Interview Tips for Technical People

Presented by E.J. Demaree II, Professional Development Chair of DOUG

Principle #1)

Be honest! That should be principle number one in your job search.  Obviously, you should not fudge on what you are good at.  However, the other side of being honest is NOT downplaying your strengths. If you have written an article on PL/SQL, let them know that.  You are not just good, you are GREAT. Don’t undersell your skills. Don’t oversell your skills.

TIP #1)

Why so excited?  Why do you want the job?

What are the three or four honest reasons why you want the job?  Money can be one of the reasons but it cannot be the only motivator.  Don’t be bashful about stating your reasons.

Do you remember back to when you popped the question to your wife?  You asked her, ‘Will you marry me?’ and what if she asked you, ‘Why?’  When you make a proposal, you have to be sure that you have a good answer that you can sell with conviction and passion.  Same with your job interview.  You should have genuine passion behind what you say.

What do I talk about during an interview?

If you are on the hiring end, what is the first question that get asked?  Tell me about yourself.  In one of my interviews, the poor guy froze up.  He started back at high school and went through his life story chronologically.  That is not what the employer is looking for which leads us to…

TIP #2)

What is it that the employer really wants to know about you?  Don’t be afraid to turn the question around.  Ask them, ‘What are the top three things that make someone successful in this job?’  Then ask ‘What else?’ There may be 100 reasons to hire you but you need to find out the five that they are really looking for.

They will start with the HR description.  But in the back of their minds, they may just be looking for someone who is not going to tick off the boss, someone who can work with the group, and someone who is going to work well in this position.

TIP #3)

I want the job.

I tell salespeople to just flat out ask for the job.  For non-salespeople, Tony Bashara has a great quote that I’m going to use.  ‘This is a great opportunity for both of us’…What do I need to do to get the job?’


Now, realistically, you might need to consult with a spouse before accepting a job and the terms of employment might not match what you need.  The caveat is that ‘“ ‘based on what I know so far’ ‘“ I want this job.  Leave room for the dealbreaker.  If they come back with 2 days of vacation, that might not be the place for you.

FINAL THOUGHT: Do the homework.

Track down someone who works there and learn about the company.  This is where preparation meets opportunity.

E.J. Demaree II is an Account Manager at Apex Systems and serves as the Professional Development Chair for DOUG.  You can follow his updates on Twitter at  This presentation was delivered at the Professional Development Forum in late June.