IT recruiters and IT staffing companies will tell you a lot about what you should be saying in interviews for IT jobs. However, it’s best if you don’t need your technical recruiters and IT recruiting firms to tell you what you shouldn’t be saying. Here’s one phrase that you need to banish from your interviewing vocabulary: “hard-working”
If you already spend time selling yourself to hiring managers, IT recruiting firms, and IT staffing firms as “hard-working,” you’re not alone. It seems like a good quality for success in any job—especially IT jobs that require perseverance to solve tough problems. However, the problem is that this phrase is overused to the point of being meaningless.
It won’t impress your interviewers or the IT recruiting companies you’re represented by if you say that you’re hard-working because so many other candidates say this about themselves. It’s better to use the time you would have spent talking about this to speak to some other asset. Maybe you have experience using a few rare technologies or programming languages. Maybe you have great customer service skills and can tell a few stories about satisfied end users. These kinds of things will strengthen your candidacy much more than calling yourself “hard-working.”
Any IT recruiters and IT staffing firms will tell you it’s imperative to ask questions in the interview. Not asking any questions makes it seem like you’re disinterested in the IT jobs you’re being interviewed for– or worse, you’re willing to just take any job. IT recruiting agencies and IT staffing companies can easily place IT professionals who ask smart questions that reveal that they know what they want and how to contribute to an employer.
It’s important to your success in job interviews to avoid asking questions that make you and your technical recruiters and IT recruiting firms look bad. Here are 2 kinds of questions to avoid. Firstly, some questions will make you look more like a clock-watcher who wants to give minimum effort. Secondly, you also want to avoid asking questions about benefits and compensation. The focus of the interview for you should be the job, its duties, the company, and the company culture. Your IT staffing agencies and IT recruiting companies will help you with negotiation compensation. Harping on these topics will hurt your chances, if not entirely kill them, of getting the job.
Before IT job interviews, you probably spend plenty of time prepping—both on your own and with our IT recruiters and IT staffing agencies. After doing all that work, you don’t want to blow it and embarrass yourself and/or your technical recruiters and IT staffing firms. Here are two pitfalls you can easily avoid in your interviews.
- Be concise, but don’t be so brief it can be interpreted as rude. It’s particularly easy in interviews for IT jobs to give long-winded answers. Technologies and processes and projects can be complicated to explain. However, you want to try to reign in your answers to a shorter, more manageable format. Watch your interviewer’s body language to see if you’re taking too long to answer their question. Be mindful of how technical they are and how much technical detail they may want. On the other hand, avoid giving answers so short they’re incomplete or could come across as rude. One way to avoid either is to ask a clarifying question. Your IT recruiting firms and IT staffing companies will be pleased if you can do this well—it will make sure you give exactly the kind of answer your interviewer wants and it will show that your communications skills are good.
- Make sure to really illustrate your worth. IT recruiting companies will tell you that this tip is actually true for your resume, too. Naming your skill-set or your basic duties at previous jobs isn’t nearly as effective as giving concrete examples of your achievements. What value have you added to your previous employers? What have you done to help your previous teams reach their goals or complete projects? This is what hiring managers want to hear. Make it easy for them to see why you’re well worth a salary at their company.
The IT field is notorious for a few things, especially weird interview questions for IT jobs. IT recruiters and IT staffing companies do their best to prep their candidates for these kinds of questions, but some are hard to predict for even the savviest of IT recruiting companies and IT staffing agencies. It’s worth checking with your technical recruiters and IT staffing firms before interviews to see if they think there will be any odd questions. Even if they’re not sure, it’s worth preparing yourself for some of the kinds of questions below:
- Estimation questions: Tech companies are notorious for asking questions like “How many windows are there in Seattle?” The point is obviously not to give an exact number here. What you want to do is describe how you’d figure out the most accurate answer. Describing your process and justifying each step will be the way to ace this kind of question.
- Task-oriented questions. Sometimes, you’ll be asked how you’d do some kind of impossible, improbable task. For instance, Dropbox has asked “If you had 2,000 emails to answer, but only time to answer 300, how would you choose?” Again, the best answer here is all about process. If you can give a clear, articulate, rational process, it doesn’t matter what your answer is. There are likely many “correct” criteria they’d accept.
- Identity questions: There are plenty of odd questions you can be asked that are simply meant to help a company know who you are—both as an employee and as an individual. Questions like “What kind of tree would you be?” sound out of the blue, but they’re looking for the same information every interviewer is. Answer the question (probably using a metaphor, as in the tree question) in a way that highlights your strengths as an employee and an individual. You’ll impress both your interviewer and the IT recruiting firms you represent.
Most IT professionals know what kind of behavior is a problem in interviews for IT jobs. IT recruiters and IT staffing companies are quick to prepare you so you don’t make any missteps and accidentally offend hiring managers. It becomes a lot harder for technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies to help you clean up your presence online, though. Fortunately or unfortunately, hiring managers now may take your presence on social media and online just as seriously as they take your interviews. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself or your IT recruiting firms and IT staffing firms.
- Delete all pictures, jokes, or statements that could be offensive. Keeping them just isn’t worth it—no matter how intense your privacy settings are.
