The best job interviews are almost always the ones you feel prepared for. While you can’t be ready for everything, here’s one thing IT recruiters can warn you to be ready for: questions about what you like or will miss at your current IT job.
IT staffing firms find that these kinds of questions are usually common, but some interviewers do ask some iteration of ‘what do you enjoy about your current IT role?’ IT recruiting agencies find that it’s easier to answer this kind of question correctly when you understand why it’s being asked. Technical recruiters find that this kind of question is usually asked for two reasons: to ascertain what makes you happy in IT jobs and sometimes to gauge your relationships or general performance at your current job. Taking that first motive into account, IT staffing agencies would suggest you try to speak directly to it. Come to your interviews armed with a couple of things you actually do enjoy about your current job. Is it the work? Your coworkers? Being able to list a few things, especially things you think will also be present at the role you’re interviewing for, will help your interviewer picture you enjoying (and thus more likely to succeed at) the job.
On to the second reason why this kind of question is asked: to gauge your relationships or general performance at your current job. To satisfy this motive and make yourself look like a great candidate, make sure you answer this question positively and professionally. Even if you’re working with IT recruiting firms to find a new role because your current boss is evil and the workload is unmanageable, IT staffing companies would suggest you find something positive to say here. It will help maintain an image of you as somebody with a positive attitude that understands professional norms. Saying something negative here (or saying nothing) would reflect very negatively on you. It might even hurt your chances of landing the IT job!
IT recruiters usually find that candidates have references lined up by the time they start searching for IT jobs. Unfortunately, technical recruiters find that some candidates haven’t prepped their references well. Here’s a few tips to make sure that you’re not only providing your IT staffing agencies with references, but references that are primed to really help your candidacy.
- Start by making sure you’ve spoken to your references recently and notified them of your current job search. Do this to make sure they’re prepared, but also because it’s simply the polite thing to do. (IT staffing companies are surprised by how many people skip or forget this step!)
- Prep your references with your current resume, the kinds of positions you’re looking for with your IT recruiting agencies, and a suggestion of what kinds of qualities and/or technical skills and experience will be pertinent to mention. If you give your references more and better information about what you need from them, they can do more to make you look good!
- Make sure to say thank you to your references! Unfortunately, this yet another step that IT staffing firms see skipped over or forgotten too often. If you want your references to continue to be enthusiastic in helping you in your job searches, you need to make sure they feel appreciated!
Even if you’re completely engaged during your interviews for IT jobs, there are still little details you could miss or forget later. IT recruiters would absolutely suggest taking notes as you interview. Here are two guidelines IT staffing agencies would suggest you follow to take notes for your own reference later.
- Write down info for your thank you note. IT recruiting companies have seen time and time again how powerful a good thank you note can be. To write a good one, you’ll probably need to have some things written down to refer to after the interview. Start with the names of all your interviewers. (Your IT recruiting firms may not know who your interviewers were if you can’t remember their names—and this will make it impossible to deliver a thank you note!) Then make sure to note any major concerns that are brought up about your candidacy, any questions you feel you may be able to answer better or expand upon, or just any particularly good moments/connections you may have had with your interviewer(s). These are all the kinds of things that you want to address in a thank you note. They will show that you were deeply engaged in the interview.
- Write down any questions you have for your technical recruiters. These are the things you don’t feel comfortable asking your interviewer. Or perhaps these are things you think may not help you give your best impression to the interviewer. This is exactly what IT staffing companies are for. If you have concerns about the job, it’s best to talk with your IT recruiting agencies about them so you can be more candid. If you have questions about compensation, perks, vacation time, benefits, etc then save them for a conversation with your IT staffing firms.
Many IT recruiters find that the candidates they work with don’t always have realistic (or sometimes any!) salary expectations when they’re looking for new IT jobs. This can actually make it harder for candidates. Perhaps you might be consistently (and erroneously) disappointed in the salaries/rates you’re quoted by IT recruiting agencies and turn down jobs that would be a good fit for you otherwise. Or perhaps you’ll undersell yourself to IT staffing agencies and wind up being paid significantly less than you had the potential to earn. If you’re ready to start working with IT staffing companies to find a new role, take 15 minutes or so to do a little research before you post your newly polished resume or before you reach out to IT recruiters you already have a relationship with. Here’s how to direct your research:
1. Take into account not only the job titles you’ll be working with technical recruiters to find, but also the location. A Java Developer in Boston will hear far different salaries/rates from their IT staffing agencies than a Java Developer in the Midwest. You’ll be likely to hear about jobs that pay higher salaries if your IT recruiting agencies submit you for jobs in busy, metropolitan areas with higher costs of living.
