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Interview Preparation

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by AJ, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    Well just to follow on from Fergals thread.


    How do you prepare for interviews. What clothes do you wear, what questions you want answering, what questions you expect to get asked and how do you prepare the answers for them. Do you get any info on the company and where do you get it from. Transport, arrival time, do you take your certs/qualificaions with you. How do you handle yourself in the interview room, lots of eye contact, handshake etc. How do you handle the interview if there is a panel or just 1 or 2 interviewers. Do you take a pad and pen in with you.

    Have you any good tips that you would like to pass onto everyone else.

    I'll post my fav tips later :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCSA (messaging), ITIL Foundation v3
    WIP: Looking at doing ..................
  2. ScoobyDoo

    ScoobyDoo Byte Poster

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    I'll attempt to answer some of your points & hopefully others will do the same allowing you to build up a picture.

    How do you prepare for interviews.
    >> Learn about the company /job / industry.
    What clothes do you wear
    >> Play it safe: collar & tie with conservative suit & polished shoes.
    what questions you want answering, what questions you expect to get asked and how do you prepare the answers for them.
    >> Questions asked will try to assess your personality (fitting in/ getting on with people/ trustworthinessetc); how much you know technically etc.
    Do you get any info on the company and where do you get it from.
    >> Internet // phone their marketing people
    Transport, arrival time,
    >> Allow plenty of time - remember traffic jams, trains run late etc. Don't get harrassed
    do you take your certs/qualificaions with you.
    >> Yes
    How do you handle yourself in the interview room, lots of eye contact, handshake etc.
    >> Yes - look the questioner in the eye. It shows sincerity.
    How do you handle the interview if there is a panel or just 1 or 2 interviewers.
    >> Answer each person directly - look at the questioner.
    Do you take a pad and pen in with you.
    >> Don't see the point.
     
    Certifications: <<See Below>>
  3. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    Sorry guys forgot about this one. Heres my thoughts


    How do you prepare for interviews.
    Try to find out the company either from their web site or from Companies house

    What clothes do you wear
    A suite - always

    What questions you want answering, what questions you expect to get asked and how do you prepare the answers for them.
    Basically any info they are going to tell you that you haven't got/need - it is up to you to decide this and what info you really need. Preparing answers for the questions you a likely to get - read the advert and job pack you should then think what they are likely to ask in a IT way. Other question you are likey to get asked can be anything, but if you've thought about them then you should get through them OK.

    Do you get any info on the company and where do you get it from.
    See first question, web site, company house, google search, library, local council, phone them up and ask the receptionist for a leaflet/info pack.

    Transport, arrival time
    Just what Scooby said.

    Do you take your certs/qualificaions with you
    Yes but only the relivant ones

    How do you handle yourself in the interview room, lots of eye contact, handshake etc
    Look the interviewer in the eye but don't stare, firm handshake but only if offered, sit down when asked to and if one of the interviewers comes in late and you are introduced then stand up to shake their hand, again if offered. Sit straight, don't sloutch, hands on lap or resting on the table.

    How do you handle the interview if there is a panel or just 1 or 2 interviewers.
    Always reply to the questioner. After answering I always think it's nice to glance at the others in the panel just to reinforce your point and to give the panel the chance to ask any follow-up questions.

    Do you take a pad and pen in with you.
    Every time. I have a folder that I keep my certs in and it also has a pad and pen in it. I write my questions into it and bullet points on company info. If they tell me something that I need to remember then I find it better to write it down (I have an aweful memory). I do, however, ask the interviewer first if they mind if I write things down.

    Anyway there's my thoughts. Thanks for replying Scooby.

    Lets have some more interview thoughts Guys.
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCSA (messaging), ITIL Foundation v3
    WIP: Looking at doing ..................
  4. SimonV

    SimonV Petabyte Poster Administrator

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    Found this on another site I've used in the past.

    Seven Ways to Impress

    • Be a good listener. Let your interviewer know that you're listening attentively by nodding, using facial expressions that make you look interested, leaning towards the interviewer, picking up on key words they've used and asking them to expand on subjects that genuinely interest you. But never interrupt your interviewer.

    • Be honest. If you don't understand a question, ask for an explanation. If you're faced with something you really can't deal with, be truthful about it - it's more impressive than pretending to have the answer to everything. Use get-out phrases like 'that's something I'd need time to think about' or 'that's outside my present experience' to give yourself a bit of a breather.

    • Be consistent. Many interviewers ask the same things in different ways as a means of checking you out. Listen to yourself as well as to them. If you feel you've made a mistake, put things right by saying, 'going back to what I said earlier about...what I really meant was...'

