Common IT Interview Mistakes

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checkHere are a few common IT interview mistakes. A lot of things can go wrong for you in an interview–prepare in advance to avoid these common gaffes, and you’ll give it your best shot.

Don’t Talk Only in Techspeak
Discuss you knowledge and qualifications, but be prepared to talk about it with managerial or HR staff, who won’t necessarily share your expertise. Resist the urge to wow them with your jargon and techy name-dropping; they may well find it irritating and irrelevant.
You probably will have technical questions, but keep them to a minimum and make them specific and relevant to the position. It might not impress the interviewer for you to pry too much into the technology and systems in use at the company prematurely.

Don’t Make Snarky Comments about the Industry
Keep the industry sarcasm to yourself. Ideally, you’ll be hired for your tech philosophy, but keep in mind that hiring managers are looking for positive people who are easy to work with, and will be turned off by negativity.
Until you’re very well oriented in the company’s technological setup, be careful to avoid criticizing any particular system or practice. You may be able to improve things, but not until after you’re hired. Be honest if asked your opinion, but keep things light by phrasing suggestions as “That sounds like it’s working for you. Another option might be…”

Don’t Let Your Gadgets Do the Talking for You
It goes without saying that cell phones and PDAs need to be turned off–not on “vibrate.” However, it’s not enough to follow that rule to the letter. Put away any electronic devices; do not wear anything on your belt or in your ear. Wearing them visibly gives the impression that the interview isn’t important enough for you to abandon your communication devices even for an hour–and that you may lack interpersonal skills they’re looking for in an employee and team member.

Don’t Discuss Pay Too Early
Perhaps because many IT workers operate as freelancers or consultants, they sometimes tend to bring up money far too early in an interview for a traditional position. Questions about pay in the first interview are a bad idea. Aside from the obvious negotiation gaffe, bringing up the subject of money right off the bat makes a bad impression. Also, any follow-up questions may sound less important to you, which make you seem uninterested in the position and company.

So What Should You Do?
The mistakes listed here aren’t the only things that can go wrong, and who knows how qualified and personable your competitors are. Just remember that your skills and abilities speak for themselves and the way to impress hirers is to let make those traits clear.
Keep both your questions and answers brief and to the point. By maintaining your professionalism and focusing on the presenting yourself as an ideal candidate for the position, you’ll let your qualifications and experience shine through. Don’t worry too much about messing up–you know about several IT interview mistakes and how to avoid them.

Read more in Interview Techniques

Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.