Monthly Archives: July 2010

How to approach phone interviews

IT recruiters understand that hiring managers are typically very busy and do not want to commit to a face-to-face interview unless he or she knows the candidate is a solid prospective candidate.  Especially in the information technology industry, where resumes often list a plethora of technologies, it typically takes some digging to find out if the candidate truly has an in-depth understanding of each.  Therefore, many IT recruitment companies are pushing clients to begin the IT job interview process with a phone interview.  As professionals become more and more busy in the work forces, this is becoming a popular first step with any IT job hiring process.

There are some drawbacks with phone interviews.  For one, obviously there is no face-to-face interaction.  The hiring manger is not able to gauge a person’s reaction to comments or questions.  Additionally, they cannot analyze a person’s professionalism (dress, etc).   Finally, it adds another layer to a potential lengthy hiring process.

However, overall, IT recruiting firms are finding that clients are moving in this direction and prefer starting with phone screens versus personal IT job interviews.  Therefore, our IT recruiters have come up with a list of tips for candidates starting the interview process with a phone screen:

  1. Research the company thoroughly.  Make sure you understand what they do, write down any questions that you might have.  Print out the job description and study it thoroughly so you understand what they’re looking for.
  2. Look the IT manager’s profile up on Linkedin so you have some insight into his or her background.
  3. Be polite, talk slowly (but not obnoxiously so) and clearly.
  4. Call the manager by his or her full name unless they tell you otherwise (don’t assume they go by Mike” if their name is “Michael”).
  5. Try to take the call from a landline.  Even in today’s cellular era, mobile phones can be unreliable.  IT recruiters or hiring managers could become frustrated if there are static, delays or dropped calls.  This could have an impact on whether you move to the next phase of the IT job interview process.
  6. Print your resume.  Make sure to keep your resume near you on print or on your computer screen.  If you choose to use your computer, make sure to shut down any programs such as AIM or Facebook so as not to distract you from the conversation.
  7. Take notes.  IT recruiters always recommend you write everything down so nothing is forgotten.  If you pass the phone screen, they are very likely to ask you similar questions or comment on some of the answers you gave.
  8. Sell yourself.  Explain why you are the right fit for this role.
  9. End the conversation with an inquiry about next steps.  IT recruiters always recommend that you find out a timeline in which you’ll hear back, or whether there is a time in which you can follow up directly.
  10. Send a brief “Thank You” email to the manager for his or her time.  Reiterate your interest in the IT job.

Phone screens are important to keeping you in the game when hiring managers are narrowing down on candidates for IT jobs.  If you still feel uncomfortable with phone interviews, give one of our IT recruiters a call.

Healthcare IT Opportunities

A recent article in the Boston Business Journal discussed the high demand for IT products and IT services in the healthcare industry.  IT contractor hiring needs will subsequently open up, as clients will need healthcare IT specialists to implement and train on the new technologies.  Many doctors have been waiting on the new federal regulations that have just been released.  One CEO mentioned that they would most likely double the amount of employees they currently have by the end of the year.  For IT recruiters and IT recruitment firms, this equates to significant contract IT staffing opportunities.

Some IT staffing agencies, like AVID Technical Resources, have embraced the Healthcare IT movement.  AVID created a Healthcare IT staffing division a couple of years ago.  Since the division’s inception, they have secured a number of local healthcare clients (including Boston-based hospitals) as well as national healthcare IT vendors such as Siemens Medical.

How to market yourself during an IT Job interview

IT recruiters are constantly selling positions to prospective candidates.  Each IT recruiter knows that their job needs to appeal to what the prospective candidate is looking for, so they “sell” the opportunity (while obviously keeping the candidate’s best interests first).  Candidates should do the same in return.

Recently, we asked a handful of IT recruiters to make a list of additional recommendations.  Here are some of the responses:

  • Look presentable:  As much as a hiring manager may not care about looks, they are not going to hire someone who is dressed sloppily or comes to work late.  The impression they will get from that is that your work is sloppy and assignments might not be completed on time.
  • Show off:  During an interview you have to make yourself look good.  Show off the work you have accomplished in the past.   If you did a great job on a project tell the hiring manager about the time and effort you put into it.  It will show your dedication to completing an assignment.
  • Confidence:  The most important factor in marketing yourself is having confidence.  Have confidence in yourself and let it show during the IT job interview.  Confidence is extremely important especially in the IT staffing industry.  Having an IT job requires knowledge of technical aspects that other workers may not be aware of.  If something goes wrong, they want to know that you’ll be able to speak up about it and feel comfortable working through a problem

So remember to think like a salesperson and sell yourself!  You will see much better results with various IT staffing agencies and direct clients as well.

A Forward-thinking & Dynamic IT Recruiting Company

When companies remain stagnant, they eventually fail.  It starts with leadership.  If an executive is set in his or her ways, the competition will likely pass them by.  The IT staffing industry is no different.  At AVID Technical Resources, we pride ourselves in being a dynamic and forward-thinking IT recruiting firm.  As technology evolves, so does our company.  We embrace technologic advances from new software to social media.  AVID understands the importance of changing as the economy changes and evolving as our IT recruiting industry evolves.  Most important, we never stop moving; we never remain stagnant.

A good example of this is social media.  Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have grown in popularity over the years.  AVID saw the emergence a few years ago, before many companies had even heard of the sites.  Therefore, our company Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin pages have been built out, optimized and are designed to market every one of our IT jobs.

Another good example is Search Engine Optimization.  AVID recognized the dominance of Google and the importance of SEO years ago.  Subsequently, this IT recruiting company has invested years and thousands of dollars into optimization.  Because of this, our IT recruiters are able to identify more prospective IT candidates and our salespeople frequently have clients find them.