    • Avoid the temptation to talk too much. If there are awkward silences when you've finished saying what you want, don't fill them with nervous chatter. Some interviewers use silence to see how you'll react. Pass the lead back to them by pleasantly saying: 'Does that answer your question?' Also, stick to providing the answer requested - don't inundate the interviewer with information they don't need.

    • Be aware of your body language. Stillness is reassuring and fidgeting is a distraction. Looking your interviewer in the eye is essential, but don't overdo it - take your cues from the interviewer. A smile sets everyone at ease, but a constant grin is unnerving. Try to sit up straight. Leaning forward makes you appear attentive and enthusiastic - being slumped conveys boredom.

    • Be positive. Even if your last job was the pits, if asked for your reasons for leaving, don't let a negative word pass your lips. Never say anything unfavourable about your colleagues, boss or job - it'll just make you look bad. Instead, say: 'I genuinely enjoyed my last job, but I'm eager to move onto a different challenge and use the skills I've gained'. Then, impress them even more by stating how those skills match the job you're after.

    • If you're not asked about something that you feel is important, raise the subject yourself. This is your one chance to sell yourself, so don't waste the opportunity.
     
    Certifications: MOS Master 2003, CompTIA A+, MCSA:M, MCSE
    WIP: Keeping CF Alive...
  5. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    Come on Guys this is info for all of us. surely someone else has something to offer. Anything to help others to get into IT will be great. That's what we are all here for. if you agree or disagree please post so that we can build info for others :biggrin

    ps like the post Si loads of great info there Cheers :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCSA (messaging), ITIL Foundation v3
    WIP: Looking at doing ..................
  6. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Ok, ok. I'll jump in.

    Clothes: I always ask ahead of time what clothes would be appropriate for the interview. I know it sounds strange, but if the corporate culture is casual, they might not mind if you came in a pair of dress slacks and a polo shirt. It also would make it look like you fit more into their environment right away. I've felt very out of place in interviews where I was the only one wearing a suit (and having said all that, when in doubt, dress in a suit...it's better to be overdressed than underdressed).

    Certifications/Qualifications/Degrees: I'd have to disagree. I'd never actually take those documents with me and I have never been asked to produce them...even when offered the job. Maybe everyone who has interviewed me (including HP) has been very naive in taking my word for it, but if the qual is on your CV or resume', most employers will not doubt it. You can ask ahead of time if it is required if you think they might want to see these documents and if they do, ask if a photocopy would be acceptable. I'd hate to risk damaging or losing a university degree or certification. They aren't always easy to replace.

    How to act in the interview: I think this topic has been well covered in the other responses but you also need to remember that part of what they are looking for is someone who will fit into their team. You may not be able to figure out how their corporate culture operates before the interview but you can ask about it when you are there. Your personality and style...even your sense of humor can be fair game for an interview (no, I've never been asked to tell a joke in an interview...but it would be an interesting test of a candidate's character). Be conservative in your responses and your emotional presentation but try not to be a robot either. Most employers want to work with someone who has a little life in them.

    Keep in touch if you don't get the job. I guess if you don't want to work for the company or are not interested in what they do, this wouldn't be so important. I originally interviewed at my current place of employment maybe a year and a half or more ago. I didn't get the job...only because I couldn't reconcile my school hours with the hours the job required. I really liked the company and I liked their product and the interviewer agreed to let me check in with them periodically to see if there were any other openings becoming available. When the tech writer position was created and I applied, both the front desk person and the interviewer remembered me favorably from my previous interview. It can help to leave an interviewer with a favorable impression of you, even if they don't hire you...this time.

    If you can take criticism (assuming you don't get the job), ask the interviewer what would have to have been different for you to have been offered the position. Most of the time, I haven't gotten back very satisfactory answers, but occasionally, an interviewer has told me something about myself or my presentation that resulted in me turning in a better interview in the future.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  7. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Heres my take

    Dress Code:
    Well having pretty much always interviewed in London and the City, suit is essential, even if the company has a slacker dress code, a suit is it for the interview, even if you look out of place during the interview, your are judged on your appearance and the way you present yourself the the interviewer

    Qualifications:
    I'm going with trip on this one and saying I have taken, nor had to present my qualifications for a single position i have been for / got, even my new role in the Civil Service, which was one of the more formal processes I have been through, Remember, if your seen to be pushing your certs at the interviewer they may ask why, and may think your trying to get by just on that slip of paper, and not on skills and experiance, present them if asked, but never flaunt them about like they are the be all and end all

