In this two-part blog series, we look at the interview process from the perspective of a senior developer. While you’ve interviewed successfully in the past, the process may have changed since the last time you looked for a job. In part one, we shared our thoughts on what’s different in how you prepare for the interview and how best to present your qualifications as a developer to a potential employer. In part two, we look at the importance of fitting in with the company culture and how your use of social media can help or hurt your chances of getting an offer.
What’s Changed: Culture Fit vs. Background Fit
How to Adjust: Realize the Rising Value of Your Personality
While some roles don’t require much interaction with customers or even regular contact with colleagues, companies are placing more importance on personality during the interview process. They want someone who is going to fit in with their team. That means you need to step up your game and show the interviewer that you are outgoing, friendly and have a positive attitude. Shed the old stereotype of the developer who is introverted and shy.
Every company wants to create a culture of individuals who like to work together and get the job done. Most managers leverage the panel interview style where the candidate will speak with multiple team members. When the interview is complete, the manager receives feedback from the panel of interviewers. This gives everyone the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns about each candidate. The best way to nail the personality portion is to obviously be yourself, but also focus on a few overlooked aspects of face-to-face interviews:
- Make eye contact
- Share stories, but keep them short
- Limit your “likes and ums”
- Avoid talking negatively about your previous employer
- Avoid going too in-depth about personal matters – remember TMI (Too Much Information)
- Be conscience of rambling or getting off topic
Most of these are common sense but usually one or two pop up during feedback calls with managers and are part of the reason that a candidate doesn’t get the job. If you catch yourself rambling, or going into topics that should be avoided, pivot as quickly as possible to a different topic.
What’s Changed: Social Media
How to Adjust: Clean Up or Delete
I’ve never heard anyone say, “We hired this person because of their awesome memes.” I’ve seen talented individuals get fired because they shared an inappropriate image, tweeted something unprofessional while out with friends, or did something that came across the wrong way on social media.
Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends, family and those you don’t see often. From a business perspective, it is also a great way to learn more about the company’s culture that you are interviewing with by looking at their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts which are typically focused on the community, charitable events or building a sense of community. Social media unfortunately is also a great tool to get into uninformed debates, yelling matches, and see the effects of people saying nasty things with few repercussions due to the anonymity of the internet.
You may have meant well in your post or your response to a picture or debate, but more likely than not it’s not worth it and will only do more harm than good. In the moment, you could get mad, say things you didn’t mean, and no matter how much you want to take it back, once it’s out there it’s out there. Before you begin the job search, clean up your page and postings and truly evaluate if social media helps or hinders as you try to put your best foot forward.
The interview process will continue to evolve, with both companies and candidates getting a better look at one other to decide if the fit is right. Hopefully, this two-part blog series will help you prepare and showcase the best version of you during the interview process. After all, you are focused on getting the offer.
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