After perfecting your CV, overcoming your interview fears can be the key difference between securing that dream job and being told, ‘sorry there were better candidates.’
Part of our work with students is to ensure they are fully prepared for interviews. To make sure of this, we have developed a whole week of Careers activity as part of the PSD course.
It includes a workshop dedicated to discussing interviews, scenarios and useful things to work through, to ensure the student feels confident about the process and what they can do to ensure it’s a positive experience.
- The recruitment process
- Homework required ahead of applying and interview stage
- How to prepare for interview day
- Looking at example questions which might be asked
- Next steps
What and why?
There are multiple types of interview, from competency-based scenarios, to video conference, so it’s important to understand what you’re preparing for as much as how to prepare.
There are some great examples of how to tackle interviews, including questions the students could ask during their interview and some thought provoking points from the likes of Simon Sinek – “people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”
Following the WHY, it’s personal. It’s a personal choice, so you have to be able to communicate that. That’s why we also work on personal branding with all of our students.
During careers week we discuss subjects which help students to not only succeed at interviews, but make informed decisions about their new career including:
- Imposter syndrome (which was mentioned in our Mental Health Awareness blog)
- The types of company or organisation which might suit you best
- People and personalities
- How teams are formed
- Aligning your values with the organisation
- Setting and achieving realistic goals
Getting to know the industry
In addition to the workshops, the speed networking event towards the end of the course is usually where students and industry partners, get the chance to learn about each other and what opportunities exist.
CodeClan Alumni, Alexander Clements, who is now working as a software developer, said: “The highlight of the week was the speed networking event. Described to us as ‘speed dating with companies’, the idea was that we spend six minutes talking to each of the companies in attendance. When the time was up a bell would ring, signalling us to move to the next company.
“We were all quite nervous, but for my part when the event got going, nerves were quickly replaced by curiosity. Speaking to so many people with a clear passion for their work was inspiring. I found myself coming away from many of the companies with a much better understanding of not only what they did, but why they did it. This left me with a very definite sense of excitement at the prospect of joining them, and has only increased my enthusiasm for the next stage of my career.”
Leverage your existing skills as well as your new digital skills
Caroline Hatwell who graduated from CodeClan’s 11th Edinburgh cohort, told us, that the focus on integrating previous career experience with her new technical skills was key component in helping her find a new career: “Obviously it depends what you did before CodeClan, but most people have a good few years of work experience behind them. Make sure you leverage this when applying for jobs. You have your CodeClan skills AND you probably have a lot of skills, (maybe especially people skills) from your previous life. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that stuff isn’t valuable when applying for dev jobs because it is.”
You’re not alone
Preparing for and attending job interviews may never be your favourite experience. You’re not alone. The important thing is how to use your learning from the workshops and your past life experience, to get the ball rolling, maintain a positive mindset and present the very best version of you, for your new employer to meet.
As always, our career and partner team, Lorraine, Graeme and Fiona are always on hand to answer any questions you might have and to help you prepare for life after CodeClan…