There are plenty of things you can do to prepare for interviews for IT jobs. You can be ready to answer any questions that you or your IT recruiters and IT staffing firms can anticipate. However, your IT staffing agencies and technical recruiters can’t help you fix basic behavioral issues for interviews. Here’s one mistake you must make sure you’re not making: interrupting your interviewer.
Most IT recruiting companies and IT staffing companies would agree that it’s understandable if you mistakenly interrupted your interviewer once. However, if you interrupt people a lot as a nervous habit, or just out of sheer impatience, this will make a very bad impression. The best candidates, the kind that IT recruiting firms have no problem placing in jobs, are great listeners and communicators. If you interrupt your interviewer, you’ll not only irritate them, but probably show that you aren’t likely able to communicate well with colleagues, managers, clients, etc. Do yourself a favor and break this habit immediately—it probably has cost you IT jobs already!
More and more IT professionals are facing an odd dilemma as they interview for IT jobs: what should they do about unconventional facial piercings. As the millennial population rises in the IT field, IT recruiters and IT staffing firms are encountering more and more candidates with nose rings, eyebrow piercings, or ear piercings beyond the usual 2 at the bottom of the lobes. What should technical recruiters and IT staffing companies tell candidates to do about these piercings when they go to interviews? Is it better to hide them or take them out?
Candidates should make sure they check with their IT recruiting companies and IT staffing agencies before they go on interviews if they do have unconventional piercings. Usually IT recruiting agencies will have a good idea about whether these companies are ok with piercings on a daily basis. For most interviews, it’s best to hide the piercings. Even if they’re accepted on a daily basis, it’s better not to stand out for something like a piercing. If the company doesn’t accept piercings on a daily basis, it’s important for the candidate to really think hard about this before being submitted to the job. While it may seem like a small thing, this may be indicative of a larger culture fit issue. The candidate and their IT recruiting firms may want to re-visit how well they might fit into the corporate culture overall.
If you’re preparing for interviews for IT jobs, you’ve probably practiced answering questions with a friend or family member. This is a good start, but there’s another way to practice for your interviews so that you impress your interviewer (and your IT recruiters and IT staffing companies!). Try switching roles for a bit and play the interviewer.
How do you do this? Your technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies can give you a basic idea of what questions your interviewer will ask. It’s also worth it to think about you’d want to know if you were hiring for this position. As you practice from the interviewer role, you’ll force yourself to think about what kind of experience, skills, and personality traits your interviewer (and your IT recruiting agencies and IT staffing firms) want you to highlight. You can think about what the ideal candidate would sound like. Take that perspective with you to the interview—even if you don’t get the job, you’re bound to leave a lasting impression on your interviewers (and make your IT recruiting companies eager to continue to work with you!).
Most IT professionals have some practice writing thank you notes for interviews after IT jobs. Whether you sent them along yourself or your IT recruiters and IT staffing companies send them to your interviewers, you’re likely to have written a few thank you notes. Not everyone knows how to write a really strong, effective thank you note though. IT recruiting firms and technical recruiters can all attest to the vast number of generic thank you notes they’ve handed back to hiring managers. Here’s a tip on how to really make your thank you notes impressive and leave a lasting impression on your interviewers (as well as the IT staffing agencies and IT recruiting firms you’re working with).
As you write your thank you note, make reference to a couple of specific duties of the job and explain why you’re prepared to excel at them. Your interviewer will really appreciate seeing that you not only grasp the job generally, but you also have thought about the specific responsibilities of it. This will make them take you more seriously as they consider candidates. Even if you don’t get the job, you’re likely to get great feedback from the interviewer that will make your IT staffing firms and IT recruiting agencies eager to submit you for more IT jobs.
When you’re interviewing for IT jobs, it’s easy to think that your IT recruiters and IT staffing agencies will do most of the work for you. While your technical recruiters and IT staffing companies will in fact do a lot to advocate for you, it’s crucial to remember that you have an important role.
When you interview, you’ll do yourself a disservice if you don’t make it obvious for your interviewers (and the IT staffing agencies and IT recruiting firms that are representing you) that you’re a good fit for the job. While your experience and skills might seem like an obvious fit for a job (and your IT recruiting companies will definitely be making the case that you’re a good fit), nothing will speak as strongly for your candidacy as you will. So make sure to go into interviews and state it clearly: that you’d be able to succeed in the position (and don’t forget to bring some anecdotes of previous success and achievement to illustrate this!).
