Job interviews are harder to come by than most people think. According to Workopolis, Robert Meier, President of Job Market Experts, “98% of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening and only the top 2% of candidates make it to the interview.” IT grads who find themselves in the 2% can ensure they make the most of this opportunity by brushing up on some IT job interview tips that are sure to get results.
You’re probably already aware of basic interviewing tips, such as wearing proper attire, showing up early, exuding confidence by making eye contact and researching your potential employer. Here are some additional tips specific to IT grads:
1. Know what IT hiring managers are looking for.
Going into your IT job interview, you should have a solid idea of what IT hiring managers are looking for in a job candidate. Pamela McComas, a hiring manager for General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), an IT company with 34,000 employees, explained exactly what she looks for in cybersecurity analysts in How Cybersecurity Analysts Can Stand Out to Potential Employers. For starters, she wants to see technical proficiency in a variety of industry-standard tools and methodologies (that means being up-to-speed with what the pros are using in your chosen field) and soft skills. Want more tips? Read what tech recruiters say stands out during the interview process.
2. Show off your soft skills.
IT pros are expected to work across departments and often will need to interface with customers, which is why hiring managers are interested in finding candidates who can connect with others and represent their company well. That’s why making it clear that you possess strong soft skills is one of the best IT job interview tips you can implement. According to CIO:
We talked with experts and hiring managers to produce a list of the most sought-after soft skills in IT today. If you’re a candidate with any or all of these skills, they’re useful talking points in your next interview:
The ability to translate tech jargon
A collaborative mindset
The ability to put things in context
To assess your soft skills, your interviewer may ask questions about how you work within the context of a team. They may also ask for examples of times you’ve creatively solved problems on the job or in an educational environment. Prepare as best as you can to answer questions like these by asking former classmates or employers which of your soft skills stood out to them and why. Also, write down several examples of tech problems you creatively solved in the past and review them several times so that you can quickly recall those instances if needed.
3. Prepare to answer common IT job interview questions.
In addition to asking questions about your soft skills, interviewers will also want to know about your technical skills. According to The Balance Careers, IT-specific interview questions might include:
- What certifications do you hold?
- What do you do to maintain your technical certifications?
- What automated-build tools or processes have you used?
- What development tools have you used?
- What languages have you programmed in?
- What source control tools have you used?
- What technical websites do you follow?
IT hiring managers will see your certifications, education and experience listed on your resume, but they may still ask you about them, and will very likely ask for specific instances in which you used your hard skills.
4. Note the “job requirements” section of the job posting.
It’s OK to apply to a job that you're not fully qualified for. People do land jobs this way, but they usually have significant experience to make up for their lack of credentials. Recent IT grads should consider applying primarily to jobs they are mostly qualified for to increase their chances of getting their foot in the door with an interview.
According to The Balance Careers, “Take the job requirements that are included in the posting and make a list of the top qualifications the employer is looking for. Then match your credentials to the list. Be ready to discuss why you have each attribute the company wants.”
If there are requirements you don’t meet, think of ways you can demonstrate to employers that you are willing and able to become properly skilled or credentialed. For example, if there’s a certification you don’t have but would be happy to earn, let your interviewer know you have looked into becoming certified, and give them a time frame for when you could realistically obtain the certification.
By utilizing the right IT job interview tips, you can crush your next interview. Even if you are not chosen for the job, a successful interview will build your confidence, give you an opportunity to practice your interview skills and promote better future interviews, one of which will result in your being hired for the ideal IT job for you.