Tuesday, May 08, 2007 1:51 PM
Interviewing Tip - Prepare
Next week I'm going to do some mock interviews with UMass students. We're supposed to interview them and then critique them (their dress, their resume, communication ability, etc). Having just been through an entry-level interviewing round, I almost know what to expect, and it's quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine.
In the age of the Internet, I'm really surprised at how little research interviewees do before I speak to them.
This is true across the board for all positions, but I'm mostly concerned with prospective programmer employees. It's not enough to be good technically (although that's important too) -- you need to show me that you have competency in a variety of tasks and the easiest way I have a judging your research ability is how much you know about our company when you come in for an interview. Using the Internet for research is a core skill of software development in the 21st century. Heck, it's a core skill of almost any work, or just about anything you try to do.
If you're interviewing, it's going to go much better if you are prepared for it. Knowing what the company does, how it talks about itself, what technologies they use, etc. will all help you. Plus, so many companies have blogs where the people who will interview you write about what's important to them -- why wouldn't you not want to know that? For instance, if I interview you, I want to know that you read our site and know what we do (if you've gotten this far, you probably did that already, though). If you read my blog, you'll have some idea of what I work on, and what I'm likely to ask you.
So please, before your next interview, follow this simple checklist.
- Know what the company does, who its customers are, how it positions itself.
- Find out who will be interviewing you, and check to see if they have blogs, read them.
- If you can demo the products, do so.
- If they are a website with accounts, sign up for a free account. Use the service.
- Try to find third-party mentions (news, blogs, etc)
- If they have public forums, read them to get an idea of what their customers think of them, and if they have an active user base.
And if you are interviewing with me at Atalasoft, my first question is: "Do you know what Atalasoft does?" The only wrong answer is "No".