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Preparing for your first interview for a tech role

Young woman begin interviewed for a technology job

ARTICLE SUMMARY

To help you convince employers that you’re the best candidate for the job, Ida from CV Genius has compiled a list of tips for preparing for your first tech interview.

APPLYING FOR A TECH JOB FOR THE FIRST TIME?

You might’ve heard that the US that has experienced recent layoffs in the tech industry. However, the global downturn has also affected UK tech workers, leading to increased competition for tech jobs.

While this might sound intimidating, there’s no need to worry. You landed the interview, so the employer must have found your technical CV and cover letter to be impressive. If you’ve got the skills and passion needed to succeed, you’re well-positioned to make it in the field. 

To help you convince employers that you’re the best candidate for the job, Ida from CV Genius has compiled a list of tips for preparing for your first tech interview.

Ida is a Content Writer at CV Genius who enjoys supporting job seekers as they plan their next career moves. She graduated from New College of Florida with a double major in Philosophy/Chinese Language and Culture. In her spare time, Ida enjoys hiking, reading, and gardening.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

When preparing for your tech interview, the first thing you need to do is find out as much as you can about the company and the role you’re interviewing for. This will ensure you understand the mission and ethos of the company, as well as what will be expected of you if you get the job. 

Look at job descriptions and sample application documents for similar positions to identify what skills to focus on during your interview. You should research the company’s history and achievements, as well as any new products. 

This information will be useful in case you’re asked what you know about the company and why you want to work there, two of the most common questions interviewers ask to weed out candidates who aren’t passionate about the organisation.

REVIEW YOUR TECHNICAL SKILLS

Take a moment to reflect on your technical skills and make a list of the ones that best match the role you’re interviewing for. By creating a list of technical skills, you get a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses in terms of technical knowledge. This will allow you to find and fill any skill gaps, making you a more competitive candidate.

Writing down your skills can also help you demonstrate your value to the employer. When you’re aware of your strengths, you can show how your skills match the job requirements and how you can add value to the company.

PRACTISE PROBLEM SOLVING

It’s common for tech interviews to involve a coding task that requires you to demonstrate your skills in real time. While you won’t be told in advance what this task will entail, you can prepare for it at home before the interview. Websites like LeetCode, CodeChef, and Codeforces provide coding tasks and simulations that will test your problem solving skills. 

Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance. If you have a friend or a mentor who can help you sharpen your skills before the interview, ask them to work with you. Having a fresh set of eyes on the same task may help you to see things in a new way and gain a different perspective as you work on the problem.

BE READY TO PRESENT YOUR PORTFOLIO

If you don’t have a portfolio yet, you should prepare one before your interview. If you’re switching to a tech career from a different field, you can still make a portfolio by including personal projects you’ve been working on. 

There are several websites, like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix, that make it simple to build your own website to host your portfolio. Pick a design that’s professional and easy to read and include the following pages:

  • About Me – Introduce yourself and explain your background, experience, and career goals. You can also explain what drew you to the tech industry and what you enjoy about it.
  • Projects/Examples – Add screenshots of (or link to) the work that you’re most proud of with a focus on recent examples. Provide a brief description of each project and explain the technical skills used to complete them.
  • Testimonials – Collect brief testimonials from past clients, employers, colleagues, or instructors to feature on your portfolio. 

Even if your interviewer has already seen your portfolio before the interview, be prepared to go over it with them in person and explain how the skills you’ve picked up through your studies or personal projects will help you succeed in the role.

PREPARE ANSWERS FOR COMMON TECH INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Preparing answers to some common tech interview questions will help ensure you’re not caught off guard once the interview starts. Here are some common questions to start thinking about in preparation for your first tech interview:

  • What are your technical certifications?
  • How do you stay up to date with new and emerging technologies?
  • Which programming languages are you familiar with?
  • Why do you enjoy working in the IT field? What do you dislike about it?
  • Can you describe a recent project you worked on and what skills you used to complete it?
  • Can you talk about a time when you had to handle a challenge at work? How did you overcome it?

To make your answers more impressive, provide specific examples that showcase how you’ve applied relevant tech skills in the past. Preparing ahead of time is the key to getting a tech job in 2023.

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