IT contractors who have been on the hunt for IT jobs before are probably used to being pretty passive, especially if they worked with IT recruiters or IT staffing agencies. The process can feel very much like the employer is in charge, not the IT consultants interviewing. However, if you take a more active role in your search, whether you’re working with technical recruiters or not, you’ll be more likely to find a role you love. Here’s how:
Firstly, make sure you get a few pieces of information from your IT headhunters who set up your interviews. Ask them not only where you’re going and when, but also who you’ll be meeting with, how long the interview is likely to be and what materials you can prepare or study beforehand. Most IT staffing firms will make sure you have this info. If you’re not working with IT recruiting firms or you just didn’t get this info, it’s your responsibility to ask!
Next, work through this info to help yourself prepare. Research the company, the people you’ll be meeting with, and any topics you were alerted to be ready to speak on. You may not use all the info you find, but at least some of it will be useful. Perhaps you have some connections on LinkedIn in common with your interviewer, or you have a few alum from your school working at the company. This information is worth having in your pocket in case the opportunity comes up to mention it.
Lastly, prepare all the easy things for yourself ahead of time. Make sure you set aside everything you’ll need for the interview ahead of time. Resumes, portfolios, suit, nice shoes, etc should all be set aside and ready at least the night before the interview, if not a day or so earlier. It’s also ideal to actually practice getting yourself to the interview site ahead of time if you can. Be aware of any traffic patterns that might get in your way and avoid them.
The information technology industry is constantly changing and to some extent, so are the ways IT contractors find IT jobs. While IT consultants can always count on IT recruiters and IT staffing agencies to provide them with great connections to companies that are hiring, there are some things that IT professionals can do to make sure they’re the most marketable candidate on their technical recruiters’ rosters.
1. Modernize and optimize resumes. Take out objectives and any jobs that are older than the last decade or so. Both date you too much in an industry that tends to favor youth over experience. Do put a ‘Technical Proficiencies’ section at the top of your resume, listing all technologies and skills you are current on. This will garner attention from IT headhunters and hiring managers alike.
2. Polish your interview skills. Be prepared for phone interviews, face-to-face interviews, or even skype or other forms of interviews. Be ready to answer questions about the technologies you specialize in. Recruiters can prepare you to some extent, but having the basic skills already down can make a big difference.
3. Know what you want. Have a clear idea about what you want in your next position. Nobody can help you get the best new job for you if you don’t have good ideas about what kind of work, compensation, environment, coworkers, and bosses you do best with.
IT consultants change IT jobs more frequently than most other professionals. With more frequent job changes, come more frequent changes of bosses. IT professionals need to sharpen their abilities to spot not only the kinds of jobs that fit their resumes, but the kinds of bosses that fit their work styles. While IT recruiters and IT staffing firms can help with this, it’s important for IT contractors to be able to spot a great boss for them without help from technical recruiters. Here are two signs somebody will be a great boss for you:
They let you complete your work and solve problems in ways that challenge and interest you and are within your abilities. Obstinate bosses who might respond to your work style with rigid rejections are going to be a bad fit in the long run. Try asking about their management style in your interview.
They don’t rule by fear. A boss can be loved or feared. The best bosses are the ones who inspire great things in their employees because of good relationships. The worst ones force employees to perform under pressure all the time. This isn’t sustainable long term and it’s also incredibly unpleasant. You can get an idea of whether a manager is appreciated or feared by his employees by looking on Glassdoor, checking any contacts you might have within that company, or asking about why the previous person in your potential job left.