This last week, I had the privilege of speaking at SBU (Southwest Baptist University) with HealthMEDX on technical/peer interviews. I thought I'd share some of my interview tips and hopefully they can help you land the job.
Don't say that you are proficient at a technology and/or programming language if you aren't. It's better to be conservative than vice versa. The peer interviewers typically have a higher skill-set than you and they will find out the truth. You don't want to leave a bad impression with stating you know more than what you really do.
Ensure your social networking and public search information is professional. Facebook, MySpace, Google+, etc all have a vast amount of information on people these days. When reviewing your resume, companies will usually try and search for additional information on you. A lot can be said about you if the company can find your social networking profile.
Focus on your soft skills. Software development is continuing to evolve into agile/team environments. Being able to effectively communicate technically and non-technically is extremely important. You'll be working with analysts, support, quality assurance, etc. These skills are vital to your success and companies look for these skills coupled with your technical skills.
Bring some code or examples of your work that you are proud of. One, it demonstrates that you know the technology or programming language. Second, having pride in your work is a plus. It shows the peer interviewers that you care about what you create and it gives you satisfaction when you create something awesome.
Know their culture and ask them about it. It shows them that you want to ensure that it is a good fit for both parties. I currently work for HealthMEDX which has a casual/fun culture. We wear shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, etc. When interviewees come to interview with a full suite, it is a little awkward on both sides. Is that a good fit for you? Are you willing to work in an environment which is casual? You want to work for a place that is a good fit for you. So know the culture before interviewing. It will help you know if the company is a good fit for you and help you "bond" with the interviewers a bit more.
Know what technologies the company employs. Even if you don't know the technology or language, you can research it ahead of time and it will help you communicate what you know and how it may relate to their technologies.
Don't project yourself as being entitled to the job. I've seen many college students think that they are the bomb... That's not a team attitude and that will turn off companies very fast. Remember that it's you that is wanting the job/offer. Being humble will go a long way.
Be positive. Don't rag on your old job and how awful it is. It may project that you are a negative person. Negative people will fail anywhere they go. So make sure that you are positive, cheerful, and fun to be around.
Send a thank you note. Even if the interviewer(s) throw your note in the trash, it gives your name visibility. If you are lucky, it will leave a positive impression on you and may be the final straw to get you that job.