CVs, cover letters, and tricky interview questions! Part 2


Smash your next interview with these tips that will help you stand out from the crowd

Once you’ve polished your CV and caught the eye of a hiring manager, then it’s time to tackle the interview stage. On average interviews should last between 45 minutes to an hour. Some industries have longer interview processes than others. On average the interview process in the UK lasts around 27 days from initial interview to job offer. IT interviews can go through several rounds and sometimes include a technical task or presentation.  

Types of interviews you may encounter when applying for tech roles 

Interviews can be varied in form. You might be asked to come in for a traditional in-person interview or conduct a remote interview by phone or video. Whether you are interviewed one on one or by a panel is often determined by the size of the company or the scope of the role. If you are expected to work across different departments, you might be asked to interview with several different members of staff.  

For most IT roles these are the top three most common interview types you are likely to encounter: 

1 . Competency based interviews 
In competency-based interviews, the interviewer is looking for real-world examples of you demonstrating specific behaviours and skills. When answering these questions try to remember the STAR method.  

  • Set the scene by describing the Situation 

  • Detail the specific Task you were given 

  • Explain what Action you took 

  • Describe the Results and what you learned 

 2. Technical challenges 
You may be asked to complete a technical challenge as part of the interview process. Depending on the role this can range from coding tests designed to assess your proficiency to giving a presentation outlining your plan for a particular project. These challenges are designed to test your problem-solving skills, technical knowledge and how well you work under pressure. 

 3. Cultural fit interviews 
Cultural fit interviews are designed to see how well you gel with the companies’ values and ethos, as well as how you’ll work with existing team members. Cultural interview questions might also crop up in a competency-based interview or you may be asked to attend a ‘meet-the-team’ event. Whilst it’s important for the company to know if you’ll fit in culturally, it’s also key information for you! Good culture fit means less stress, more job satisfaction and longer tenure. 

Tips for answering those tricky interview questions 

Whether it’s a competency, technical or cultural interview you are likely to be asked some challenging or unexpected questions. If you do it can be easy to get derailed and lose confidence. Instead take a deep breath, you’ve got this! Here are some tips to help you with those tricky IT interview questions: 

  • Preparation is key  
    Do your research. Try to anticipate any potential difficult questions, particularly around any skills or experience gaps you may have. There are lots of resources available that point you to common tech and IT interview questions and how to answer them. Always have a copy of the job description and your CV to hand during the interview to refer to. 

  • Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer  
    If you’re asked a question and you don’t know the answer don’t panic! Give yourself a minute to think and try to be calm and collected. Often showing your methods and talking through how you might arrive at a solution is more important than having the correct answer memorised. 

  • Have some questions of your own 
    Having some questions to hand at the end of the interview shows that you are invested and enthusiastic about the role. Try to avoid asking questions about salaries but you can ask about workplace culture, why your interviewer enjoys working at the company or, if you’ve done any technical tasks, if the interviewer would have answered in a different way or used different methods. 

  • If you make a mistake don’t ignore it   
    At the end of the interview revisit any errors, acknowledge that you made a mistake and ask for a chance to answer correctly. 

Still having trouble landing an interview? Learn how to craft a compelling and effective CV that showcases your skills in part one of our CV and interview review series. 

Is your career in need of a health check? 

When you’re thinking about a potential job change or how to reach your next promotion, it’s always a good idea to conduct a career health check beforehand to know where you stand.  

Over a coffee, one of our friendly experts will take you through the latest industry tends and explore how your key skills and experience match up with employer expectations. We’ll help you identify areas for improvement and establish realistic two and five-year goals.  

To learn more about how Fruition IT can support and empower your career development, try our FREE career health check or explore our latest jobs

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