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Why Did You Get Rejected from that IT Job?

We’ve all been there.  You apply for IT jobs that look perfect for you.  You work with a technical recruiter or on your own and you go through interviews.  You start picturing yourself making those commutes, finding your place on the team, and setting up a new 401k.  But then your IT recruiters call you back and say that the hiring manager went with another candidate.  You’re in shock.  How could they go with anybody but you?  You’ve got all the technical skills and experience required.  Maybe you’ve done a similar job in the past.  Here’s why this might be happening—and how to make the most of it.

You might not be a culture fit.  This seems way less important in IT jobs, where certain skills and experience are imperative for success.  The truth is, culture fit is becoming more and more imperative in tech roles in the last decade or so.  IT recruiting firms often find that communication skills, ability to work well with a team, or having the right temperament for customer service are crucial to the jobs they hire for.  You don’t want to land a job where you’re missing something like this.  Even if you’re perfectly suited for the technical workload, you’ll always have a hard time succeeding in a job that you wouldn’t have the right personality for.

You may not have all the technical skills or experience required.  Yes, even if you have everything listed on the job description, you may still be missing a certain programming language, or even not have less exposure to a technology than needed, etc.  Since projects change at the speed of technology, sometimes a job description will, too.  IT staffing companies find that it’s not uncommon for a job description to change between the time it’s posted and time the candidate is hired.  Sometimes there’s not time to change the job description as it’s posted online, too.  So even if your resume matches a job posting to T, it doesn’t mean that you’re what the hiring team needs.

You might be great, but perhaps another candidate was better.  This kind of scenario isn’t specific to the tech world at all.  Sometimes IT recruiting firms will find that the candidates who apply to a job blow the hiring managers away, exceeding all expectations.  You never know if one of these kinds of candidates did the interview before or after you.  This is something only the hiring manager can see.  So if you don’t land the job, even if you told your recruiters you felt like it was in the bag, consider this possibility.  You might have been great; you were just competing against somebody even more suited to the role.

So what do you do now?  If you didn’t land the job, even if you fully expected to, you can still gain something.  Ask your IT recruiting agencies for feedback.  Really listen and see if you can use it to improve your chances in the next job you apply for.  If you can’t get any feedback, it’s still important to be gracious.  You never want a hiring manager or IT staffing companies to consider you rude, difficult to work with, or arrogant.  Sometimes, the tech industry can be a small world.  Don’t mar your reputation in it!

Want to see our open IT jobs?  Follow us on LinkedIn.  We post new jobs daily!

rejected from IT jobs
Why didn’t you land the job? Maybe you just weren’t a culture fit. Photo credit: OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay.

 

2 Tips for Hiring Tech Talent

It can be tough to fill open tech positions at your company.  The US still has a shortage of qualified professionals to fill the new IT jobs which open up or are created daily.  IT recruiting firms find that the tech field is still very much a job seeker’s market.  How can you make sure your company stays competitive in attracting and hiring the best talent?  Here are 2 tips from IT staffing companies on best practices for hiring tech talent.

1. Focus on building a great corporate culture.  Tech employers used to compete for great talent with their perks.  In the beginning of the Dotcom boom, stocked kitchens, catered lunches, subsidized commuting costs, etc used to be a huge draw.  Now it seems that many other industries have jumped on this bandwagon.  Exciting perks are much more available at many employers, and thus aren’t really as a big of a draw to IT professionals.

The new commodity that’s harder to come by, and thus a bigger draw, is great culture.  Glassdoor and its anonymous, unfiltered reviews has probably played a big hand in making job searchers more aware of this.  IT recruiters find that candidates often ask about the management and corporate culture at a potential job right after they hear about the work.  Having an open, innovative culture that allows employees some agency in shaping their life at work is a huge draw.  If you want to attract technical talent, IT staffing firms suggest building a management team with great communication skills, an interest in helping their employees grow and build their skill base, and who prioritize their employees’ happiness.

Building great corporate culture might be one of the hardest ways to attract employees, but technical recruiters suggest it because it’s effective and it also helps retain employees down the road.  Instead of investing in gimmicky perks, take time to make your company a workplace where people are generally happy.  It will pay off now, and in the future.

