For quite some time now I am attending interviews for various IT-related roles. From junior and middle developer to senior, architect, lead and manager roles. On both sides of the table. It's surprising, how differentiated is the level of such talks.
This is first of two articles, in which I take a closer look at IT job interviews. Read the second, IT Job Interviews – Technical
Most of the time, first leg will be with someone from Human Resources. Perhaps this will take place over the phone or Skype. It consists mostly of someone talking about the company, their goals, successes and just trying to "sell" it to you as a great place.
Some time later, the tables turn and you're being asked. Some of the questions are:
- Why did you chose our company?
- What do you know about us?
- What are you doing right now?
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
- What are your hobbies?
Take time to answer every question, and be honest. HR managers have talks like this all the time, they can really tell when someone's lying or making stuff up. Plus, there is no reason to do so. Are you unhappy with your current position? Tell them, and tell them why. Let them know that you are conscious about your decision. Tell them about your hobby, be it watching Netflix, playing PlayStation or reading books. Show that you're passionate. The same goes for your work as a programmer. Nobody wants to work with people that are doing their job because they have to.
Also, it's important to note that, HR should be friendly and easy to talk with. If they're not, that is a bad sign. It means that the company doesn't care for such things. On the other hand, nice people in the Hummer Resources doesn't guarantee it will be like this in the whole company.
Last, but not least, this is the part when you ask questions. Some questions you may ask are:
- What is the promotion policy in your company?
- Are there bonuses (quarterly, yearly, performance-based)?
- How do you track time?
- How do you handle personal growth within working hours?
- Will I be able to go to conferences, workshops etc on your behalf?
Don't be afraid to ask about the money. I know that for some this is a tabu, but, be frank here. Money is one of your main motivators. Or even the main one. Also, bear in mind that every deal can be adjusted. You can negotiate your terms just as you negotiate salary. Sure, some companies aren't up for this, but never hurts to ask.
Want to know anything else? Their gym cards? The super-comfy chairs that they mentioned? The dog that is running around the office. Ask away! Good HR manager will leave place for questions. For example, they'll tell you that they have gym in the office, but will not say about the equipment. If this interest you, you will ask for details. This works both ways – they get to know your interests, and save time that otherwise would be spent on describing things you don't care for. Note that if the person you're talking with don't allow your questions, this is a very bad sign. This can mean that they don't really care for your doubts. Time shouldn't be a problem, every interview should have margins for interviewee questions.
This concludes the first article. While I am not working in HR, I worked with those departments as an interviewer. Plus, I am meeting a lot of Human Resources folks when on interviews.