Sometimes in interviews for IT jobs, you’ll be asked to describe yourself. Even if you don’t prepare for this question with your IT recruiters and IT staffing companies, you can have a basic idea of how to respond. Here are some guidelines for how to formulate this answer so that you do you technical recruiters and IT recruiting firms proud.
1. Don’t use words to describe yourself that are very obviously matters of opinion. For instance, don’t call yourself bright, smart, well-liked, likable, successful, etc. This only tells your interviewer that you think you’re smart. Since most IT professionals probably believe this about themselves, that doesn’t really set you apart. Use this question to give concrete achievements, anecdotes, or to demonstrate that you’ve got a great process for problem-solving, troubleshooting, etc. This is the kind of thing that impresses hiring managers and IT staffing agencies.
2. Don’t call yourself obsessive, a perfectionist, or some other false “flaw”. Now is the time to be honest and straightforward. Coyly praising yourself will just waste time and frustrate the interviewer. It’s also a much overused strategy, which will just feel meaningless to a hiring manager. Use your interview time wisely and IT recruiting companies will be happy to set you up for interviews.
3. Do try to incorporate a quality or two that you know the interviewing company values. If you know a company values efficiency and you can legitimately say that you’re great at getting things done quickly, it will help to note that. Try to have a quick story or two to back up these statements, too!
So you’ve put in the preparation with IT recruiters and practice for an interview for IT jobs. But maybe there’s a question you just don’t understand. Maybe it’s a on a technology your technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies didn’t know you’d be asked about. Or maybe you just don’t know what kind of answer the hiring manager is looking for. Take a deep breath and don’t worry. You can use these tips to help yourself answer the question and avoid embarrassing yourself and your IT recruiting companies and IT staffing firms.
- Don’t be afraid to take a beat. If you’re thrown off by the question, feel free to ask for a moment to think. It’s not going to hurt you, and it may help you relax and answer the question better.
- Ask for a little clarification if you’re unsure what the hiring manager is asking you about or for. They won’t mind, and they may appreciate seeing that you’re thoughtful and thorough. These are good qualities in IT professionals.
- Lastly, don’t try to fake an answer. If you don’t think you can answer the question at all, be honest. If you do think you can start to outline how you’d get to the answer, and then do that for your interviewer. Sometimes, just demonstrating your thought process and resourcefulness will help.
Try these tips the next time you’re asked a stumper in a job interview. Your IT recruiting firms and IT staffing companies will appreciate it—and it might just land you the job.
Most IT recruiters and IT staffing companies will tell you that you need to come to your interviews ready to ask a few questions. The candidates IT staffing companies and technical recruiters have an easy time placing in IT jobs are the ones who come to interviews with plenty of relevant questions. Ever wonder why?
The reason IT staffing agencies and IT recruiting firms need people to have questions on hand for interviews is because it demonstrates that they are trying to find the best job for them. No hiring manager wants to hire somebody who is just looking for the first job they get offered. This usually results in a poor fit—either in terms of skill or culture. When IT professionals ask well thought out questions that are clearly relevant to them, hiring managers know they’re seriously considering how much they’d succeed and enjoy the job. So for your next interview, prepare a few questions, possibly with the help of your IT recruiting agencies. It may win you the job.
If you’re in the process of interviewing for IT jobs, your IT recruiters and IT staffing firms are probably helping you prepare. There are some things IT staffing agencies and IT recruiting companies are taking for granted that you’ll know about going into job interviews. One of these things your IT recruiting agencies may not even mention in your prep conversations is to avoid clichés. Why avoid clichés? Business is full of easy clichés that seem like the most efficient, satisfactory way to answer interview questions. The problem is that clichés don’t mean much to hiring managers anymore. When everybody uses the same phrases, like ‘nose to the grindstone,’ or ‘work hard, play hard,’ to describe themselves, hiring managers begin to have a hard time believing them. So what can you do in an interview instead of using clichés? Try to think about what you’ll be saying ahead of time. Your IT recruiting firms are likely going to give you at least a few of the questions or potential questions you’ll be asked. Practice answering them honestly and without using any buzzwords or clichés. If you find that you can’t avoid using a cliché, take a moment to admit it. Then suggest what this means about you. For instance, if you say you’re a ‘hard worker’ then find a unique anecdote that illustrates your work ethic. Don’t panic if you do find that you have to use a cliché in a job interview. However, if you do your best to avoid them, you’ll make an excellent impression on your IT staffing companies and hiring managers.
Sometimes in interviews for IT jobs, candidates are given a tough question: Why should we hire you? The question is very broad and that can be intimidating to IT professionals, but it doesn’t have to be. If you take a little time to prepare with your IT recruiters and IT staffing firms, you can turn this question into a great opportunity to sell your candidacy. Here’s how you and your IT staffing agencies can prepare an excellent answer to this kind of question.
Firstly, take a few minutes to talk with your technical recruiters about what’s important to this company—broadly and in this particular role. Take note if they list a quality or skill that you have and can really demonstrate, especially with a concrete achievement. Practice talking about this skill or quality and giving an anecdote that illustrates it.