Slow-moving, stagnant companies eventually become extinct.  Forward-thinking, dynamic companies rise to the top.  This approach has helped AVID Technical Resources become one of the Fastest-Growing Private IT staffing companies in the country:

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail – Just Learn From It

I found myself at a crossroads just over 7 years ago.  I wasn’t happy with my current employer (one of the leading IT recruiting firms); yet I knew I could succeed in the IT staffing industry.  Therefore, I gave my notice and started my own IT recruiting agency called AVID Technical Resources.

Whether you’re starting your own IT staffing companies, relocating for a new IT job or starting a new career, risks are part of life.  If you don’t take them, you may find that other people, who are willing to, may pass you by.

Don’t fear failure.  “The only real failure in life is the failure to try.”  To me, this quote sums it up.  To those who are so afraid to fail that they pass up an opportunity to take a chance, then they have actually failed without even trying.  Know that everybody fails at something.  It’s learning from the failure that is important and persevering.

Look at one of the greatest, most influential man in US history:

  • 1831 – Lost his job
  • 1832 – Defeated in run for State Legislature
  • 1833 – Failed in business
  • 1836 – Had nervous breakdown
  • 1838 – Defeated in run for House Speaker
  • 1843 – Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
  • 1848 – Lost re-nomination
  • 1849 – Rejected for land officer position
  • 1854 – Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
  • 1856 – Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President
  • 1858 – Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate

1860 – Elected the 16th President of the United States

How to network with others without blurring the line between business and personal

As an IT recruiter you are constantly meeting new people and making new connections through email or social media networks.  However, when you begin adding all these people to your networks, these people typically have access to your personal contacts as well.  You want to build business relationships, but where do you draw a line between your work and home life?

Many IT recruiters have chosen to create two profiles:  A work profile and a personal one in order to avoid mixing in with their personal lives with business.  Another option that IT recruiters have chosen is to make their profiles private and only allow a certain group of people to see their whole profile.   This can become annoying and tedious trying to keep both parts of your lives separate.

IT recruiters should keep work connections on certain social networks (such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook) separate from personal accounts.  Not only for privacy reasons, but credibility, professional and even safety reasons as well.

Where to find your candidates

IT recruiting companies need to be aware of where their IT staffing competitors are looking for candidates, as well as where candidates are posting their resumes themselves.  You may think everyone is just using job boards such as Monster or CareerBuilder.  However, there are many more options depending on what specific IT staffing industry you are looking at.  Some of these options are websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter that are now being used for networking instead of socializing.  Others include niche websites and/or those specific to local geographies.

So how do you choose the right place to look for candidates to fill IT jobs?  To start, you need to test some of these websites out.  During the trial period it would be a good idea to keep track of where the candidates are coming from.  This will help you decide how many candidates you got from each IT job board and the quality of the candidates coming from each.  Once you gather your data, you will be able to analyze each IT job board based on metrics IT recruiting companies keep in mind.

Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and think about where they are looking for IT jobs

How to write a thank you note after an IT job interview

You have just interviewed for that perfect IT job.  Now what do you do? Send a thank you note.  Typically, you should send a thank you note to every person you meet with.  It not only thanks the interviewer(s) for their time, it also reinforces your interest in the position.  If you interviewed through a technical recruiting company, then send the thank you note to your IT recruiter.

Here are some tips that our IT staffing company offers for writing Thank You notes:

  1. Like it or not, email is the standard form of communication these days.  It not only is efficient, it pretty much guarantees delivery (with proof of delivery).  However, a personal note shows that you go above and beyond, so don’t shy away from writing a note.  Check your handwriting.  If you have illegible handwriting, make sure you type the note so that the interviewer will be able to read what you have to say.
  2. Spell Check.  Spelling or grammatical errors will damage your credibility.  Also make sure you spell each recipient’s name correctly!
  3. Take notes during the interview. Reference some of the topics/items that you discussed in the IT job interview.
  4. Reiterate your experience.  Remind the interviewer why you are a good fit for the IT job.
  5. Send the thank you note the same day – no exceptions!

Top Interview Questions

IT recruiting firms are constantly screening candidates to make sure they are up to par with our clients’ qualifications. We understand that clients are looking for the perfect candidates to fill their IT jobs.  Therefore, to help prepare our candidates for their respective interviews, our IT recruiters have compiled a list of questions that our clients may be looking to ask.

  1. Please tell me a little about yourself.
  2. What is your greatest strength?
  3. What is your greatest weakness?
  4. Name a time you had to resolve a conflict and describe you handled it.
  5. What do you think differentiates you from other candidates applying for this position?
  6. How do you think you’ll be able to contribute to the company?
  7. Why are you interested in working at company x?
  8. What relevant experience do you have for this position?
  9. What kind of environment do you prefer to work in?
  10. What are your goals for the next five years?

Working with an IT Recruiter – Communication is Key

IT recruiters are constantly looking for candidates to fill positions for IT jobs.  They go through resume after resume looking for qualifications.  However, a resume can only say so much.  The important piece to any successful IT job placement is communication.

Build a relationship with IT recruiters and use a few different IT staffing agencies that you feel comfortable with.  Let the IT recruiter get a sense of your personality and the kind of environment you are looking for in an IT job.  The more they know about you, the more accurate they can be with their IT job opportunities. Be open and honest with the IT recruiter and expect the same in return.  Set expectations from the start.

In addition, keep in touch with the IT recruiter, as it will help make you stand out and ensure he or she turns to you first when the appropriate IT job opens up.  Lastly, finding a new IT job is all about networking.  IT recruiters are networking on a daily basis, by connecting with them (ie Linkedin); you’re significantly increasing your personal network as well.