How to Prepare for an IT Interview
As technology accelerates and evolves faster than ever before, IT departments are experiencing tremendous change. Organizations are increasingly looking at IT to be the driving force in all aspects of the business. As a result, it has become increasingly important to identify candidates who not only bring the functional skills, but also the genuine curiosity, cultural fit, and attitude to be successful in today’s rapidly changing business environment.
As the hiring manager at SWC, I have to be extremely strict when it comes to selecting new hires to ensure they’re not only the right fit for our organization, but also for the wide variety of local midsize businesses we serve. While technical skills are important, first impressions during an interview can say a lot about an individual’s ability to thrive in the fast-paced world of IT.
If you’re preparing for an IT interview, I recommend these five tips to help you engage with the interviewer, make a great first impression, and land the job!
- Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know” – While it’s important to highlight your expertise in an interview, you are not expected to be an expert in everything. Be candid about what you know and what you don’t know. In the tech industry, it’s rare for a candidate to come in with expertise in every facet of the position right out of the gate. A lot of learning happens on the job. Your honesty and willingness to adapt to a new work environment and learn new technologies will go a long way in the eyes of a hiring manager.
- Spruce up your soft skills –Tech teams no longer exist in silos; they must work cross-functionally between engineers, developers, designers, business analysts, and a number of other specialized skills to bring the most value to the business. Add on top of this, the IT landscape is rapidly changing. The role that you’re interviewing for today may not be the same six months from now. Candidates that show an ability to learn, grow, adapt, and work as a team player are the ones that get the offer. You can teach technical skills and fill gaps in knowledge, but the attitude and culture someone brings to the job are much more difficult to train.
- Dress for success – More and more, tech companies are moving towards a casual work environment. While this may be appropriate for the day-to-day, you always want to put your best foot forward on the day of your interview. If you are looking to become a leader in your industry – dress like it! You won’t ever send the wrong message by dressing professionally. In turn, you’ll boost your confidence and send the message that you’re genuinely interested and excited about the opportunity.
- Ask good questions – An interview is just as much for you as it is for the hiring manager. Make sure you ask the right questions so you understand the role and responsibilities of the new position completely. Not only does this give you a better idea of how you would potentially be spending the majority of your day, but it shows the hiring manager that you’re genuinely engaged in the conversation and looking for a job that matches your skill set and work style. Finding a candidate who is the “right fit” should be just as important to us as it is to the person we’re hiring.
- Stay connected – I can’t tell you how many times we received a resume or spoke to a great candidate who we would have liked to hire, but the timing just wasn’t right. Fortunately, we live in a world today where staying connected is easy. If you’ve made a good first impression, send us an email after your interview letting us know you’re interested in future opportunities. Connect with us on LinkedIn to stay in-the-know of other positions. Some of our best hires are those that remained top-of-mind after their initial interview until the perfect opportunity came along.
While interviews can be nerve-wracking, remember that the interviewer is just as invested in your success as you are. After all, our people are our greatest asset. Whether you’re applying for a job with SWC or elsewhere, do your best to showcase who you are and how you’ll fit into the role and the company.