Secondly, run through the rest of your accomplishments. If you want, you can ask your IT recruiting firms for feedback on this part, but this isn’t necessary if you’re a seasoned interviewer. Pick a few accomplishments that are concretely quantifiable and practice speaking about them. Think about ways you can connect them to the company you’re interviewing for, and suggesting how these accomplishments are things you might be able to do in this new role.
Lastly, in IT roles, soft skills are actually at a premium. IT staffing companies are often asked to provide candidates who aren’t just good at the required skills, but also easy and pleasant to work with. Again, it’s best to be able to illustrate your people skills with (brief) stories or anecdotes. Find a soft skill or two, illustrate that you have it/them, and you’ve driven home your point. After hearing these three talking points, Hiring managers will be considering you very seriously and your IT recruiting agencies will be very happy with you!
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As the economy continues to improve, technical recruiters are finding that the people who still struggle a bit finding IT jobs are those over 50. What do IT staffing firms suggest that IT professionals over 50 do to help make themselves more marketable to both hiring managers and IT staffing agencies? Here are a few tips.
- Clean up your resume—don’t leave every job on there. The longer your resume, the more it suggests to hiring managers, IT recruiting companies, and IT recruiters, that you’re older. If you want to avoid making this obvious, as most people do in the IT field, it’s time to take a few jobs off your resume.
- Make sure your resume highlights the technologies you’re proficient in, especially current and new ones. Fair or not, companies sometimes hesitate to hire older IT candidates because they’re concerned about whether their technical knowledge is up to date. If you can demonstrate that you’re well-versed in current and new technology to IT recruiting agencies, you can make yourself a much more attractive candidate.
- If IT recruiting firms call you about jobs, take the time to explain why you’re qualified, but not overqualified, for them. When you’re older than 50, sometimes this is a concern. Take a little time to assuage it.
If you’ve just started your search for new IT jobs, you’re probably a little confused about what IT staffing firms and technical recruiters you should work with. To some extent, you’ll wind up picking your IT recruiters and IT staffing agencies based on location. If you want to work in a certain area, you need to work with the IT recruiting companies that have clients there.
Beyond location, however, there are other reasons why IT staffing companies are good or bad to work with. Firstly, you want to know that the IT recruiting agencies you pick are reputable. You can do a quick search online, both on Google and LinkedIn. If you ask well-established IT recruiting firms directly, they will also be more than happy to provide you with references or links to their reviews online. Besides being vetted, you also want to know that the IT recruiters you’re working with are interested in creating a good relationship with you. A recruiter who wants to build a good relationship with you truly listens to (or better yet, asks for) your preferences for your next role. They also contact you somewhat regularly while you’re searching for jobs and might even ask to meet you in person. The best recruiters want to place you in a job you’re happy with, and they spend time getting to know you so they can do this.
Your IT recruiters and IT staffing companies probably gave you a checklist of things to bring to your interviews for IT jobs. Your technical recruiters likely spoke to you about what to wear, how many copies of you resume to pack, etc. But there’s one thing that your IT staffing agencies may not have told you to bring: your energy.
Though they may not explicitly talk about it, IT staffing firms and hiring managers want you to make a conscious effort to display a good level of enthusiasm and energy in interviews. While it’s not necessary (or even good) to be as bubbly as a cheerleader, you do need to make sure you display some excitement about the job. IT recruiting firms have countless stories of candidates who were rejected because they seemed utterly unenthused about jobs or companies. Don’t be one of those stories—bring your energy with you to your IT job interviews!
If you’re interviewing for IT jobs that you really want, it’s not enough to just go through the motions of basic preparation with your IT recruiters and IT staffing firms. Your best bet to really wow your interviewers (and by extension, your technical recruiters and IT recruiting companies) is to work on a few ‘secret weapons’ that will really elevate your performance in the interview. Here’s one ‘secret weapon’ you should really try to cultivate: Ask the interviewer how your work will impact and aid the company in reaching its major goals.
Why would you ask this question? It will show that you’re interested in not just the role, but how you can be a stellar employee that contributes to the company as a whole. IT staffing companies and IT recruiting agencies have no problem placing candidates who can see the big picture. Hiring managers don’t just want somebody who wants to complete their own tasks. They’d love to get somebody who will contribute to their team and the company as a whole. This kind of employee understands bigger priorities and requires less management and puts out better results.
Sometimes, your IT recruiters and IT staffing companies ask you to write up a cover letter for IT jobs they’ll be submitting you for. If your IT recruiting firms and IT staffing agencies ask you to write a cover letter, try to avoid this major mistake: don’t gush on and on about the company—particularly if it’s not genuine.
IT recruiting agencies do want you to mention what you like about a company in a cover letter. However, you should only do this if you can genuinely and succinctly do it. Taking up more than a few sentences to go on and on about a company that probably don’t know much about will come across as insincere. Hiring managers may think that you’re working with a form letter (especially if you give pretty generic praise to the company) or that you’re focusing on the wrong things—possibly even trying to distract from, or covering up, your weak candidacy. Your IT staffing firms and technical recruiters want you to write cover letters that focus on why you’d be a great fit for the job. If you take up too much time saying things that don’t feel genuine about the employer, it’s a red flag to them and they’ll lose interest in you.