2. Take your experience, certifications, and education into account. IT recruiters can check over your resume to guess at what you’re worth. However, nobody knows things like what projects you’ve lead and what programming languages you’ve studied like you do. Especially in a field like IT, the work you’ve done or the training and education you’ve received can be very complicated. You are the expert on what you have to offer a potential employer—make sure you factor that into your salary research.
3. Take the information you find with a grain of salt. Some sites have inaccurate or outdated information. Don’t just use one source or do a lazy Google search. If you come to technical recruiters with unrealistic salary expectations you’ve found via research, it will be just as harmful to you as if you hadn’t done any research at all!
4. Reach out to people in your network and be open to hearing your IT recruiter’s opinion, too. Once you have an idea of numbers that might be realistic, it can be very helpful to reach out to people who have firsthand knowledge of what people in your field and chosen location make. Ask them if they concur or their experience/knowledge differs from what you’ve found. It’s also fine to ask your technical recruiters what they think of the numbers you’ve researched. The more money you make, the more money your recruiters make. So they will have your best interest in mind as they speak with you about compensation.
Even though IT recruiters never saw the same kind of downturn that other industries experienced during the recession, the market is certainly growing now. If you’ve been considering working with your IT recruiters to find a new IT job, now is a great time. Here’s why you should polish up your resume and call your IT staffing companies today.
- More workers are retiring. IT recruiting companies are finding more and more roles open now due to a higher rate of retirees this year. This means your technical recruiters will have even more IT roles to submit you to.
- Employers are having IT staffing agencies seek out more recent grads to fill their open jobs. NACE reports that employers expect to hire 5.2% more new graduates this year than last year. If you’ve just graduated with a degree in computer science, IT recruiting firms are very likely to have jobs for you to consider.
- Even if you’re not a recent grad, the tech sector is still steadily growing. Mobile communications and social media will continue to drive IT in the next year at least. That’s good news for all candidates thinking about working with IT staffing firms to find new roles, recent grads or not.
In today’s world, searching for IT jobs requires more than just polishing your resume and printing it on nice paper for IT recruiters. Especially if you’re trying to attract IT recruiting firms, it’s important to make sure your resume is adapted for a more digital world. Here’s how to make sure your resume can be most attractive to technical recruiters.
- Polish the content on your resume. IT staffing firms will be less likely to want to work with you if your resume is difficult to read, doesn’t show off your professional achievements, or is so long it could be a novel. Check out more tips here on how to update your resume to attract IT recruiting agencies.
- Make your resume mobile-friendly. This means a few things. Make sure it’s clean and brief. Don’t use any graphics, odd formats, or colors. Cut out all extraneous information. (It’s worth noting that IT recruiting agencies prefer this on mobile formats or otherwise.) Try emailing yourself your resume and checking it on your phone. Busy IT staffing agencies and hiring managers often have to look at your resume that way. Make sure the view is good.
- Don’t forget hyperlinks. If you have a website, professional blog, or online portfolio, don’t forget to provide links to it. IT recruiting companies may also appreciate seeing a link to your LinkedIn profile. Take full advantage of all that a digital resume can do to bolster your candidacy.
IT recruiters are seeing more and more IT professionals who want some kind of flexible work or work-from-home arrangements in their next roles. Due to the nature of IT jobs, this is actually possible relatively often. However, you can safely assume you’ll seriously hurt your chances of getting one of these jobs if you ask about it during the interview.
First, why do IT staffing companies advise against asking your interviewer about work-from-home and flexible hours arrangements? IT recruiting firms don’t want you to ask about work-from-home and flexible hours perks in an interview because it suggests that your focus is on the perks (rather than the actual work, the team, the company, etc). Interviewers want to see that you’re assessing if (and proving) that you’d succeed in the role. They’re working with IT staffing agencies to find candidates who are a great fit for the work, the corporate culture, etc. If you use the little time you have with an interviewer to focus on the perks (like flexible hours or work-from-home options) you won’t help your candidacy at all.
