If you’re a job seeker, you’ve probably been contacted by or come across fake recruiter scams before. Scammers will often find your information on job boards or LinkedIn. When you’re looking for IT jobs, you don’t have to be vulnerable to these scammers, though. Here are 3 tips for how to weed out fake IT staffing companies from the scammers.
1. Google them. Real IT staffing agencies always have a website and usually a social media presence. They often have online reviews, as well. It’s also often a red flag if the IT recruiters who contact you are using an email address that seems more like a personal one than business. (For instance, at AVID, our technical recruiters all have email addresses that end in avidtr.com, rather than gmail.com or Hotmail.com.)
2. Think twice if they ask you to pay for background checks, drug testing, or CORI’s. Most reputable IT recruiting firms will never ask you to pay for these. It’s a cost of doing business for the IT recruiting firm. Fake recruiters will often ask you to pay for these tests as a way to steal your money. There usually isn’t a real job or background check—just somebody making money off of your vulnerability as a job seeker.
3. Don’t trust a job offer that comes too easily. Especially in tech, it’s important to hire people with the right skills and experience. This means that you’ll rarely land a job without at least doing a phone interview and in-person interview. If IT recruiting agencies contact you with a job offer and no need to do any interviewing to be hired, that’s a huge red flag. An employer needs to do more than simply glance at your resume or LinkedIn profile to determine what your technical skills are like. Real IT jobs require real technical interviews. If IT staffing companies say you don’t need to do any, they’re probably scamming you.
Many IT professionals are resistant to contracting. However, when you’re looking for new roles, IT recruiters would strongly suggest that you consider contracting roles. Especially in the tech field, contracting can have a lot of benefits that permanent roles don’t. Here are 3 reasons why IT staffing firms suggest you seriously consider contracting in your next role.
1. You can expand your technical skills and experience. Contracting means moving around more, but it also means getting exposed to new technologies and skills as you move. As opposed to a permanent job that you may spend years at, contacting lets you move on to work with new software, programming languages, etc, sooner. This translates to faster growth in your career and a resume that is more enticing to employers and IT recruiting companies.
2. You might make more money. IT staffing companies often find their contractors have a higher income when they can go on their partners’ benefits. The biggest differences between contracting and permanent roles are usually the benefits (most contracting roles don’t provide benefits). However, this isn’t actually much of a problem for some people. If you have a spouse or long term domestic partner, you can often get benefits through their job. (It’s worth noting that the cost per partner may actually be cheaper this way.) Most contracting jobs pay more money to help you buy benefits completely on your own (often expensive). You’ll be making more money, but spending less of it on healthcare, dental etc. Thus you’ll find yourself with a fatter paycheck.
3. You can get hired faster. IT recruiting firms find that the hiring process for contractors is often less time-consuming and stringent. If you need to move on from your current role quickly, contracting is a better way to do this. Perhaps you need to move to a new area of the country, your current role is at a toxic workplace, or you need to make more money soon. Being open to contracting will help you land IT jobs much faster to solve these problems.
Help Desk jobs are slated to be one of the most common jobs that IT recruiters will be filling this year. IT staffing firms will get a lot of Help Desk roles to fill for two reasons. Firstly, there’s plenty of turnover in the field (often because of people moving up into new phases of their career). Secondly, every company these days needs Tech Support. (This will be especially true this year as the economy continues to recover from the past recession and companies grow larger.) With IT recruiting companies expecting to have so many Help Desk job openings this year, this makes people with the right skills and experience in demand. However, this is still a competitive market. IT recruiters find that if any section of the tech field is competitive for job seekers, it’s Help Desk. Here’s the best way to make sure you’re ready to land the Help Desk job you want this year: Get your CompTIA A+ certification. While some say the certification isn’t worth it, here are 3 reasons technical recruiters would strongly suggest you get.
1. Employers trust this certification. IT staffing agencies find that employers will always choose to interview or hire the candidate with the CompTIA A+ certification over the ones who don’t. This certification is comprehensive (covering important topics like installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security and troubleshooting), vetted, and has been around long enough that it’s recognized and respected by pretty much all employers. It’s also internationally accepted, which says something about how well-regarded it is.
