“The Interview.” This is more about interviews for positions in the tech world than anything else.
Most people at some point in their lives will have to go through an interview process. Depending on the industry, country, culture and compliance/governance requirements this process can either be very long and tough or quite simple. It’s possible to have interviews which are very interrogative, and some which are quite relaxed. In technology, rarely is there a situation which is quite as humiliating and exposing as the BBC Apprentice style interview process; more so, employers want to know the potential of a candidate and this can be evident quite quickly.
What an employer looks for in a candidate
- Well presented
Tech specific qualities
- Problem solving ability
- Willingness to learn
- Enthusiasm in the domain
- Ambition to teach/share knowledge
- Stickler for good quality
- Eagerness to improve/evolve
- Ability to reflect upon oneself, acknowledge mistakes and improve
What a candidate should be looking for in a role
This depends a little on general aspirations, but, aside from remuneration, candidates should be looking for some basic qualities in a company which will give them a foundation for a great future. Aside from typical things like pension, healthcare, dental which are nice to have, and mandatory things like sensible working hours and paid overtime:
- Training provided and encouraged
- A clear career path (not necessarily detailed, but evident)
- A strong trading history (difficult for start-ups, so choose wisely here)
- A friendly and ambitious team
- A vibrant social scene
A role is just as much about what the company can do for an individual, as what an individual can do for a company. It’s a two way agreement to work together.
Ask to meet the team and get a tour of the office or working areas; you spend a lot of time with the guys day to day, so request an introduction and have a conversation. It’s perfectly okay to do this in interview (preferably after an offer is made), a good employer will recognise desire to make the right choice for oneself – this quality will be reflected in outputs.
How to prepare
There are some fairly obvious steps which every recruiter will advise on (they need to do something for their commission!) and shouldn’t be overlooked.
- Research the company and role
- Prepare a CV which is honest and transparent, concise and not too overwhelming
- Be presentable – a number of roles require client facing duties
What to avoid
- Recruiters - Recruitment consultants make commission from a transaction – they will be looking to up the market rate which may actually weaken one's chances of getting the opportunity. Research independently and assess the worth of skillset and experience judging on those two factors predominantly. i.e. If a candidate has just been promoted to a mid-level in their old place, they are likely not immediately worth the same salary as a mid-level of three years’ experience.
- Overselling oneself – A sensible employer will assess ability judged on nothing but their preferred method of doing so (technical test, assessment form, conversation); what a candidate has to say is interesting, but it will be clear if there are some inconsistencies between the spoken word and the results of the test, so transparency and honesty is important.
- Underselling oneself – On the flipside to the above, a compelling argument as to why an employer should take a candidate presented to them for interview is also crucial. It’s unlikely that an employer is so desperate for a candidate that they haven’t a choice; intelligently impress to shine above the other candidates.