I just ask people to be honest about what they know. If I see potential I am happy to give training to get peoples skills up however if you come to an interview claiming to have a full knowledge of AD and GPO's but cant make a simple change to the system you will be shown the door.
Just be yourself or you will end up in a job you dont enjoy. I would agree with previous posts, if you are applying for a technicians job you should be able to assemble a pc (if you cant practice at home).
If you work in a team, you normally find that different people have specialist areas. Find out what interests you(if you dont already know) and learn from them. Good luck :)
Please could you state what sort of questions you were asked in the interview and how you handled them and if you were given a practical test and what it entailed?
Originally Posted by Graduate
I have a similar interview and my background is a Computing with Business Managment 2.1 honours BSc
I can only tell you what we do, everywhere else will be slightly different. However wherever you are, you are being assessed from the moment you walk through the door. If you come across as rude or arrogant to the receptionist, they will say so. In fact everyone who sees you or meets you will form an opinion. If it is negative they will say so. Be smart, be polite, be relaxed and be confident. If you are the quiet one at the back or appear stressed or nervous, people will notice and point it out. If you appear rude or arrogant people will make a point of telling the management.
We normally have 4 or 5 candidates at a time. We give them a brief, introduce them to the rest of the team and they are split into groups to tour the school or remain chatting to the rest of the team. About the third question during the interview is ‘What do you think of our IT setup?’ You will be surprised how many people are caught out by this obvious question, and I must admit that I wish I had paid more attention (I had to go through the same process). Obviously we speak to the other members of the team, but do not always pick their favourite, however if there is someone they do not like, we have to think very carefully about employing them. It may seem a bit harsh, but if someone does not fit into the team (and it may not be their fault) it is in nobody’s interest.
We get each of the candidates to show our chief financial officer how to do fly-in bullet points in PowerPoint. (We warn them when we invite them or interview, so we expect them be able to do it.) The point of this, and most tasks, is not to see how well they do it, but to see how they approach it. We find people drop their guard, and we get more of an insight into their real personality than from the interview itself. We are not pulling a dirty trick; in fact if we feel we have not seen the ‘real’ person, it is a lot harder to employ them. We have used practical test and I will set up something that is very obscure, or specific to us. I expect the candidate to ask for advice, or admit they do not know, which would be a close second. If they try bulls**t, I would consider not giving them an interview.
When we did the selection for our apprentice, one of the candidates knew very little about PCs, however he said so, and I talked him through the exercise. He listened, did what he was told, and asked intelligent questions. In the (very informal) interview I asked him to explain what happened during the practical exercise. He went on to perfectly recall all the faults and how they were repaired. We took him on and he is now a full member of the team (a very good one). My point is that it is not what you know, but how you do things that will get you the job.
Again in the interview it is not what you know, but how you answer the questions. Be honest, if you do not know the answer or do not understand the question say so. Do not waffle or repeat yourself, and keep your answers concise (not to be confused with short). All employers want good communication skills and you need to demonstrate them during the interview. Take every opportunity to give the panel relevant example of what you have done in the past, even if you go slightly off topic. This is probably the most effective way of getting you ahead of the competition. For example I was once asked how I would go about fixing a printer problem. I told them the steps I would take, and then went on to tell them all printer problems that I had come across in the past (well as many as I could remember).
Make sure you are familiar with the person specification, technical knowledge is only one part of it. Be prepared to demonstrate you meet most of it in the interview (I think the recommendation is you should meet at least 60-70% to be in with a fighting chance). For example our head insists that IT staff have excellent customer facing skills, it is in the person specification, and we do spend a lot of time exploring this (see the first set of questions below). Quite a few candidates get caught out.
We have three types of questions. Those that try to get information about you as a person and how you would go about doing the job. (Tell us about yourself? How do you see you role as a technician? How would you deal with an angry member of a staff? I have phoned to say I can’t get my email, what would you tell me?).
We will explore your background, and ask questions based your application. Make sure you know what you’ve written and be prepared to substantiate it, and/or flesh it out. If you have gaps in your employment history, or have had a lot of jobs, you must be able to explain why. If necessary provide additional references. Our head and HR people get particularly twitchy about this especially after Soham.
Lastly I will ask some technical questions. Again my last question will be something very obscure, I would prefer it if you did not know the answer. I want you to admit you do not know, or to catch you out if you’re a bulls**ter. This is bread and butter stuff for some people, but for the less experienced do not be intimidated, if you do not know say so. The panel will be aware for you lack of experience from your application and will take this into account. They think you are a viable candidate otherwise you would not have been invited to interview. I cannot stress enough that it is not what you know, it’s how you answer the questions. If you know the answer than there is a good chance the other candidates will. If you communicate it better you will have an edge, there is usually only one technician on the panel, if the others understand your answers they will be suitably impressed.
Do not lie on you application. One candidate did not get the job because the application did not match up with what his referee said.
If you are unsuccessful do not be put off, we have had some very good candidates who we have not employed, there is only one post, and there can only be one winner. However if you have been unsuccessful at a lot of interviews, you need to try and identify why. I know of at least three of our former candidates who have got good jobs, and two of those we would not have employed because they did not come across very well during interview. One changed tack and got a job in web design. I can only assume the other managed to identify why he was not coming across as a strong candidate and did something about it; because he got better job than the one we were offering, in another school.
Sorry if this is a bit rambling, Hope it helps.
If only there were more interviewers like you, I'd have got a job years ago!
Originally Posted by SeanVin
I have to admit to doing that a few times. I'm in a rush, expect it to be something major and then you smile to yourself and give yourself a mental slap when you realise you shouldn't skip the basic steps sometimes. :D
Originally Posted by kgcs
Originally Posted by SeanVin
Hi thanks a lot for the advice and you went to a lot of effort, much appreciated
I have had my interview and got some very good feedback from the interviewers, but i get the feeling they are stringing me along. I have a good reason to agree with this.
A couple of other points here that i discerned from my interviews
I found that they dwelled too much on the technical side and yet they tried to play the "its not about the technical skill and more about the type of person you are and how well you come across" card.
In short they want a very strong technical guy with a lot of experience and on the other hand talk about technnical strengths as being secondary and acting as though how you are and how you fit the job is more important as they can give training.
This went to show what a contradiction they have going. Futhermore i didn't feel this job valued a degree in computing 2.1 and had no regard for the academic side.
Someting to know that we may can add 2 and 2 together and get 4 but when its time for interview and asked to minus 2 from 2 we all tend to get nervous and jot down 2 as the answer. When people are nervous (most people) we screw up big time. I remembered when I was about 15 or 17 my teacher asked me to spell music and do you know how I really spelt it??? MUZIK. What a piece of shyt. Im going to my first UK interview and if im nervous i will ask for 3mins to refresh myself and start again. Because if im asked to pull down a pc i dont want to start off by pulling down the monitor back lol (crt in this case).