The last – but not least – part of Zero to One Search talks with recruiters is an interview with Julia, our experienced team lead, who shared with us how to prepare for a tech interview.
Julia shared with us funny and instructive stories from her experience that illustrate the main “to-do” and “not-to-do” things. She told us about how important it is for both a candidate and a recruiter to be organized, why it’s always better to be honest with each other and shared why she actually loves her job. Enjoy the reading!
“You should always assess your skills honestly and adequately”
Tell a little bit of your experience as a tech recruiter. What do you like the most about your job?
Before I joined Zero to One Search, I worked in the customer support sphere and sometimes had projects related to recruiting. Back in then, I realized that I really liked this because I love analytical tasks and it was exactly the case – you should compare, make research, go deep in candidates’ experience, review their skills. Moreover, you have a chance to communicate with different people that allows you to get a unique experience, to learn something new. I also really enjoy the remote format of my job, as you still communicate with people a lot, but in a much more convenient way.
How to impress a tech recruiter? What is the role of the first impression and whether it’s deceptive?
Let’s imagine. We agreed on a Skype call with a candidate but suddenly something went wrong and there is a need to change the date or time of the call. It is absolutely ok. But it is also important to inform each other about this in advance and propose a new slot. Just not showing up at the appointed time – it is frustrating for both sides. It is always better to politely warn each other about any changes. These tact and politeness could become a plus-one for a candidate.
In the course of an interview, it’s very valuable when a candidate assesses own skills honestly and adequately. If you’ve never worked with Java, and it’s not a must-have skill but a nice-have one for a position, better to tell about it. That’s fine. Having information all clear, a recruiter can help you to find the right opportunity or consult you on whether some improvements are needed.
And what about the first impression?
When I didn’t have much experience, it was harder for me to understand everything about a candidate at once. It seemed to me that I just couldn’t get all the ropes. And now, in most cases, I see everything clear during the first interview. To be honest, now, when I have more experience, I’d greater appreciate if a candidate is honest about he does not have one particular skill of dozens required. Otherwise, sometimes it seems that a candidate tries to sell himself, and a good recruiter should understand this difference.
To be honest, now, when I have more experience, I’d greater appreciate if a candidate is honest about he does not have one particular skill of dozens required. Otherwise, sometimes it seems that a candidate tries to sell himself.
How to distinguish good a programmer from an average programmer?
A cool developer is always interested in a company and project details. Such a candidate will always try to find out things, ask us for additional information from a client. This way, you show that it’s important for you to work with this particular team and on this particular project. And, of course, it also makes a recruiter think that you are the cool, motivated programmer.
Some interesting stories from your practice?
Sometimes interviewees get carried away with small talks:) Yes, it’s ok to talk about abstract topics – the weather or something else – but for both parties, it’s important to remember that it’s still a business call. There is a line. I really like open, fun candidates with whom we can have curious small talks, but you need to pace yourself.
Sometimes it’s ok to talk about abstract topics – the weather or something else – but for both parties, it’s important to remember that it’s still a business call.
And one more case. Once I had a call with a candidate who was applying for a job where a good level of spoken English was required. Once the call started, he said that his English teacher would be coming soon and would also participate in the call as an interpreter. “He will translate into English for you,” he said. It’s a good illustration of what I said above about the honest evaluation of own skills.
What advice you’d give to your future candidates to ace an interview with you?
Prepare for an interview in advance, study additional information about a position. It’s clear when a person just did not look at requirements. You know, it’s easier to establish good contact with an interviewer when you are on the same page.
Ideally, you need to know something about a client company. Try to google some information and never hesitate to ask a recruiter a couple of questions. This is the first and important sign that a person really needs this job.
At the same time, I understand that sometimes recruiters also act like this. There was one time when I did not have time to properly prepare for a call, plus I was not in very comfortable conditions for it, and I felt so bad and embarrassed about that. You should avoid that, and I expect the candidates to also understand that.
Enjoyed the article? Leave a comment or share it on Social Media. If you have not seen other interviews, you can check the previous talks with Pedro and Paula to learn more about how to prepare for a tech interview.