Whether you are a new college graduate or have been in the industry for years, preparing for an interview is imperative. The most confident interviewees are those who prepared. We have compiled a list of helpful tips to get anyone through something that could be intimidating.
Research the Company
Before your first interview, take time to research the company you are interviewing with. Spend at least 20 minutes to see what they do, products they make, their culture, etc. This will help you go into the interview more confident and be able to relate conversation topics back to the company you are interviewing with. Knowing a company’s goals, value, and mission statement is good to know if your background aligns with theirs as well as where you would fit and where your career aspirations intersect with their corporate goals. Even though you may not be actively looking, everyone wants to put their best foot forward, this is the least time-intensive step you can take that has the largest ROI on your time investment.
Brush Up on the Basics
A lot of the time we don’t think of the process or the steps that go into tasks we do daily. When interviewing you may be asked a question that you would know how to do but haven’t done since college or haven’t needed to explain in years because it is something that comes as secondhand nature. Take the time to go over these items before your interview. It never hurts to have a quick refresher, no matter how long you have been in the industry. Remember, fundamentals are the one thing interviewers can ask that SHOULD have universally understood concepts – the belief is this: great engineers/leaders understand fundamentals/engineering first principals and their knowledge is built upon that firm foundation.
Each Conversation Counts
Whether it is a call with the hiring manager, Human Resources, or an internal recruiter each interaction is important. Treat each person like the hiring manager even if they aren’t, because cultural fit is just as important, if not more important than technical alignment. Company’s want someone who can fit in and get along with the members of their teams. Even if it is an external recruiter, they have a lot of interactions with the hiring team regarding first screens, scheduling, and giving/receiving feedback. Every conversation you have counts!
Video Interviews vs. In Person
Over the recent past video interviews via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. have become more prevalent. Video interviews are more convenient for fitting into everyone’s schedule, which is a great thing. Although they are more convenient, it is good to remember that body language ques are more often times missed because of the subtle/nuanced non-verbal ques we miss from the lack person to person interaction. You need to really express your interest and although you may be sitting at home show that you are fully engaged. Simple statements expressing your interest and excitement are even more important now that video interviews are here to stay. NOTE: you can always request an in-person interview and SBT will try our best to accommodate.
Do Not Discuss Compensation
Money is an important part of a career decision, but it is also not something to ask about during an interview. We advise our candidates to not bring up compensation as you do not want to come across as money-driven. Our clients want people who love what they do and are passionate about engineering, compensation will follow. Focus on doing well and showing off your skills and knowledge as those will be the biggest factors in your compensation package if you were to get an offer.
Before your interview write down 2-4 questions that you would like to know about the company, technology, work life, team, etc. that you could not find on the website. Ask these questions when suitable; whether there is a suitable time during the interview or if there was time left at the end. This shows that you did your research and are invested in this opportunity as you would like to know more than surface level information. This is the second largest ROI activity that can have massive positive impacts on the company’s hiring decision. The more thoughtful “differentiated” the questions the better! Ask your recruiter if you want some help brainstorming – we have heard scores of questions and would love to help here.
Send a Thank You Email
Sending a personalized email to each individual after your interview can make a big impact. Thank them for taking time out of their day for your interview and make it personalized based on your conversation with them that day. Also mention 1 specific thing you discussed with that interviewer that stood out as particularly interesting/exciting.