The job interview is the most important stage in hiring, the opportunity to make a first impression on the recruiter and learn more about the company and working conditions. For the employer, this is also a kind of test. After all, he needs to find out in a short time whether you can cope with the company’s tasks.
Interview questions can be very different. Recruiters care not only about your skills, intelligence, work experience, but also habits, psychological stability, character. Today I want to discuss with you all the stages of a job interview.
Before the Interview
1) Learn the tools specified in the job requirements
It’s probably understandable, but I’ll remind you anyway. Before each interview, please read carefully the tools that are used on this project. If you know the tool and how to work with it – it’s good, if you don’t know – google it, sort it out.
For example, if it says “JMeter”, at least write a Google request: “What is JMeter” and follow the first link. In general, I recommend that you give this tool a week or two, to deal with the basic commands and features.
it is customary to say that it’s better to accept the offer and then figure out how to work than to reject the offer. If you have been invited to an interview, do not refuse just because you are not sure of your knowledge. You have some time to prepare – use it. Don’t waste your time but learn this tool that you don’t know.
2. Gather information about the company
Prepare yourself for what you may be asked: “What have you heard about our company? Why do you want to join us?” If you answer that you don’t know or haven’t heard anything, it will be a failure. In order not to fail this little test, all you have to do is say two or three sentences about the company.
If you have acquaintances who work there, you can refer to them – say that they recommended this employer.
3. Think about your appearance
You shouldn’t come in a jacket, pants and a shirt with a tie. This style of clothing is clearly not typical of the IT environment. Most likely, you will not feel comfortable with guys and girls dressed informally sitting around.
Free style is welcome: jeans and a T-shirt.
But don’t go to the other extreme: slippers and shorts aren’t worth it either, unless you’re already a superb senior or Chuck Norris, who dictates his own terms to the company.
4. Don’t be late and don’t come too early.
You can come to the office of the company as much as you want in advance, but it is better to ring the doorbell 5 minutes before the interview. Firstly, you will not disturb an HR-specialist, who also has his own job. Secondly, when you come 5 minutes in advance, you show your punctuality, but not obsession. Five minutes is just enough to calm down, go to the toilet or quickly see the company apartments.
But I highly recommend not to come later than the appointed time – you will immediately fail.
Interview With HR Specialist
1. Acquaintance with the company
HR will definitely ask what you know about the company, which employer you are looking for, so it would be good if you tell us what you have read on the company’s website and say a few words about the future employer.
2. Check your English level
If you are going to a job interview in a country where English is not an official language, do not be afraid if HR changes to English without warning. It’s a kind of test, too.
If you do not understand what you are being asked, politely ask to slow down the pace of your speech. It’s quite normal. If the interview takes place over the phone, the connection is terrible, and you hear the person through the word, then do not hesitate, say it and ask to go to skype (zoom) or have a conversation face-to-face in the office of the company.
Your goals: it’s good if a person can voice and explain their aspirations and plans. If you don’t have them, I still recommend making a list.
Previous jobs: “Tell us about your previous experience, why you want to work in IT.” It’s not worth mentioning in this paragraph that you go to IT for money – in 90% of all the cases it’s clear. But to make a good impression, say you want to change lives, develop, you like to test, you see that this field changes people for the better, and something like that. Or your own version.
Salary expectations: It doesn’t really matter how much you say, because the employee’s choice depends on how much the candidate likes the interviewer. Focus on the average, do not ask for a high salary at once, but do not underestimate the bar. If the interviewer likes you, and the expected salary is not much higher than that of other candidates, and falls into the salary “fork”, you will get an offer. In case they liked you but you ask for more than the company could offer then HR will probably write you a request to reconsider the desired amount.
You don’t have to ask too little or too much, you better learn the tools you will need for software testing and forget about money for a while.
Interview With Technical Experts
This stage can last from 15 minutes to 2.5 hours. Questions may be different:
a) Questions about your experience (what you did, what tools you used, your last project). You should not limit your speech to three sentences on this point. It would be a good idea if you prepared a speech about yourself for 2-5 minutes in advance. It is better to talk about yourself than if the interviewers are going to test you later, and whether you have worked with this tool or with this one.
b) Technical questions. What are test cases, test plans, checklists? SQL queries, Jmeter, API and etc.
c) Logical tasks. Remember: it does not matter if you give the right answer or not. What matters is how you think after this question. Do not say that you do not know how to solve the problem – it’s another failure. Think out loud, draw on paper, think through the answer scheme. As a last resort, you can ask for a hint – this will show that you are not afraid to ask, and do not give up in a difficult situation. With the right thinking and hints, you can get to the right answer yourself.
d) Testing English. The language can be checked at this stage too. Standard Questions: Tell us about your previous project or your hobbies. If you were asked a technical question in English and you don’t know the answer, don’t keep silent, try to get out of it and show that you still know English, even if you don’t know the technical side of the question.
