My 4 Tips to Ace Any Interview

My 4 Tips to Ace Any Interview

I am just about to start a new position at a startup in downtown Boise. I will still be software engineering, but working with a new language, framework, OS, and architecture. I am excited to begin this new chapter in my life and my career. For this company, I had three separate interviews. When I applied for positions the first time, I remember sending my resume out to anyone and everyone who may want to hire a recent college grad. It was divine providence that brought me to my current position. I have so enjoyed my position and will miss it and the people. However, it became apparent that it was time to move on. Anyhoo, when I began looking for a new opportunity, I was faced with my least favorite part of job searching….interviewing.

In my first job search, I had bombed at least 4 interviews at all different companies. Technical interviews are terrifying. They use puzzles, data structures, and computer science knowledge (most of which you don’t use in your day to day job btw) to determine how one problem solves and how well one approaches a coding problem. Essentially, anything that you learned in college could be fair game. It is terrifying. Often, you stand at a white board in front of a panel of humans, and you answer these questions and try to code them as best as you can. It is terrifying. My very first interview, I was so naïve. I walked in there, bombed the entire thing, and left thinking I had done great. Over the next few failures, I learned what I needed to improve on. I also bought a few interview books to help me through the process. I even took an interview prep course. All of these resources eventually led me to my current position.

This time around, I was at least a little more prepared. Additionally, I had two years of experience behind me, which would help with the coding questions. But I was still nervous. So! Here are my tips to study and prepare for interviews.

Shameless Selfie taking Pre-First Interview

      1 - Look the Part!

      I work in the tech industry. The tech industry is often accused of being “too casual”. I’ve worked on a team of mostly men, and the normal attire at work is jeans and a t-shirt. These t-shirts are usually free from a conference, where they give out lots of SWAG. My first two days at work, I would dress up; put on makeup; do my hair, and then quickly abandoned that course of action. There have even been studies done (again in the tech industry) that suggest that those that dress up for interviews appear less knowledgeable. However, before my interviews, I made sure my hair was done. I slathered slightly more makeup on my face than usual (I usually wear no makeup :P). I donned my blazer and headed out walking like a boss. (Or at least feeling like I was) While this seems silly, not necessary, a waste of time, it helped me perform during the interviews. If you look good, you feel good. I felt more confident and ready to show the world, just how well I could code. It’s important. Plus, it will give you an opportunity to wear those blazers in your closet you never wear.  Check out this Pinterest Board that I made with more interview inspiration and outfit ideas! 

2 - Do Your Research

      Research the company. Find out their mission, and see where and how that applies to your own life, but also applies to why you want this job. It’s important to be genuine here. If you aren’t they will be able to tell, but also, maybe there is another company out there that would be a better fit for you. Working with something you are passionate about brings so many more fruits than working elsewhere. Keep searching to fin the right fit. Determine the responsibilities and skills needed for that position. Make sure you have answers, sound bytes, thoughts to add to demonstrate how your skills/personality etc make you a good fit. 

      3 - Study Up

      This depends greatly on your field, and what interviews are like for said field. For me, this involved reviewing coding problems, and core concepts from code I had worked on in the past. Even if this knowledge wasn’t needed, it will make you feel more confident walking into that interview. Confidence is Key. If you need a reminder about this see tip #1 😊 There are many resources online that can help guide your answers in behavioral questions as well as technical questions. If you hit google, and search for “Top Ten Interview Questions For <<Insert Position here>>” you will no doubt find a wealth of knowledge. Here is an example of a technical interview question site, and here is a general one. Remember you don’t ‘have to answer these questions one hundred percent correctly. They want to see your thought process more than anything else. Here is a past post with study tips if you need some studying inspo! Also check out these inta pages! Here and here!

     4 - Practice!

      I had one of my friends ask me some coding questions (which I did not do well) but going through it with him helped prepare me, and show me where I was lacking. This was probably the most helpful thing I did on the road to my interviews. I was intimidated by the situation (anyone asking you questions is intimidating no matter who it is!) and being in that state and working through those problems was a great help to me when it came time to do it for real. If you can’t find a colleague or friend to mock interview, look towards your community. There are usually networking clubs and groups, and many create opportunities for people to interview.

Well here they are my Four Interview tips.

Comment below if you have used any of these tips! Or if you have found any resources that were helpful to you!