Interview Preparation

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

  1. sthakker

    sthakker New Member

    Hey Techies, Stump your interviewer by asking them some questions that they did not expect. You always get to ask some questions at the end try to get answers to the following questions. This will make you look differnt from others.

    What are my immediate duties going to be if offered this position? This will make you confident whether the job will fit you or not. Sometimes you may find duties not included in the job description. Like network administration role is really a help desk role and the could not differenciate between two or they forgot to add it when advertised for the job.

    What is your management style? How do you bring the best out of your employees?

    What kinds of people tend to excel here? Try to figure out what they have to say.

    What happened to the last person in this position and why did they leave? Show them that you are concerned. Even if you are dying for a job do not show it to them. This may make you a good negotiator and get you more money when you are on the table.

    Why do you work here and why do you stay? What's so good about this company make you work here.
  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Ask how much cash this gig is paying, then ask what the company car options are. :biggrin
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH
  3. Leehaa

    Leehaa Gigabyte Poster

    He he he ha ha! Wow AJ, you must spend quite a lot on your interview attire - would that be three piece? LOL (sorry, but that has really made my day) Love you really! :p :biggrin
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, ITIL v3, MBCS, others...
    WIP: BSc IT & Computing, RHCE
  4. kat731
    Honorary Member

    kat731 Megabyte Poster

    Lol... with a free throw and matching cushions!!!:biggrin
    Certifications: BA (Hons), A+
    WIP: 70-685 77-884
  5. Leehaa

    Leehaa Gigabyte Poster

    Lol - you'd certanly make an impression turning up in that! It'd be like that advert in the 90s (not sure if you remember it, where someone went into work in a motor bed with wheels)except it'd be a settee complete with two arm chairs -, anyway, digressing (SORRY!):offtopic
    Certifications: MCP, MCDST, ITIL v3, MBCS, others...
    WIP: BSc IT & Computing, RHCE
  6. Tartanbill

    Tartanbill Bit Poster

    I've always found it's really important to ask questions of your own.

    For example, my interview for my current position I asked what relationship the company had with the client I would be with, how long it had lasted, what would happen to me if they lost the contract etc etc.

    Questions about the management structure and composition of the team are good too i.e. will you be working directly for the interviewer or is he just HR, how many people will be in your team etc.

    Another good thing to ask about is the scope for promotion and development as it shows you are potentially playing a long term game and are interested in spending some time with the company and that's generally a big thing for many employers.
  7. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

    Only just seen this thread.

    Heres my details:

    Background study on the Company Website, couple with asking questions of the Agency (If its been arranged through one). If I can, I think up one or two questions about their products (ie how they achieved a particular feature the advertise).

    Dress in a suit (well, technically its a suit i suppose - trousers, jacket, shirt [rarely white if im honest, i go more with my silvery/gray shirt], and a tie [never, ever, plan black]).

    I always turn up super early. at least 30 minutes but in one recent case an hour. This usually partly because I need to scope the location. I wont go in at that point, but will wander off and take a look around the area (Dont hang around outside, it looks bad). I will then make my way into the office about 10-15 minutes before the interview is scheduled.

    This latest interview was a bit different, since I went up in my lunch hour (and they were aware of this). The interview was scheduled for 1, but i didnt get in until about 5 past or so. I had briefed them on the fact that this would likely happen beforehand though, so its not so bad.

    Shake their hand when introduced (Remember their names if you can).

    They will usually provide more details on the job you will be placed in. If they go into detail about the project, ask as many questions as you can (dont interrupt!), but listen carefully to what they tell you. For instance, in this interview they talked/showed me the website portion of the project. Based on their details I asked why they chose to use ASP over ASP.NET. Dont, whatever you do, give them the impression you are criticizing their decisions, but rather ask in a manner like you want to know what their process was in arriving to the decision.

    If you make a statement, be prepared to back it up (or even back it up automaticaly) with examples. Its all well and good to say that you 'drive forward changes you feel are important/useful/etc', but if you dont have an example on hand, you will look stupid.

    Try not to fidget (I know its difficult, believe me). Also be aware of your body language, crossing your legs/arms is a sign you are closed off and not listening. lean forward slightly (this gives the impression you are interested), and look at the person talking. More importantly however, actually LISTEN to what they are saying.

