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How to Show Your Technical Expertise in a Job Interview

Jeff Monaghan

 

technical expertiseWhen a business interviews for any technical position, there is one question hanging above every candidate: Do they have the skills?

When you interview for any job that requires technical skills, one of your first priorities should be to show that you've got the technical chops for the job. You might be surprised just how many confident, under-qualified applicants companies have to sort through, so really knowing your stuff in the interview will automatically set you apart for hiring managers. 

Today, we're exploring the best way to display technical expertise in a phone or in-person interview.

The Candid Approach

In your interview, you want to be memorable as a skilled and passionate professional. Whether the position is for graphic design or advanced software programming, there are many jobs that require years of experience with specific software or high-tech techniques that only a skilled industry professional would have. You can set yourself apart from anyone trying to fake-it-till-they-make-it in the interview process simply by speaking candidly about your work. 

When your interviewer asks what you like most about work, don't jokingly say "Lunch" or "Doing projects". Instead, get specific. Talk about your favorite feature to use in the industry software, or how you really like smoothing out final designs with a specific industry technique. Go into detail. Assume your interviewer knows as much about the work as you do, and speak with the joy you naturally find in doing a great job while fully immersed in the work. Interviewers love that, and it's honest in a way they won't be used to.

Taking this approach, interviewers will remember you as the person who loves their work so much that they will speak at length about the details instead of making bland interview chit-chat.

Brush Up The Night Before

On the day or week leading up to your interview (depending on how important or in-depth you expect it to be), spend some time getting re-acquainted with your work processes. Log into the software you use at home or open old projects to refresh your memory. Not just on how the work turned out, but on the details of your process. Remember how projects worked when you were alone versus on a team, the tools you used, and the ideas you thought of along the way.

(Read The Anatomy of an IT Job Search)

Think about the problems that came up during your work and the methods you used to solve them. Do a few rounds of practice work, whatever you do, to get your mind and hands in the mindset you're in when you're most immersed in work. This is what you want at the forefront of your mind when you start the interview. 

Why? Because it will help you to be both technical and candid. You will be able to speak more easily and in detail about how you work and what you think about the work you do. When asked for examples and how you function in a team, you'll have already refreshed those memories as well.

Be the Expert You Are

People tend to feel smaller and less important when interviewing because of the inherent power dynamic. But remember, in this situation you are a skilled expert and are offering your services to the business. It's up to you to decide that you want to work for them. It's up to them to decide if they need your help. The best you can do is to accurately and passionately express what you do, how you do it, and what you're willing to do for the company if they hire you.

Share your expertise and speak with confidence about what you know from experience. And if they ask a question that catches you off guard, answer as if you were talking to a coworker by the water cooler. Think about it and give the best answer possible from your knowledge and perspective. Smart interviewers may be trying to see how you deal with the unexpected.

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Interviewing for a technical position is an interesting challenge for both employers and candidates. If you have a technical interview coming up, one of the best things you can do is simply prepare to be detailed, candid, and passionate about your work. This alone will stick out in the minds of your interviewers and set you apart as an avid potential new hire. For more hiring insights, contact us today!

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