Strategies for answering questions:
1. In terms of experience. In this case, you know the answer, and you have experience in using such technologies. Do not reduce everything to “answer only on a given topic”, tell more about other similar technologies you have worked with. Make your answer as comprehensive as possible.
2. In terms of analogy (when you don’t know what it is). In this situation, you can say no, you have not worked with such tools, but have worked with a similar one, and tell us as much as possible about the tool you have worked with.
3. “I don’t know and don’t understand what is expected of me”. Ask to paraphrase the question. Ask leading questions to find out what they really want to know. Maybe you just misunderstood the person you were talking to.
After the Interview
So, you’ve passed all the stages. And there comes an interesting moment when you can’t wait to know if you’ve passed or not. But you shouldn’t ask HR twice a day, “How’s it going?”. Firstly, HR does not decide anything. The final decision – whether to take or not – is made by the technical specialists usually. Secondly, besides you, there are other candidates, and as you understand, there are many of them. Third, if they decide to invite you, HR will contact you in a short time. So just calm down and wait. Of course, you can and should write HR at least in a week in order to show your interest. But that’s not once every half an hour.
In addition, I will share with you some psychological tricks that will also play a role in a successful job interview.
Choose the Right Time for Your Interview
The best time for an interview is a time that is convenient for the recruiter. Of course, you don’t have to turn your schedule upside down, but still try not to change the suggested time much and make concessions.
If HR offers to choose the hour for the interview on your own, be smart and think about what time the recruiter will be comfortable with. Glassdoor research suggests that it is best not to schedule appointments at the very beginning or end of the day or in the afternoon. Also, try not to shift interviews on Friday, Monday, pre- and post-holiday days. All these days, the recruiter’s thoughts are likely to be focused not on you.
Dress Up in Blue
A survey by CareerBuilder among recruiters and HR found that the color of clothing influences the impression of a person. 23% of interviewers recommend using blue in the wardrobe because it is the color of team players. 15% believe that black characterizes leaders. The worst color to wear for an interview is orange, according to 25% of HR.
What recruiters think other colors say about candidates:
Gray – advanced logical thinking;
White – organization;
Brown – reliability;
Red – energy, strength.
Keep Your Palms Open
If you put your hands on the table, palms down, you are demonstrating dominance over the other person, according to the book ‘Crazy Good Interviewing’. Hiding your hands under the table is also not the best option – it seems that you are hiding something from the recruiter.
Don’t Lie About Your Flaws
Phrases like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” do not inspire confidence in the manager and are more like trying to make yourself “the perfect candidate”. Recruiters are well aware that everyone has weaknesses, so it’s best to be honest.
Admit, for example, that you’re struggling to organize yourself in the morning, but you’re making daily plans so your productivity doesn’t suffer. Or you do not like to communicate by phone, but you are always ready to resolve issues in correspondence and answer emails within 5 minutes. Have you noticed the trick? In each example, you’ve added information about how you deal with weaknesses and why they don’t interfere with your work. Be sure to do the same if the recruiter asks to talk about your weaknesses.
It turns out that if you want to sound smarter, you need to speak energetically and expressively. If two people say the same text, but one of them speaks a little faster, louder and with fewer pauses, then he seems smarter than the other person.
Another trick is to change your speech rate depending on the importance of the information. Slow down on key points in the story and speed up on irrelevant things.
In most cases, interviews follow a similar scenario: the recruiter asks questions based on the resume, the candidate answers. To be remembered by the interviewer, it is necessary to somehow diversify the conversation, within the framework of reason.
For example, one candidate at the very beginning of the interview, said to the recruiter: “Let me tell you a few interesting things that are not on my resume.” This got the interviewer interested and switched his attention from the resume to the candidate himself. Think about these tricks.
Determine the Recruiter’s Age
In a book ‘Crazy Good Interviewing’, the authors discuss an interesting theory that we should behave differently in interviews, depending on the age of the interviewee. What tricks the authors advise to use to please the recruiter:
HR generation Y (20-30 years old): present specific results of your work and focus on the ability to work in multitasking mode;
HR generation X (30-50 years): emphasize creativity and clarify that work-life balance helps to achieve success;
HR generation Baby Boomer (50-70 years old): show how hard you work and show respect for their achievements;
HR Silent Generation (70-90 years): Emphasize your loyalty and commitment to previous jobs. This is to show how you feel about your work – not as a succession of successive companies, but with respect and real interest.
Summing up all the above with a few sentences, imagine that you have nothing to lose and it doesn’t matter if you get the job or not. It seems to me that only in such moments a person reveals and effectively uses all his or her potential and skills.