Don’t be overly confident, or arrogant about your skills either; that can come across as inflexible, closed-minded and make an interviewer think you lack empathy and good communication skills. In other words, keep your ego in check and be humble, even if you find the idea of technical screenings beneath you.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that there’s only one way of doing things. “Instead of saying, ‘The only way to do this is …’, you should phrase it as, ‘What I believe would work is …’ or ‘Were I writing this code, based on this architecture or using these APIs, I would …’ If someone says ‘only,’ that throws me. It makes me think they’re not willing to listen to new ideas or different approaches, and that doesn’t make a good employee or a good leader,” says Gimbel.
And whatever you do, don’t make fun of a company’s outdated or poorly performing software — at least not in the interview. Sure, you should ask what languages, platforms and versions they’re using, but don’t make value judgments about that information. “Asking these kinds of questions are fine — you want to be knowledgeable, and you want to make sure you can handle what’ll be on your tech screen, but don’t point out how outdated or obsolete the technology is. There’s a really good chance the company knows they’re behind, or knows they made a bad technology choice — that may be why they’re talking to you, in hopes you can help them fix it,” says Zafarino.
Of course, don’t be so humble that you forget to let your passion for technology shine through. You shouldn’t be afraid to express your opinions about tech, especially in the context of why you prefer using certain platforms, languages or other proprietary systems, but make sure you’re framing your beliefs as opinions. “Being asked, ‘Why do you want this job?’ is a fairly soft-ball question. What’s harder is, ‘Why do you want to use this certain technology?’ This is when your passion and your expertise should shine through. If you’re a Ruby developer, you can talk about why you feel and think Ruby is the best language, what it can do that others can’t, and how you have contributed to the Ruby community,” says Zafarino.
This is also a great way to bring up information about your participation in the technology community outside of work, says Zafarino. If you mentor kids or teach coding classes, if you contribute to open-source projects or have a portfolio on GitHub – this is the opportunity to bring it up. “Our clients are looking for passion, for someone who’s passionate about what they do and the tools they use, not just someone doing a job. If you’re not involved, try and get started, and stay informed about the culture of technology so you know what’s happening in the world outside work,” he says.