For seasoned IT contractors, the question ‘Why do you want to work at this company?’ isn’t new territory in an IT job interview. While it may seem like a simple question with no wrong answers, IT consultants can definitely blow this question (and in turn their shot at the IT jobs they’re interviewing for!). What’s the correct way for IT professionals to respond to this question so they impress the interviewing managers, IT recruiters, and IT staffing firms they’re speaking to?
When faced with the question ‘Why do you want to work at this company?’ your best place to start is with your research on the company. Start by reciting some of the awards, perks, and anything else the company might brag about. Next, consider what the company values and find ways to match up your strengths with these values. You may want to talk to your technical recruiters to get some ideas for this. Lastly, take the opportunity to mention any connections you may have at the company. If you know somebody who works there, name drop them and mention it if they said good things about working there. Having connections within the company, in addition to meeting its needs with your strengths and appreciating the benefits and achievements it tends to tout, will all create a great impression.
This spring’s recent college graduates in information technology are likely starting new IT jobs or just started them this summer. While IT contractors fresh from college may have resumes chock full of skills and experience using particular technologies, their skills as IT professionals may not be nearly as polished. Here are a few skills IT consultants should work on acquiring to excel at IT job interviews, in their first real jobs in the field, and to impress IT recruiters and IT staffing firms.
-Learn not to take things personally. Negative feedback about how you interviewed, your resume, or how you’re doing at work is all going to help you in the future. Try not to let it sting too much personally, because your feelings will get in the way of your ability to take that feedback and use it. You’ll also appear a lot less professional if you respond emotionally or defensively to negative feedback.
-Avoid looking entitled. Whether you’re old or young, this will rub people the wrong way. Having a humble, willing approach at work will make all the difference. Managers and coworkers want to work with people who are easy to get along with and don’t mind pitching in to help the team. Be that person and you’ll quickly gain a strong reputation in your field and ace your IT job interviews.
-Don’t give up easily. If you have a problem, work hard to solve it yourself. The best employees are the ones who don’t bother their bosses or coworkers over anything but the most imperative issues. Needing to have your hand held often won’t make you look good in the future—at your first job or others!
In a field like information technology, there’s no room for useless IT contractors in a company. Business is too fast and demanding for a company to continue to pay IT consultants who aren’t contributing to the bottom line and doing their IT jobs well. How do you know if you’re one of those IT professionals who’s just not cutting it at work? Here are a few signs: 1. You’re not sure if you’re meeting expectations. Sure, your resumes match up perfectly to the job description and your IT recruiters said you’d be the best candidate for the job. But you can’t tell how well you’re actually performing. Don’t wait to find out. Talk to your IT recruiters who’ve placed you and your managers if you can. Get feedback on how you’re doing and what you could be doing better. 2. You don’t feel confident about the work you’re doing. If you’re regularly asked to do tasks that you just don’t have the background knowledge to do (or at least figure out how to do), you may not be a good fit for this job. 3. You don’t like what you’re doing—and it shows. Even the most capable employees can be fired by their employers for having a poor attitude. Make sure you’re avoiding this easy problem.
A staggering percentage of American workers currently hate their jobs. While it’s unknown what percentage of them are IT professionals, it’s safe to say that there are probably quite a few IT consultants who do hate their IT jobs. When it’s time to look for a new job, IT contractors will really benefit from making sure they prioritize the right qualities in their search. Here are the factors that will make the most difference in how much you’ll appreciate your job.
-Does the job feel significant? It doesn’t matter who it’s significant to or on what scale, but if you feel like your job is impactful to people, you’ll feel good about it. Maybe as a desk support technician your work is important to the people you help all day. Maybe as a CTO at a big company, your work is imperative to people all throughout the company. Either way, it will mean you’re that much more likely to report back to your IT recruiters that you love your job.
-Did your IT headhunters place you with manager and coworkers you like and respect? Especially in information technology, when things are so often team-oriented, it’s imperative to like the people who you work with and for. If you don’t, you will probably call your technical recruiters seeking a new job soon.
-Lastly, does the job challenge you in a way that you can still succeed? If you’re challenged in a way that’s impossible, that will simply feel stressful and unmanageable. If your job doesn’t challenge you at all, you’ll become bored and tired of your job quickly. However, if you are learning new things often and constantly solving problems that interest you, you’ll enjoy your work. This might mean you should make sure you work with particular technologies or with a certain pace of work. Figure out if job descriptions are describing a job that you can succeed at, but is not too boring, and you’ll be ensuring that you really enjoy it for a long time to come.
Ever been in interviews for IT jobs and been asked about your hobbies? Most IT contractors have probably had to answer this question at least once in their careers. Maybe they even have it listed on their resumes. It seems like a softball, an easy question meant to put IT consultants at ease before having to answer the hard questions. But IT professionals can use their hobbies as one more way to show IT recruiters, IT staffing firms, and hiring managers how perfect they are for jobs. How?
