (actually two)!
So, you have wrapped up your interview but, in reality, the process is not over yet. What you do next is absolutely crucial to nailing that first impression. Even if you have all of the information you need regarding the job, company, your prospective manager, etc., I would suggest that you ask a question or two. You can either prepare them in advance or make a (mental) note of the ones that spring into your mind during the course of your conversation. Asking questions show that you are committed, well aware, determined, and a thorough professional.
Hopefully these tips help settle a few nerves. Good luck!