- Speaking of privacy settings: add them. Better safe than sorry. It’s also worth noting that you can’t always control the messages, posts, etc that your friends and family may send your way. Adding privacy means you don’t have to worry as much about IT recruiting agencies or hiring managers coming across them.
- Consider creating a separate account or two for your professional life. You don’t have to create a whole slew of social media accounts for your professional persona, but having one or two isn’t a bad idea. They demonstrate both your proficiency with the technologies and your ability to create interesting, thoughtful content. You can even use these platforms to demonstrate your skills and knowledge in your field.
IT recruiters and IT staffing firms read a lot of resumes. The best candidates, the ones that technical recruiters and IT recruiting companies love to submit to IT jobs, are the IT professionals with excellent skills and experience, as well as clean, thorough, polished resumes. While some IT staffing companies will take the time to help candidates clean up their resumes, it makes you all the more attractive as a candidate if your resume is good as is.
Here’s one way to clean up your resume that will make a big difference: Go through your resume and take out superlatives that you use to talk about yourself. Things like “hard worker,” or “fast learner” aren’t actually useful at all to your IT recruiting firms. Now go back and change those statements into illustrations of what you’ve achieved at your previous job. Think in verbs, not in nouns. Phrases that start with words like “managed,” or “launched,” are what IT staffing agencies want your resume filled with.
IT recruiters and IT staffing companies can usually tell you exactly how IT jobs interviews will go. However, sometimes hiring managers and employers will change things—either out of necessity or for other reasons. Here are some surprises your technical recruiters and IT staffing firms might not be able to prepare you for – but you can still handle with grace.
- If your interview has to be changed or rescheduled due to an emergency: The best way to respond to this is with patience. Even if your IT recruiting companies and IT staffing agencies do their best to schedule a good time and day for interviews, some things can’t be avoided. If you can roll with the punches, your interviewers will see that you’re flexible and able to be a true team player. Think of this moment as a time to show off your soft skills.
- If you are suddenly asked to interview more people (either separately or in a group situation) than your IT recruiting firms said you would: Don’t panic. If you’re in a group interview, make sure to take notes on the conversation (so you can send personalized thank you notes later) and get everyone’s individual contact info for thank you notes. If you’re meeting with people one-on-one, it’s also worth taking notes and getting contact info. Since you’re also meeting one-on-one, don’t worry too much about repeating yourself. You may be asked the same question a few times and it’s ok if your answer is the same.
When your IT recruiters and IT staffing agencies set up phone interviews for you, here are a few tips to keep in mind. These will not only help leave a great impression on your interviewer, but also cement your reputation with your technical recruiters and IT recruiting firms. If you do well in phone interviews, even if you don’t get the IT jobs, IT staffing firms and IT recruiting companies will want to keep working with you until they can place you.
- Be prepared. Don’t wing it. Don’t hope you’ll find a good place to take the call. Prep for the call and have a place in mind that you can go to take the call in private with an uninterrupted connection.
- Don’t sit- stand. Or better yet, pace a bit. Walking around will keep your voice strong and probably help you think better. Instead of relaxing, as you might when you sit, you’ll keep your blood flowing to your brain and stay more alert.
- Lastly, this is the time to show your interest in the role and company. Ask thoughtful questions about the company, team, and role you’re interviewing for. If you don’t, your interviewer will feel unsure of your interest level. They may even relay a bad impression to your IT staffing companies and IT recruiting agencies.
If you’re looking to go in a new direction with your IT career, you’re guaranteed to become very popular among IT recruiters, IT staffing firms, and IT recruiting agencies if you move towards becoming a Mobile Developer. IT staffing companies and technical recruiters were already seeking Mobile Developers frequently in the past few years, but Google’s latest move has really increased the need for them.
Since Google will now be penalizing websites that aren’t mobile-friendly in their search results, the race is on for sites to keep up. Google officially implemented this policy back in late April, but IT recruiting companies and IT staffing agencies will only continue to be on the lookout for Mobile Developers. Even as companies make their sites mobile friendly to match Google’s request, they’ll also be working to satiate the needs of consumers. At a recent conference, serious discussion revolved around how prevalent mobile commerce will continue to become. Smartphones are likely to become a strong competitor for brick and mortar businesses—if not completely replace them one day.
IT recruiters and IT staffing agencies have been working to place candidates in IT jobs for decades. They’ve seen a lot of surprising ethical questions come up as the field changes in new and unexpected ways. Some of the more recent ethical questions and challenges that technical recruiters, IT staffing companies, and IT professionals have been dealing with are centered around security.
White hat hacking and security jobs have become more and more imperative as IT recruiting companies and IT staffing firms have seen major institutions like The New York Times and the White House fall victim to hackers. This profusion of hacking—and the blurriness of what separates white-hat hacking from black hat has only increased on a more individual level. One of the most fascinating topics of conversation amongst IT professionals is the site Hacker’s List. Is the work this site facilitates ethical? Legal? When does hacking cross the line between white hat and black hat? Does it matter whom the hacking is done for? What should consequences be for black hat hacking? This site is bringing urgency to these questions and more as IT professionals, IT recruiting agencies, and the rest of the world alike are forced to ponder the ethics of hacking.