In the Job Interview Guide, you will find recommendations that will help you prepare for a job interview in general, and in the tech field in particular. In the previous guides, we talked about the Types of Job Interviews and How to Prepare for an Interview. In this final part of the guide, we will focus on preparing a pitch and on the interview itself.
The purpose of the pitch is to introduce yourself. Most often, you will not be asked specific questions right away – the interviewer would rather prefer to hear how you present yourself and what details you choose to share. This is an opportunity to present your achievements, relevant professional experience, people you worked with and what you can actually contribute as part of your next job.
Where do you start?
For starters, there are two rules that are important to keep in mind when you introduce yourself. First rule: self-presentation is professional and not personal. The purpose of self-presentation is not to tell about your personal life, but about professional experience.
Second rule: storytelling. As part of the self-presentation, it is important that you create closeness, arouse empathy, and present your story in a coherent, convincing and credible manner, so that it will be clear what happened before and after, how long you worked in each company and why you left.
You should provide a snapshot of your professional experience to date: where you have worked and how long, your titles and main areas of responsibility. In most cases, it is appropriate to talk about your entire work experience from the beginning of your career, but if you have an extensive experience, you may consider describing the first years briefly and elaborating more on your experience from recent years.
Upon presenting your work experience, point out your accomplishments in each workplace. The goal is not to turn each achievement into a separate story, but to mention the achievements and their impact on the workplace and on you as a “mini-story.”
Along with sharing your employment experience, you must show that you did your research and know what the job description includes. Avoid reciting the job description, but rather incorporate the requirements and job description into the story about your past. For example, if in the past you have built a certain project from scratch, and the job description mentions the ability to work independently and proactively, while being capable of establishing an infrastructure, this would be a good time to share your achievements and say that you are aware that these qualities and skills are required for the job you are seeking.
As mentioned, you need to show the interviewers that you are the most suitable candidate for the job. Sometimes, it will be clear to the interviewers from what you will tell about your achievements and professional experience, and sometimes, you should say aloud why you think you are the right person for the job. For example, you can say: “I think the job can suit me because at my previous workplace I have dealt with similar projects, and because the job requires independent and proactive approach, analytical thinking and creativity, and I believe I have these skills and can apply them in practice.”
In conclusion, remember – the purpose of self-presentation is to market yourself for a specific job. On one hand, you need to share most or all of your professional experience, and on the other hand, you have to do it coherently and narratively, share your accomplishments and create closeness by “feeling” the interviewer. Along with all of the above, you need to pay attention to the time and atmosphere: whether to elaborate on a particular work experience or specific project, or move on and tell about something else due to the lack of time.
It is highly recommended to practice! If you don’t practice your self-presentation, the pitch may sound cumbersome and unclear. Once you have built your pitch, you need to separate the wheat from the chaff and practice presenting yourself, while being aware of the time it takes. All of these will make you look professional in a real job interview.
Please note: although the pitch is your opportunity to present yourself without “interruption,” some interviewers may find it important to interrupt you and ask questions. Allow it to happen, do not talk too fast. If the interviewer asks you a question, go back to where you stopped. Overall, an uninterrupted self-presentation can last about two or three minutes, however, it can be longer should the interviewer interrupt you and ask questions.
The matter of various questions was mentioned with regard to interviews with various interviewers in the context of common questions that may be asked by the recruiter. This time, we will focus on questions that you, as an interviewee, need to ask, as well as and their impact on the interview itself.
Why ask questions if I don’t really have anything to ask about?
Even if you got the answers to all your questions during the recruitment process or the interview itself, ask at least a question or two at the end of the interview. Two reasons why you should:
Examples of questions and an explanation of how they may be perceived (note that you should not ask questions that have already been answered in an interview):
This question can be problematic because it can make the interviewer feel that you are “getting in over your head” and “setting your sights” on other positions and promotion even before getting the job. You may give the impression that you are not really interested in the current position but see it as a stop on the way (sometimes this is the truth, but stating it directly may do you a disservice). In tech companies and startups, there is usually an option for promotion. Obviously, it depends on standards, quality of your work and satisfaction of your managers.
Especially when there is a concern that you are overqualified for a job (meaning that you have too much experience), this question may fail you, since it gives a feeling that you will exhaust your potential for the current position pretty quickly and will seek to get promoted. In such a situation, it would be better for the company to recruit someone with less experience and more motivation to prove themselves, and gain experience as part of the offered job.
A first impression refers to the weight that people tend to give to the initial information they know about another person, compared to the information that follows. We tend to judge people based on the initial information we know about them; additional information is not always given the opportunity to influence our judgment and opinion about a person (Anderson, 1965). In other words, the first impression is critical.
In an article published in the Harvard Business Review magazine, entrepreneur Rachel Greenwald wrote about how to deal with the consequences of a first impression in the recruitment screening context. Here are a few excellent tips from the article that will prove useful:
Over the last year, video interviews have become particularly relevant, and there are a few things to keep in mind:
The last issue, which is also related to the first impression, has to do with what you wear. Whether it is a video or face-to-face interview, it’s important to put some thought into your choice of clothes to demonstrate that you are aware of the situation, workplace and position you are seeking.
In conclusion of this guide, watch a video published by the “Kan 11” Channel, which summarizes and illustrates how you should prepare for a job interview. Definitely worth watching.
Job interviews can be daunting and stressful. We wrote the Job Interview Guide to help you be prepared and relaxed. In the first part of the guide, we talked about various types of interviews and interviewers, elaborated in detail on each interview you may have to attend in tech companies, and described how to prepare according to the types of questions. In the second part, we stressed the importance of a preliminary research that will allow to demonstrate knowledge and check your suitability for a specific position you are seeking. In the third part, we explained what pitch is, how to build it properly and how to deal with the interview itself. All of these will help you get to the interview after practicing, in order to avoid any surprises and go through the process smoothly. We wish you the best of luck and success in your job interviews!
Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.
I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...
Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.
And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.
The cognitive load is real, y'all.
But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.
Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.
The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.
Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.
And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.
Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.
Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.
When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.
Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.
By taking this 10-min test I can set myself up for success