    Salary Negotiation
    Inevitably, they will ask you what you are looking for (Employers tend to put this ball firmly in your court in the first instance). Instead of stating your salary, ask them instead what they are looking to pay you. They will (usually) give you a salary range for the position. If its too low you should tell them this (But i cant really talk about scenarios like this since it hasnt happened to me....yet). Once you have their range, let them know what you would be looking for. Make a fair assessment of your abilities and worth, then add a couple of grand on. This gives you room for maneuverability. If they Balk at the figure, you can discuss the matter with them and negotiate down to your desired salary. If they dont, then you have come out on top with more than you were thinking of. Its a complicated game to play but should be played. Try to defer any discussions on salary until further into the interview.

    When leaving, thank them for the opportunity to interview, and shake their hand.

    If they offer you the job on the spot, dont accept. Tell them that you dont want to accept within the interview itself, and would like a day or so to consider the offer. Confirm the salary at this stage. If you are honestly interested in the job, tell them that, just explain you need a night to sleep on it, in order to be sure you are making the right decision. This gives the impression that you are dedicated, and professional in your conduct. I would also suggest that in this case you advise that a condition of your acceptance (if you accept) is that you dont give notice on your current employer until you have received a written letter of offer from them (This covers you as without one, if you hand in your notice and they retract the offer you dont have anywhere to go - but with one you can go to court over it).

    Above all, try to stay calm and relaxed. Also try to enjoy yourself. If you can pull this off, you will look like you are passionate.

    Final thoughts for the interview as a whole (including CV):
    1. Exaggeration of facts on the CV are fine, dont outright lie - you will be caught out eventually
    2. If they ask your hobbies (or you put it into your CV), socialising is NOT a good option to put forward. Whether you mean it or not, most people will read this to mean going out with your mates and getting pissed. Qualify HOW you socialise if you want (Golf, Tennis, etc), but dont leave it that vague. Even if you do enjoy doing this, it doesnt look professional.

    Im sure ill think of some more later, but thats it for now.

    Edit: Oh, I almost forgot. If you dont know the answer to a question they ask. Say so. If its a technical question, you can say something along the lines of "Im not sure, but i Think..." or "I dont know that, but i'd do x to find out". Unless you really cant add anything like this, dont just say you dont know. It doesnt inspire confidence. Not knowing is ok, but they expect you to know how to go about finding out.
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Petabyte Poster

    I agree with virtually everything said thus far.

    Its often more important to get on with the interviewer than to impress technically.

    Don't be arrogant or narrow minded, if the questions are poor try to clarify them and guess at what the interviewer wants.

    Frequently i've been in interviews where the inteviewer was more nervous than i was. Once in the interview relax and act professional. If necessary take charge of the process and make sure things go smoothly. Remember you may not actually want the job, it is as much your job to interview the interviewer to determine if the position is desirable, obviously this requires tact.

    Always keep your options open even if you don't like what you hear ! I agree with checking the inteviewers credentials, in the past i know people who have had problems because the interviewer was a temporary subcontractor and they promised job benefits that did not exist, the applicant that took the job had no recourse and had to appologetically go back to his previous employer...

    I have never taken my certs to an interview, take a copy of your cv in a folder, maybe a copy of the job spec, you can take a clipboard or folio to try to look professional. Always read the company literature in the waiting room if you get time, look at any company reports or financial statements, you never know that new job might be about to end due to financial problems !
  9. clsyorkshire

    clsyorkshire Bit Poster


    Is this a good idea? Wouldn't that make it look like you weren't interested?
    Certifications: AS IT, AVCE IT
    WIP: A+
  10. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

    I wouldnt say so, no. If anything, it would make you appear to be someone who isnt necessarily prone to doing things on a whim. It makes you appear to be the sort of person who wants to fully consider an important choice before going ahead into it.

    You can just explain to them that, whilst you are interested in the job (if you are, of course), you need some time to consider your decision (A day or so normally).

    A company that isnt prepared to give you time to ensure that they are the best choice for you, almost certainly isnt
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  11. BosonMichael
    Honorary Member Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Agreed. I'd not take any longer than a couple of days, though. Business must go on with or without you, ya know?
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  12. maviing

    maviing New Member

    I think the best way is to see a speacialist
  13. ITwannabe

    ITwannabe New Member

    So many great advices.

