And, nope, we don’t want to shape you into something. After all, at KWAN, we believe that our uniqueness as individuals is what distinguishes us and adds value to the company.
Editor’s Note: this article was originally published in [June, 2019] and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
Whenever I’m interviewing a candidate, I often say that soft skills are what companies are really looking for. After all, hard skills are learned in college (okay, not always, but let’s assume they are) transversally by all students.
OK, you can have an A and your classmate a C… you may have learned the basics better… but do you think that’s what’s going to make sure that your career is better than his? Not really.
That’s why we think factors like your personality, ability to communicate, team- playing (just to name a few) are what really make a difference. So, why would we shape you into something preformatted, right?
Okay, there are some reminders that we can give you, after all this is our day-to-day life, and you may miss some of them because you simply want to get your hands on programming stuff! 🙂
1. Get to know the company
Do some basic research on their website, to get acquainted with their sector, core business, the products/services they sell, the places where they are and with whom they work. In a nutshell, show them you’re interested and don’t act like you’re there just for the sake of it.
2. “Read” the job spec (if there’s one)
- Get a grasp of the role requirements, the ones that match with your skills and those that don’t.
- Get ready to explain where and when you used those skills, be it a language, a framework, etc. to show that you really have experience and have mastered that technology.
- Likewise, when asked about the skills you haven’t mastered, give them a reason why: either because you never had a chance to work with them or because you used something similar/some competitor.
- Say no to closed answers, the goal is to maintain an open conversation, so that you can be helped by whoever is interviewing you. Saying “yes” and “no” will hardly help your success.
3. Structure your presentation
- For the sake of clarity, tell you story chronologically, from the oldest to the most recent project, and speak of each clearly, focusing on key points, such as: the project’s scope, the team size, your role, technologies and achievements.
- Try not to digress, create instead a logical “story”, detailing your career. Keep this in mind: no one knows your experiences better than you, so help the interviewer to know them better, so that the hiring managers can have a thorough understanding of it in the end.
4. Get some questions ready about things that you deem relevant in an upcoming project
- I often say that a new job/project must be like a relationship: chemistry must be found on both sides, otherwise things won’t work down the road. Ask relevant things that are important for you in a project or workplace.
- Yes, it’s a relevant topic, we know it, but PLEASE, don’t gear yourself towards wage-related questions!! That issue will be addressed, you don’t want to look like someone who’s money driven.
5. Get yourself ready for a couple of boring questions, like “what are your strengths? And weaknesses?” Or “why should I hire you?”
I don’t usually go for that sort of questions, but I believe that, more than being interested about the answers, those who ask them are attempting to understand how you react to more personal questions that make you uncomfortable. If you are ready for them, you won’t be forced to step out of your comfort zone.
6. Think about what you’d like to do in the medium/long term
Imagine what you’d like your career to be. Even if it’s just a dream: define it. You’d be amazed at how many people forget to do this.
7. Be honest!
Trying to hide or cover something is pointless if your end goal is to be successful and hired. That will play against you, sooner or later. And it’ll hurt you!
And that’s pretty much it. So just be yourself !
The company must realize that it’ll have plenty to gain by hiring you. It’s not just the knowledge about some technology that inhabits a body! 🤖
Oh, regardless of how good you are as a professional, and even if you think that job “is already yours no matter what”, don’t get too cocky. Be respectful to be respected. Be HUMBLE!
Good interviews! 😊