2. Move faster in your hiring process.  IT recruiting agencies caution employers against moving at too slowly for hiring all  tech positions.  As mentioned before, the tech field is a job seeker’s market.  The unemployment rate for IT professionals is notoriously low—often as low as half the national average.  If a candidate comes on the market, they could be gone in as little as 2 weeks.  (Highly sought after IT professionals like DevOps and Big Data Engineers, as well as Full-Stack or CRM Developers might be off the market even faster than that!)  IT staffing agencies find that many candidates aren’t even ever unemployed or looking.  They’re passive candidates who are lured away from their current job with a pay raise, better commute, etc. So if you want to hire the best tech talent, you’ll have to move fast.  Respond to applications and submittals by IT recruiting companies as soon as you can.  Make offers in days, not weeks.  IT recruiters see employers lose out on the candidates they really want all to frequently because they just took too long.

 

Hiring tech talent
Hiring tech talent can be tough in such a job seeker’s market. Photo credit: Pexels via Pixabay.

 

Tips for Your Summer IT Job Hunt

Unlike some fields like Education or Retail, hiring trends in the Tech sector usually stay steady in the Summer.  Because technology is vital to most business operations, and because innovation is necessary to a competitive business, Tech employees are indispensable.  Replacing them or adding new ones often cannot wait until after Labor Day.  Your job search in the summer may be a different beast than the rest of the year, though.  Here are two tips for tailoring your search for IT jobs when the weather gets hot and everyone is on vacation.

Take advantage of the strong market for passive job seekers.  If you’re in the Tech field, you have the option to be more of a passive job seeker than in other fields.  Even if you don’t apply to jobs directly, you probably still get contacted by IT recruiters.  Between LinkedIn, Monster, and other similar web sites, it’s very easy for IT staffing firms to find you.  If you’re looking for a new job in the summer, but want to spend more time outside than on your job search, take advantage of this passive job seeker market.  Reach out to IT recruiting agencies with your updated resume.  Turn on the ‘interested in other opportunities’ switch on your LinkedIn profile.  Post your resume on Indeed and Monster. Add a line to your LinkedIn profile about being open to new opportunities.  One caveat: don’t do any of these things if you think your boss or coworkers will see and respond negatively!  You don’t want to endanger your current employment.

Ask for timelines when you’re interviewing, waiting for feedback, etc.  You’ll need to walk a fine line with this, but having better expectations will make the process easier.  Hiring for permanent jobs in the tech sector can be extra slow in the summer.  Companies may be forced to wait on managers and their vacation schedules to set up interviews, make hiring decisions, get feedback, etc.  If you’re working with IT recruiting companies, this is exactly the kind of advantage they’ll provide.  You can ask them when they think managers will make a decision and what the next steps in the process are with impunity.  There’s no risk that you’ll look desperate or bother a hiring manager.  If you’re not working with IT staffing agencies, you can still ask for timelines on hiring decisions, scheduling interviews, etc.  The key is to do so judiciously. Ask once.  Don’t ask somebody like the CEO of the company, or a very high up manager.  Try asking somebody like HR or the internal recruiter, who won’t mind answering questions like this at all.

 

IT jobs summer
Your summer IT job search could have some sweet results if you work with an IT recruiting firm. Photo credit: Fruitnmore via Pixabay.

 

 

Questions and Answers About Vacation and IT Jobs

Summer is the season when most people think about vacation.  Even if you’re searching for new IT jobs, your focus might still be at least a little diverted by thoughts of a beach getaway, visiting family, or a trip to Europe.  Here are some common questions you might have about vacation time if you’re working with IT recruiting firms to find your next role. 

