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IT interviews tend to include technology-specific questions or actual technical (practical) tests, as well as the usual behavioural and general background and motivation questions,” explains Natasha Brooks, Head of IT Recruitment at Robert Walters. But fear not, Natasha has given us some insider tips on how you can prepare…
1. Don’t forget the basics
Make some time to prepare… for your preparation. “A few evenings should be enough unless the role is very different from the applicant’s current skills and experience,” reveals Natasha. In particular, she emphasises that applicants should “be prepared to talk about their skills and experience, reasons for choosing particular courses and career paths, reasons for accepting and leaving any jobs, gaps in employment and future aspirations”. Likewise, candidates need to think about “the role they are applying for – what does it involve? How does it match their skills and experience? Why are they interested and why do they think they would be good for the role?”
2. Practice makes perfect
Keep in mind that while your CV helps you land an interview, it may also be what lets you down. Namely, can you remember how to do everything you’ve said you’re trained to do? Your interview may require practical demonstrations of the technical capabilities on your CV, so be prepared.
“Ensure that you have up to date, practical knowledge of any technical skills that appear ‘current’ on your CV,” offers Natasha. “Spend time refreshing your knowledge on anything that may be a little rusty.”
So ask yourself: can I prove that I can do everything I’ve listed on my CV on the day of the interview?
3. Research and research, then research some more
“As with any type of job, research the company and the role to ensure that you can give real examples of where you have performed tasks that the role involves,” reveals Natasha. “If you know there are gaps in your knowledge or experience, don’t be afraid to acknowledge this, but do some preparation and research to show that you are proactive and capable of learning.” This is where many people fall short.
“It is shocking how many applicants don’t do basic research on the company they are applying to and it reflects very poorly on them,” argues Natasha. “If they can’t be bothered to even read the website (let alone company reports, other news or PR articles), how enthusiastic are they likely to be in the job? As well as knowing what they can about the company, applicants should be prepared to discuss what attracts them to the company and why they are interested in working there.”
4. Think about the future
In the fast-paced world of IT, with its constant technological evolutions (and revolutions), you will stand out in the interview if you demonstrate a keen awareness of things that may affect the company – and even your job role – in the future.
“This is very important,” says Natasha. “Employers show the highest demand for professionals who understand how technology impacts a business and who can liaise with both technical and non-technical people throughout the company.”
If possible, show your interviewer that you understand how emerging issues such as cloud, mobile, social and big data technology could affect the company.
5. Answer questions, and ask them
When it comes to IT interviews, it is potentially hazardous to neglect preparing questions for your interrogators.
“All applicants should prepare some questions for the interview,” explains Natasha. “It shows that they are taking the process seriously and are looking to make an informed decision.”
Remember: your questions – whether technical or non-technical – may say as much about your potential and suitability as your answers.
And don’t forget, you can always read up on what to do if you haven’t had much experience doing job interviews and, with those basics covered, you can find out six ways on how to get the edge over other candidates here. Good luck.