Written by Joanne Sacco

The IT & Digital Professional’s Interview Guide

First impressions count.
And nowhere is this more important than in a job interview.
Interviews are usually the ultimate determining factor in whether you will get the role over another similarly qualified person, so make the most of the limited time you have in the interview to give them no choice but to hire you.
While not all interviews are alike – some being closer to a casual conversation with a single interviewer and others being more formal with more than one person, there are many steps you can take to dramatically enhance the impression you make.
Here are some of the areas commonly questioned in IT Interviews which will help you prepare for the interview in the best possible way so you are ready to present the best version of yourself and demonstrate that you’re definitely the right person for the role.
For the full Interview Guide, click here.

Areas commonly questioned

General background – you’ll often be asked to summarise your general personal and professional background. But what the interviewer is really trying to grasp here is what can you bring to the company and what you would be like to work with. Try and limit your summary to around five minutes. Take the opportunity to focus on the parts of your background most relevant to the role but also allow yourself to give some information that shows you have other interests and are likely to fit in well with others in the company.
Qualifications, certifications and skills – your qualifications will already be shown on your resume, so this isn’t really the time to just rattle off what’s already in front of them. Instead try to focus on any additional qualifications, certifications, or skills you might have achieved outside of formal study. This is especially important in the tech sector where many skills are acquired outside of formal training. This was clearly demonstrated in a 2017 Stack Overflow survey of more than 64,000 people in tech, which revealed that more than 90% of surveyed professional developers had taught themselves a new language, framework or tool entirely on their own. So make sure you bring attention to any skills you may have acquired informally or can’t easily be shown on a resume.

Experience – talk through your experience in previous roles, spending more time on the roles most similar to the current role. You should also weight the amount of time you spend talking through your experience to your more recent and relevant roles. Try to focus on roles or projects where you were working in a leadership or supervisory position, worked in large teams, had large operating budgets, or worked with top tier clients.
Reasons for applying – it is important here to be as genuine and honest as possible. Try to avoid just repeating what you think they want to hear and instead really think about why you’ve applied for this particular role. There should be a reason you’re here. Is it a company you’ve always wanted to work for? Have you heard great things about the company culture? Is it the role you’ve always wanted or maybe it’s a great opportunity to learn new skills and expand your capabilities? Demonstrate that you’ve thought about why you want this role and try and project your passion for it in the interview.
Career objectives – Give proper thought to where this job can take you and how it fits into your longer-term career goals. You want to come across as driven and ambitious but don’t want to give the impression you are ruthless or impatient. You should be looking to convey how your ambitions and goals align with the company.
Crisis management – it is very common in an interview to be asked about situations in your past working history where you were involved in a crisis or challenging situation. This type of question falls into the category of behavioural assessment where the interviewer is trying to get an understanding of your working style, personality and motivations.
When thinking about these types of questions, try to focus on the beneficial behaviours or competencies that underpin those behaviours. This includes innovative thinking, creativity, decision making, conflict resolution, and teamwork. These behaviors are valuable to companies because there are likely to be situations in the future that come up where these competencies will be called on to help solve problems or achieve difficult business objectives.

Some other common questions you may be asked are:

  • Describe a time when you or your team failed to meet a key goal or objective. How did you approach or rectify the issue?
  • Describe a situation where you encountered difficulty or resistance from a colleague or client?
  • How did you handle this encounter and were you able to convince the other person of your point of view or get them to agree with you?
  • Describe a situation where you were responsible for transforming or improving an existing process. Were you responsible for coming up with the initiative or were you responsible for instituting the change, or both? What was the final outcome?

A final word…

Interviews can be daunting, especially if it’s for your dream role. But if there’s one takeaway message to improve your interview performance it is that preparation is key. Even if you need to attend multiple interviews, you need to take the time to prepare properly for each one of them. With the amount of information available on the internet and on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, there’s no excuse for not being knowledgeable about the company or role you’re interviewing for.
Interviewers want candidates who can demonstrate they’ve looked beyond the surface and are aware not only of what the company does but also of the direction of the latest industry trends. You can only do this successfully if you’re well prepared.
A great deal of effort usually goes into devising job descriptions so make sure you’ve looked into them exactly and have mapped out how your particular skill set and expertise meets the requirements of the role. Think about your strengths and what separates you from the other candidates who will be applying for the role. Then make sure you’ve planned for how you can best communicate those strengths effectively in the interview, so they know you’re the right person for the job.

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