    Preperations:
    I do visit the companies website and find out as much about it as i can, does the company do something i would be interested in? what recent milestones have they reached? do they have any awards? how long have they been operationg, all this is valuable information, and dropping some of the company statistics occasionaly in an interview shows you have done your homework and researched what you needed, don't ofcourse over do it :)

    Travel:
    Again as mentioned above, be there early, but not too early, in the busy world your appointment may well be squeezed between 2 others so being too early can be a bad mark against you in some respects, dont walk in dead on time, and definatly dont be late! :)

    The Interview:
    Always speak clearly and at a level that everyone can hear, do not mumble, and do not fidget, dont talk your self up to much, but dont be hard on yourself, dont talk down your current/previous employer out of turn, speak and direction your answers to those who presented them, but try not to loose touch with anyone else in the room

    and as Trip says, if the company really does shine in your eyes, and you missed the job through no fault of your own (you usually get informed of this in feedback, either it was your fault (they didnt like you) or it wasnt (someone else had more bang for buck) in which case, keep in touch, perhaps even go out with a drink with your interviewer, this shows your interested in the company and the people, not just the role, and they will look favourably on that when future positions open up
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCITP, VCP
    WIP: > 0
  8. Gaz 45

    Gaz 45 Kilobyte Poster

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    I do as much preparation as possible:
    research the company, their products and/or services
    look at things like quality of their website/stuff they've sent you
    find any questions about the company/position
    remember what you wrote in your application!

    Then I walk into the interview room and completely forget everything i've done.

    Including speaking English

    I don't recommend the last two steps
     
    Certifications: MCP (70-229, 70-228), MBioch
    WIP: MCDBA (70-290)
  9. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Which language do you switch to, then? :blink
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  10. cazzam35

    cazzam35 Kilobyte Poster

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    Being a supervisor, I'm maybe on the wrong side of this
    discussion really, but apart all the very positive points above
    always be prepared for the unexpected, I always throw a
    spanner in the works, to judge the reaction from people.

    I work at present in a very tolerant public involved job and
    you need to be able to think "on hand" and be at the ready
    at any time....

    The most pressure anyone can be under is the interview
    situation (apart from marriage that is) and if you cope with
    a situation under those conditions then your ok?

    I tend not to really take notice of specific qualifications, but
    as to how the people react and talk, that to me is the most
    important part of teamwork/teambuilding and overall working
    enviroment.

    Apart from the obvious qualifications to do the job, they
    need to feel part of the team and the team be part of them,
    this in turn increases productivity within the workplace.

    Any short falls within the qualifications level can be learned in
    job or over time.

    You'll all be aware that virtually every job your in never uses
    your full knowledge or capability to do it.....

    but working well with other people takes everything you
    have, after all we all spend hours doing the job.

    Remember you work to live - not live to work.

    Happiness at work brings happiness at home ( mostly?)
     
    Certifications: currently doing A+/MCSE
    WIP: Curr/Supervisor/Duty Mgr/Retail DIY
  11. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    Thanks for your input Callum, much appreiciated :thumbleft
     
    Certifications: MCSE, MCSA (messaging), ITIL Foundation v3
    WIP: Looking at doing ..................
  12. cazzam35

    cazzam35 Kilobyte Poster

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    Another point,,

    I always try to calm the situation as most people before they
    come in have been totally panicing.

    I try not to judge anyone, but realise the pressure they are
    feeling.

    I would much prefer someone say " they were really panicing"
    than to fluff lines and make stuff up and panic more.

    If anyone has taken time to address the codes above, then
    they have an equal right to emplyment.
    I usually do second interviews too, which you see a more
    relaxed light, as they have met you once and feel better in
    your company.

    I must be doing something right as the last three people
    I've took on recently have really made great input to the
    team i have, they've really fitted in well, and the standards
    of our work place have increased two-fold..

    It's hard to do, but try your best to be yourself, nothing more
    and nothing less, try to act natural, but truthful

    You may not get "that" job you want, but if you have to
    pretend to be something your not to get in, then is it really
    worth working there??

    Something to think about really....Callum
     
    Certifications: currently doing A+/MCSE
    WIP: Curr/Supervisor/Duty Mgr/Retail DIY
  13. Gaz 45

    Gaz 45 Kilobyte Poster

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    Which language? C++ :biggrin
     
    Certifications: MCP (70-229, 70-228), MBioch
    WIP: MCDBA (70-290)
  14. law123

    law123 Byte Poster

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    I have not had many interviews in the past as I suppose I have been lucky enough to be selfemployed for a number of years. But as I am looking at changing into a new career there is one thing I remember about interviews. That is when the interview is almost finished and the question comes up do you have anything to ask or add. How is best to respond to that question? As in the past I have had no clue what to say.
     