If IT recruiting companies don’t want you to ask interviewers about work-from-home and flexible work arrangements, how will you make sure you land a job with these benefits? You can talk directly with your technical recruiters about it. This is a big perk of working with IT staffing firms: they want to know your wish list for your next job. You can speak frankly with your IT recruiting agencies about your wish list and they work to negotiate on your behalf. This lets you focus on advocating for your candidacy and landing your dream IT job.
IT recruiting firms are finding that one of the biggest programming languages of 2016 will be Scala. There are a few reasons why having this language on your resume will make you more attractive to IT recruiters and hiring managers.
1. Scala is used by some important companies. LinkedIn, Twitter, Novell, and Sony are just some of the big name companies that are having their technical recruiters reach out to IT professionals with Scala. Even if you aren’t looking for IT jobs at these companies, their influence will likely trickle down. Scala will probably become important to IT recruiting companies working for other employers, as well.
2. Scala is a great language for startups. As a language that is elegant and concise, it allows solid programming that can be done quickly. Since many startups often need quick releases of new products, IT staffing firms will likely see Scala become a more common requirement for them.
3. Scala has a strong community. Since people are what drive a programming language’s popularity, this is a big factor in how popular a language will be. With such a strong community for Scala, IT recruiting agencies will likely see it become more and more valuable to employers.
IT recruiters often advise their candidates to have questions to ask at the end of interviews. There are a lot of great questions your IT staffing firms want you to ask, but here’s one topic you should not ask about: vacation time andor your upcoming vacation plans.
Why do technical recruiters advise against asking about vacation time or asking if you’ll be able to take a vacation you’ve already scheduled? There are few reasons. Firstly, your time in interviews is precious. Your IT recruiting agencies start by advocating for your candidacy, and you should consider pretty much every minute of your job interview your chance to do the same. Don’t waste that time asking about things you could clear up with your IT recruiting firms, like benefits and vacation time.
Secondly, when you ask about vacation time or talk about your upcoming vacation plans in your interviews, you’re actually hurting your chance of landing the IT jobs you’re interviewing for. If you focus any of your questions on your vacation time, rather than the job itself, you give the impression that you’re not interested in the job. Worse, you may even give the impression that you’re just generally lazy.
Lastly, IT staffing agencies advise against asking about vacations because you may make the interviewer feel like you’re wasting their time. Since IT staffing companies and human resources are often the ones who handle negotiations for vacation time and other benefits, it’s very possible your interviewer knows nothing about these items– nor do they likely care about them. Add to that the fact that your interviewer is likely interviewing you on top of an already full day of work. Any unnecessary questions you ask may actually make the interviewer feel that you aren’t valuing the time they have taken out of their day to talk to you.
These days, IT recruiters find that most of the candidates they work with are on LinkedIn. Most IT professionals are on LinkedIn to either actively seek IT jobs or for networking or professional purposes. IT staffing firms also see plenty of candidates publishing posts on LinkedIn. Some of these posts are great, but some are really detrimental to the candidates who post them. They might offend technical recruiters, hiring managers, colleagues, or even make the author seem unprofessional or unemployable. Here’s a basic set of guidelines IT recruiting agencies would suggest using as you decide what to post on LinkedIn.
1. Stay away from politics, religion, money, or other hot button topics. If what you’re writing would feel inflammatory or risky to say in an office setting, it’s not going to go over well in a LinkedIn post. Even if it’s not the main topic of your post, references to religion or politics probably won’t help your professional reputation. Remember that the point of a LinkedIn post is boosting your reputation as an IT professional with your network, potential employers, and IT staffing companies. Don’t publish a post that could negatively impact the way IT recruiting firms, hiring managers, coworkers, etc see you.
2. Use anecdotes and info from your personal life judiciously. Sometimes using stories from your personal life can make a post more interesting and make it easier for people to relate to you. Say you’re writing a post about learning a new programming language. It could resonate with people if you talk about seeing similarities in your learning process and the way your child is learning to talk. On the flip side, your network, IT staffing agencies, and potential employers don’t want to read a post that is all about your personal life. They may get the impression that you don’t understand professional norms — which is never attractive to IT recruiting companies or hiring managers.