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Computer Science Interview Tips

by JC, published: 2008-12-27 16:05 viewed: 359 times
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For those going into the IT/computer science job market, it requires knowing the best answers to those seemingly simple questions in the interview process. Below are some tips for computer science job interview.

** Your best foot forward **

The purpose of an interview in IT/computer science, is obviously to get a job offer. It is your opportunity to sell yourself and demonstrate in person the skills and experiences you've listed on your resume. Of course, it is also your opportunity to get to know a company's work environment, both technological and cultural.

The first thing you have to do is mentally prepare yourself for interviewing. Interviewing is a skill like any other -- it can be learned, but it requires a certain amount of practice. It's not every day that one goes on an important job interview, and those skills are not usually taught in college.

You want to remove the emotional anxiety that acceptance and rejection can evoke. Planning and preparation is the best way to do that. Find out as much as you can about the company you will be visiting. A company's website can offer a multitude of information, including the types of technologies in use at that company. If not, check out Hoover's Database of companies, or go to Yahoo Finance or other company databases. Get to know the company's background, history, revenues, number of employees, and product or service offerings.

Remember, a hiring manager is making an investment in you. It may take months of training to turn you into a productive employee, but you will be receiving a salary from day one. Therefore, your job during the interview is to convince the IT manager or recruiter that you would be a good investment. You will be expected to demonstrate not just your technical skills, but also your ability get along with coworkers, both in the IT department and in the company at large. You want to be as pleasant and personable as possible during the interview process.

** Chemistry **

Without the proper chemistry between you and the people you meet from one company, you will NOT get an offer, no matter how technically qualified you are. This factor is quite often overlooked on a conscious level, but it must be considered.

Chemistry is not something you manufacture. It happens naturally, but there are several things you can do. Project a positive attitude, warmth and friendliness. Smile occasionally, ask intelligent questions and listen carefully to the replies. Maintain eye contact at all times. Lack of eye contact implies dishonesty, an inability to communicate, arrogance or lack of confidence.

Use the interviewer's name in conversation occasionally. That single act will do more to endear you than you can imagine. People like to hear their own name. Using it shows respect and makes the person feel important. A slight amount of nervousness gives you an enthusiastic edge about yourself that will come across as genuine excitement about the job.

** Establish common ground **

Before doing any talking, take a quick read of the interviewer by noting the look and feel of their office, including artwork, furniture, evidence of children or hobbies. More importantly, notice features, such as body language, pace, manner of speech and so on. Sit at the edge of your chair, unless the interviewer noticeably backs away. Do not speak too much faster or slower than they do.

Make niceties. Comment on one of the personal effects in the office, or talk about a vacation spot you see in a poster or photograph. Compliment the interviewer on a nice office environment, but don't be fake. By the time you leave their office, you want your interviewer to be thinking, "I feel better when I'm with that person."
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