  1. If I get a new role, can I still take a vacation this summer? The short answer is yes and no. If you’ve already planned a trip, booked flights, hotels, etc, then you probably can.  If you’ve planned a few vacation days that revolve around an important event like a family reunion or wedding, you probably can.  All you have to do is mention these trips when you receive a job offer (not before). Your hiring manager may suggest pushing your start date out til after your trip, or plan to have you out for those days.  If you want to spontaneously take a few days off within the first 90 days of your employment, this is less likely to be ok. IT staffing firms find that between the onboarding process, training, and the need for creating a good impression with the new boss and team, this is almost never a good call.  Spend your first 3 months being focused, impressing your boss and team, and being present in the office.  You can take a spontaneous vacation after that, when you’ve earned trust and respect from your new employer!
  1. I have a vacation planned. Do I talk about it with my interviewer?    Wait until you get a job offer.  In the tech field, it’s really important to establish for your interviewer that you’re passionate about some combination of the work, the role, the team and the company.  When you bring up things like vacation, this can take away from that impression.  Hiring managers get that you have a life outside of work, but the interview is such a short process that you should focus on talking about yourself as a professional, not your vacation plans.
  1. Can I ask about the vacation part of a benefits package in an interview? The same principle applies here.  Steer clear of talking to your interviewer about vacation time until you have an offer on the table.  Focus on figuring out if the job is a good fit for you and for the company.  If you really want to know, you can talk to your IT recruiters, check out the company’s info on Glassdoor, or do some Googling.  You’ll probably find it somewhere online and you won’t have to risk making yourself seem like anything less than a very dedicated employee.  
  1. What about this ‘Unlimited PTO’ trend? Technical recruiters are finding this trend is becoming more and more popular in the tech field.  It’s important to note that this benefit is meant to be used in some moderation, though.  Companies usually offer unlimited PTO to employees with the caveat that they need to get through their work.  Getting that software released on time, debugging that code, or finishing that big project should all happen before you go on an extended vacation.  Your team needs to be able to count on you— not count on you to be out of the office again.  IT recruiting firms also find that this benefit usually comes with a role that has a high workload.  Unlimited PTO is a reward for the hard work that’s expected.  So take a minute to really consider the role.  Don’t just take a job for this benefit alone!

 

Vacations and IT jobs
Planned a beach getaway? You can still take it, even if you’re staring a new role soon! Photo credit: skitterphoto via Pixabay

 

How to Deal With Negative Interview Feedback

One of the advantages of working with IT recruiters is that they can sometimes pass along feedback from interviewers who don’t hire you.  Even though it can sting a little to hear you didn’t land some IT jobs, the feedback can be golden.  Here’s what to do with it.

1. Stop and really listen.  If your IT staffing companies can provide feedback on why you didn’t land the job, take every word in.  Ask questions if you don’t understand.  The point is to get as much information as possible, because this is a window into a hiring manager’s view of you.

2. Don’t take it personally.  While this feedback is helpful and should be taken seriously, it doesn’t mean you’re an inadequate candidate.  IT recruiting firms work on thousands of jobs every day.  These jobs require different skills, different kinds of personality, a different work style, etc.  If you aren’t what the hiring manager wants, that’s ok.  You want to be hired for a job where you have what the hiring manager wants because you want to be hired for a job you will succeed in. Think about children’s puzzles where you fit shapes into the corresponding holes.  You would never shove a square peg into a round hole.  It would break the peg or puzzle over time.  You want to work with your IT staffing agencies until you find the kind of job that you’re a great fit for.  Find the square hole for your square peg.

3. Don’t argue if you disagree with the feedback.  Even if you think the hiring manager is patently wrong, you shouldn’t argue with your technical recruiters.  There are a three reasons for this.

a. Firstly, you won’t be able to change a hiring manager’s mind.  Most hiring managers rely on their gut, and you simply can’t argue with this.  Even if the hiring manager is wrong, they will always think of you as having this deficiency.

b. The second reason you shouldn’t argue with the feedback is that it can provide a chance to better yourself.  Do you need to brush up on that technology?  Are your communication skills with higher level executives rusty?  Even if you didn’t initially think so, take this opportunity to do so now.  This is a chance to make yourself even more marketable to the next interviewer!

c. The third reason not to argue with feedback from a job interview is that you’ll want to continue to get this feedback!  You want IT recruiting companies to feel the feedback they give is appreciated and taken seriously.  When you argue with it, most IT recruiters will decide they never want to give you feedback again.  Why deny yourself this valuable tool in improving your candidacy?!

