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#1 xor-logic  Icon User is offline

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Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:29 AM

I have an interview tomorrow (Thursday) morning with Atos for an alternance position (2 year paid contract, 3 weeks per month in company, 1 week in school, degree at the end). I really need and want this job.

Against me, I have no professional experience in IT, and have an imperfect grasp of the local language, and I feel this last will be a huge obstacle.

However, in my favor I am fluent in English and am very passionate about IT, having learned a lot of computer skills on my own time and of my own volition. The latter I feel is my best opportunity to convince the recruiter that I am worth the effort.

One of my employment counselors has suggested I bring with me several materials to present to show off any skills I currently have - the problem is that my skills are more about coding and development, and the job will be more about general IT support and maintenance.

I'd like it if anyone could suggest some things I might be able to put together to impress the recruiter. I have a Windows 7/Ubuntu dual-boot on my laptop with Windows 8 on a virtual machine - this is one of the things I was thinking I could show them.

Suggestions?

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Replies To: Advice to ace my interview?

#2 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 22 August 2012 - 05:38 AM

They may ask a lot of technical questions which you better have th answer too. Other than that, I find that if your personable and not condensending you can land a job with little experience.
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#3 xor-logic  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:18 AM

View PostDarenR, on 22 August 2012 - 12:38 PM, said:

They may ask a lot of technical questions which you better have th answer too.


I don't believe there will be too many technical questions that they'll expect me to have the answers to - this is, after all, the interview at the beginning of a 2 year college program, and the idea is that I'm to be learning the answers to those technical questions over my next 2 years of working for/with them. It would seem to be putting the horse before the cart to expect me to be able to answer them now.

I should have clarified in my question though that I'm more looking for advice and ideas on materials/programs/short projects I can bring with me, on paper or on my laptop, to show the recruiter what I can do and that I am passionate about IT.
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#4 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:11 AM

I'd have a cd with projects on it that they can load and view at their pleasure
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#5 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:44 AM

What you're going to want to have is a strong base in communication skills. In tech repair the largest factor in determining whether or not you get a job is if you have personal skills. Never underestimate this one, it will bite you.

DO NOT show them anything unless explicitly asked. The point of most repair is to be able to describe things without being able to see them (phone calls) so to have to visually present something instead of being able to verbally describe them is seen as a weakness.

The real thing is to be confident and not be afraid to say you don't know something, and make dead sure you're not bolstering anything you know you can't do. A recruiter wants a human, not some perfection machine that's likely to fizz in the first week. Let them know what they're working with in terms of skill and you'll get a lot more attention for being honest and forthcoming.

If a recruiter asks me if I know C, I would answer very clearly that I'm familiar with it, but have no professional experience. If they were to ask about Ruby, I would explain that I'm fluent. Be honest with yourself about your skill level and you'll have a lot more leverage to work with.
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#6 m_wylie85  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 22 August 2012 - 12:33 PM

When going to interview i also ways make sure i am dressed smart, shoes polished suit pressed and so. As this will show you made and effort. Moreover make sure when your in the interview not to slouch in your chair sit up straight and look the person in the eye. When they ask you a question don't just blurt something out take a quick second to think about your answer if you don't understand the quest ask them to repeat it. I took a course on how to do interviews once even folding your arms is not a good idea as it says to the interviewer subconsciously that you guarded. There is more but i can't remember of the top of my head
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#7 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:47 PM

Be yourself, be honest, and be interested. Ask good questions - you're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you. If they ask you about some tech, and you don't know about it, say so - and ask them about it. What is it, what do they do with it, what sorts of things is it like? Turn it into a dialogue, not an interrogation.
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#8 xor-logic  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 31 August 2012 - 04:49 AM

Thanks for all the good responses. I had a few things prepared on my laptop (as well as having cleaned my laptop with a q-tip to make sure it was presentable as well).

But I kept those things to show only if asked. At some point, he asked for something I had already provided (an info sheet on the school) and he hadn't remembered to bring. I told him I had a copy with me on my laptop, but he didn't want to see it - I took that as a sign I should just keep the machine in the bag.

The only technical questions asked were some quickies. "Do you know what an I.P. address is?" (Yes, of course I do)
"DHCP?" Remembering Lemur's advice, I told him "I've only used it to block people on my personal network at home." Apparently that was a good answer.

They called me back for a second interview by phone last night, which was again in French and tremendously stressful.

The results of both interviews is the same: my level of French, while good, is not good enough to do help desk for their French clients, but they are looking into putting me on an English team for their British clients.

I'll know for sure next week. Already she asked me to scan and email her my I.D. papers, so I take that as a good sign.

Thanks for your help guys (or gals)!

This post has been edited by xor-logic: 31 August 2012 - 04:51 AM

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#9 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 31 August 2012 - 05:54 AM

Thanks for the follow-up. Hope they make the right decision
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#10 JackOfAllTrades  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:16 AM

Quote

"DHCP?" Remembering Lemur's advice, I told him "I've only used it to block people on my personal network at home." Apparently that was a good answer.


DHCP, AFAIK (not a real big network guy), is about providing IP addresses from a pool in a central location (for example, within an internal network using NAT), not blocking people.

But congrats on what seems to be -- language issues aside -- a successful interview!
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#11 xor-logic  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:51 AM

View PostJackOfAllTrades, on 31 August 2012 - 01:16 PM, said:

DHCP, AFAIK (not a real big network guy), is about providing IP addresses from a pool in a central location (for example, within an internal network using NAT), not blocking people.

Well then, I showed my ignorance - no big surprise there. :)

The only thing I really know about it is that it has to do with giving IP addresses on a network, and when I needed to lock someone out of my network, I found the appropriate options under the DHCP tab.
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#12 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Advice to ace my interview?

Posted 31 August 2012 - 10:29 PM

It's better to show controlled ignorance than to try and play perfect. Again, it lets them know you're human and you still have some things to work out. Dialog is huge, turn ignorance into asking for an explanation. Show that you're willing to learn and they'll gladly take you up on it.

When I interviewed for my current job about a year ago I was asked about cisco routers and vlans. I mentioned that I had some knowledge of them, but continued to ask what forms of implementations they were using at the company to try and find out more about their uses. I know that my style of learning is implementation and knowing where the pieces all fit.

DHCP is some interesting stuff though, you might read into it. Actually, do read into it. My second interview they hammered me with Cisco and VLAN information to see what I'd do. I had spend the weeks before the second round studying them to make sure I had a grasp, more from a personal annoyance that I didn't know much about something like that. It earned me some pretty major points that I went from barely knowing them to becoming well versed in their terminology and uses within a few weeks.

My own little habit of hating to not know something that I'm explicitly asked about ended up saving my tail. If it ever happens to me, I immediately go for google and learn everything about the subject in detail until I'm sure I know what it is.

Whether or not that's for you, it's for you to decide, but if it's from an interviewer I would take that as a red dot on your head if you miss it.
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