Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Job Interviews

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to job interview.

20 Great Job Interview Tips from 3 Great Sources

When it comes to job interviews, you can never get too much help. Once again, we’ve rounded up the latest tips from some of the most experienced sources when it comes to developer jobs and interviews.

Glass Door’s Job Interview Checklist

Job InterviewGlassdoor is a leader in reviewing companies’ cultures and helping people find jobs at organizations with the best fit. That’s why we’re starting with their interview checklist that guides a job seeker through the process, from the second you get the interview to the days following it.

  1. Study for your interview like it’s a final exam
  2. Generate a list of potential interview questions (and their answers!) beforehand
  3. Write out answers to every question you anticipate, and practice delivering them out loud
  4. Compare your skills and experience to the job description
  5. Be rested and healthy for the big day
  6. Dress for success
  7. Empower yourself
  8. Don’t leave any unnecessary unknowns
  9. Keep an interview journal
  10. Follow up

Simple Programmer’s Top Ways to Behave in a Developer Job Interview

Marcell Lipp has five years of work experience as a software developer and blogs about his experience surviving as a programmer. Lipp recently posted on Simple Programmer with these 6 tips for how to behave in a developer interview.

  1. Stay Calm and Confident
  2. Never Lie About Your Knowledge
  3. Evaluate the Company as Well
  4. Don’t Stress Before the Interview
  5. Buy Time During the Interview
  6. Try Your Best and Be Prepared for Your Interview

Lessons Learned from Dice’s Horror Stories

Dice published a semi-humourous/semi-horrifying article with horrible stories from tech interviews. With each story came a lesson and these are four extremely relevant ones for any technology professional.

  1. Prepare for high pressure
  2. Don’t lie about skills and experience
  3. Never argue… even if you’re right
  4. Don’t Bring Your Parents

Noticeably, many of the tips and advice repeat within each source, highlighting their importance. Also, these lists merely tease the details and clicking through to any of these links will give you much more valuable advice and information on how you can apply it. If you come across any helpful resources, we’d love to see them so we can continue to share expert knowledge from around the world on the Talent Development Centre with IT contractors and other job seekers.

How to Destroy an IT Job Interview in 6 Words or Less (and how you can fix it)

How to Destroy an IT Job Interview in 6 Words or Less (and how you can fix it)When a client requests an interview with you it’s a good sign that you impressed them with the skills and experience outlined in your resume. The hiring manager sees potential for you to be a good fit on their current technology project and wants to learn more about you. At this stage, it is appropriate for the skilled IT contractor to go into the interview with confidence, knowing that you’re interviewing the client just as much as they are interviewing you. With that in mind, however, the interview panel is still in the driver’s seat and regardless of your fantastic skills and rate competitiveness, it’s always possible to blow the interview by saying the wrong thing.

There are many incredibly stupid lines you can toss out in an interview that will immediately move you to the bottom of the list — blatant insults, offensive language, or getting caught in serious lies all make the cut. There are also some less obvious lines that Dice believes some IT professionals may not realize hurt their chances. They recently shared their top five favourite lines that they say can blow a tech interview:

  1. “Check my GitHub”
  2. “That’s a garbage language”
  3. “Sorry, I don’t do
  4. “I haven’t ever used your products.”
  5. “Nope, no questions from me.”

All of these sentences share a similar trait, aside from being six words or less. When you deflect to your online profile, insult their ways, or display a lack of interest in their organization, you give an impression to the client that the job opportunity is not a priority for you. To put it bluntly, you’re being arrogant and rude, and clients hate that.

Understandably, nerves get the best of everyone and sometimes in high-stress situations, words slip out of your mouth before you have a chance to filter them. You may not even realize you gave a terrible answer until you get home and reflect on what just happened.

How Can You Fix That Botched Job Interview?

As the same Dice article points out, “it’s really about what happens after tech interviews.” The context of that statement from Dice is referring to when the interviewer reflects on things afterwards; however, it’s also a positive statement because it means your opportunity is not over. An article from The Muse explains that not only are thank you notes important after every interview, they can also help you recover from a train-wreck.

The article provides templates for thank you letters you should send promptly after the interview for situations when you rambled too much, you showed up late, the interviewer was like a robot, or for when you screwed up the question. Essentially, while expressing your gratitude for their time, The Muse believes it is positive to admit you were further reflecting and want to clarify a response or revise what you told them. While a thank you note may not reverse the damage, it shows positive soft skills, including self-awareness, communication and confidence.

