3 Stories to Tell at Your IT Interview

Storytelling ImageOnce upon a time…an IT pro wished above all else for a successful interview.

Fortunately, IT job seekers and contract professionals don’t need a fairy godmother to grant this wish. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the best interviews are conversations, not interrogations. And in order to keep your interviewer engaged in your conversation, you need to know how to tell a good story.  Fortunately, we have tips for telling three key stories in your next interview.

Think back to your childhood: to the stories you heard at bedtime, at school, around the campfire. In some ways, wasn’t the experience of being told a story just as enjoyable as hearing the story itself? Similarly, a successful interview requires good storytelling. A story told right is memorable and interesting, gives you substance, and will help hiring managers separate you from the pack of paper resumes and interviews they’ve conducted. Answer the following questions to help you prepare your stories in advance, and you’ll be sure to captivate your audience.

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Make A Big Bang In Your Interview

Big Bang Theory PictureHaving the right equation can make all the difference in your job search.  Take some of these lessons from the Big Bang crew to make positive and long lasting impression with your interviewer, from making a bold move to learning the right non-verbals. We have some insight from all your favorite characters for your next interview.

What we learn from Leonard:

Leonard may fit into the “nerd” or “geek” category, but he’s constantly open to trying new things, even encouraging his friend and roommate, Sheldon, to break out of his rigid routine. Break out of your normal routine for job searching.  Take a chance and go after a job that might be “out of your league”.  Interviewing for a job out of your league requires you to stretch yourself and prove you have what it takes.  In your interview, make a bold move by sharing how you can be a successful addition to the company.  It’s often bold moves that impress an interviewer.

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Lessons from the Jetsons: Skype Interviews

jetsons videophoneWho would have believed that the Jetsons’ prediction of video calls 50 years ago would have been spot on? Or almost.  Just like George would talk to his boss Mr. Spacely, we now have Skype Interviews and video meetings. Although video interviews are not quite as second nature as they were in the Jetsons’ home, you can follow these tips for video interviewing like a pro.

Help out the house like Henry Orbit.

The Jetson’s house is always illuminated thanks to their maintenance man, Henry.  To begin preparing for your interview, look at the lighting in your space.  You want to make sure you’re not a shadow to your interviewer.  How can you avoid shadows?  First, maximize the use of natural light by positioning yourself near a window. You can sit facing the window, or to the left or right of it to optimize that natural light.  Second, turn on lights in the room and move them so that the light fills in the darker spaces.  If you want to do lighting like a pro, use a softer light aimed toward your face, a backlight to add dimension to your space, and fill lights to balance the light on either side of your body.

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The Casting Call: Sifting through your applicants

directors chairSave your company some time and money by beginning your hiring process on the phone.  Phone interviews can narrow down your applicant list and help you find compatible and qualified employees.  However, giving a phone interview can be just as difficult as being interviewed over the phone.  Take some notes from casting directors to conduct a great phone interview and be sure to do the following 3 things:

1. Prepare the set

Use a headset.Ever get a pain in your neck after a long phone call where you shoved the phone between your ear and your shoulder so you could ferociously take notes?  A director doesn’t follow an actor around with a boom mic or push around a camera; he has a grip for that. So why should you do things the hard way?   Instead, use a headset while giving phone interviews.  This allows you to be hands-free so you can more easily take detailed notes about the phone interview. This will set you up to ask better, more pointed questions in your follow-up, in person, interview.

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Gone in 90 Seconds: You Only Get One First Impression

fishy-handshakeHow much time do you have to make an impression on your interviewer? According to a Classes and Careers survey of 2000 bosses, one-third claimed they know whether they’ll hire someone within the first 90 seconds of an interview. Situations like these are all about making a great first impression. We’ve dished out advice on the stories you should tell and the questions you should ask during your job interview, but in those first 90 seconds, making an impression is going to be more about how you present yourself than what you say. It’s important to be aware that you’re being assessed as soon as you walk in the door, beginning with…

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What’s the Big Deal About ‘Culture Fit’? Part 1

Considering Culture Fit

ESP Team shares laugh at quarterly meeting

© 2013 ESP-IT. All Rights Reserved.

You spend more waking hours at work than at home, but when you’re evaluating a potential employer, do you think about the culture you’re getting yourself into? A company’s culture is its values, practices, attitudes, and norms. While getting hired is the end goal, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of what kind of culture the hiring company has to offer. In addition to the information you can uncover before a job interview, you can find out a lot about a company’s culture during the interview itself; just observe and ask.

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Good Interviewers Make Good Hires

You’re probably sick of hearing about the hot IT job market, but the fact that it is anGood Interviewers Make Good Hires IT job seekers’ market makes it more important than ever for hiring employers to see interviewing as a two-way street. The interview offers an opportunity for the employer to make a positive impression on the candidate. It is a chance for the employer to not only gauge whether a candidate is a good fit for the organization, but also to show what is has to offer. To make the best possible hire for your company, consider the following advice commonly given to job interviewees — and how they’re relevant to interviewers too.

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Power Up! Boost Your Interview Confidence

MightyMorphinPowerRangersJob interviews are about making a great first impression – which means they can be extremely nerve-racking, and nerves can easily sabotage your chances to shine. Luckily, there are two quick and easy ways to psych up before the interview. Take a cue from your childhood heroes, the Power Rangers, and train your mind and body to turn those insecurities into assured confidence. It’s morphin’ time!

Strike a power pose
Striking a “high-power” pose for two minutes has been proven to produce less cortisol (the stress hormone) and more testosterone (the dominance hormone); “low-power” poses produce the opposite effect. In a study by social psychologist Amy Cuddy, participants who adopted high-power poses before a simulated interview performed significantly better than those who adopted low-power poses. In other words, she found that “faking” confidence leads to actual confidence.

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“Any Questions for Me?” The Dos and Don’ts for Interviewing your Interviewer

interviewing the interviewerYou’ve reached that point in the interview – the momentary lull following a series of Q & As when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. It’s important to know that the interviewer is not doing this to answer literally any question you might have, but rather to observe whether you’ll ask the kinds of questions that exemplify that you’re a good fit for the organization.

What You Shouldn’t Do:

Don’t be fooled: This is still very much part of the interview and something you should prepare for.

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