When you’re on the market for a new job, one of the key things to remember is that you are the product. That means that you need to be able to sell yourself when it comes down to interview time. For those that are not natural-born salespeople, which–if you’ve chosen to go into engineering–you probably aren’t, this is easier said than done. Luckily, the Rivi team has plenty of experience coaching interviewees, and we’re here to help. Technical Recruiters Aaron Ho and Joseph Yeh have the following advice.
Start by reflecting on key contributions that you have done at work, school, and or side projects/hackathons. Understand your own motivations, and what you are looking to achieve in your career. Have a definable goal; for example, know that you want to have a product that touches 1M users, make $150,000 for your base salary or make an impact on a social cause that affects students for a certain locale. It’s also a good idea to have some thoughts on how you would measure these goals.
Be sure to also pinpoint five strengths and three weaknesses, as these are popular interview questions. We’ll have more on how to address such questions in our next installment, which dives further into interview prep.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You should be able to share your experiences with others in the form of a “story.” Find situations from school, internships, freelance projects and/or hackathons and be able to share the technical problem, the solution, the steps you took and the results in a two-to-three minute time window. If there is a personal connection to the project or this is your life-long interest, people love to hear about that, too. Practice telling your story at work and social gatherings.
Additionally, you may want to practice speaking in a public environment. Toastmasters and volunteering to speak at tech events are great ways to practice “selling.” You can also share what you’ve done by mentoring another engineer; practice sharing your code, talking about your startups and so on.
Finally, practice pitching your background to your mentor. If you don’t have a career mentor, we highly recommend finding one. Alternatively, you can practice pitching to another engineer, hopefully someone who is an interviewer at his or her company.
Stay tuned for our next installment, Sell yourself!, which will give more in-depth advice on how to prepare for an interview.