    I have to say though that they depress me. They just confirm my fears that what you know doesn't seem to be the most important thing, but rather how you talk, sit, and present yourself.

    I probably need to work on some body language/presentation exams rather than technical ones *sad laugh*
    WIP: 70-270
  14. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Well it isn’t much point in being a technical genius if you can’t explain to a user how to add a printer or something like that. :biggrin
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH
  15. ITwannabe

    ITwannabe New Member

    WIP: 70-270
  16. supernova

    supernova Gigabyte Poster

    What about papers and exams attached to the interview, what can i expect?

    Certifications: Loads
    WIP: Lots
  17. Steve C

    Steve C New Member

    That's exactly how I feel, given that I lack the social skills/eye contact/body language stuff that's supposed to make up the majority of an interviewer's opinion of you (an analogy I use is a talented driver trying to win a race with the slowest car). That's why I much prefer those lengthy skill-based interviews that include aptitude tests etc. as my strengths show up then.
    Certifications: A+
  18. Evilwheato

    Evilwheato Kilobyte Poster

    Indeed. I like interviews where they ask you to demonstrate a certain skill or trait. When or wherever I have an interview, I go dressed in a shirt and trousers- always makes a good impression!
  19. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

    Using the op:

    How do you prepare for interviews?

    Once I have an interview secured I make sure I get the time, date and location locked in to my schedule. If I do not know where the company is located and cannot familarize myself with it by online research then I will drive out there myself around the time of the interview so I can judge traffic and find out exactly where the company actually is. This also gives me a chance to scope out parking spaces too so even if I arrive on time I am not flustered finding somewhere to park.

    For a long distance interview I will use online research and if I am still unsure I will contact the company myself to ask where they are located.

    What clothes do you wear?

    Shouldn't even be a question! Suited and booted all the way. Clean pants, splash of Brut (Blue Stratos if it's Christmas). Disco.

    What questions you want answering?

    What's the work environment like? Is there room for progression within the company from that role? Ask tech questions if none were specified or mentioned already.

    What questions you expect to get asked and how do you prepare the answers for them?

    What are your strengths/weaknesses? That old chestnut. I simply tell them how it is but don't be too negative on yourself.

    Do you get any info on the company and where do you get it from?

    Always. Online research is usually my ticket.

    Transport, arrival time, do you take your certs/qualificaions with you?

    With the location scoped out already at around the time of the interview I get a good idea of what time I need to leave. Always expect the unexpected though (car accident, roadworks, hedgehogs crossing the road, old people driving in front of you etc) and leave a half hour before you said you would. If you get there early, sit in the car and wait or go grab a bottle of water (not coffee as your breath will stink. if you need caffeine, grab a red bull or something but not if you get hyper on the stuff of course).

    How do you handle yourself in the interview room, lots of eye contact, handshake etc?

    Eye contact is mandatory but not to the point where you are freaking the interviewer out. Firm handshake is best, don't crush his/her hand off though! Sit up straight but not like a piece of wood. Hands in your lap and relax. Smile!

    How do you handle the interview if there is a panel or just 1 or 2 interviewers?

    Don't freak out. Yes right now they have a job and you don't but it's likely most of the people on the panel you won't see again. Be polite, talk to all of them or at least look at them all in turn when giving your answers and asking questions. Be tactful obviously!

    Do you take a pad and pen in with you?

    Never seen a reason to take a pad. I take a pen just in case there are any forms to fill or sign. Taking notes (in my opinion) makes you look overly keen. Surely anything you want to know will be answered once you get the job. You're not a reporter, you're the interviewee!!

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

    See above!
    Certifications: A+, MCP 70-270, 70-290, 70-291
    WIP: 70-680, S+, MCSA, MCSE, CCNA
  20. Nibble Poster

    Very good information and tips from everybody but I have 2 points to araise to be discussed as nobody mentioned anything about them so far .
    IF you get an interview for an entry role in an IT company, would you be involves in any kind of aptitude test , English skills and Maths ?

    How many interview stages you likely to be involve with, and when is the tech one.

    I think further discussion is important about those points .


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