Don’t be like Socrates, don’t answer “I don’t know” or how to pass an interview in an IT company successfully.

Either you have been working in IT for decades or you are making your first attempts to enter the world of information technology, an interview is a crucial stage. Each little thing affects whether you get the job you want and buy a new bicycle for a few hundred dollars more expensive soon. It is not a secret that people with the same skills and level of knowledge may have completely different salaries. It all depends on the arrangements made at interviews.

Let us start with a resume. It can be compared to your social network’s account, but the main difference is that you can not cheat or use photos of cats as an avatar. The recruiter’s impression of you depends mainly on a resume. We want you to pay attention to the fact that the recruiter is a person, who is on your side during the whole process of interviewing. It is not to say that you should try to bribe him with chocolates, but you should definitely try to show yourself at your best. The resume should be complete, meaningful and compiled in accordance with the existing rules. It is worth extra reading. It should be immediately clear whether you have skills and experience, which are needed for a vacancy.

Let us move on to the interviews themselves

1. The first stage: interview with a recruiter

It is aimed at communicating with you in a short format, discussing your previous experience and motivation, making clear how well you fit the company and vice versa, identifying your soft skills. There is definitely no test task at this stage.

It is crucial not to neglect the preparation to each interview stage and a call or meeting with a recruiter should not be an exception, because it is a recruiter, who accompanies you at all selection process stages. The recruiter often defends the candidate's interests and can explain to the Hiring Manager why you are the most suitable candidate for this position.

Therefore, before the call or meeting, it is significant to:

  • Go over the vacancy one more time (it doesn’t matter whether you applied for it or the proposal was made to you)
  • Find out the information about the company on the dow and other platforms
  • Go through the company's website
  • Read reviews about the company to understand the company’s reputation among the staff (be sure to check the sources of information as they may often be irrelevant)
  • You may also prepare some questions that the recruiter would be definitely ready to answer (spoiler: the recruiter is unlikely to know how self-tests are crushed due to cybernetics). These can be about clarifying the benefits of the company or its view on social issues etc.

A few secret (actually not so much) questions that recruiters like to ask:

  • Determine the motivation: why you have decided to change the company / have applied for the job offer, what exactly has made you interested in this vacancy.
  • What is crucial for you in choosing a job and what do you pay attention to in the first place?
  • What would you like to work with and wouldn’t like to work with under any circumstances?
  • What should the offer be like so that you would definitely accept it (excluding salary)?
  • What would you like to develop in and what is the next stage in your development?
  • Is it more comfortable for you to work in a team or in solo?

If you make an impression on the recruiter of an interested person - be sure that you will be definitely recommended for consideration in the next stages. As it is said: “Met by clothes, seen off by the number of people who will remake the code after you”.

2. Technical interview stage

The preparation is also essential here. The requirements and future responsibilities are always listed in the vacancy, so you should pay attention to them, because that is exactly what you can start with during the preparation for this stage.

Be sure to use the laptop (not a phone, tablet etc.), because you may be asked to, for example, complete a coding task that would be required to be done by sharing your screen.

Check audio and video. In order to look professional when you enter the interview, make sure everything works properly. Turning on the light in your room will improve the video’s quality. In addition, make sure your friends are not having a party behind you.

Emphasis on relevant experience. You will definitely be asked about your experience at the beginning of the interview. The main recommendation is to focus on the relevant experience and technologies that you will potentially use in the project, which you are interviewed for (it is not necessary to talk about the laboratory work done during your university studies in Pascal).

Never say “I don’t know”. It’s a trigger. No matter how philosophical your attitude is to Socrates’ assertion “I know that I know nothing”, in this case try to give a more detailed answer or point out that you have not worked with this technology yet, but such experience would be valuable and interesting for you. 

I am eager to learn. This phrase has a magical impact on the interviewer. No matter how experienced you are or how much you know about everything in the entire world, but in the world of information technology everything is changing so fast that without your self development and training you will not be able to code. Let us tell you a secret: it is often more profitable for the company to invest in your training, which would be relevant to a particular project rather than to hire the person with the set of all needed skills.

Don’t forget to ask questions (they may also be prepared beforehand) about the technology, the duration of sprints, your tasks on the project etc. If you are being interviewed in a small company, you are likely to meet the interviewer at work - it is a great opportunity to feel if it’s comfortable to work with this person. If you are being interviewed in a large company, you can assess the company’s expertise, the technical expert’s competence and find out whether you will benefit from getting into this community.

3. Stage: Interview with the CEO, CTO of the company, or with the client.

This is a crucial stage, because it is more about the cultural, soft skills match to the company. Even though you have passed all previous stages successfully, it is not the right time to relax. It is significant to be active and give detailed and clear, not blurry answers to the questions. You should have a firm position on corporate culture, communication and work and if it corresponds to the company's view, it may help you to get a desired job offer. It is essential not to “artificially” adapt to the company or project at this stage. This is due to the fact that you will have to work with these people in this place for a long period of time. Also, you should not exaggerate your skills, because it will increase company’s expectations from you. Accordingly, if you do not meet these expectations, your motivation will deteriorate.

In an interview, as in a date - the agreement of both parties is crucial. Not only should the company like you, but also you should like the company. We wish you to find “the lifelong relationships” or at least to the next better offer.