2. You differentiate yourself in a competitive field. Since the Help Desk market for job seekers is largely entry level, there are more people who claim to have the skills and experience necessary for these jobs than something higher level (like Data Scientist jobs). If you get this certification, you definitely set yourself apart in a section of the tech job market that it’s hard to stand out in. Though the certification may be getting more common on resumes, it still provides a strong competitive edge. Employers will always prefer to have the candidate who comes having already learned the skills they need, rather than one that who might have to learn them on the job. This can be especially imperative in a role like Help Desk, where end users expect speedy, competent service. Having a CompTIA A+ certification guarantees employers you already have a good base of skills.
3. You’ll get paid more. When you do land jobs, employers always pay more for CompTIA A+ certified candidates. While it costs money to get the certification, it’s well worth it in the gains you’ll make your salary immediately and in the future. Even if you’re not searching for a new job, your current employer will likely give you a raise if you get this certification. They may even help you pay for the process of obtaining it!
Candidates often try to analyze interviews for good or bad signs. This is a pretty natural thing to do, especially if you’re interested in the IT jobs you’ve interviewed for. While there are some things that might indicate that your interviewer liked you, you can never assume you got the job based on any particular signs. Unless your technical recruiters call you with a job offer, there are no ‘signs’ that will definitively indicate that you landed the job.
Taking that into account, there are signs an interview went well. This is worth knowing whether you landed the job or not. If you know you did well in an interview, you can continue performing well in other interviews. Here are three things that IT staffing companies find usually indicate a job interview went well (though not that you definitely landed the job).
1. Your interviewer discusses next steps with you in a non-generic way. This means hearing more than the usual ‘we’ll be in touch with your IT recruiter soon’. While interviewers will often discuss the nitty gritty of the process with your IT recruiting firms, they may share their timeline so you don’t take another offer before it’s done. Things move fast in the tech field and good candidates are often interviewing for multiple opportunities at once. If an employer likes you, they will often share info about next steps with you so they mitigate their risk of losing you to another job offer.
2. Your interview feels more like an interesting technical discussion. Great technical interviews can sometimes be less of a back and forth than just a good conversation about technologies that are relevant to the position. If you find the interviewer seems engaged and you’re both really delving into technical scenarios, hypotheticals, or problems, you may have just had a good interview.
3. Your interviewer is trying to sell you on the work you’ll do in the position, their team, or the company. Because the tech field is such a job seeker’s market, interviewers will often start selling the opportunity if they like the candidate. As mentioned before, good candidates are usually pursuing several opportunities at once. Keeping this in mind, if employers like a candidate they’ll often try to highlight things like the interesting projects their team handles, office perks, or the exciting new technologies they put at employees’ disposal.
Is one of your new year’s resolutions to invest in your career with a new certification? The most valuable one to get in 2017 will be an AWS certification. Here are a few reasons why IT recruiters suggest you consider going after one this year.
1. You’ll make more money. AWS certified professionals often make around $100,000 a year or more. AWS certifications consistently topped income-oriented lists last year and there’s no reason they’ll fall this year. There are still far too few AWS certified tech professionals out there for the number of open IT jobs that require it. Even if you’re not looking for a new job, IT staffing companies find that many employers are happy to give raises or promotions to staff that get AWS certifications. Since the process for getting AWS certifications is so rigorous, employees nearly always become more valuable to their companies after attaining them.
2. You want to work remotely. IT recruiting firms find that many of the jobs that require AWS certifications also allow for partial or complete remote work. This is true for a few reasons. Firstly (and most obviously) cloud technology makes it easy to do this kind of work remotely. Secondly, as mentioned before, AWS certified professionals are rare. This means that employers need to woo them with excellent perks, which of course includes options for remote work.
3. An AWS certification opens doors in many industries. More and more companies are going to the cloud for their storage needs. No matter what industry you’d like to work in, there are probably companies that use cloud technologies and are seeking IT professionals with AWS certifications.