Have you successfully saved yourself after a disastrous tech interview? If so, we’d love to hear the story, please leave it in the comments below.

Give Thanks for Your Job Interviews

Happy Thanksgiving! Among the delicious food and valuable time with family, Thanksgiving is especially about taking time out of your busy schedule and being thankful for everything you have. Very often, as we have these discussions, we recognize that being grateful and giving a simple “thank you” can go a long way in building relationships. This holds true when building relationships with clients and recruiters after a job interview.

A few years ago, The Ladders interviewed 500 job seekers and hiring managers to learn more about how people say thank you, as well as how it’s received. While job seekers vary in their strategies, one thing is for certain, hiring managers definitely consider thank-you notes during their decision-making process.

When to Send Thank You Notes After Interview

What To Do with Your Hands During a Job Interview

As Kelly Benson pointed out back in July, when you’re job hunting, the devil is in the details. Every little step counts, from the spelling in your resume to how you format your resume to how you submit an application. And if you’re fortunate enough to receive one, that attention to detail needs to carry-on to your interview. When you arrive, how you dress, and what kind of handshake you give will all affect the client’s perception of you.

If we’re going to talk about small details, let’s take a look at a really small one we rarely think about — what you do with your hands during the job interview. Business Insider thinks of everything to help you succeed in your job search, and this video is no different. Take a look so you’re more cognizant next time you’re sitting across the table from someone. It’s amazing what kind of effect simple hand gestures can have on whether ornot you win an IT contract.

Improve Your Job Interviews (even when they go horribly wrong)

Do you ever leave a job interview with that amazing feeling that everything went perfectly well and as planned? You’re confident that even if you don’t get the job, you left the absolutely best impression possible. Great! Now what about the interview that you bombed? Ya… those happen too. Here are a few ways you can improve your job interviews, even after they start to fall off the tracks in these all-too-common scenarios.

You Show Up Late

Life happens and sometimes extenuating circumstances lead you to be late for an interview. As a result, you suddenly get nervous, lose your momentum, and assume it’s all over before it even started. Before you throw everything away, consider these three great tips from Work It Daily:

  1. Don’t blow it off — you’ll only burn a bridge and make people angry
  2. Avoid begging for mercy, and ask forgiveness — apologize, but don’t go overboard or rhyme out excuses
  3. Shut down your inner negative Nancy — move forward and focus on what you rehearsed

They Ask the Dreaded Question About Getting Fired

Picture this — everything’s going amazing, you’re connecting with the interviewers and all of a sudden they ask that question: “Why did your last contract end so quickly?” This can be terrifying if it’s because the gig did not end well. Take a deep breath and consider these steps from FastCompany:

  1. Know the policy — review any agreements you may have with your former employer on what you can and can’t say (this one’s rarely applicable in the IT contracting world)
  2. Be honest — show you’re truthful and trustworthy, but also refrain from making yourself look bad (ex. “I was let go” sounds better than “I was fired”
  3. Avoid the blame game — this doesn’t look good on you, no matter how true it is
  4. Bring it back to fit — focus on the positive and how you’re still the best fit for this current position

To summarize all of this advice easily: “Stuff” happens. Suck it up, move on and stay positive.

When you let little things get into your head during an interview, everything will quickly go downhill as one little problem snowballs into a bigger one. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Remember to  plan for your interviews. Take into account what could go wrong and know ahead of time how you’ll deal with it. Good luck!

These Brainteasers are Fun (except when they’re asked in a job interview)

Not long ago, Silicon Valley companies were notorious for asking ridiculous and strange job interview questions that they said tested an applicant’s critical thinking abilities. While some technology companies and IT recruiters continue to keep this in their mix, Google and many other leaders have toned it down a bit. Certainly, job interviews at Google remain challenging and nerve-racking; however, there are some questions that proved to be so complicated and unhelpful, that Google stopped asking them.

Check out this video from Tech Insider which reveals a few Google job interview questions (and their answers) that have since moved into the archives.  The challenge is fun but could you survive the pressure of a job interview that included these?

Never Say These 7 Sentences in a Job Interview

You know those clichés and buzz words that recruiters hate seeing in resumes? They’re not doing you any justice when you bring them up in a job interview either. That’s according to this video published by Business Insider a few years ago. Sure, it may be dated, but we can speak from experience, these clichés have not gone away.

