Cheat Code: Make the Most of Your Interview

The year is 1985. Hair’s gotten bigger, the SNES has landed in the US, and your brother’s the shining star of the plumbing industry. Sick of being in his shadow, you’ve decided it’s time to make a career change – but how? 

With a thousand ‘How to Interview Well’ books gathering dust on the library shelves, you turn to the internet to help solve your problems. After endlessly clicking through a labyrinth of links (because this is the eighties), you stumble across us, and something about the snazzy blue and lively orange draws you in. 

You scroll down and see the Holy Grail of interview help:

Innova's Cheat Code: Make the Most of Your Interview

Do Your Research

Before even handing your CV over to the prospective client, we would hope that you’ve done your due diligence and at least looked them up in the Phonebook. Once you have performed your routine background check, it’s time to figure out what to do with it:

  • If you’re a developer or QA, look for bugs in their code. People don’t often take lightly to being criticised, but if you come in with a solution, chances are they’ll see you as a problem-solver (rather than the bored ex-plumber with too much time on his hands that you really are). 
  • If you’re a Product Owner or Business Analyst, it’s time to download the relevant apps. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes, evaluate the process. Your insight will be looked upon fondly, or at the very least be greeted with a polite smile and the knowledge you’ve put thought into the impending interview. 

Whilst you’re at it, look at their LinkedIn, too.  It can give you an insight into their career and experiences and provide a potential commonality if you have mutual connections. Be careful not to go overboard, though. They don’t need to know you scrolled their Facebook for three hours just to say you liked their photos from Alicante.  

P.E.E. 

Whilst it’s important to use the toilet before you enter the interview room, this section aims to walk you through the ins and outs of P.E.E. – Point. Evidence. Explain. An important tool in separating yourself from the charlatan claiming they’ve got 15 years React JS experience when it was first released in 2013, P.E.E. will also help you relieve the interview pressure by telling you what to say, and how to say it. 

  • Point – pick a point to structure around.
  • Evidence – use examples that back up your point, with an emphasis on statistics or direct results of your actions. 
  • Explain – develop the information, explain why your point relates back to the original question, bringing it all round in a nice loop. 

Now do these eight more times, whilst holding back the nervous sweat and anxious foot-tapping. 

End of the Interview

After you’ve answered all their questions, and made sure to P.E.E., now is the time to return the favour. Every blog from here to Yoshi’s Island will tell you to have questions to ask at the end of an interview, but very few will tell you they should be intelligent and relevant. There’s no point asking what their office culture is like when you’ve had a tour of the office, or what a typical day looks like when the role itself is ever-changing. 

Try not to regurgitate the same questions every candidate before you will have asked, and tailor them instead to the research we hope you’ve already done. Keep track, because they might have answered your question, but you were too busy peeing to remember. 

If you thought of an answer to the question they asked at the beginning, now is the time to address it. Make the last thing you say be an insightful and well-thought-out answer – it won’t affect you badly. In fact, everyone gets nerves. It makes you more relatable. 

Recruiters

Lastly, for those of you who are working with recruiters, we have one all-important tip for you: make them earn their commission. The best recruiters will have worked with that business for some time, making the recruiters experts in this company’s hiring ins-and-outs. They’ll tell you what the dress code is, what the hiring manager usually looks for, and sing your praises before (and after) the interview. If you do your job, they’ll do theirs. 

Having covered the basics of how to interview well, hopefully you’ll be well on your way to ditching your overall-clad brother and venturing into the tech world. Just remember – the biggest tip we can give you is just to be yourself. Employers want to know who you are just as much as what you can do. 

Thank you so much for playing my game!