In interviews for IT jobs, it’s obvious that you need to demonstrate your skills and accomplishments with technical tools. If a job requires Java, you won’t impress your interviewer or IT recruiters and IT staffing firms if you can’t speak to your comfort with Java. But there is one skill that is very important to demonstrate in interviews and phone calls with IT staffing companies and IT recruiting agencies: empathy.
Technical recruiters and IT recruiting firms love to work with IT professionals who are well versed in a lot of technologies, but these people are hard to place if they don’t have empathy. Why? Because empathy is a quality that make somebody easy to work with. In a field like IT, being easy to work with is of the utmost importance. IT staffing agencies need people who are great at customer service, working with teams, and taking feedback on their coding, troubleshooting, etc. So in your next conversation with IT recruiting companies or in IT job interviews, try to demonstrate that you’ve got empathy—for your teammates, clients, customers, and superiors. (But make sure you demonstrate it—not just say you are empathetic! This won’t play well.) It may just win you the job!
The kind of resumes IT recruiters, IT staffing agencies, and, most importantly, hiring managers, love are efficient. Resumes that show thoroughly but quickly that an IT professional has the experience and skills to succeed in IT jobs are the ones that IT staffing companies and technical recruiters all love to show hiring managers. IT recruiting firms and IT staffing firms don’t always want IT professionals to stick to the 1 page rule for resumes – even though it’s the norm in most other industries. However, it is important that IT professionals really cut down their resume to only relevant and recent job experience and skills.
What does this mean? The best resumes will not stretch beyond a page (or more!) to include experience from more than 15 years ago or experience that just isn’t really relevant to IT jobs. When you stretch your resume out to, say, 7 pages to include experience from your earliest jobs, you may actually be turning off IT recruiting agencies. Instead of being thorough by including extra experience, you’re actually making it harder for IT staffing firms to decide if you’re a good fit for a job. They may well pass over your resume for one that is faster and easier to read. The same is true if you’ve included jobs, hobbies, or other information on your resume that isn’t immediately and obviously relevant to the IT jobs you want to be considered for. Especially if your resume exceeds a page, including this extra information may irritate IT recruiting companies rather than strengthen your candidacy.
If the resume you give to IT staffing firms and IT recruiters has gaps between IT jobs for time you’ve taken with your family, you need to be careful how you document it. Some IT professionals are given poor advice on how to list gaps in time and they wind up with resumes that technical recruiters and IT recruiting companies are not interested in. How can you avoid turning off hiring managers and IT recruiting firms? Try to list this gap as briefly and professionally as possible. Hiring managers and IT staffing agencies don’t want to see personal details. The best way to describe a gap is with brief, standardized professional phrasing. For instance, giving the dates of your absence and calling it a ‘leave of absence’ is professional but still makes it clear you were not unemployed and unable to find work during a gap in time. Some people will go overboard and try to list skills or responsibilities they took on during this time. Don’t do this—you didn’t have a boss that you were accountable to, so these things can’t really be measured. It also can come across as desperate to potential employers. If you’ve tried listing the gap a few ways, but are still unsatisfied with your ideas, ask the IT staffing companies you’re working with and trust to help you do it. They will appreciate your effort to make your resume as appealing as possible to potential employers.
If you’re not actively searching for IT jobs, it may feel like a waste of time to take phone calls from IT recruiters and IT staffing companies. Don’t rush to get off the phone with technical recruiters and IT recruiting agencies, though. Even if you’re really satisfied with your current IT job, it’s worth making good relationships with IT recruiting firms you trust.
What should you do if you get a call from IT recruiting companies about jobs you’re not interested in? Maintain a polite, professional air. However, be honest with the IT staffing agencies you’re talking to. If they’re good, they’ll want to know what kind of job you do want in the future. Finish the call by letting them know you’re not interested for now, but you’ll keep their information. Then, when you need to search for IT jobs, you’ll be ready and have IT recruiting firms on hand that you trust and already know what you want.
If you haven’t worked much with IT recruiters and IT staffing firms, it’s easy to get confused about how to interact with them. Should you treat technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies with the same deference and professionalism as a hiring manager? More? Less?
The good news is that IT recruiting firms and IT staffing companies are actually more of your allies in your search for IT jobs. Unlike hiring managers and interviewers, you can be a lot more unfiltered and open with your IT recruiting agencies. Your IT recruiters want to know what kind of job you want, what kind of coworkers or corporate culture you need to succeed, how much you’re willing to commute, etc. If they know exactly what you want—and what you don’t want—they can help you find a job you’ll like and do well in. Good IT staffing firms don’t want to place you in IT jobs that you hate or can’t succeed in. This will only damage their relationships with employers. So be professional with your IT recruiters, but be slightly more open, too. The more they know about what you want, the better!