The modern tech job interview : 4 “do”s and “don’t”s !

With the economy still puttering along, and the tech job market more competitive than ever, it’s vital to know what does and doesn’t matter in the modern-day interview. Because let’s face it, your resume may get you the date, but it’s the interview that decides whether or not you’re getting past the door for a nightcap.

Time still matters

As for that whole timing thing, arriving 15 minutes early still tends to be the magic number, but 10 should do you just fine. Don’t get there so early that you become BFFs with the receptionist, but do err on the side of caution.
Bottom line when it comes to the clock: Do not show up late, not even by a millisecond.

Being the ‘tech guy/girl’ isn’t enough to land the job

It’s not a seller’s market anymore. Companies will not be falling all over themselves to hire you. You don’t get the job just by walking through the door. Simply put, you are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You can no longer walk into an interview with only a vague idea of what the company does. You have to research, research, research.

Let the interviewing managers feel like you know their company and the position better than they do, and that you are an indispensible asset to the team. So get out there and scour the web. The more you know, the better and knowing is half the battle.

Less people speak tech than you think

Know everything there is to know about platform architecture? Dream firewalls and honeypots? Can’t wait to bust out the tech jargon? Well, slow down there, nerdlinger. Just because you’re interviewing for an IT position or walking into a tech firm doesn’t mean all your interviews will be with people as geektastic as you. Tech is an increasingly divergent field, with venture capitalists, old guard managers and traditional entrepreneurs getting into the fray, and although they may know they need you, they might not know much about what it is you do.
Hopefully you can stalk—uh, I mean research, yeah, research— your interviewers ahead of time, but if you’re going in blind, be ready to be your charming, wonderful, plain ole English-speaking self. It’s a solid rule of thumb, regardless. Interviews are still about good old-fashioned human connectivity above all else.

Yes, you should still send a thank-you note (sort of)

Back in the days of dinosaurs and ticker tape it was traditional to send a formal thank-you letter via snail mail after the interview. It was a nice, flowery way to remind potential employers that you still exist. Thanks to email, the standard thank-you letter has suffered a serious identity crisis. And plenty of job seekers, in turn, have suffered along with it. Do I send a thank-you note? Do I not send a thank-you note? HOW DO I SEND A THANK-YOU NOTE?

First, you need to calm down. This is easy, I promise. Here’s the deal: You should always send a thank you, even if you don’t want the job. Thank-you letters are not just common courtesy, but they can also help keep the door open when you don’t get the job or decline the offer. Here’s the other part of the deal: It doesn’t have to be a Hallmark card. Snail-mail thank-you notes are pretty much dead, mainly because they take something like 72 days to arrive. The great thing about the thank-you email is that you can send it as soon as you want (but maybe wait at least a few hours).

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3 thoughts on “The modern tech job interview : 4 “do”s and “don’t”s !”

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