Want to see our open IT jobs?  Follow us on LinkedIn.  We post new jobs daily!

 

job interview tips
Don’t argue with interview feedback. Listen to it! Photo credit: Hans via Pixabay.

 

Don’t Say This in Your Next Tech Job Interview

IT recruiters find there’s a lot of bad interview advice out there.  Here’s one piece that seems particularly popular—and particularly unhelpful: tell the interviewer you are the most qualified candidate for the job.

Why is this terrible advice?  It’s good to be confident and express interest in the job, isn’t it?  The truth is, this statement doesn’t really accomplish either task well.  Great candidates, especially in the tech space, are looking for a job that is a good fit on both ends.  This means they’ve got all the technical and personality/work style requirements.  It also means the work, the team, and the company fit their own requirements.  An interview is all about sussing out whether both these things are true.  Good candidates don’t know if they’re the ‘best candidate for the job’ for many reasons, including the fact that they don’t know if the job meets their own needs!

Another reason IT staffing companies suggest that you never say something like this in a job interview is that it can come across as arrogant and make you seem difficult to work with.  As a tech professional, these are the last things you want to convey to an interviewer.  These days, communicating and working well with teams is an imperative skill.  As companies are pressured to constantly innovate and improve their products or services, brainstorming and teamwork are becoming necessities.  (Plus, Scrum and Agile are really the trendiest development methods.  The day of the heads-down coder who excels in a Waterfall method have passed.)  Remember, nobody wants to work with somebody who is arrogant.  Arrogant coworkers aren’t open to collaboration, are hard to train, and are just plain unpleasant to deal with on a regular basis.  People wouldn’t hire them for open IT jobs if they can help it!

So what can you say instead of this phrase?  IT recruiting agencies suggest focusing on concrete ways to illustrate your value to the interviewer.  Did you reduce your previous employer’s server downtime significantly?  Did you increase web traffic to your company’s website by 25%?  Being able to share things like this will help potential employers see that you are the most qualified candidate for their open job.

When employers decide you’re the most qualified candidate for the job, it’s much more powerful than you, as the candidate, trying to lead them to this conclusion.  People often value the conclusions they come to themselves.  This is especially true in the hiring process. Technical recruiters find that employers need to feel like they have control of the hiring process, since it’s such a big risk to possibly hire somebody that can’t do the job.

So respect your interviewer and their hiring process.  You can’t decide for them that you’re the most qualified candidate.  You can only illustrate to them all the reasons why you’re a good catch as an employee.  Your patience and subtle confidence may just win you the job!

 

Want to see our open IT jobs?  Follow us on LinkedIn.  We post new jobs daily!

IT Job Interview Tips
Don’t tell your interviewer you’re the best candidate for the job. It won’t help your candidacy! Photo credit: 3dman_eu

 

Tips for Second Job Interviews

When you’re working with IT staffing firms to find a new role, sometimes you’ll have to do a second in-person interview.  Since second job interviews aren’t as common, candidates often feel unsure about how to approach them.  Here are some tips from IT recruiting companies on handling second in-person job interviews.

How to dress: Dress in a suit or other business professional attire. Even though dress codes in many companies are becoming more relaxed, the suit is still king for interviews.  Sometimes, candidates will go to a first in-person interview and find that everyone is wearing jeans.  Don’t let this throw you off.  Technical recruiters find that candidates make a better impression when they dress professionally at all stages of the interview.  You want to show respect to the company and their hiring process.  Following the dress code is part of that.  If you get the job, you can dress down when you start the job.  

How to prepare: Do two things in particular this time.  Firstly, research the company a bit more deeply.  Secondly, prepare new questions.  Your second interview will likely differ from the first.  First interviews are often more about establishing your technical skills and experience.  You might do white-boarding or coding tests. The second in-person interview is much more about how well you fit into the team and/or company.  Start your preparation by doing a deeper dive into researching the company, product, and corporate culture.  Your IT recruiting firms might have some thoughts on web sites to visit, as you do this.  They may also be able to tell you who your interviewers will be.  If so, it’s a good idea to do a little research on your interviewers, too.  The more you know about the company, its products or services, and your interviewers, the more you can show an interest in them.  In the tech field, a deep passion for the work, the company, and the products or services will go far!

