In the past, most of the successful hiring of IT professionals used to primarily be based on their IT skill-set. As corporates have made IT strategy an integral part of their core business strategy, the needs & expectations of IT professionals have changed too. It has become very common to see the IT professionals within an organization having a better understanding of the business domain, interacting with various business owners & stake holders across various locations and at times, leading transactions to the desired results. Therefore, hiring managers are not only looking for desired IT skills but also assessing the candidates’ business knowledge, behavior & cultural match with the organization and whether candidate shall be able to cope with the demand of the job/role. They are looking for the right overall match and this must be understood by all IT professionals seeking career opportunities now.
Some of the IT professionals have good clarity about their aspirations, career goals and development plan. They qualify a career opportunity upfront to see if they are interested in the available position or role and then decide to pursue it. We agree with the candidate who wants to know why he/she should be interested in the said role or position. Once you have clarity about your interest, it will reflect positively in your behavior and attitude towards the interview process. Our advice is to make sure that you choose the career opportunity which is in line with your aspirations and in which you are really interested in. Value your time and do not waste your time attending the interviews for the sake of it.
You may agree that if one does study/practice well and is prepared for an examination, then chances are that one shall get good marks. This fundamental to success applies to anything we do in life and therefore for the success in interviews as well. If you are keen for a career opportunity, you must practice and prepare yourself for the interview (process). Some tips, to refresh your memory, are:
- First, do understand the job description of the position offered, why the required skill-set are needed and what the role is all about;
- Map your skill-set with the job requirements and be honest to yourself when assessing your value to the potential employer and the value of the position to your career progress/goals;
- It is essential that you prepare answers to potential questions that you may be asked to demonstrate your competence, experience, knowledge, abilities, achievements & aptitude for the role/position offered;
- Make a list of all of your past significant achievements – expand on the ones you have highlighted in your resume;
- Do some research on the potential employer to help you know the sufficient details regarding the employer, and the position offered (this could be through your recruitment consultant, internet search and employer’s corporate web site);
- Try to find out the educational/work background of interviewer(s) through internet search/LinkedIn/social networks and what interests them e.g. by looking at their IT Blogs or participation in IT Challenge etc.
- If you are preparing for telephonic interview, make sure that you are in a quiet place at the time of the call;
- If you are expecting a written test, do some proper homework before the test;
- Arrive at least 10 minutes before the agreed time of the interview. Allow for unexpected traffic and/or parking difficulties.
Invariably, confidence is a natural reflection of the knowledge, experience, good practice and preparedness. Besides, some of the key aspects of good performance are that one must be aware of the potential risks, how to mitigate it and sometimes, how to capitalize it in your advantage. Some of the tips to perform well during the interview are:
- First impressions are powerful and you can turn this to your advantage by making a positive first impression, which in turn, sets a favourable tone for what happens during your interview. The way you dress frames the picture – the way you behave & speak colours the portrait of who you are. Maintain a warm and friendly manner, e.g., a natural smile will punctuate your conversation and add to your presentation;
- Words partially express of what people actually communicate. Nonverbal communications such as facial expressions, body movement and actions convey the rest. If you are interested in the position, some of the body language shall be taken care of naturally;
- Maintain an open body position and avoid crossing arms (or crossing hands on the chest). Sit straight or lean towards the interviewer a bit to show interest and enthusiasm. Look at the interviewers rather than looking at the ceiling or windows;
- Avoid irritating habits such as pen clicking, hair twisting, foot swinging and knuckle cracking, etc.;
- Avoid being aggressive, or displaying a conceited superiority complex, or a know-it-all attitude;
- Never ever condemn your past employer(s)/colleague(s);
- Listen, listen & listen to the interviewer carefully, and with interest, and do not interrupt if interviewer has not finished speaking. Do make sure the questions are understood in totality before answering it. If required, ask for clarification of the question before answering it;
- Answer questions truthfully, candidly and as to the point as possible. If you do not know the answer, please say so. If you want to guess, please say so. Managers hire candidates whom they can trust.
Nothing is finished until there is a proper closure. Do show sincerity in proper follow through. Some tips for this are:
- Let the interviewer know how interested you are in the position;
- Don’t be too discouraged if no definite next steps are discussed. The interviewer will probably want you to go through another round of interview or interview more applicants before making a decision;
- Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration of you. If possible send a thank you mail to the Recruitment Consultant or the interviewer(s);
- Last and most importantly, promptly call your recruitment consultant after the interview and explain what happened. The Recruitment Consultant would like to prepare himself/herself before he/she speaks to the interviewer. If you are interested in progressing it further it will help if your feelings towards the position are known, together with your perception of what the client’s reaction is likely to be.
Jit Nagpal-Founder CEO of Sciente Consulting Pte Ltd (79th fastest growing technology company in Asia Pacific by Deloitte Technology Fast500 Asia Pacific 2011) and Sciente International Pte Ltd (a specialist IT Talent search & recruitment firm).