Tips and tricks to nail your next job interview, according to 3 local tech recruiters

by John Siegel
March 21, 2018

The job search is a strategic and complicated process and identifying the right company, role and perfecting your resume are only half the battle. Once your resume has opened the line of communication, the real competition begins. In order to ensure you're prepared for your next interview, Built In LA connected with recruiters at top local tech companies to get the inside scoop.


joany health tech company los angeles
Photo via joany
Esther Kim
Recruiting Director

There are a lot of boxes that need to be checked in order for a candidate to get an invitation for an in-person interview. While the process might be a little different at a tech startup than at a corporation, it’s still crucial that interviewees do as much research into the company’s culture before going in for an interview, according to Esther Kim, recruiting director at DTLA-based JOANY.


How early should a candidate arrive for an interview?

Try to arrive 15 minutes early so you have time to locate the office and have a buffer in case you get lost or stuck in traffic. On that note, always be sure to check how long it will take you to commute to the office so you can plan accordingly. If you get there sooner than expected, spend some time at a local coffee shop instead of heading into the office until about 10 minutes prior to your interview.


What should someone wear to an interview at JOANY?

Do some research and identify the dress code the company has in place. Whether they prefer business, business casual or casual, you should always look put together. You don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed and threw on some clothes. Make sure your hair is presentable and your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free.


What materials should the interviewee bring with them?

In an ideal world, interviewers have time to review a candidate's resume prior to the interview. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, so having extra resumes prepared is always a plus. If you're interviewing for a role in which showcasing your past work is relevant, bring materials the interviewers might not have readily accessible.


What is one sure-fire way to leave you impressed?

To really stand out, think of creative ways to go above and beyond as you prepare for interviews. One candidate created a deck showcasing new ideas and the impact they would have if they held the position. This was pivotal in differentiating them from the competition.


yogaglo los angeles startup
photo via yogaglo
Nery Orellana
VP of Engineering

If there’s an entry on your checklist for getting a suit or dress dry-cleaned for a big interview, you’ll probably want to do some homework on the company in question before showing up. According to YogaGlo’s VP of Engineering, Nery Orellana, an interviewee’s attire can say a lot about the amount of effort they would exert if hired.


How early should a candidate arrive for an interview?

The day before your interview — ideally around the time of day that you're scheduled to actually interview — do a quick map search to see how long it'll take you to get to the office. Add 10-to-15 minutes to that travel time and expect to leave around then for your interview the following day. You'll probably be early, so find a way to kill time until roughly 10 minutes before your interview. 


What should someone wear to an interview at YogaGlo?

There are the clichés out there that tell you to "dress for success," but it might not always be the most appropriate to show up in a power suit or dress. Hopefully, in your research of the company, you’ve come across photos of people in the office that give you some representation of what it’s like to work there. Dress like you would for a regular day of work. Don’t show up in something that you aren't comfortable or confident wearing. When in doubt, ask the recruiter.


What materials should an interviewee bring with them?

Pack a few copies of your resume and offer one up if someone doesn’t have a copy. Bring your laptop so that you can show off your portfolio, but be mindful that you may not have readily accessible internet, so have something that you can show without a connection. Also, make sure all your devices are also fully charged and bring your AC adapter to plug-in. The last thing you want is to have your device run out of battery mid-demonstration!


What’s one thing you wished more interviewees would do prior to, during, or after the interview?

Send a short thank you email to interviewers for their time and consideration. Call out something you learned as a result of the meeting or of your research into the company. This is something I wish all candidates did, as it shows initiative. If you can show me one more time why you care about working at the company, it helps make the case that you are the person for the job.  


What's one behavior that you consider to be a red flag in an interview?

Interviewing is unnatural, as it tries to evaluate someone in a very short amount of time. If you're meeting multiple people, the people conducting the interview often end up asking similar questions. Don’t assume your previous answers have been shared among different sets of people interviewing you. Try and keep your answers to-the-point and be confident when you give your responses.


What is one sure-fire way to leave you impressed?

I’ve found in all my years interviewing at companies or conducting interviews that making an impression is not tied to a single moment. It’s about being consistent in how you represent yourself at every turn. From the initial screening to the in-person interviews and follow-up emails or conversations, be sure you prepare as much as you can beforehand. Be confident in your answers and the demonstration of your skills. Technology changes at a rapid pace, and showing that you can learn and be well-prepared is what will get you the next opportunity.


rex real estate startup los angeles
photo via rex real estate
Andy Barkett
VP of Engineering and AI

According to REX VP of Engineering Andy Barkett, indicating a clear understanding of how the company operates as both a real estate company and a tech company can go a long way.


How early should a candidate arrive for an interview?

There’s a fine line between being too early and being right on time. If you show up too early, you run the risk of putting pressure on the interviewer to rush through whatever it is they may be wrapped up in at that moment. 10 minutes early is the perfect time to check in.


Describe the appropriate dress attire?

At REX, we have “dress up Mondays” and “REX-wear Fridays” where we sport our REX T-shirts or other gear. During the week, we’re always polished. Think about it this way: it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed when meeting your future employer for the first time.


What materials should the interviewee bring with them?

Bringing a copy of your resume shows that you’re looking to make a great first impression. It’s one acceptable physical item you can always leave behind, and if you don’t want the interviewer to remember you, why are you applying for the job?


What’s one thing you wished more interviewees would do prior to, during, or after the interview?

I wish more candidates would practice their answers to the questions they anticipate me asking. If you’re qualified, prove it by communicating eloquently.


What's one behavior that you consider to be a red flag in an interview?

Any hint of a negative attitude. At REX, we only want to hire team players — negativity shows that you might have a problem taking ownership in your role.


What is one sure-fire way to leave you impressed?

REX is a unique place. We’re unlike other tech firms in that we’re both a real estate company and a tech company, so we’re impressed by people who get what it is that we do.


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