4. You want to invest in your future. An AWS certification will continue to be valuable for many years to come. The cloud will only become more popular and AWS seems to be the reigning provider. The only certification that seems somewhat comparable is Azure (and for many reasons, some people argue that this certification is less valuable on a resume). Amazon is dominating the web services market with a constant stream of new products and competitive pricing. If you get an AWS certification now, IT staffing agencies will likely have no problem finding you IT jobs for years to come.
Here’s one surprising mistake IT staffing companies see too often in job interviews: over-preparing. While it’s certainly important not to underprepare for you job interview, IT recruiting firms definitely see some candidates rejected for the opposite reason. Here are 2 ways being over-prepared can hurt your chances of landing IT jobs.
1. The interviewer doesn’t feel like they’re having a genuine conversation with you. IT staffing firms want you to practice some of your answers or questions, but only to the point where you are familiar with them. Employers really want to see who you are when they interview you—your personality as well as your technical skills and experience. When you’re so over-prepared it sounds like you’re delivering a monologue, you’ll probably turn off your interviewer. Making a good connection with your interviewer and showing off great communication skills goes a long way in the tech field these days.
2. You don’t answer the interviewer’s questions or provide the info they want. Sometimes being over-prepared can make you come across as inflexible or unresponsive to your interviewer. Technical recruiters find that being over-prepared can lead you to inadvertently neglect to provide all the information the interviewer wants. You don’t want to be so busy making the points you practiced that you can’t answer an interviewer’s questions or respond warmly and genuinely to their small talk. IT recruiting companies suggest you make a conscious effort to let the interviewer lead the interview. Do this even if it means you may wind up leaving some of the material you prepared or studied by the wayside. Don’t worry, you can always mention it your thank you note!
If you plan on working with IT recruiting firms next year to search for new IT jobs, you’re probably already polishing your resume. If you want your technical recruiters to be able to submit you to remote jobs, there are a few things you should add to your resume.
1. Prove that you are self-motivated and have taken initiative before. IT recruiters see plenty of resumes that list the skills employers want remote workers to have. However, that’s not what will land the job. What IT recruiting agencies find really works is to demonstrate you have these important skills. Were you able to complete elements of a project on your own, with no supervision? Did you debug code without being asked? Concrete instances of things you’ve done that make you a great remote employee (or things that show you will be a great remote employee) make it easier for employers to picture you doing the same things as a part of their team.
2. Give links to your best work and relevant web presence. IT staffing companies find that having a great web presence and excellent work product to show off is especially imperative when you’re applying to remote jobs. Do you have a digital portfolio? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? A website? Make sure it’s easy for employers and IT staffing agencies to see all of them by adding links into your resume. Part of landing remote jobs is making it easy for employers and IT recruiting companies to see how you’d be a great fit for their role. Listing relevant links is one way to do that.
3. If you’ve worked remotely before, articulate how you still adhere to workplace standards and keep in communication with your team or managers. Again, giving concrete examples of your ability to be a great remote worker will go a long way in helping employers picture you in their open IT jobs. For instance, if you’re a developer, have you still participated in stand-up meetings via conference call? Do you use an internal messaging service? Helping employers and IT staffing firms see that you’ve thought about how to still be an effective member of a team, even when remote, will help you land the jobs you want.
If you’re working with IT recruiting firms to fill open jobs on your team, you know it’s hard to find great talent. The tech field has really been a job seeker’s market for a while now. Recent unemployment rates for IT professionals illustrate this well. As of last April, the unemployment rate in IT went as low as 2%. This is less than half the national unemployment rate for all other fields combined (around 4.9%). One thing IT staffing firms suggest to increase your chance of landing great tech talent is to make your job offers faster.
Why would making a job offer quicker help you hire more and better IT professionals? There are two main reasons. Firstly, making a quicker job offer, especially one in the first 24-48 hours since an interview, makes a candidate feel really valued. Especially in this field, IT recruiting agencies find that candidates are expecting quicker responses from potential employers. To ensure the candidate feels desired, you need to extend job offers faster than in other industries. The more interest a candidate perceives from an employer, the more likely they are to take your offer. IT staffing companies see that candidates often respond well to job offers where they feel like the employer is excited about their skills and experience. Never underestimate the power of making a candidate feel valued.
