If you’re a tech professional, chances are you’ve been on your fair share of job interviews. And if you’re like most people, you probably think you’re doing a pretty good job nailing them. But the truth is, there’s always room for improvement—especially when it comes to something as important as your career. With that in mind, here are five of the most common tech interview mistakes — and how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Not Being Prepared to Talk about Your Technical Skills
When it comes to technical interviews, the vast majority of candidates focus all of their preparation on their non-technical skills. They spend hours practicing their answers to common interview questions and trying to come up with the perfect way to sell themselves to the interviewer.
But when it comes time to actually discuss their technical skills, they freeze up. They either try to wing it and end up sounding like they don’t know what they’re talking about, or they give long-winded, confusing explanations that do more harm than good.
Spend some time preparing for your technical questions just as you would your non-technical ones. Write out a list of common questions you might be asked and then craft concise, well-thought-out answers for each one.
And if you can, find a friend or colleague who’s willing to serve as a mock interviewer so you can get some practice before the real thing.
Mistake #2: Dressing inappropriately
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many candidates show up to their interviews dressed inappropriately.
Remember, first impressions matter—especially when it comes to job interviews.
So unless you have explicit instructions from the company stating otherwise, err on the side of formalwear. That means suits (or at least dress shirts and slacks) for men and dresses or skirts and blouses for women.
Mistake #3: Arriving late
Again, this might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often candidates show up late for their interviews.
If you want to make a good impression on your potential employer, it’s important that you arrive on time—or even better, early.
Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled interview time, so you have a chance to collect your thoughts and relax before going in.
Mistake #4: Not Asking Questions
Toward the end of every job interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. And while it might be tempting to say no and move on with the interview process, that’s actually a huge mistake.
Asking questions shows that you’re engaged and interested in the position—two qualities every employer is looking for in a candidate. So take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the company and the role you’re interviewing for.
Mistake #5: Badmouthing Previous Employers
Last but not least, one of the worst things you can do in a job interview is badmouth your previous employer—no matter how much you hated working there.
Not only does it make you look unprofessional, but it also makes it seem like you might do the same thing if things don’t work out with this new company. If asked about a difficult situation with a previous employer, keep your answer brief and positive—even if it requires biting your tongue a little bit.
Nailing a job interview isn’t easy—but it’s definitely worth taking the time to prepare so you can put your best foot forward. By avoiding these five common tech interview mistakes, you’ll already be ahead of most of your competition. So go out there and land that dream job!
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