Interviewing for high level IT positions is an undeniably nerve wracking experience. The (often lengthy) process can make even the strongest candidate feel vulnerable and exposed – an especially daunting prospect for those of you who feel more comfortable behind a monitor than in person. While you obviously can’t control every aspect of the experience, getting to grips with those you can control is key to acing your next interview. With that in mind, we’ve put together our top tips for success:
Know what to expect
Beyond the long rounds of interviews and perfected CVs, when looking for candidates to fill higher level IT roles, employers are basically after three core pieces of information: whether you’re able to do the job; are passionate about your field and your ability to fit in with a particular company culture.Remember, leadership and people skills are just as important as technical prowess when you’re going for these top positions. Thorough, targeted preparation will ensure you tick all three of those boxes by showing your achievements in just the right light.
Take preparation to the next level
Too many candidates turn up to interview with only the most cursory knowledge about the company they supposedly want to join. If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of securing that dream job, it pays to arm yourself with as much information as you possibly can.
This includes research into the organisation’s current performance (especially the performance of its current CIO so you know which aspects of your experience to highlight), data on its main competitors and information about its current range of products and services. A potential CIO will also be expected to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a company’s industry, including trends and industry-specific challenges, as well as key facts about the interviewers so you can feel more comfortable conversing with them.
Prioritise your achievements
It sounds obvious, but a surprising number of candidates simply don’t bother to go through a job spec and think about their experience in relation to it, point by point – if it’s provided for you, use it.
It’s also an excellent idea to think of four or five key attributes you want to communicate to the interviewer/s over the course of the session, and focus on including them at appropriate times. Coming up with around five of your most solid career success stories that are relevant to the position is another superb way to make you stand out from the competition.
Conduct a Mock Interview
Role playing the interview with a trusted colleague who knows your industry can make all the difference when it comes to the real thing, especially if you have a tendency to clam up when asked a tricky question. A mock interviewer should cover likely topics such as reasons for leaving your previous position/s, career gaps and specific success stories. Feedback from a dry run can be just what’s needed to push your interview performance from good to job-clinching.
Get your body language right
Communications experts agree that positive body language will carry you a surprisingly long way at interview. The right level of eye contact, a firm handshake, limiting nervous gestures, a confident posture and laughter at appropriate moments are all crucial, and can make the difference between a candidate who seems engaged and employable and one who comes across as timid or indifferent. Filming yourself during a mock interview is a great way to assess what aspects of your physical presence might be having a negative impact on your overall persona.