Friday, 13 June 2014

interviews at high technology companies: the sickening truth

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interviews at high technology companies: the sickening truth


A transducer

The sickening truth about going for an interview with a high technology company is that the people who'll be interviewing you are almost always OBSESSED.

They are the kind of cultish, moon-eyed crazies who like to talk about work - outside work.

'Seriously, Ron, we can talk about soccer or politics or Big Brother or falconry or anything. We're in the pub now. You don't have to talk shop all the time with that... look in your eyes.'

Wash your mouth out. Ron wants to talk about technology. He wants to demonstrate laser ablation techniques using his Cheese Moments to signify print-head nozzles. Ron really cares about this stuff.

If you're going for a job interview at a high-technology company, you need to realise that you'll be interviewed by someone who thinks his/her company's technology is the dog's knees. There are really only three things you should do when talking to such a person. The first two are obvious.

1. Ask loads of questions about the technology. Inquire ESPECIALLY about what makes it unique, and how this uniqueness determines what the company requires from its staff.
2. Show - giving concrete examples - how your practical experience dovetails with these specific requirements.

The third thing is the most neglected. It's neglected because most people think that the purpose of an interview is to show how your background fits the company's needs. But to the extent that the company and its products are unique, you WON'T fit completely. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

There will be areas where your background doesn't fit - and in these areas, the company is in a position to meet your requirements in a way that your previous employers never have. What you need to do is show that you're the person who'll make the most of such opportunities.
With that in mind:

3. Show that you're able, and super-enthusiastic, to exploit the unique career opportunities that this role would offer YOU.

So - if there's a part of your background / skill-set that doesn't match the job spec, worry not. This is your opportunity to tell the interviewer: 'That's an area I'm dying to move into, but my current role doesn't offer me the scope to do so.'

Don't have all the technical skills for a role? As long as they're not essentials ("I don't actually have any brain surgery training as such") you don't have to blag - just show that one of the attractions of this role is that it will require you to learn the required skills. In other words, if you don't meet the requirements of the role, show how the role meets your requirements.

Been working on different technologies, but still feel you have transferrable skills? Say - 'I want to work with a technology I'm really excited about, Ron.'

Of course, you have to actually mean what you say. If you don't, you probably shouldn't be going for that particular job. 

Otherwise, remember the three steps: give Ron generous scope to vent his enthusiasm, show how your experience enables you to fit his company's needs, and show how the uniqueness of his company meets yours. And in all things, friends, be enthusiastic. Because Ron is enthusiastic.

Also, keep your hands off his bar snacks.