Job-hunting tips for IT people – developers / programmers / engineers / web designers

I went to job screenings before without preparation except studying for the expected programming exams. Because of this I screwed up in an interview with a company that I really wanted to be a part of. There’s no time for regrets though and I need to keep moving forward. 🙂 I don’t know why, but I didn’t prepare for the interviews and wasn’t able to answer the final (3rd) interviewer properly.

Web development/programming is what I do, so I’m going to list down some tips, in no particular order, to prepare for your job-hunting and increase the chance of getting hired:

  • Look presentable – dress in business attire, fix your hair well, look neat, and use little or no perfume. Ladies: don’t wear heavy makeup!
  • Look confident during interviews. Interviewers would want to hire confident applicants because it will give them the impression that you do know what you’re doing – they are looking for people who know what they’re doing.
  • Bring your resume, valid ID (to be granted access to office buildings), pen (for exams and filling up forms), paper (maybe as scratch paper during math and programming exams), and map (especially if you’re not very familiar with the location of the company).
  • Prepare for Basic Skill Tests – logic, English, math, analysis (like IQ tests)
  • Prepare for written programming or design tests – expect that some will make you write codes in specific languages without providing you syntax reference
  • Bring money. Expect expenses especially if you are currently working from home or if your previous job is very close to your home. You will spend money on commute or gas on your way to and from the companies that are interviewing you. Sometimes you may also need to eat lunch during break because some job screenings take all day.
  • Prepare for the interviews – make sure you have info on the background of the company before attending the interview. Get ready to answer questions like:
  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why do you want to work in this company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What should we hire you?
  • Why should we NOT hire you?
  • What do you expect from our company?
  • Why did you leave your previous job?
  • What is your previous salary and your expected salary from us?
  • Prepare for hands-on programming or design tests – also expect that you might need to code without syntax reference
  • Review technologies that are listed as “required skills” in the job advertisements, in case you get asked about them during interviews. Some will ask you to explain technologies and concepts, so be prepared.
  • Prepare a design and/or development portfolio – in my experience, some companies where I applied/am applying for designer and developer position instructed me to bring samples of my work. They wanted me to present my work to them during interview.
    • If your works are consisted of software/web applications, ideally you would bring a laptop with your work samples in it, but you can also set up your work online and let them access it during interview – in this case I think it would be nice to bring a copy of your source codes too because they probably would like to view your coding style. If you can’t upload it online I would suggest that you just bring the source codes, then install it in their computer – this would be a hassle though.
    • If your works are graphics, it is okay to just store them in a flash disk and let your interviewer plug it in their computer for viewing. You can also bring your laptop to present it.
  • Be up to date with the latest technologies in your field – in my previous work I never used MVC frameworks, only CMS which is WordPress. And as I browse job advertisements, almost ALL job openings for web developers require that the applicant has strong working knowledge in frameworks, most specifying CodeIgniter. I actually should be making progress on my CodeIgniter study, but instead I’m typing this blog entry. HAHA!
  • Get enough sleep the night before your interview – you will be able to think well during exams and interviews if you had enough sleep the night before. The interview I screwed up, which I mentioned earlier, was the fourth activity of the day. It was preceded by a hands-on programming exam at 9AM, about an hour of interview about technical topics, and about an hour of interview about team work. So, imagine how mentally tired I was by the 4th activity which was held around 5PM the same day. I couldn’t think well anymore that time to come up with smart answers, because not only did I undergo many mentally tiring activities earlier that day, but also didn’t sleep well the night before. Don’t screw up your interviews like I did. ^_^

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A Filipino programmer with a variety of interests such as baking, singing, making up silly song/rap lyrics, K-pop, drawing, creating unique dessert flavors, obsessing about finding out how some things works, board games, anime, video games, and forgetting things that usually go in her long list of interests. Running small-time online dessert shops Cookies PH and Catzie's Cakery.

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