Get That Job! 5 Killer Interview Tips For Women In Tech

While a career in Tech can be a tough gig for women as an underrepresented minority in most cases, the good news is that companies everywhere are crying out for more diverse applicants and women are in high demand.

The challenges are in qualifying whether it’s the right job for you and then making sure you get an offer

Here are some tips to help you get both of these things nailed and get that job:

One-  Start by getting an interview

It’s widely reported that women generally hold themselves to higher standards than men. In fact, women frequently and unnecessarily do themselves out of great job opportunities by not applying because they think they don’t meet the requirements. Companies don’t help with this as they often advertise roles with long lists of skills or attributes they want but usually, only 3 or 4 are actually critical to success in the role. Therefore, if the role description itself sounds ideal for you when you read it, go for it. You’ll find out the real core requirements when you interview.

Fun Fact: On average women feel the need to tick seven boxes of what’s required on a job listing before they’ll apply, for men it’s just two.
Make sure your CV is compelling and will ‘hook’ the reviewer. Just 2 pages long is ideal. Give concise examples of what you have delivered and your role in projects you’ve worked on. Preferably include technologies you’ve worked with for each role or project rather than one long list. Ask a couple of people you trust to proofread it and ask for candid feedback.

I highly recommend adding a cover letter/email with your CV. Personalise it – do your best to find out a person to address it to. Refer to the job title and the company within the letter. Don’t make it a long letter and don’t cover what is in your CV already. Simply say why you’re applying for the role. Briefly. Add some personality in here if you like too.

Two – What to wear

One of the most common dilemmas! Aim to feel as comfortable as possible as you’ll be able to focus on the interview and not what you’re wearing. Ideally, check out what people tend to wear in the area of the company you’re interviewing for and relate your interview outfit to that. For example, if they’re all jeans and sneakers vs suits you can work out a relevant outfit that you’ll feel comfortable in. Do a little research of their website’s ‘about’ and careers pages and try LinkedIn for clues too. There are far fewer rules about this stuff now than ever before and tech is generally pretty casual, but if you’re meeting senior leaders, research them and dress appropriately – for that and for you. Boost your confidence by wearing what you feel good in

Three – Preparation

Prepping for an interview is critical. You’ll feel much more confident if you’re not worried about being surprised by questions you don’t know how to answer or aren’t ready with cohesive answers for. So gen’ up on the company, do some research, make a mind-map, whatever works for you but know what they do, their products, their tech stack, what’s happening in the company etc. Google them under ‘news’ for anything major, read through the activity feed on their LinkedIn company profile. Read up on their leaders. And make sure you’ve checked out the people who you’re interviewing with too. Also, and I know this may seem basic, but know where they are and how you’ll get there, how long it will take etc. Aim to arrive no more than 5 minutes before the scheduled start time and definitely no less.

Four – Don’t ask good questions, ask smart questions

This is a great opportunity to find out the important stuff that will help you make a decision as to whether it’s the right role for you. Also, bear in mind that interviewers don’t always do a great job of interviewing for the fact that they are trying to build robust teams with balanced skill sets. They can focus too heavily on the tech aspects. Asking the right questions will help steer the interviewer to other, equally critical aspects of the role that need consideration. For example asking them if they can give you an example of a typical project that you would be likely to work on and what your input would be, technical and non-technical. Ask them about existing team members and what they are looking for from this hire to add to the existing team.

Five – Showcase your skills

Another essential part of prep’ is being ready with well-thought-through examples of relevant projects you’ve worked on. Interviewers aren’t always adept at establishing what they need to know to properly assess candidates (I know, strange but true). Therefore, be ready to provide actual examples to demonstrate what you know or can do. For example, an interviewer may ask you whether you have worked with a specific technology or how well you know it. If you simply answer by confirming you have worked with it and know it fairly well, they may miss much of the picture. Alternatively, saying yes and telling them about a project where you used this technology removes any grey area, gives context and leaves less room for subjectivity.

Now go get that job!

Emma Jones is the Founder and CEO of Project F,
helping progressive companies achieve gender-balanced technology teams and leadership.

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