Your interview game, how to improve your Jacks to Aces

I received valuable advice from a well-respected blogger to be consistent with your blogging…once a year is pretty consistent to me and let’s be honest, it’s about all any of us can handle.

Anyways, for around 12 years I’ve made a living asking dumb questions now, I ask them of candidates and I ask them of clients, so I know good answers when I hear them.

This is about a 3 minute read which I hope to help to those of you heading in to interviews, not really knowing what the answers should be and hopefully assist you in delivering some killer answers that will make it tough for people to say no to you.

So in my world, I’m in a favourable position of helping everyone, both client and candidate, get what they want and need from their career and their business (from a staffing perspective).

Now, you’d think that a technical hiring manager talks the same language as a developer but this isn’t always the case – candidates like to talk technical, clients like to talk customers (for the avoidance of doubt, customers can be both external or internal).

For me, this often leads to an accidental misalignment of value for both parties and without getting all Simon Sinek on you, most fail to articulate why they do what they do.

In my experience, most technical people start with what they do (develop software using whatever stack), some then go on to say how they do it but few go the full nine yards to describe why they did it.

Data people are particularly bad at this. (Sorry data people but give me a shout if you’re struggling, I’ll help you out here.) Whereas CI people in FMCG are immense at it.

The “why” can be a host of things from making the customers experience better to saving the company money (perhaps in operational costs) or if you’re truly entrepreneurial, you may have suggested a feature that generated revenue for the business, though this can be hard to quantify.

By going the extra mile, you differentiate yourself from the other interviewees, never a bad thing but on a more strategic level, you’re articulating your career achievements and that you think on a commercial level and the latter is what most CTOs are interested to hear.

So in short, technical is pocket jacks good but technical and commercial is a winning hand; you’ve essentially traded your Jacks for Aces and that’s hard to beat.

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