As the leading tech recruiting and staffing agency in Dallas and Phoenix, we are often asked how to make a great impression during a tech interview.
First impressions matter, but they aren’t always the final ones. This goes for both first interviews and first dates. However different, they are oddly similar.
To excel at both, it is better to focus on the experience rather than the result. Coming off as desperate won’t impress anyone on either side of the table. Everyone is unique in different ways. If you are confident in your strengths and qualities then trust the process and let whatever will happen just happen.
To learn more about virtual interviewing, read here.
The Little Things
The little things, if done well, don’t mean very much; however, if carried out poorly can be a significant negative mark against you.
You need to dress well to create the best first impression during a tech interview. The proper outfit should only keep your initial impression score neutral or slightly enhance it. However, if you want your dress to make big marks on your scorecard, dress poorly because this will leave a huge negative impression before you even open your mouth.
Another way to ensure you don’t ruin a tech interview before it starts is to simply be polite. The same principle that was discussed above can be applied here as well. While you may not walk away at the end of a first impression during a tech interview with your date or interviewer saying, “Wow, he was polite,” it is easier for the interviewer to do their job if you allow them to say, “Goodness, he was rude”. Leave a strong impression that makes it impossible to come to any conclusion other than politeness. We have seen tech candidates who looked like a great fit lose out on an opportunity after being rude to the receptionist or someone else not directly involved in the hiring process.
Show What Makes You Confident
Often it may feel challenging to master the art of telling a potential employer how amazing you are without becoming cocky, so show it instead of telling it.
When an interviewer asks if you are a problem solver, instead of saying,
“Yes I approach everything like a puzzle”
Say something that demonstrates a time when you solved a problem creatively and innovatively. Maybe you saw an issue before anyone else and proactively acted, or maybe you came up with a creative solution to a problem that your coworkers had been dealing with for some time. Be specific.
Anything that provides examples of your skills will speak volumes — more than anything else you could say to describe the qualities you possess. Plus, you avoid leaving a bad taste in your interviewer’s mouth when you sound too confident.
We all know one guy who genuinely thinks he is fantastic and isn’t ashamed of telling everyone. Most people run, hide, or act busy when his footsteps are heard coming down the hall. Don’t be that guy. To make a good impression during a tech interview, walk that fine line between confidence and cockiness.
Confess Your Feeling
You should let the other party know how you feel about him. Now, this isn’t some cheesy, romantic comedy from the ’80s. But it’s essential to let the other party know that you have taken an interest in what he does and who he is.
Knowing critical factors about the company you are interviewing with can help establish the fact that you are genuinely interested in it and that you have taken the time to learn about it. You are not simply stringing the company along.
Great questions to ask that make a positive impression during a tech interview are those regarding culture, experiences, and even future projections.
Understanding the culture is the equivalent of asking about family and friends on a first date. It helps provide an idea of how you could possibly fit into the relationships that are already in place. If both parties feel like they are better together than apart then it is a good fit.
Experiences are also a great conversation topic to make a lasting impression during a tech interview. Past projects, duties and responsibilities, and how you can relate to that help increase your chances that the other party will find you to be a good asset to their company.
Talking about the future requires a very orchestrated dance on a first date in order to keep the relationship from moving too fast. Talking about a company’s future though, and including yourself in the picture, builds a strong case for a mutually beneficial hire.
So, do your homework! Know the key players and goals of the company. That way your questions can be truly inquisitive and from an educated place. There is no worse impression during a tech interview than asking questions that display how much you truly don’t know.
The Start of Something Great
Whether it’s a first date or an interview, there will be nerves, the need to put your best foot forward, and questions and answers that feel rehearsed. But if you have found one, it will be easy for both parties to see how the other would be an asset to their life.