1. The best candidates know EVERYTHING about the employer, the interviewer(s), the job and anything else that is relevant to the job. The best candidates invest time and effort into interviews to ensure they are as prepared as possible. As the wise American Benjamin Franklin famously said – “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
2. The best candidates use previous feedback and advice from peers, managers and recruiters to their benefit ahead of an interview. If you have received “bad” feedback in the past, ask for details and improve upon this for the future – learn from previous mistakes and take constructive feedback seriously – the best candidates are always looking to continuously improve – and learning from previous mistakes and refining existing skills are very much part of this.
3.The best candidates think of considered and tailored questions BEFORE the interview and adapt to think of unique questions during the interview. The usual questions of “what are the Company’s growth plans?” just do not cut it in this competitive and ever-evolving Tech market. The top candidates distinguish themselves by asking unique and well-thought out questions which pique the interviewer’s interest and get their attention by making them think “yes, this person has actually thought about working for us” ! The best candidates also ask for feedback. They are not afraid to ask the hiring manager to provide feedback and they thank them for their time involved in the process. Being courteous and thankful show that you are polite and presentable and should also show that you can be professional and able to work well with others.
4.The best candidates show enthusiasm. If YOU want a job, you need to SHOW the client that you want this job. It sounds simple, but it is often overlooked by candidates. I often speak to hiring managers who will tell me that they like a candidate, but feel the candidate is not interested, even if the candidate is REALLY interested! If you like a job, say to the person interviewing you “I am really keen on this opportunity, would love to be considered for the next steps and would love to work for your company.”. Let them know!
5.The best candidates are unique. They stand out. This is what separates them from the pack and the huge pool of similarly-qualified developers/ testers / administrators in 2017. You do not want to be “just another candidate” – you need to stand out from the crowd. Make no mistake, it is a very competitive market right now, but there are some awesome opportunities out there, you just have to show your crazy personality/ your extra years of practical experience / your language skills / anything that will show you as different.
6.The best candidates don’t make simple mistakes with the basics. These include:
a. Making spelling mistakes in your CV / email correspondence with the employer
b. Misjudging interview times/ telephone numbers/ addresses
c. Not responding to communication within a reasonable timeframe
d. Not dressing appropriately for the occasion
These may seem like silly or unimportant examples, but trust me when I say that 6 years of experience in recruitment and dealing with hundreds of clients and tens of thousands of candidates has shown these mistakes to be VERY important. Such oversights show a candidate to be unorganised, uninterested and, ultimately, unprepared. Remember our friend Benjamin Franklin..!
7. The best candidates are HONEST. They do not lie or exaggerate – primarily because they don’t have to. You will be found out, and most interviewers will prefer to hear about why you do not have a specific skill or experience, than watch you uncomfortably try to lie about it! The best way to deal with a question you do not have an answer to is to say: “It is not something I have much experience with, however I am keen to learn and will pick this skill up ASAP.”.
8.The best candidates are aware of cultural differences and adapt to them. The Tech world is a great example of the ever-globalised job market we are currently in. People are relocating within countries and across borders more now than ever before. Be aware of cultural differences – a good recruiter will always help you understand these if you are not sure. Their job is to prepare you as well as possible, so do ask.
9.The best candidates know what they are good at and they sell themselves. They will make the hiring aware of their best selling points, skills and characteristics in order to seal the deal. Don’t be afraid to highlight your key skills and make yourself stand out above your competition.
10.The best candidates stay up to date with the latest tech news and, indeed, with the latest technologies. If you have been out of work, what have you been doing? It is not always a disadvantage if you have a gap in your practical experience – if you have used this time constructively to attend bootcamps, developed an app, learnt a new language etc. it can show that you are enthusiastic, eager to learn and like to keep up to date with changes in the world of Tech.
Lennon Wright are a leading Technology agency, helping match the best talent to the best technology companies in Europe and the USA.
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