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How should you prepare for your first interview as a developer?

Ankur Tyagi
-Software Engineer -Mentor -Author -Writing at http://TheAnkurTyagi.com
Originally published at theankurtyagi.com ・3 min read

Over the last few years, I’ve mentored over 300+ students and working professionals on how to prepare for interviews to land their dream job.

Here are my top tips on how to prepare for your first interview.

Before your interview, you have to immensely prepare.

Before you say a word in your interview, the recruiter will instantly notice if you have done your homework and practiced.

Do all of the work upfront so that when you go into the interview, you’ve already won.

What do you need to do before your interview?

1 - Do your research.

15 - 30 minutes skimming the website is NOT research.

“One of the biggest complaints of hiring managers is that many job interview candidates know very little about the company they’re interviewing for”

2- Remember that no one cares about you.

The recruiters have a job to do.

They need to hire good talent that will positively help the company.

They will look for below in you.

  • Are YOU going to be a good team player?
  • Are YOU going to exceed at your position?
  • Are YOU going to be the right fit for the company?

This mentality isn’t evil, it’s just life.

But now you know the rules, let’s learn how to play the game.

3- Make the interview a conversation.

"The biggest lesson I’ve learned" in my career.

People do business with people they love, trust, and respect.

If they have the vibe that you are not trustworthy or that you’re not easy to work with,

THEY WILL NOT HIRE YOU.

End of story.

4- Time for the show now (Interview conversation)

Real winners PLAN things out before they start.

To start acing interviews, write down 5 focus points in your life that you want to highlight about yourself.

It could be your past work experience, volunteer work.

5- Learn about the interviewer

Read your email carefully which HR shared with you, you’ll be told the names of the people who’ll be on the interview panel.

Google them and find their Twitter/LinkedIn account and search if they’ve published any pages or articles.

6- Remember to breath

When I first started interviewing, I would get super nervous.

I was so afraid of failing and it reflected in my interviews.

I would speak really quickly and often rush to answer the question.

Here’s a secret I wish someone told me when I first started out

You don’t always have to answer right away.

Slow down, take a breath & really spend time being thoughtful about your answer to the question.
And even if you don’t know the answer, remember that it’s okay to say No.

7- I don’t know

Be prepared to say it.

If you don’t know the answer, don’t pretend as you do.

People will often read right through it.

8- Know your own resume?

Again, so obvious.

Yet folks come into an interview not having looked at their resume in a while.

And I've had people have to think a bit when I ask them about something right there on the resume they sent me.

Please give yourself some time to look at it before you arrive at the interview.

You should also review it carefully when preparing stories to help you answer interview questions.

Thanks for reading.

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Discussion (4)

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darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

One thing I'd add: Remember that an interview is not a one-sided interrogation. Make sure to assess the company just as much as the interviewers are assessing you. Make sure to ask about both the working conditions (How's the workplace culture? How do they go about projects? Are they pioneering exciting new things, or keeping business running steadily and smoothly?) as well as about the companies product (what types of non-IT skills will you tangentially use? how close will you be working together with other workers?)

These questions are both for yourself to decide whether you want to take a job or not, as well as to signal two things to the interviewer:

  1. You're putting thought into whether this job will work out long-term. To the interviewer this means you're at least somewhat on the same page in terms of what you're looking for.
  2. You might have other options, and will have to choose which one to finally take, as opposed to just desperately hoping to get the job at all cost.

In the worst case, this will out a toxic environment. "We're the ones asking the question" type interviews are a sign that the interviewer is letting their inflated personal ego interfere with the interview process, which is a very big red flag, even more so if they would be your direct superior in case you got the job.

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berandcod profile image
Berand-cod • Edited

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jwp profile image
John Peters

Yes study like your life depends on it; but the best way is to have as many as you can. It's painful for sure but teaches one everything they should know to enter the marketplace.

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mariocalin profile image
Mario

Why do I have to know the company if the company does not know me? Much less the recruiter...

That is what interviews are for. Getting to know each other.