According to the video, there are 7 sayings that need to end:

  1. I’m a team player
  2. I’m the perfect fit for this job
  3. I’m open to anything
  4. I’m a perfectionist
  5. I’m a workaholic
  6. I have good leadership skills
  7. I wasn’t appreciated at my last job

The video dives into specifics as to why each saying’s bad and how it’s hurting you when you say it to a recruiter or client. If any of these seven lines have slipped out of your mouth recently, watch the video for more details and some suggested alternatives.

The Reasons that Clients Give for Rejecting Great Candidates

Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

As recruiters we are often surprised when a candidate, who we thought was perfect for a role, is rejected for an opportunity that they were well suited for.

There have been several previous posts that we have shared providing interview tips and tricks, but in this post I wanted to share some specific feedback that we have received from clients. Keeping these important things in mind will hopefully help you to be successful in your next interview.

They were all over the map

We’ve heard this described in many different ways: “They rambled or they went on and on or they went way off track.” One of the things that I coach everyone on, even the most senior of candidates, is to try and keep things concise. It’s common in an interview situation when nerves are a bit rattled to want to talk. And talk. And talk. An interviewer will often take a moment or two to capture information that you have shared, but don’t take that silence to mean that you should keep talking. The best advice is to answer a question in a clear and concise manner – and stop talking. If the interviewer doesn’t respond (and therefore seems to be looking for more), ask “Would you like me to expand on that?” OR “Would you like me to share a specific example?” If you answer a question and then go off on an unrelated tangent, the interview is as good as over.

They didn’t explain their experience well

We often hear that candidates weren’t successful in explaining their experience in a relatable way. It’s helpful to refer to the STAR method when preparing for an interview. Although this format is normally recommended for behavioural-based interview questions, it’s a great way to be sure you are highlighting all aspects of relevant experience in relation to a question. Speaking at a high level and giving vague answers rather than highlighting specific projects, experiences or accomplishments does not tend to bode well, and will leave any interviewer rushing to finish the interview. Be prepared with specifics and have some key project examples jotted down that you can quickly refer to – don’t assume that you will be able to recall them during the interview.

They shared too much

We hear this feedback often and have to wonder what people are thinking when they share too much personal information in a job interview. I once had an employee tell a prospective employer that they had started contracting because of personal debt, and then proceeded to give a number! This can also include speaking poorly of a previous employer, which is never a good idea. If you are trying to explain a gap in employment or a reason for leaving a role, keep it fairly high level, don’t come off as defensive, and maintain your professionalism at all times. If you are tempted to share that your wife left you, your dog died, or your uncle was in jail – write a country song instead.

A good recruiter will help you prepare for an interview and share some insight into what to expect to help you best prepare, but it’s up to you to use and keep the above feedback in mind. If you use common sense and exude professionalism you are sure to land the job!

 

The Job Interview is YOUR Time to Shine… Be Sure to Prepare!

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

The job interview is your chance to sell yourself.  The recruiter found you, helped update your resume as necessary and submitted you to the client.  We can prep you and give you insight into the culture and even specific questions that the hiring manager is likely to ask but as the candidate, this is where you need to shine.  Preparation is what is going to set you apart from the rest.

As a contractor, you know there’s fierce competition in every role you apply to. Putting in the effort to be prepared and knowledgeable will always give you the advantage in this stage of your job hunt.  This infographic from Ropella has a few tips to help you get there.

The Job Interview is YOUR Time to Shine... Be Sure to Prepare!

Smart Questions to Ask at the End of a Job Interview

There’s a piece of age-old, sound advice that all recruiters will give when they’re providing tips for a positive job interview: Be prepared to ask questions at the end. Although implied, the advice isn’t always specific enough to remind job seekers that the questions need to be smart. For example, asking your interviewer “Will I sit by a window” or “Can I bring a plant to put on my desk” may be questions that could help you make a decision to take the job, but they will not give the client a reason to think that you’re better suited for the position.

Instead, it’s important to be prepared to ask questions that show your interviewer that you’ve put some thought into the situation. You want them to know that you’re genuinely curious about the role and whether you will succeed. This infographic from Business Insider will help you prepare with 7 smart questions you can ask at the end of every job interview.

Smart Questions to Ask at the End of a Job Interview