Congratulations! You have just won an interview with a federal government department for an ICT contract position.
What are some things you can do to improve your chances of winning that interview against, most likely, 3 – 5 other highly skilled technology professionals considered to be your peers?
1. Look immaculate.
Get your best suit dry-cleaned, have a haircut, cut your finger nails and polish your shoes. Smile at your self in the mirror and keep repeating that God loves you!
It couldn’t be truer that first impressions count (and confidence), especially in interview situations. Walk into the interview confidently, make eye contact and smile at each individual present.
2. Research the client.
In Canberra, a wealth of information is publicly available about federal government departments. Their annual expenditure reports are available online! No need to get this granular in detail, but research the department, the business group and especially research the project and associated technologies deployed. If you have even just a cursory understanding of the departments business goals and challenges it will become evident to the interview panel and they will be impressed.
3. Don’t ramble and go off on tangents when answering questions.
Elaborate on your answers when requested to do so, but remember that those on the interview panel are busy people. They have a lot of questions to ask you and they are keen to hear your answers. If, on the first questions, you go off on an emotional 15 minute tangent about how the EMC data storage solution is technically better than Hitachi’s, then you have just wasted the interview panel’s time, probably upset them and put a big cross on your application. People who can communicate effectively are hired. People who ramble on tangents are passed by.
4. Meditate prior to your interview.
Arrive early, eyeball the entry of the department where you are about to interview and then go find a park bench under a tree and start meditating. Or just breathe deeply if meditation sounds a bit weird to you. Importantly, spend 5–10 minutes before your interview calming down and ridding your mind of all the day’s clutter that is distracting you from the moment. In an interview, like almost no-where else, you need to be in the moment. You don’t know what is coming and you need to be able to receive information, interpret, analyse and formulate a response with little hesitation. Your response will be judged, and noted. Your response had better be good! Being hyper aware and present in an interview is essential. Breath deeply and clear your mind before any interview.
5. Ask questions.
It is the questions that you ask that demonstrate you understand the client’s goals and challenges. If the interview is conversational and you feel comfortable asking questions, then do. Ask questions that show you understand the challenges and the key points of importance of the role. The best way to demonstrate a deep understanding of a subject is to ask questions that make a conversation around that subject more meaningful.