Preparing for today’s IT interview

The world of IT, including IT jobs have evolved immensely over the last decade and so has the interviewing process for these jobs. Hence it is essential for job seekers to know how things are changing and what they need to do to adapt with this change. IT is no longer a technical aspect or a black box, but is more of a service. IT structures are invaluable providers that rely heavily on providing quality service so they need to be staffed to accommodate these evolving – and demanding – needs. To prepare for an upcoming IT interview, be sure to keep these IT tips in your mind.

Not a IT hardcore but a Softie

It comes down to simple numbers. It will take you a few weeks to learn a new technology but it will take you more than a few months, if not years, to build soft skills. Soft skills are extremely important in todays workforce. Your employer needs to trust you to be able to interact with your peers, clients, suppliers and other stakeholders. Furthermore, with interaction between technical IT staff and stakeholders being at it’s highest, having strong soft skills are absolutely at the top of employers list. Employers are becoming more willing to invest in a well-spoken junior resource that they can train rather than a guru who does not communicate well. The IT dinosaur is rapidly becoming extinct. IT people are not all geeks. Employers already know that, it’s time you know it too. Don’t act sophisticated and technical. Be friendly, stay natural and enjoy the interview. Demonstrate your personality. Always remember, if they are taking the time to meet with you, they want to like you. It is in their interest to like you. Let them.

How Technical are you?

If you are applying for an IT job, be sure that at some stage in the interviewing process, you will come across a technical interview. Some face a technical interview first up, whereas some encounter it at a later stage in the interviewing process. Regardless, technical interview can be someones forte for some, a nightmare. A technical question usually has a very defined answer. You either know it or you don’t. Nothing make the interviewer more uncomfortable than to listening to a candidate take wild guesses at answering questions, and this is something that clearly shows on the interviewers face.

If you don’t know the answer, make sure you tell that to the interviewer while backing yourself but offering suggestions on how you would go about finding the answer. This will show that when you don’t know an answer, you will make an effort to find the answer rather than wait for someone to help you with it. and will also demonstrate your ability to think critically. Your interviewer is not necessarily looking for the right answer; he is looking to see how you would go about arriving at an answer. This helps keep the momentum on your side and will keep the interview on stronger ground.

Steer the Conversation

This is a universal interview tactic: try and keep the conversation focused on your strengths. In fact, go one step further.
An IT-oriented organisation is always looking for multi-skilled resources that can fill in knowledge gaps. Stating your cross-platform skills can put you in the running for other career opportunities you don’t know about at that company.
Keep in mind that companies hate turning away multi-talented candidates, unless of course they have irritating personalities.

Show the enthusiasm in you

When going in an interview, if you have all the right things and tick all the boxes, but lack confidence, then that one thing can be a deal breaker for you. If you demonstrate a confident, positive attitude, an interviewer will feel far more at ease and far more likely to want to engage you. In addition to your technical aptitude and personality, an interviewer wants to make sure that you will be happy if you are awarded the position. Feel free to ask about training programs and professional IT certification as a means of showing a passion for learning and advancement, and talk about how you use technology. Tell them if you have setup a home network or tried playing around with equipment to learn.

Bring out the Geek in you

When the conversation shifts to the technical side, feel free to open the doors to your personal interests and opinions on the topics at hand. This is likely to happen if you have a technical person in the room rather than just someone from HR.

If you are being asked about your experience with Hyper-V, don’t feel afraid to talk about VMware. The company may currently be using Hyper due to licensing benefits but if you feel VMware has benefits and flexibility that are cost effective in the long run, then state that. Not only will it demonstrate your understanding of different technologies but it also instills confidence in the employer that they can include you in key decision making later down the track.
Interviews do not need to be uncomfortable nerve-wracking episodes in your career. If you’re still feeling nervous, just remember that the interviewer wants the meeting to succeed as much as you do. Do your best to be positive and engaging so that the interviewer can get a good sense of who you are and how you’ll fit into the job and the company.

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Mansoor Walli