Pay attention to a few things when you’re applying to a job. Try to figure out what the corporate culture is like at the company or organization the job is at. Also try to get a better idea of what kind of personal qualities would really help in the job functions (like being great at teamwork, for instance). Once you get a clear picture of these things, run through your hobbies in your mind. Do any of them give you qualities that would be an asset here?
Here are a few examples. For a team lead position, you may want to highlight an activity that very obviously helps you develop leadership skills (like being a team captain for a recreational sports team). Another example: perhaps you do something in your spare time that requires a lot of discipline. Don’t be afraid to mention that (although try not to spend more than a few moments mentioning it in passing!) when interviewing for a job that requires you to work independently and reach goals.
Your hobbies cannot miraculously make up for any professional or experiential deficiencies. They can add a few extra points in your favor if you find the right way to talk about them, though!
Recent studies seem to show that IT professionals lie far more often on their resumes than their counterparts in industries outside information technology. While this may seem like an extreme conclusion to come to, it’s actually not hard to find instances in which IT recruiters spot inconsistencies in their IT consultants’ resumes. Sometimes it’s a big lie, but often these lies are really just IT contractors seeking to impress IT headhunters or land IT jobs they are almost (but not quite!) qualified for.
What are some of these lies that IT staffing firms have found on resumes? They include things that seem harmless like embellished skills and job responsibilities. These lies are definitely not helping anybody, though—least of all, the job seeker. Landing a job you’re not actually able to do as well as you say you can is no picnic. Not only can it be stressful and unpleasant, you may wind up being fired from it and hurting your career overall. So think twice about lying on your resume—for your own good!
IT professionals all over the information technology field have been talking about the infamous ice bucket challenge. While the ice bucket challenge has certainly made it into the social media feeds of professionals everywhere, IT consultants and IT recruiters are particularly likely to have seen it because social media is so prevalent in the field and often actually used as part of IT jobs.
While we know the ice bucket challenge has become popular with IT contractors and IT headhunters everywhere, it’s especially surprising that some big CEO’s of IT companies are doing the ice bucket challenge now, too! Most recently, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Tim Cook, and Mark Zuckerberg have all gotten drenched for the cause. The high level of participation in this creative campaign highlights the can-do, up-for anything attitude that IT tends to have.
In a field like information technology, where people tend to move jobs a bit more often, IT consultants are often starting new IT jobs. While just landing a new job is a success, IT contractors shouldn’t view this as their opportunity to slack off. The first few months of a new job are crucial for IT professionals. Performing well in this window of time could yield a few benefits: creating a great relationship with coworkers, and bosses, as well as adding onto a good reputation that will impress IT recruiters and IT staffing firms. Be vigilant about these things in your first few months of a job.
-Follow the rules to a T. Don’t break the dress code, even if everyone else might. Don’t come in late or leave early. Take your allotted lunch time only. Leave your cell phone in your desk drawer during work hours. While you can (probably) ease up on the rules in the future, it’s better to give the best impression you can initially. Be a model employee while all eyes are on you, the newbie.
-Build a strong understanding of your job and how you fit into the company. Get training on your job if it’s offered and learn everything you can about what you can do to succeed in your role. But don’t stop there. Figure out what’s going on in the company at large so you have a better understanding of what you’re doing and how it impacts the company.
–Figure out the corporate culture. Fitting into the corporate culture can have a far higher impact on your job performance than you might think. Pay attention to how things are done and not done at your new company. You don’t have to conform completely, but changing your ways to fit the culture will go a long way with your coworkers and superiors.
Bad hiring mistakes happen (and they are definitely terrible for all IT consultants, managers, coworkers, and technical recruiters involved). However, as an IT professional, you can take steps to protect yourself from being hired for the wrong IT jobs. Beyond polishing your resumes and working with only the best IT recruiters and IT staffing firms, here is what you can do:
-Don’t rush things. Your job search isn’t a race and you’re more likely to wind up a in a bad job if you are moving too fast. Really consider every job offer you get before accepting. Make sure it meets all your needs and you meet all the company’s needs.
-Don’t take a role you aren’t sure you can totally fill. If you’re fully confident you can do everything in the job description, or at least have the skills to learn a few things you haven’t done before, it’s a good fit. If you’re not sure about most of the job requirements, this may not be the right job for you.
-Keep a balance in emphasis on cultural fit/perks and everything else. If you love the corporate culture and/or perks but aren’t sure about the job, the commute, the compensation, or something else, stop and think about it. Working with coworkers you love is important. It’s not going to fix larger issues, though.
Most IT contractors find themselves starting new IT jobs more often than professionals in fields outside of information technology. There are plenty of ways IT staffing firms and IT headhunters can help prep you for your first day at a new job, but there are certainly some questions that IT consultants should be sure they ask their new coworkers and bosses. Here are some questions below that will help IT professionals succeed in a new job.
1. What are some of the biggest challenges people in our department face? How can I prepare for them?
2. How will I know when I’ve been successful at this job? How will I know when I’m not meeting expectations?
3. What can I do to match my work style to our manager’s?
4. What can I do to match my work style to my team’s?
5. Is there any advice you’d give to somebody starting my job?