Securing your ideal job can be tough – especially if you’re hoping to secure a prime position in a competitive field such as Software Engineering. As our then VP of Global HR, Nick Bartlett pointed out in his recent post, there are a number of ways in which you can improve your CV to make it stand out and get your foot through the door – but it’s your interview that will seal the deal.
Whether it’s over the telephone or face-to-face, your interview is a unique opportunity to demonstrate that you have the skills and character traits required to secure your dream role. This can be a daunting task, especially if the standards are high. We interview our share of engineering candidates here at 1E, so we thought we’d share our tips for shining throughout the interview process.
Tell us why you want to work for us
If you’re focused on securing your dream job – and applying to a lot of different places – it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking about the role rather than the company you’re applying to. Remember that interviewers will be looking for someone who is interested in their company and the specific role they have on offer. When we interview candidates at 1E, we’re usually looking for like-minded people, who show that they want to work for 1E just as much as we want them working for us. It’s always good to do your research and let your enthusiasm for the company shine.
Be honest about why you’re moving on
It’s easy to feel put on the spot when you’re asked why you are leaving your current role, and it’s natural to feel uneasy about how your reasons will come across. Remember, that interviewers aren’t asking this out of a desire to judge whether or not your reasons are valid. Rather, they’re looking to learn more about what motivates you, where your career aspirations lie, and what you are looking to get out of your next job.
Know your core concepts
If you’re applying for a technical role, your interviewers will want to gauge your technical competence – no surprises there! Be prepared to show this off with examples, use cases – and a few questions of your own.
Good verbal skills
You might think that only sales reps need to have the patter, but communication skills are vital – especially within an international organization. Getting past all the “techie talk” that flies around any IT company’s office can be a challenge when everyone comes from diverse backgrounds – and excellent communication is a must for breaking down barriers. At 1E, we have a very diverse office with colleagues from plenty of different nationalities.
Know your CV
If you have highlighted certain skills or experience on your CV, be prepared to talk about them in your interview. Candidates who can’t explain their CV in more detail often risk losing the interviewer’s confidence. Take time to look through your CV, pick out the most relevant, interesting or surprising bits and ready yourself for questions and scenarios that might be thrown your way.
Do your research
It may sound basic, but this is an area where many candidates fall down time and again. Interviewers will want to know that you’re interested, so make sure you use the company website – and independent news feeds – to do some research. It also doesn’t hurt to check your interviewers out on LinkedIn or Twitter to find out a bit more about their professional history and interests.
Brush up on your problem solving
Problem solving is an important skill for any developer to have, so problem-based exercises are bound to come up in interviews. There are some great online resources on how to solve these kinds of problems and if you take the time to learn the techniques you’ll easily put yourself in the top 10% of developers who interview for most jobs and you’ll be much less nervous about being asked to solve a problem on the spot. At 1E, we like to ask candidates to get involved in a bit of collaborative problem solving, too.
Answer questions with passion
One-word answers to questions or one sentence textbook definitions may technically be correct, but if that is all you do, you are missing an opportunity to showcase one of the greatest assets a developer can bring to a team—passion. One of our interviewers here likes to ask interviewers to describe a day when they went home after work and felt a sense of achievement, allowing them to describe exactly what motivates and excites them at work.