    Certifications: None
    WIP: A+
  15. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    If I really haven't any questions for them at the end, then I am honest and say something like "actually, you've covered everything I was going to ask". However, I do at least try and pick up on some things mentioned during the interview and ask more about them, but NOT just for the sake of filling in the silence - I think that that is really obvious.

    I've found that researching the company beforehand usually leaves you woth a few questions - but I guess each situation is different.

    IMHO :)
     
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  16. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I know we don't think much about this in our line of work (well, I do but then I'm a writer), but how you use written language can be very important. Besides communicating in person and over the phone, alot of your communicating will be done via e-mail or instant messenger.

    The "dark side" of both e-mail and IM is the development of specialized shortcuts in communication. "u" instead of "you" and "brb" for "be right back". While this isn't a big deal in your private communications, it can be in a professional capacity. As a technician, you can potentially be in communication with anyone in your organization from the clerical staff to the CEO (I'm not lying, I've had to work closely with the Head of Finances for a city government because he couldn't get his hand held to sync with Outlook).

    You don't always want to rely on spell checker to correct your mistakes. It usually misses something, plus if your spelling is very "eccentric", you may end up spending a great deal of time just working your way through the spell checker every time you send an e-mail to the boss.

    I know this suggestion is very "low tech", but while you are buying all of your texts for the certifications you are going to study for, you might want to invest in a dictionary and a thesaurus (no, it's not a creature that roamed the Earth at the dawn of time). The Internet equivalents are dictionary.com and thesaurus.com. BTW, I couldn't remember how to spell "thesaurus" so I used Google as a cheap spell checker (as far as I know, this forum doesn't have a spell checker). I spelled the word to the best of my ability and Goggle faithfully came back with "Did you mean: thesaurus".

    Even in our so-called "paperless" work environment, you still have to write. Good luck.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  17. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Thought I'd drop a quick note on the experiences I've had of "entry-level" interviews, by which I mean Helpdesk / Support roles.

    With regards to the Technical Tests you may face, in my last three (successful) interviews Ive attended, all included a very basic set of questions. These variously covered areas such as:

    *Basic understanding of DNS, DHCP, tcp/ip tools (eg ping, tracert, ipconfig, etc), networking (PCs printers, etc), OS knowledge

    *Web/net knowledge, ie domains, ftp, search engine technology, hosting, protocols, etc.

    *Troubleshooting techniques - what sites do you use for info (first answer - ALWAYS Google !!! IMHO [​IMG])

    *Dealing with angry/irrational customers/users (let them vent, then when their done, bring them down and talk them through your proposed solutions)


    These are just early thoughts on what I've experienced to date - I may add more later. Let's hear from anyone else who has faced any kind of Tech tests during these early IT days.
     
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  18. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Just to add to "what sites do you use to troubleshoot", in addition to Google, I'd always use the vendor's website. If you are trying to get a resistent device to work, you can usually find driver updates, FAQs and a Knowledge Base at the vendor's site. Chances are, whatever you are troubleshooting is a well-known issue with a solution published there. If nothing else, you can get the number for their support desk and bug the heck out of them. :P
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  19. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    In my 'old' life, I worked in HR for quite a while. I interviewed a lot of people for a lot of jobs with a big company. I have to agree with all the posts that have been made so far. My personal favorites though are:
    Know the company. I always ask 'why do you want to work for us?'. I can't believe the c**p that I used to get as answers. 'Because you're hiring','the money is good','my mate works for you','I'm desperate' are all terrible answers. Think about it.
    For example, if you apply for a job at an ISP, you HAVE to know what service they provide that makes them different. There is NOTHING that annoys an interviewer more than a candidate that hasn't done his homework.
    Also, don't be a wag. I've got a great sense of humour, but I don't judge an applicant by how much he made me laugh.
    Remember first and foremost - you have to be a stable and reliable member of this organisation. Funny, mad, accentic etc are never good qualities in an interview.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  20. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    thats a good thread - cheers, when they ask what qualities can you bring, dont do what i did...

    Q: So what qualities do you feel you can bring to this role:

    A: I am a player...

    Q: Sorry? :blink

    Q: err, i meant to say Im a Team Player...

    btw: there were 2 women, and 1 man on the panel, the bloke wanted to laugh his head off, the second woman, was giggling, and the third woman was :twisted: ! ...i never got the job
     

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