May 31, 2013 (05:05 AM EDT)
IT Job Interviews: 8 Tips To Avoid Disaster

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

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So you scored an interview for that job you want. Congratulations. Now don't screw it up.

Not quite the words of encouragement you were looking for? IT pros with sought-after skills sometimes need a gentle -- or not-so-gentle -- reminder about job interview skills, according to Paul DeBettignes, head of the IT recruiting firm Minnesota Headhunter.

"There are a lot of ways to mess up an interview," DeBettignes said via email interview. "Even though IT folks are in demand, some things are difficult [for employers] to overlook."

Some interview missteps might seem like a failure of common sense, yet they occur regularly. DeBettignes took an informal poll of recruiters and HR pros -- not all focused on IT, mind you -- at a recent industry event: How many of their job candidates say or do something in an interview that left them thinking "What the heck?" The unscientific tally: 10%.

[ Don't ignore social networks in your search for a new job. Read 5 Social Strategies For Job Hunters. ]

"Last week, a friend at a Minneapolis startup interviewed a woman who brought her dog to the interview," DeBettignes said. "Her current company allows it and she did not want to bring the dog home before the interview."

Such WTH moments are not always deal breakers but they're not, uh, best practices, at least not if you want the job. "The best way to prepare for an interview is to ask: who would you want to talk to you?" DeBettignes said. He shared his top do's and don'ts for IT pros hoping to ace their next interview.

1. Do: Your Homework.

"Research who you will be interviewing with," DeBettignes said. "Surely they will have done this in advance and so should you." LinkedIn is a good place to start, as is the corporate website. Social media can be rich fodder for background research, provided you don't get weird. (See also: #2.) If the company or manager has been in the press, it can't hurt to bone up on the coverage.

2. Don't: Be Creepy.

Don't go overboard with your research, something all too easy to do in the social media age. Stay far away from personal comments based on, say, the hiring manager's Facebook photos. "Do not mention how cute 'Fido' is," DeBettignes said.