The second reason IT recruiting firms suggest you make your job offers faster is to make sure you don’t miss out on your second or third choice candidates. If your first choice candidate declines, making a slower job offer to them means you’ll make an even slower offer to your second or third choice candidates. As mentioned above, it’s definitely more of a job seeker’s market. Technical recruiters usually find that their candidates are often high in demand and receive more job offers than candidates do in other fields. So losing out on your first choice candidate after a slow job offer could also mean losing out on your second and third choice candidates!
Finding great tech talent for the right price is hard. Even with IT recruiting companies to help you find a candidate pool, it can still be hard to find the best people to fill open IT jobs in your company. Here are a few tips IT staffing firms suggest using as you conduct technical interviews.
1. Consider ditching any tests or exercises. IT recruiting firms find that many candidates who are great employees don’t always do well in a timed, pressure-filled exercise or multiple-choice test. Some candidates will even be less likely to want to continue the process if there’s a coding test or exercise as part of the interview. With such a limited market, you don’t want to limit your candidate pool further.
2. Aim to have an interesting technical conversation. The less a technical interview feels like an interview, the more you’ll get a real understanding for what the candidate is like. One way IT staffing companies suggest doing this is by asking the candidate to talk about a project they loved working on. Letting them pick the project they discuss will allow the candidate to show you their passion and their strengths in an authentic way.
3. Don’t forget to sell the position to the right candidates. While your IT recruiting agencies will certainly help you sell the position to the candidates you like, it’s also important they catch your enthusiasm. They will be sold if you can share what you like about working on your team, your project, etc. If you have members of your team sit in on the interview, make sure they’re all people who can genuinely convey why it’s great to work at your company or organization. Nothing sells an IT job better to a candidate than seeing current employees who enjoy the work and culture of a company.
If you’ve been working with your IT recruiters to find a new position, the last step of your transition won’t be giving your notice. Employers often want to conduct an exit interview before you leave. These may seem like a time to vent with impunity, but the truth is that you could do some serious damage to your reputation if you handle one badly. Here are a few tips that IT staffing firms suggest following as you go through exit interviews.
1. Approach an exit interview as seriously as you do a job interview. Just like you would in a job interview, IT recruiting companies suggest you be professional, keep things positive, and be cooperative. Especially with all the back-door references that LinkedIn enables, it’s important to perform exit interviews as the kind of IT professional you to be known as. Check your emotions at the door, even if it’s tempting not to. You never know if your words will make it back to other’s ears and burn bridges for you. (Some technical recruiters suggest venting to a trusted friend or family member before the exit interview so you get it out of your system.)
2. This isn’t a time to improve the company or give much feedback. Even if exit interviews are sometimes presented this way, it’s often pretty ineffective to share criticism about an employer. In fact, IT staffing agencies find that doing this will usually just hurt you. If you’re leaving to seek out IT jobs that pay more, have a better work culture, let you do more interesting work, etc, now isn’t the time to say it. The best time to ask for a raise, to give feedback about the workplace, or to ask for more interesting projects, was when you were actually an employee. It’s often just going to be viewed as a slight if you detail all the reasons why you worked with IT recruiting agencies to get out of your current employer. And as mentioned above, it’s always a bad idea to slight people. You might unwittingly be burning an important bridge you need in the future.
3. Leave your future employer out of it. Your IT staffing companies wouldn’t suggest you spend much time talking about how excited you are to join your new employer. Even if you don’t mean to, people may assume you’re belittling your soon-to-be employer by comparison.
4. Lastly, try to say a few positive things about your soon-to-be ex employer before you go. While it’s not helpful to say something that feels fake or forced, you can probably find one or two positive things to genuinely note. Perhaps you had the opportunity to learn more about a new technology, or got to work on an interesting project. Taking a moment to mention these things you’re grateful for will make you look professional and gracious.