Here’s one way to guarantee that your IT recruiters hear that you aren’t getting the role: badmouth any of your bosses, coworkers, or end-users/clients. While most technical recruiters mention this at some point to candidates, there are still a staggering number of IT professionals who forget this advice in interviews.
Why is this a terrible mistake to make? There are a few reasons why IT staffing firms would recommend you never, ever say negative things about your employers, cowokers, etc. It might seem like you’re making the people you badmouth look bad, but you’re really making yourself look bad. Your interviewers might wonder if you have hard time getting along with people. Particularly in a lot of IT jobs, being agreeable and easy to work with is important. Sometimes you might be supporting a wide range of coworkers, end-users, or bosses. Perhaps you have to work closely in a team; or even code with a partner. Whatever the case, you want to look like you’re very easy to work with. Another reason you should never badmouth coworkers, bosses, etc is that you want to look like a positive person overall. Sometimes jobs will be difficult. Whether it’s a difficult coworker or a tough program to debug, your hiring manager needs to know that you’ll be emotionally resilient and work hard.
How do you avoid doing this mistake in the future? Let’s say you genuinely want a new job because your boss is abusive or your coworkers are truly difficult to deal with. If you’re asked why you’re working with IT recruiting firms to find a new job, you can go with a different (but still valid) reason. Perhaps you can mention your IT staffing companies are helping you find a job with new challenges, or you want to gain experience working with a specific technology. If you’re not asked at all about this, simply don’t mention it. Your IT recruiting agencies and IT staffing firms set the stage to make you look great for the job— use your time with an interviewer to continue this work. Don’t waste it saying negative things about other people.
You might have done everything right as you prepared with your IT recruiters for your interviews. You might have done the research, practiced answering questions your technical recruiters suggested, and prepared some good questions to ask the interviewer. Maybe your IT staffing firms got some bad feedback anyways and you didn’t land the role. What went wrong? Unless your IT recruiting companies got very specific feedback (which they often don’t), you’ll have to guess what went wrong. Here’s one reason you may have messed up: You came across as too desperate.
How can it be bad for the interviewer to know that you really, really want the role? IT recruiting firms do want you to show interest in the role. But especially in IT, where the unemployment rate is so low, coming across as desperate might make it seem like you’re having a hard time landing IT jobs (in a great market). Another problem with wanting the job too much is that you probably miss expressing how much you can do for the company or team. A good match is one in which both the IT professional and the company think they’d benefit. A good hire is balanced– which it cannot be if you are too desperate for the role! Your IT staffing agencies will have a much easier time placing you in a job if you come across as interested in a role, but also confident that the company will be interested in you.
In interviews for IT jobs, IT recruiters can tell you a million ways to make sure you stand out to your interviewers. Here’s one way you can make a big impression and ensure that your IT recruiting firms get some good feedback about you as a candidate: Make sure to tell a story or two about how you do things beyond your team and/or job description.
Why is this necessary? Isn’t it enough to be able to talk about how you helped your team and succeeded at your job? Of course technical recruiters would advise you to be able to detail how you succeeded at your job and within your team. However, a hiring manager’s dream candidate, the kind that IT staffing agencies have a very easy time finding new roles for, stretches beyond their job description. IT recruiting agencies regularly hear rave reviews about candidates who are not only interested in succeeding in their role, but don’t mind thinking about what helps the whole company succeed, too. You don’t have to invest much time or effort in this kind of activity to impress somebody. Maybe you spent a few minutes on your lunch break to help somebody out from another team with a technical (or non-technical!) issue. Maybe you volunteered to be your team’s CPR-trained employee. What matters is that you show that you’re not the kind of employee who whines ‘that’s not my job’. This is exactly the kind of candidate that IT staffing firms never want to represent!
One question that IT recruiting firms will want you to be ready for in IT job interviews is something along the lines of ‘How would you describe yourself ?’ (A common variation on this is ‘How would your colleagues describe you?’). There are a lot of ways to answer this question, of course. It’s worth knowing, though, that there are a couple things you need to avoid saying so that your IT staffing agencies and IT recruiters don’t get bad feedback.
Firstly, IT staffing companies would advise that you don’t give an answer that is too subjective. It will be hard to say something completely objective. However, especially in IT, where things are constantly backed up with numbers, percentages, and hard data, the best answer will be something you can back up with a story, accomplishment, or example. For instance, don’t say that your coworkers think you’re funny. This doesn’t really advance your candidacy, nor is it something you can back up well. Instead you might say that you’ve got good communication or relationship-building skills. Then back it up by saying that you’ve made great relationships throughout your previous companies (which of course helped you succeed in these IT jobs).
Secondly, technical recruiters would advise you to avoid answering this question with things that will make you sound arrogant or difficult to work with. You do want to highlight skills and achievements that would make you a great candidate. But there are ways to describe yourself as competent without sounding full of yourself. For example, there’s certainly a difference between calling yourself brilliant and saying that you are confident in your abilities in particular technologies or programming languages. IT staffing firms have a much easier time placing people in jobs when they’re both competent and pleasant people to work with.
It’s very common for IT recruiters to hear that the candidates they work with get a little thrown off by questions in interviews. Sometimes even if you’ve prepared with your technical recruiters and on your own, you get asked a question you weren’t expecting. Here’s one question (and the answer) that IT staffing companies find often trips IT professionals up: Is there anything I should know that’s not on your resume?
It’s easy to see why this trips candidates up: you spend a lot of time polishing your resume with your technical recruiters and IT recruiting agencies—shouldn’t it encompass everything interviewers need to know? Sure, your IT staffing firms definitely will help you send out your best version of your resume. However, this question is meant to give you a chance to talk about things that are relevant to the job, but wouldn’t make the cut for your resume because they might be harder to quantify or are more related to your personal life.