The second thing you should do in your preparations for your interview is to come up with new questions.  You can use some of your research about the company to come up with these questions.  You can also just come up with other questions about the role, management styles, etc.  It will be important for you to have different questions than you asked in your first interview.  For more ideas about interview questions to ask, check out this blog post. 

How to answer questions:  Focus on bringing something new to the table and really let your personality shine in this interview.  Even if you’re asked the same questions again, there are many ways you can tweak your answers to be different.  Be patient if you’re asked a question twice or asked something similar.  You may be meeting with a mix of new and old people who will unwittingly repeat each other.  You want to answer questions so people who have already interviewed you hear something new that strengthens your candidacy.  You also want to try to be understanding of this if they repeat questions or discussions.  If you are impatient about it, you won’t land the job.  Nobody wants to work with somebody who is rude or difficult.  IT staffing agencies advise you to remember that your personality and your ability to fit into the culture of the team and company are what hiring managers are focusing on in this second interview.  Make sure you present your best self here.

Want to see our open IT jobs?  Follow us on LinkedIn.  We post new jobs daily!

 

IT job interviews
Your second job interview is all about culture fit. Photo credit: miranijenish via Pixabay.

 

 

Don’t Make This Rookie Mistake in Your Job Interviews

If you’re a recent grad, you’re probably diving into the job market now and going on some of your first real job interviews.  Even if you’re not a recent grad and you’ve interviewed before, it’s still possible you’re making some of the same mistakes.  One of the worst mistakes that IT recruiters see too frequently is when candidates have no questions for their interviewer or ask bad ones.  Tech employers want candidates who are passionate about the technologies and the work they’re doing.  Asking good questions can help demonstrate that.  When you have no questions, it can seem like you’ll just take any IT jobs.  Asking good questions also helps demonstrate good social skills.  More and more, tech employers want candidates to have good communication skills, no matter where they are in the company.  The days of heads-down coders are fleeting, if not completely gone.  Here are some tips from IT staffing companies on how to have some good, solid questions ready for your next interview.

1. Practice some strong questions about the work or the role. Are you familiar with all the technologies they use?  Are you curious if they’ve ever used others?  Do they use a Scrum or Agile development methodologies?

2. Ask some good questions about the company, the team, or the corporate culture. How do people get feedback in this role?  How much does the team work together?  Did you notice any interesting news about the company as you did research for the interview?  Ask about it.  Show that you’re not just interested in this role, but this role for this company.

3. Don’t ask questions about things like the perks, pay, or the commute. Questions about these topics don’t let an employer know you’ve really thought hard about the role.  You could be asking these questions in any job interview.  They’re also very egocentric.  Yes, you want a job that’s good for you.  But you also want to be selling yourself, as well.  When a candidate comes across as ‘me, me, me’ then the company often tells their IT staffing firms they’ll pass.  They need candidates who will contribute, not just take a paycheck.  If you do have questions about the more basic items like compensation, commute, hours, etc. you can ask your technical recruiters.  This is what they’re there for!

Want to see our open IT jobs?  Follow us on LinkedIn.  We post new jobs daily!

IT job interview mistakes
Don’t come to a job interview without preparing some questions! Photo credit: OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay.

 

 

3 Tips for Better Interviewing

There’s a lot of bad advice about how to interview candidates.  This has gotten even worse in the tech sector since Google’s unorthodox interview questions were leaked.   People have been rampantly speculating on (and misinterpreting) how the coveted employers in the IT field conduct interviews.  If you’re hiring for your open IT jobs, check out these 3 tips from IT recruiting companies on how to interview without scaring away your candidates.

Don’t use gimmicky formats or tests. Don’t make your candidates do trendy personality tests.  Don’t force them to answer every question in a very short time frame.  Don’t put them through any cut-throat group interviews/competitions.  The point of your interview is to get a sense of what kind of employee the candidate is.  When you make them uncomfortable with unexpected activities, you’re not going to get this information.  All you’re going to do is make the candidate uncomfortable….and maybe inspire them to tell their IT recruiters and everyone who visits Glassdoor all about the bizarre ordeal you put them through.

