How to Ace the Non-Technical Part of an Tech Interview

If you want to work at a company where culture matters, you need to bring more to the interview than a list of your skills.

When we’re hiring at Atomic, we’re obviously looking for people who have maker skills as a software developer or a designer. But that’s just the start. We consider your fit with our company’s consultant culture and values at least as much as your technical skills.

Here are seven things you can do to win our confidence during the interview process.

1. Be Engaging

Being a software consultant involves working directly with our customers and other team members. These people should all be and feel engaged in conversations and decisions. A few simple ways to demonstrate your skills in this area are:

  • Make good eye contact.
  • Ask relevant questions.
  • Paraphrase what you heard to ensure that you do understand.
  • Show genuine interest in what others have to say.

2. Come Prepared

By the time you’re on site for an interview, you should be very familiar with what the company does. You should be ready to demonstrate how you would fit into their big picture, where you think you’d be an especially strong contributor, and where you’d have some room to grow.

And be prepared to talk about YOU. It’s not something everyone is naturally comfortable with or good at, but that’s part of any interview. Think about the skills and experiences you have to offer, and understand how you want to grow and improve in the future. Consider the stories you can tell to convince us why you’re the right candidate to join our team.

3. Be Creative

Creativity is important to us. We do our best work for clients when we can find creative solutions to reduce cost, improve flexibility, provide additional value, or exceed our clients’ expectations. Sometimes a wacky idea turns into one of those great, creative solutions, which we love — as long as it’s grounded in providing a specific value.

4. Answer the Questions

Do your best to answer questions directly, and support your answers with stories and examples when appropriate. If you need time to collect your thoughts, pause for a few seconds. Try not to meander around the question to buy time.

5. Talk about the Human Side

We’re interested to hear how you’ve contributed to the human side of being a software developer or designer. Think back on your experiences so far, and ask yourself where you’ve made a difference. The questions below can be a great starting point for compelling stories.

  • How have you made the teams you’ve been a part of better?
  • How have you demonstrated your values and character on the job?
  • How have you helped coworkers or customers through tough decisions?
  • What do your coworkers value most about working with you?

6. Demonstrate Our Values

Familiarize yourself with the company’s values, and show that you can are about them too. If you’re the kind of person who fits Atomic’s values and culture, we expect you to live them out during the interview process. For example:

  • Think about how you’re dressed and how you present yourself.
  • Be transparent about what you do and don’t know. (We’ll find out later, anyway, if we hire you.)
  • If you make a mistake, don’t make excuses.

7. Be Yourself (Your Best Self)

We want to get to know you as a potential team member. Do what everyone at Atomic does when we’re working with clients — put your best self forward, do your level best, and help us see what you’d be like to work with on a daily basis.


Written by Jason Porritt. Originally published at spin.atomicobject.com on October 16, 2015.

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