How to ace
your job interview
The memory of my first tech job interview is still fresh in my mind even though it took place six years ago.
Exactly 30 minutes after I emailed my CV to the startup’s CEO, I got invited to interview with him and two product managers. I only had an hour to quickly research the company and learn everything I needed to know about what they did—which wasn’t super clear in the beginning—and how I could help them achieve their PR and Comms objectives.
Was I nervous when I sat across them in 2016? Yes. I was very nervous. But my nervousness didn’t affect my confidence in my ability to do the job.
What’s my point here? You’re allowed to be nervous before a big interview. But don’t allow your nervousness overcome you. Practice answering questions with your friends and go into your interview armed with information about the company, founders, and team.
Good luck 🍀
by Koromone Koroye & Timi Odueso.
Tech trivia questions
Here are today’s trivia questions. It’s inspired by the crazy activities that shock us every day.
- Which company in the world hires the most people?
- In which country can average salary-earners buy a new iPhone 14 with just four days of work?
How important is interviewing?
So you applied for your first tech job and have been invited for an interview; what next?
Like the talking stage, the interview stage is where you and your prospective employers get to know each other a little better.
Unlike the talking stage though, things in the interview stage move a lot faster and the questions asked are critical and straightforward.
It’s during this stage that prospective employers will also find out if you’re a culture fit for their organisation.
💡JSYK: Culture is the way people act and think in an organisation. It encompasses a lot of things, including the way managers give feedback, how employees relate to one another, and even the kind of activities people do at work. It’s all culture, and each company has its own. A good company culture eats strategy for breakfast, and companies make sure that whoever they employ is an excellent fit for theirs.
Your CV tells prospective employers if they should consider you, but interviews are really what convinces them. Not only will they get to see if everything you said on your CV is true, but they’ll also discover if your personality fits their culture.
So how can you ace your interview? That’s what we’ll figure out in this edition of #EnteringTech🚀.
Tips on acing your interview
1. 👀 Stalk the company
The first step to acing your interview is preparation. This means learning about the company you’re applying to, the role you’re applying for and even your prospective co-workers.
Showing up to an interview without knowing what the company does gives a bad impression. Without preparation, you won’t be able to answer questions on how you can contribute to the company, and you’ll basically be telling the recruiters they’re not worth your time.
So stalk your prospective employers. They’ve read your CV and looked at your profile—return the favour.
Take a couple of hours to go through their website, LinkedIn profiles, media kits and any resources that can tell you what the company does and how you can fit in.
This involves a number of things.
First, reach out to the interviewers and ask if you can get an outline of the interview. If they can’t share that, then work out a mini-outline for yourself. Write down key points about yourself and your work history that you can talk about.
You’ll also want to make sure that all the devices you need for the interview are functioning perfectly. With the way MTN is not everywhere you go, and Glo flows without pride, it’s best to have up to two internet service providers ready for the day.
Make sure your camera is working properly, and that you find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted.
3. 📑 Ask questions
Interviews are two-way streets.
They’re a way for companies to appraise your value and history, and you can also use them to learn about the company too.
The company is shopping for a new employee, and you’re shopping for a new place of work. Make sure to ask questions about the company’s work ethics and style.
Asking questions solves two things: they help you learn about the company, and they show recruiters that you’re interested in the role.
Here’s a list of questions that you can adapt for your interview:
- What does success in this role look like? This helps you understand what you need to do to succeed.
- Can you walk me through my first 30, 60, and 90 days at work? What will I achieve in my first quarter? This helps visualise your first tasks. The first three months at a new job can be challenging but having a preview of your tasks will help alleviate anxiety.
- Is this a new role or a replacement? If it’s a new role, why did the company create the role? If it’s an old role, how did my predecessor succeed at the role and why did they leave? This question helps you understand how you will fit into the business goals of the company. It shows you your place in the company.
- Other than the salary, are there any other benefits available to employees? Health insurance, pension, employee stock options, even pizza parties and unlimited paid leave days are benefits that can make working at a company even more rewarding.
- Who will I be reporting to? How best can I communicate with my manager? This will show help you know how best to foster a relationship with your manager and teammates.
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Here’s where to find tech jobs
If you’re not at the interview stage yet, here’s where you can find jobs to interview for.
Ask a techie
Do you have any questions about tech or working in tech in Africa? Ask away and we’ll answer them in next week edition.
Tech trivia answers
- If you said Amazon or Google, you’re wrong! It’s the US Department of Defense which presently has about 2.9 million employees. Second is Walmart, at 2.3 million.
- It’s Switzerland! Picodi’s iPhone Index shows us that the average Dutch earner makes enough to afford an iPhone 14 Pro in 4.6 work days. In Nigeria, it takes 304 work days to afford the phone, and in South Africa, it takes 26.9 days.
- The Julius Berger Scholarship Scheme 2022 is now open to female Nigerian undergraduates who are studying engineering. Selected applicants will get full academic scholarships for the duration of their study in any State or Federal Nigerian university. Apply by December 5.
- The Africa Data Hub Community Climate Journalism Fellowship is now open to applications for its third cohort. Selected journalists will partake in a capacity-building bootcamp, and get a monetary grant to publish a report on the implications of climate disasters in local communities. Apply now.
- The African Culture Fund Academy Programme 2023 is open to applications from female artists and entrepreneurs in West and Central Africa. Sixteen selected participants will partake in a two-week paid training programme in Mali where they will engage in workshops and one-on-one sessions with professionals. Apply by November 25.
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