What are some good ways to answer this question? One strategy that IT recruiting companies often recommend is that you take this opportunity to talk about hobbies that might be very relevant to the role or just your work style. Perhaps you run marathons, build intricate models, or are a Boy Scout leader. These probably don’t apply directly to IT jobs you’re interviewing for, but they probably help you hone soft skills that are necessary for the job. Does your running teach you endurance in difficult circumstances? Does building models help you practice patient tenacity in problem-solving? Does working with Boy Scouts give you great communication and leadership skills? Tell the interviewer about it now and strengthen your candidacy just a little more before you finish that interview!
There are a lot of factors that IT professionals use to decide what IT jobs they want to interview for and what they tell their IT recruiters they’d like to pass on. Here are 2 factors that you may not have on the wish list you give your technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies, but are worth asking about in IT job interviews. They might not be immediately obvious, but these factors will definitely impact how much you like your job.
1. Ask your interviewers about how much collaboration you’ll be doing with team members, end-users, etc. Most IT professionals have some idea of how much they enjoy working with others—and who they like working with. Your IT recruiting firms aren’t necessarily going to be able to tell you exactly how much collaboration you’ll have in the jobs you’re interviewing for, or who you’ll be collaborating with. This is something to make sure you talk to your interviewers about and really consider if you get a job offer.
2. Especially in the IT field, continued learning can be very important. Not keeping up with the latest technologies, programming languages, etc could be detrimental to your career. The interview is a great time to ask about what opportunities this role will offer for continued learning. While your IT staffing firms may have some ideas about this, your potential employer can likely give you much more information.
Most IT professionals hear from their IT recruiters and IT staffing companies that it’s really important to be prepared to ask questions at the end of IT job interviews. While technical recruiters and IT recruiting agencies would rather you ask pretty much any question rather than none, there are some questions that are truly detrimental. Here are two questions that would severely hurt your chance of getting IT jobs.
- Don’t ask any questions about the company that you could have found the answers to on their website, via Google, or by asking your IT staffing agencies. Make sure you take time to do your own research and get some quick background info from your IT recruiting firms. You don’t want to look like you’re unprofessional, lazy, or unprepared.
- Don’t ask if they’ll want to run drug tests and/or background or credit checks. Your IT recruiting companies will let you know if these steps are necessary. These questions also might make it look like you have something to hide. Especially if you don’t have anything to hide, this is an unnecessary risk to your candidacy.
One common question in interviews is ‘Why does this role interest you?’ IT recruiters and IT staffing companies see plenty of candidates who get asked this question as they interview for IT jobs. While everyone will answer this question a bit differently, there’s one tip that will really impress your interviewer and technical recruiters: Make sure part of your answer addresses the company and/or team, not just your interests.
Why is this necessary? You might have plenty of great reasons why this role fits well into your career path and interests, technical proficiencies, etc. However, your IT staffing agencies and IT recruiting firms still need you to stress that there is something about this company and/or team in particular that appeals to you or that you feel you can be impactful in. IT professionals that do really well at their jobs usually do so not just because their skill-sets are compatible with the job. Their success also comes from how well they fit into their team, like the company or its work, culture, mission, etc. Your IT recruiting companies and IT staffing firms will have a very easy time getting you IT jobs if you can make it clear in interviews that you’re interested in a role because of the company itself as well as the work.
LinkedIn profiles have arguably become one of the strongest assets for IT professionals in their search for new IT jobs. Technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies often contact candidates based on the strength of their LinkedIn profiles, rather than their resumes. The best profiles, the ones that attract hordes of IT recruiters and IT staffing firms, are like elegant code: concise and powerful.
Most IT recruiting firms have drilled into their candidates that a resume needs to be as brief as possible (without sacrificing quality). IT recruiting companies are looking for even briefer LinkedIn Profiles. This means that it’s crucial to delete unnecessary information. One prime example of information that you should definitely take out of your profile is a listing of college or grad school courses.
IT staffing companies do want to see your certifications and relevant trainings (this usually means courses outside of school). However, you’re definitely going to risk losing their interest with a list of other courses that aren’t completely relevant to your career goals. You can save this list for your resume, which IT recruiting agencies will likely ask you for later. When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, keep things a bit leaner than your resume—it will make a big difference in how recruiters see you.
January and February are great months to work with your technical recruiters and IT staffing agencies to find new IT jobs. They’re also months in which you’re likely to get sick—maybe a couple times. If you’re sick, here’s how to proceed if your IT recruiters and IT staffing firms have you set up for an interview.
- Assess how you feel. Is it awful? Will it affect your performance? If so, call your IT recruiting agencies and IT staffing companies ASAP and let them know. They can help you reschedule the interview if you aren’t in good shape to go. On the flip side, you may be feeling a little under the weather, but you won’t have a problem interviewing. In that case, you probably still want to go anyways. Time is usually of the essence in employers’ searches to fill IT jobs. Don’t delay the interview if you don’t have to.
- If you do go to the interview, be considerate. Make sure you bring tissues, sneeze or cough into your hand or elbow, and hold off on shaking hands. Tell your interviewer that it’s great to meet them, but you’re getting over a cold and don’t want to risk infecting them. This won’t come across as rude.
- Be your best at the interview and try not to draw any further attention to your cold or illness. You want the interviewer to focus on your candidacy and to remember you for that. If you keep mentioning your cold, your IT recruiting companies will likely get some negative feedback about you. You don’t want your interviewer to have any doubts about your ability to muscle through and get work done in the face of challenges.