An IT Career Guide
There are two basic types of interviews. The formal one where you'll probably be interviewed by a person from the personnel department and the manager from the department that you are being considered for. And a more casual one where the company doesn't have a personnel department at that location..
Unless you are making the rounds of small stores, always make an appointmemt. Dress appropiately, suit and tie in a corporate setting. Less formal in a more casual setting. Get the name of the person who'll conduct the interview if you can. Take several copies of your complete resume. Always carry the copies in something, even if it's only a manila envelope. Have a list of your personal references if you choose not to include them on your resume. Have copies of any certificates or diplomas. Carry a pen. Be sure there's no lingering odor of pot or alcohol about your person.
Arrive a few minutes before the appointed time. Visit the restroom before reporting to the office to relieve yourself and to check your appearance. Relax and be friendly. Observe others in the office. Smile when speaking or spoken to. You will probably need to fill out an application for employment. If so, do so and turn it in with a copy of your resume.
Earrings for males are usually frowned on. Avoid profanity. Uttering a "Hell" or "damn" might be okay about twice in the interview to show that you are after all, human. Don't be nervous. Even if you're not selected for employment, you'll leave with more than you arrived with. The experience if nothing more.
The Formal Interview
The formal interview will probably be conducted by two persons. For the first, a personnel specialist will probably escort you into his/her office, and try to put you at ease. Be at ease. He/she does this every day, and has seen all kinds. If offered coffee or a soft drink, politely decline. You won't run the risk of spilling it. After the introductions take place, a few moments of general conversation will probably occur.
The interviewer should have the application and a copy of your resume. The interviewer will probably discuss your entries with you. If he/she is using your resume, follow along with a copy you brought. Avoid buzz words. Use "certification" instead of "cert". The conversation will probably center around the more general aspects of the position. He/she, not being a technical person, will probably have a limited knowledge about the actual duties of the position, but should have some. You shouldn't need to impress this interviewer with your technical knowledge beyond the fact that you have some.
The interviewer can be expected to tell you about the company at this point. Perhaps something about it's history and organizational structure. Ask if he has a copy of the annual report available, but don't insist. He/she may not have one, but it's impressive to show an interest.
Then the interviewer should tell you about the company employee benefits. If it sounds like a sales pitch, that's because that's what it is. He/she should cover group insurance, vacations, sick leave, holidays, working hours, and so on. Maybe general employee rules.
The supervisor of the area that has the opening may go to the personnel department, but more likely, you'll be escorted to his/her office. He/she is interested in your expertise and your suitability for the position you're a candidate for. Expect him/her to delve into what you really know. A Support Specialist may have been asked to sit in on the session. There may be several technical questions that are designed to determine that suitability. Don't sweat it if you don't know all the answers. No one is expected to.
You may get a tour of the area that you're being considered for. If so, you should meet some of the people there. Ask questions. Add to the conversation if you feel confident your comments have merit. You'll probably be cool enough to handle a cup of coffee by now.
You can expect to be escorted back to personnel. One of three things happens now. You might be politely informed that they have no openings for someone with your qualifications. Or, you might be told that there are others to be interviewed and they'll let you know. Don't stop your job search while waiting. Or, you might have made enough of an impression to earn a job offer on the spot. Remember, they want to fill that slot as much as you do. Don't accept anything until you have a clear understanding pertaining to salary.
The Casual Interview
Here's where you pound the pavement calling on the smaller computer shops. You might call ahead and get the name of the owner or manager. Try to sound like a salesman who wants to call on the store. Don't ask if there are any openings. The dude you talk to just might realize that he can be replaced, and you could be it. Wait long enough for the guy to forget your voice, call back and ask for the person who's name you were given. You can then ask about openings and/or an appointment.
Or, you can simply stroll in and ask for the owner or manager by name. Offer to wait if he/she is with a customer, or is similarly occupied. When you get his/her attention, introduce yourself, offer your hand, state your request and hand him/her a copy of your resume in a large blank manila envelope. Be discrete. He/she'll take the cue from there.
Your dress can be more casual. By casual we mean long pants and a shirt with buttons for males. A guayabera should work in south Florida or along the Mexican border. Especially if there's a "Se habla español" sign displayed. You females get the idea.
Most anything goes in an interview of this type. If there's a coffee shop nearby the interviewer might suggest a cup. Or, he/she might offer to give you a call to schedule it.
This technique works quite well with field offices of service organizations, also, but you won't need to be as discrete. They usually have a secretary to answer the phone. And you'll want to dress in a suit and tie here.
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