Lessons from Tech Mock Interviews: An Accidental  Interviewer’s Perspective

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Lessons from Tech Mock Interviews: An Accidental Interviewer’s Perspective

Let's be honest, the tech job hunt can feel like navigating a labyrinth blindfolded. You're constantly told to "upskill," "network," and "optimize" your resume, but what does it really take to land that dream job?

Well, as part of my Legends of Tech project (a passion project dedicated to helping techies like you reach their full potential – more on that later!), I recently stumbled into the role of "accidental interviewer."

See, I've been mentoring Mai, a brilliant international student who, despite her impressive skills, was struggling even to snag an interview. We rolled up our sleeves, gave her resume a makeover, and bam! She landed an interview with a major tech company in Australia.

But the journey wasn't over. Knowing how nerve-wracking interviews can be, I offered to conduct a few mock interviews. Little did I know, I was about to learn much more than I bargained for.

The Interviewer's Secret: It's More Than Just Code

Over four mock interviews, I transformed from a casual mentor into a code-wielding Sherlock Holmes, searching for clues beyond technical prowess. Here's what I discovered:

🤝1. Trust: The Unspoken Language of Interviews

Remember that feeling when your code compiles on the first try? That's the feeling you want to evoke in an interviewer – a sense of trust. But here's the kicker: it's not just about your technical skills.

I found myself subconsciously analyzing Mai's non-verbal cues:

  • Facial Expressions: A genuine smile can speak volumes about your enthusiasm.

  • Body Language: Are you leaning in, engaged, and mirroring the interviewer's energy?

  • The tone of Voice: Monotone? No bueno. Enthusiasm and passion? Music to my ears.

It's about convincing the interviewer that you're not just competent, but someone they can see themselves working with, day in and day out.

🧠2. The 90-Second Rule: Conquering the Attention Span

Imagine this: you're explaining an experience, your mind racing with the next words. But across the table, you see the interviewer's eyes glazing over. Ouch.

Here's the hard truth: even the most patient interviewer has a limited attention span. That's why mastering the art of concise and engaging communication is crucial:

  • Keep it Short and Sweet: Think elevator pitch, not an epic saga. Can you summarize your experience or answer a question in under 90 seconds? Practice!

  • The Power of the Pause: Silence isn't your enemy; it's your secret weapon. Strategic pauses can emphasize key points and give the interviewer time to process.

  • Tone It Up (or Down): Varying your tone keeps things interesting. A little enthusiasm goes a long way!

💎3. Beyond the Code: Showcasing Your Authentic Self

Here's a secret: interviewers are human too (shocking, I know!). We're not just looking for coding robots; we want to build teams with diverse personalities and passions.

During our mock interviews, I found myself genuinely curious about Mai's life outside of work:

  • Hobbies and Interests: Are you a rock-climbing champion? A master chef? Share it! It adds another dimension to your profile and sparks conversation.

  • Authenticity Wins: Don't try to be someone you're not. Be genuine, let your personality shine, and you'll naturally connect with interviewers who appreciate you for you.

The Transformation: From Nervous Wreck to Interview Rockstar

Witnessing Mai's transformation over those four mock interviews was like watching a caterpillar morph into a butterfly (a butterfly with mad coding skills, that is).

She went from fumbling over her words and avoiding eye contact to confidently articulating her experiences, cracking jokes, and even challenging my assumptions (in the best way possible!).

Your Turn:

So, what's the secret sauce to acing your next tech interview? It's a potent cocktail of technical brilliance, strong communication skills, and a dash of authentic personality.

Remember:

  • Build Trust Through Non-Verbal Cues: Master the art of the confident handshake, the genuine smile, and the engaged posture.

  • Conquer the Attention Span: Practice delivering concise and captivating responses that would make even a goldfish stay focused.

  • Embrace Your Authentic Self: Let your personality shine through! Tech companies are looking for talented individuals, not cookie-cutter robots.

All the best in your upcoming interviews 🚀