How IT Consultants Can Stand Out In Interviews

by Marcy I. Link on September 23, 2014



Co-Authored By: Kaleigh Moore

Picture this: You recently spoke with a recruiter about a new contract position. The client is interested and wants you to come in for an interview. It seems like the perfect opportunity- it is local, you will get the rate you want, and your technical experience and skills fit the position perfectly. You are dying to get the job! The client has other good candidates, so your interview needs to be impressive. You are panicking just thinking about it. How can you stand out in your interview? 

Know What to Expect
Knowing what to expect on the day of your interview will help ease your anxiety. Dr. Tamar Chansky, author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, says, “You could be a perfect fit for a position, but if your nerves are getting the best of you, then you are not showcasing yourself to the best of your ability.” Communicate with your recruiter to eliminate any unknowns about the interview. First, make sure you understand all the job requirements needed for this position. Being familiar with the actual role is critical to your success. Prepare for your interview by reviewing all technical requirements, especially technology you have not worked with in the last year.  This way you are better prepared to answer specific questions. Utilize your recruiter to help you prepare for the technical aspect of the interview as well. Don’t forget to request the actual client’s job description!

Ask with whom you will be interviewing with, how long you need to plan on being there, and who to report to when you arrive. Logistically, confirm with your recruiter that you have the correct time and address, and make sure you have directions to get there. Asking these questions will show that you have good communication skills and are invested in the opportunity.  Recruiters want to work with candidates who are responsible, responsive and invested in their client’s success.

The more you know prior to the interview, the better. Research the client’s website, view the LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers, and look at the company’s Twitter page. Ashley Strausser, associate director of the Center for Career and Professional Development at Otterbein University, says “Those who have done their research and can articulate how their skills and qualifications align with the position will be well prepared, even when they are asked the tough questions.”

Prepare for Behavioral Interviewing Questions
Behavioral interviewing questions are frequently asked, so be prepared for them. Answering them confidently could land you the job, but not doing so could be detrimental. Your goal is to show you are a good fit for the position by describing how you have handled situations in the past, which is often used as a predictor of future job performance. Take some time to investigate and learn about behavioral interviewing questions (link to blog) and make a list of the ones you may be asked, such as:

  • Describe a situation where you had a disagreement with your boss. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?
  • Describe a situation where you were going to miss a deadline.  How did you handle it?
  • Give an example of a time you made a mistake and how you fixed it.

Take time to reflect on your experience and situations that have occurred within your previous work environments.  Review your list of behavioral interviewing questions and be prepared to make the correlation.  It is hard to know what you may be asked but by thinking through difficult situations, project turmoil and peer interaction you’ll be much more prepared to bring up examples in the discussion.

Make a Good First Impression
Based on a survey from Classes and Careers, 33% of bosses claim they decide within the first 90 seconds of an interview if they will hire someone. Additionally, Business Insider says, 55% of a person’s opinion of someone is determined by their physical appearance. Therefore it is important to dress appropriately for your interview and look professional. Some IT departments may be casual but still expect you to come to an interview dressed in a suit.  Work with your recruiter or ask your interviewer on how you should dress the day of the interview. They will have the best insight into the company and their dress code, allowing you to look the part.

Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Body language speaks louder than words. If your body language does not reflect what you are saying, you will send a different message. For example, if you are describing your greatest accomplishment at your previous job while looking down and crossing your arms, you could be perceived as defensive and not confident.

93% of people’s judgments of others are based on non-verbal communication, according to Business Insider. Good posture conveys that you feel confident and are paying attention. Putting your body frame in line with the interviewer will make the dynamic of the conversation more comfortable and natural. Maintaining eye contact while both listening and speaking is critical. For more body language tips, check out our white paper “Body Language and Interviews.” (link)

By implementing these four areas into your interviewing process, you will separate yourself from the interviewing pack.  One last reminder – don’t forget to smile!  Best of luck!


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