Interview Advice From Top Colorado Technology Executives

Posted on March 8, 2016 by .

Interview tips

Ever wonder what the most discerning interviewers are thinking on the other side of the interview table?

We recently reached out to some highly influential and charismatic contacts we have at prominent businesses throughout Colorado to see what interview advice they have, based on their experiences from some of the worst interviews they’ve had to sit through.

Kathy Keating – VP of Software Engineering @ AutoPay

Don’t perpetuate the brogrammer culture. We all get it, there are lot of men in technology, but many enlightened companies are seeking to make their cultures more diverse. Limit the use of terms like “dudes” or “guys” and consider not extolling the virtues of daily nerf guns fights and beer bashes. Speak instead to ways you contribute to teamwork and community within your organization.

Geoffrey Cullins – Sr. Director of Engineering @ GutCheck

If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so. If I ask you a question, I probably know the answer so I’ll know if you’re BS-ing me. It almost always results in me mentally dismissing you, because if you can’t know yourself well enough when you’re trying to get a job, you’re going to really fail when it counts.

As a side-note, I really, really like it when people say they simply don’t know – that they haven’t done/used/experienced whatever it is before.

I give extra points when people ask me to explain the answer so they know going forward (shows curiosity and a willingness to learn).

I give extra, extra points for people that then explain how they’d find the answer on their own.

Scott Tobias – CEO @ Voice Media

First of all, don’t be high or hungover, and don’t be late or reschedule.

Have good answers ready for when employer asks “what questions do you have for us?” They will ask you this. These questions should not be the following: what is the dress code? How much sick time do I get? Can I work from home?

Todd Benge – Vice President of Engineering @ TrackVia

Take time to review the company you’re applying too. Read their website, watch product videos, or trial the product. The issue with that is they haven’t put much thought into what it is they’re seeking and if our company would be a good fit.

Also, take the time to prepare for technical interviews. We always tell candidates when they’re coming on-site for a technical interview. Those that took the time to review and prepare for the interview tend to do better.

Philip Winterburn – Chief Product Officer @ Convercent

Here are some thoughts from real life experience:

  • Don’t have links on your LinkedIn profile to your personal website with disturbing photographs of yourself. To each their own, but you don’t need to force it on your interviewer.
  • Trashing your former boss, no one wants to hire whiners
  • Don’t have a quick bracer (alcoholic drink) before coming in. Yes, we can smell it!
  • Don’t stress yourself out so much that you literally drip perspiration throughout the interview.
  • Don’t lie. Be honest; if you get into a job you can’t do, no one wins.

Bart Lekens – Director, Web Technologies @ Charter Communications

In one instance, a candidate started off the interview very poorly, and he knew it too. He just kept going, hoping to find a way out of the mess that he had piled up right off the bat, but he never succeeded in finding his exit.

A better way to handle a bad start is to stop talking, take a deep breath, and start over. You can say things like “This is not what I meant, let me start over…” Or you can use some humor, like “With that answer, I will never get the job. What I really wanted to say is…” Blundering during an interview is totally fine, as long as you handle it in a calm and composed manner.

Mike Marasch – Director, Digital Products @ Peterson’s Interactive

I have heard things like this too often: “I have interviewed so many times I can’t remember what this one is” or “Can you remind me who you are and what position this is? I didn’t have time to look it over.”

These candidates haven’t reviewed the job description or company info and haven’t done any prep for the interview.

I also see a lot of candidates that don’t bring anything to take notes on or don’t have a list of questions to refer to during the interview. Ultimately, it’s not all about you and it’s not all about us; we’re both trying to find the right fit to have the best success long term. Ask what you can do to be successful in the role and we should ask you what it takes for you to feel successful in the role.

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