Don’t be a jerk. There are a lot of trendy techniques out there that center around purposely being rude to a candidate to see how they operate under stress.  Some say you should order a candidate’s lunch incorrectly to see how they handle potential conflict.  Some say to make an effort to be mean to the candidate to see how they handle working with difficult people.  There are likely many other variations of this.  The problem is that all of these scenarios will send good IT professionals running in the opposite direction.  Especially since the tech field is a job seeker’s market, IT staffing agencies strongly caution against disrespecting the candidate.  The US is still experiencing a real shortage of good, qualified IT professionals.  Keep in mind that candidates are using an interview to decide what working at your company will be like.  If you’re awful to them in an interview, they’ll decide to seek out other IT jobs where they will be treated well.  It’s important to note that you can always ask a candidate and their references how they handle difficult people or stressful situations.  Most people are very forthcoming about this because if they don’t handle it well, they won’t want a job where it’s prevalent!

Don’t ask trendy questions just to ask them. If you don’t know why you’re asking a candidate what animal they’d be at the zoo, don’t ask them.  Some employers do have answers or thought processes they’re looking for when they ask these questions.  Others just ask these questions because they think it will be be fun to ask or doing so might convey that the company culture is creative and fun.  If you want to convey that you have a fun, creative culture, IT staffing agencies suggest that you just say so.  Or point to your Glassdoor reviews.  Or introduce the candidate to happy members of your team.  There are many ways to do this.  Keep in mind that interviews are already stressful for candidates.  Don’t make them even more uncomfortable by forcing them to answer questions that confuse them or surprise them.

Want to see our open IT jobs?  Follow us on LinkedIn.  We post new jobs daily!

 

Interview tips for hiring managers
Don’t make your candidates feel uncomfortable in job interviews– even if it’s trendy. Photo credit: Jarmoluk via Pixabay

 

Are You Ready for Your Technical Job Interview?

If you have some interviews for IT jobs coming up, try using this checklist to make sure that you’re ready.

1. Did you lay out, wash, and iron, a professional outfit? Even in the tech sphere, where many companies allow jeans and a t-shirt, IT recruiters still recommend wearing a suit to your interviews. Make things easy for yourself and make sure it’s ready to go right when you need it.

2. Did you talk to your technical recruiters about the commute? Did you look at your best routes on Google? Are you leaving yourself enough time for traffic, train trouble, bad weather, etc? Are you leaving early enough to meet your recruiter first (if they request it) or to do a security check if necessary? It’s also worth noting that if you’re unsure about doing this commute regularly, consider trying it out during a day and time with comparable traffic patterns. IT staffing firms see people quit jobs all the time because their commute is miserable.

3. Did you study up on relevant technologies? Sometimes IT recruiting firms find that candidates will just assume their ‘rusty’ skills are enough to get them through an interview. Be honest with yourself and study up on a technology if you need to before you go to your job interview.

4. Did you practice some basic interview questions? You’re going for a technical interview, but you’ll still be asked things like, ‘What’s your greatest weakness?’ Or ‘What’s your greatest strength?’ IT staffing companies suggest that you role play with a family member or friend just to be ready for these questions. If you put time into sharpening your technical skills, you should put time into sharpening your general interviewing skills, too! Don’t assume answering these questions is something you can do off the cuff.

5. Did you print out copies of your resume, or will your recruiters bring them for you? Figure this out so you can be prepared in case a hiring manager needs them. If you don’t have access to a printer before your interview, most IT recruiting agencies will bring you a few copies with no issue.

6. Did you prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer? IT staffing agencies find that the candidates who really impress interviewers are the ones who have a few great questions in their back pockets. If you don’t have any to ask, you’ll look disinterested or unprepared. Questions like ‘What would success look like in this role?’ aren’t just for you—they help the interviewer see what kind of employee you’re ready to be!

Want to see our open IT jobs?  Follow us on LinkedIn.  We post new jobs daily!

 

job interview tips
Wear a suit to your interview, even if the daily dress code is casual. Photo credit: TeroVesalainen via Pixabay