Research, preparation, body language, enthusiasm & honesty is key
As you may know, Red C is expanding its award winning services with rapid UK based development capabilities and the introduction of new leading edge app technologies, such as augmented reality and machine learning. Throughout this process, we have been carrying out a number of interviews for different roles within our company and have noticed a similar pattern when it comes to common interview mistakes. To help anyone who’s preparing for a new role, we have put together our top ten tips for a tech interview:
1. Body language
Around 70% of communication is through body language, therefore we believe that open body language is single handedly the most important tip for any interview. Sit up straight, keep eye contact, ensure your palms are facing upward and don’t forget to smile! First impressions are everything. In fact, it is likely that the interviewer will make up his or her mind on you in the first five minutes of meeting. Once the interview begins, remember not to fall into a slouch or fidget if you become nervous. Simply take a moment and recompose yourself before answering the next question. The interviewer will understand that there is a lot of pressure on you.
2. Stay focused
Staying focused throughout the entire interview may seem like an obvious one. However, interviewers can tell if you are not 100% in the room. You want to ensure that you demonstrate your skills and personality in a clear and concise manner by focusing on the questions being asked, and answering to the best of your ability. Nothing will frustrate an interviewer more than a candidate wandering off topic and talking too much. If you are unsure of a question, you can ask the interviewer to repeat it. This will give you a moment to process and think about your answer.
3. Do your research
It is always important to do your research on a company before you arrive, so you can show off your knowledge. After all, that’s exactly what interviews are about! Don’t hold back on using specific examples to enhance your answers. For example ‘I read the detailed case study for X app project and found it particularly interesting because of Y’, and relate it back to the question. This is important because it shows the interviewer that you have prepared and that you have a genuine interest in their business.
4. Ask what they are looking for in a candidate
Surprisingly, in all the interviews we’ve conducted, not many candidates have had questions for us. This is not ideal. Like most companies, we want to see that you have thought outside the box and genuinely want to learn as much as you can about us - our team, our culture, our brand, our mission and more. So, when you are offered the opportunity to ask a question, make the most of it!
One question that we would recommend asking is what it is they are looking for in a candidate. This encourages the interviewer to share exactly what it is you need to show them in the interview. The earlier you get an opportunity to ask this question, the better position you are in to demonstrate that you are all of the things they are looking for.
5. Be positive and enthusiastic
Number five on our list of top tips is showing the interviewer that you are keen to be a part of the company. The first step of this is turning up early. Make sure you leave with plenty of time for transport delays, and aim to arrive with 15 minutes to spare. Don’t be too early - if you are more than 10 minutes early, find a coffee shop nearby to kill some time, there is nothing worse for the interviewer who has a tightly planned schedule, to have you waiting - it’s awkward for you both. 10 minutes is just enough time to sit down, take a breather and run through your answers without feeling awkward waiting at reception for too long. Plus, you’ve already shown the interviewer that you have great time management skills and are enthusiastic about the role.
Throughout the interview, you must demonstrate your excitement for the role - speak about the details you read in the job description and try your best to demonstrate your genuine passion for the industry. Additionally, try not to apologise unnecessarily as this comes across as negative. Be confident in your answers and your ability to perform.
6. Bring your work to showcase
Depending on the role you are interviewing for, it is important to have something to showcase. For example, if you are a designer, be prepared to talk through some of the previous design projects in your portfolio. Or if you are applying for a quality assurance role, bring your laptop along to demonstrate some test cases. If you are interviewing for a marketing or sales role, be ready to discuss and show examples of your strategy in practice. You do not want to simply recap your resume. An interview is an opportunity to show the interviewer all the things about you that aren’t on your CV.
7. Show that you want to learn and add value to the company
Another one of our top tips is to show the interviewer that you want to learn and add value to the company. Speak about your personal career development and how you see yourself growing within the company over the next year or two. Interviewers want to know that you see a future for yourself at the company and that you will not jump ship too quickly. They also want to know that you can represent the company in front of clients, even if it is not a client facing role you are applying for. Remember, even if your role is behind the scenes, you still represent the company.
Furthermore, remember to follow up with your interviewer. Use their name, say thank you for the opportunity and that you look forward to hearing your feedback soon - this can go a long way!
8. Listen intently to questions and and answer succinctly and confidently
Answering the question may seem like an obvious one. However, on a number of occasions we have asked questions that we simply have not received an answer to! It’s surprising how many candidates are thrown by a slightly different question to what they may have prepared for. What we recommend is not to have word for word answers prepared, but to instead have an idea of what you are going to say and what skills you need to demonstrate, so that your answers aren’t too fixed. After all, the interviewer may ask completely different questions to what you have prepared, and you don’t want to come across as stiff.
9. Be honest
If you are asked a question that you do not know the answer to, be honest. For example “I have not worked with programme X before, however I have worked with programme Y which is similar in that [...], and I would be happy to learn programme X”. This is useful as you have turned a negative into a positive with your knowledge and willingness to learn.
Remember, you have been invited to the interview stage because they were impressed with your resume. When it comes down to it, all interviewers want to know is who you really are, so don’t put on a facade - just be yourself.
10. Dress smart and simple - nothing distracting
Our last top tip is to dress smart and simple. Research the company culture to gather a feel for whether it’s extremely smart or extremely casual. However, if you do not know the dress code, it is better to play it safe and dress smart and simple. Do not wear distracting jewellery or anything with a slogan. You do not want the interviewer to be distracted.
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