How to Fail an Interview for Your First Tech Job
Congratulations! You have completed your coursework, killed it with your hands-on projects, built an awesome professional social network, sent your stellar resume to potential employers, and you got a call for an interview. Fabulous! You are poised on the 95-yard-line and are ready to punch it through for a touchdown.
Many job candidates get to this point and then fumble the ball. The interview is the crucial final step in landing your first job in Information Technology. You need to nail this play. You are trained, knowledgeable, and excited. What could possibly go wrong?
Lots of mistakes can turn your opportunity to score your dream job into a nightmare. If you are a masochist who loves to fail, try any one of the faux paxs below to turn off the interviewing manager and ensure your application goes straight to the recycle bin.
Fake an answer
You are interviewing for a software developer job and the interviewer asks a question about hybrid inheritance. The only thing that comes to your mind is your uncle leaving you his Toyota Prius in his will. You don’t recall having ever heard the term hybrid inheritance, but you don’t want to fail the interview because you’re stupid, so you launch into a rattle-brained attempt to make up an answer you hope will eventually stumble into something the interviewers are looking for. Guess what? Your attempt to not look stupid makes you look… stupid.
Honesty goes a lot farther in an interview than guessing. A straightforward “I don’t know, but I’d love to learn more. What is it?” will bring smiles to interviewers’ faces. They will appreciate your honesty, and they get a chance to teach you something that will be helpful to you when you get the job.
Know nothing about the job or the company
One question an interviewer is sure to ask is how your skills fit the job and why you are the best candidate. If you know nothing about the position for which you are interviewing, you won’t be able to answer this question with confidence. If you don’t know what a person does in the job role, you can temporize them with platitudes about being a hard worker and team player, but the interviewer won’t buy it. If you are interviewing for a Help Desk job, they want you to know the duties of a Help Desk Engineer and how your training has prepared you to perform those duties.
Another question interviewers love to ask is about their company. They will be totally unimpressed if you don’t have at least some inkling of the company’s products or services, their position in the industry, and any recent news about the company. You don’t have to go in-depth, but if you can’t say something about the company’s products and accomplishments, the interviewer will know you are not really interested in working for them.
Speak negatively about your previous job
An interview is an opportunity for both you and the hiring manager to determine if you are a good fit for the job. The manager is looking for an employee who is loyal and trustworthy. So, to dispel any notions of your potential loyalty, bad-mouth your previous employer. Go into detail about how discriminatory and dysfunctional your previous company was and how inept and despicable your manager was.
These things may all be perfectly true, but the interviewer will drop you like a hot rock if she thinks your attitude will poison the team. You don’t have to lie and put lipstick on the pig if your previous job truly sucked. Simply keep the details to yourself and move on to the next topic as quickly as possible.
Show up late and improperly dressed
Good ways to disrespect the interviewer and sink your chances of getting hired are to show up late to the appointment and be either over- or under-dressed. Being late wastes the manager’s valuable time and will likely cause her to cut your interview short. Appearing in beach-bum attire for a bank job or in an evening gown and an up-do for an interview in a light-hearted and casual little start-up will turn off the interviewer immediately.
Of course, you can show up an hour early for the interview, which shows that you either 1) don’t pay attention to details, or 2) are desperate for a job. Neither attribute will get you a job. You might not even get the interview if the interviewer feels pressured.
Five minutes early is okay. It shows you are ready and that you value the interviewer’s time. If you are unavoidably detained and know you will be late, call ahead to see if the interviewer can be flexible, or if it would be better to reschedule. Everyone understands when life gets in the way of our plans. But nobody likes rude.
Ideally, you should dress for the position just above the one for which you are applying. If the programmers wear Hawaiin shirts and shorts and the programming manager wears a button-down shirt and slacks, opt for business casual attire. The interviewer will not only see your fitness for the current position but your potential for the next step.
Don’t ask any questions
Interviewers love candidates who ask thoughtful questions about the job and the company. Most are proud of the company they represent and are excited about the work the organization does. They want to talk about it. So, if you sit like a stone when they ask if you have any questions, you rob them of the joy of telling you about their wonderful company. You also show them you have done no homework and have absolutely no interest in working for them. Your resume will be in the wastebasket before the door hits you in the rear.
Questions don’t have to be in depth, but they should probe the potential fit between you and the employer. Good questions not only invite the interviewer to talk about their organization, but they can also open opportunities for you to explain why you would be the perfect candidate for the job.
It’s a shame to get all the way to the point of an interview only to trip over your own feet and fall flat on your face when you were so close to the goal line. The full-service training program at RemoteMode includes comprehensive, expert interview preparation. Your industry-expert mentor makes sure you are ready for your first interview by helping you anticipate the questions you will be asked and formulate insightful answers. You can even practice interviewing before you have to face the real thing. RemoteMode’s program ensures that you are not only well trained and knowledgeable for a remote tech position but well prepared to crush the interview and win that all-important first job.
To learn more about RemoteMode’s full-cycle program, contact a RemoteMode career advisor today. See how quickly you can get the technical skills you need to launch yourself into the remote tech career you want.
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