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A dialogue, not an exam: how to prepare for a job interview

The upcoming interview may sometimes scare off as an exam. Remember how you also check up on some important details, look in the mirror, take a deep breath. But things are not so tragic. An interview is a dialogue, not an exam. Let's try to come up with basic tips on preparing for an interview in IT, so that it goes friendly and effective.

According to Simplilearn, only 20% of applicants receive an invitation for an interview. Around 33% of interviewers decide whether to hire a candidate in the first 90 seconds of the interview. But we believe that you can do everything!

How to look for and find your job opening

Proper resources, good friends, and a little luck. Look for vacancies for IT specialists at The Muse, Dice, CrunchBoard. We recommend that you browse the pages of your favorite companies on LinkedIn. There is often a separate vacancies' page on the company's website — add it to your bookmarks.

Check the pages of IT clusters in cities, coworking spaces, and founders' personal profiles. They regularly write about whom they are looking for. We also wrote about how and where to look for a job in IT here.

A couple of words about your resume and portfolio

So, the dream job has been found, it's time to send in your resume and portfolio. Spoiler: it's a good thing to have both. It is also important to avoid common mistakes:

  • Poor structure or no structure at all. It is better to divide the resume into blocks. Portfolio is best when presented by the types of code used, or projects.
  • Unreadable formats, beaten project links. Everything should work fine, so you can pre-drop the file or website to friends, and let them click it through.
  • Spelling and punctuation. Yes, even if you write flawlessly in Python, it is desirable that your Ukrainian or English is also good.

How to prepare for an interview in four steps

The interview is usually divided into several stages. First, there’s a call with a recruiter, a test task. Then, if you go to the next stage, there’s a talk with the team lead, and then — you get the offer. So let's imagine: tomorrow you’re having an interview for a very desirable position.

We suggest the following preparation algorithm:

Prepare your tech. The microphone should work well, the background should either be a simple white one or the ocean. We hope you have both available.

Learn as much as you can about the company. History, mission, founder, customer feedback — everything is important here. Follow the company's LinkedIn profile, check the reviews on Glassdoor. Learn about the team by studying the profiles of employees on social networks. This will help understand that you are on the same page.

Prepare questions about your responsibilities, working conditions, training systems and the social package. It is important to ask what are the prospects for growth for this position.

Prepare a self-presentation. Identify your strengths, think about what you need to improve. What experience will be especially interesting for the company? What should you say honestly? For example, a basic good Portuguese can be a bonus if the team works in this market. If you're inattentive — okay, tell about it and how you work with it. It is also essential to take a fresh look at your social networks, prepare a motivation story of 1.5-2 minutes.

And one more here — always give a little more. Ask for the feedback after the interview with your recruiter, or give feedback on the test task. Write a thank you for the interview or wish a good day — let the company see you’re proactive.

Always read the job descriptions to understand what the company expects. And when you receive (we hope) the desired offer — look at each page.

Prepare well, don’t be afraid to fail, take everything as a useful experience and have more faith in yourself. How about starting to look for a new job now?

Mariia Shnyrkova
Beetroot Academy blog author