Often, when IT recruiters and hiring managers are looking over resumes to fill IT jobs, they don’t have the time to really scrutinize them in detail. If you’re an IT professional who may want to attract technical recruiters to help in your job search, this means you need to make it easy for IT staffing agencies to quickly confirm you’re a great fit for positions. One surefire way to do this? Create a thorough, well-formatted ‘Technical Skills’ section at the top of your resume.
IT recruiting firms often see that candidates will update their experience, but may not create– or just as bad, update– a section that solely lists their technical skills and certifications. If you leave skills off this section, you might just be losing IT staffing companies’ interest. Often this is the first part of the resume that IT recruiters will scan. It will also help to keep and maintain IT staffing agencies’and hiring managers’ interest if you format your technical skills section in a neat, easy-to-read manner. Complicated or messy diagrams may lead IT recruiting companies to pass on your resume or to miss an important skill. The last and most important thing to keep in mind is that you should put your technical skills section right at the top of your resume. By making this section the first thing people read, it will help IT recruiting agencies to be able to quickly decide you’re a good fit for a position.
You’ve probably already heard from your IT recruiters that you need to research a company before going to interview for IT jobs there. Besides brushing up on relevant technologies and skills for the role, any IT staffing firms will tell you that knowing about the company is the most imperative part of interview prep. If you really want to stand out, though, you need to direct your research in a more targeted way than simply Googling the company. Here are 2 ways that IT recruiting companies would suggest you approach your research.
1. Look for what the company is proud of. Your first step here may be just asking your technical recruiters if they can list anything for you, as they know the client best. Next, check the company’s website for a press or awards page. If they don’t have anything like this, be sure to Google the company to see if they’ve been honored or achieved anything impressive. Being able to rattle off some of the company’s recent achievements or awards will help build a nice rapport with your interviewer because it gives them a moment to feel positive—and perhaps direct some of the positivity towards you! Additionally, knowing this information shows that you’re knowledgeable about the company. If you think it will sound natural, try to note some of these points in speaking about why you want to work with the company.
2. Look for information about the company’s competitors or industry. Plenty of IT staffing agencies work with candidates who research the company itself. You can set yourself apart by extending beyond this view to a bigger picture. Are there major issues in this company’s industry? Interesting new technologies that competitors are using? If you can find a way to briefly mention this kind of information in your interview, your IT recruiting firms are likely to hear some great feedback about you.
IT recruiters hear about a lot of things that throw IT professionals off in an interview. No matter how diligently candidates prepare, surprises can still pop up that your IT staffing agencies couldn’t have predicted for you. Here’s one potential surprise that you can prepare yourself for: a grumpy or disinterested interviewer. It’s easy to see why IT recruiting companies hear that a grumpy or disinterested interviewer really throws candidates off. At best, it’s uncomfortable. At worst, it’s a sign of a difficult boss or work environment. If you encounter an interviewer who isn’t very friendly or enthusiastic, here’s how to deal with it gracefully.
Firstly, try not to take this personally or as a definite sign of a bad work environment. IT staffing firms work with plenty of employers who have good reasons why they’re unenthused about an interview. Perhaps they’re already slammed at work and don’t have time to do interviews on top of that. Maybe they’re dealing with personal issues outside of work. Your interviewer may just be having a terrible day. Keep in mind that interviewers are people and they deal with the same issues as the rest of us.
Secondly, IT recruiting firms would suggest that you complete the interview cheerfully and to the best of your ability. Try to pretend the interviewer isn’t in a bad mood. This also means not showing concern or asking what’s wrong. In any other circumstance, a little sympathy would go a long way. In an interview, you don’t want to be cold, but you do need to stay on track. Trying to cater to your interviewer’s emotions could distract you, your interviewer, or just make things awkward.
The last thing IT staffing companies would suggest is to reach out to your technical recruiters after your interview. Let them know how it went. Ask them if they think this is a sign of other issues for the team or if it’s more of a temporary thing that you can just disregard. Your IT recruiting agencies want you to land in a job that you’re happy– it’s hard to be successful otherwise!
When you’re searching for new IT jobs, polishing up your resume is important whether you’re working with IT recruiting firms or not. While it’s obvious that you need to update your own resume when you’re searching on your own, many candidates assume that IT staffing companies will update their resumes for them. While technical recruiters do go over your resume and lightly edit it, they can’t provide a great portrait of your career if you can’t give them something to work with.
It behooves you to give the best, most polished version of your resume to your IT recruiters because you are the person who knows your career and professional achievements best. Your IT recruiting agencies will know how to tailor what you give them to entice a hiring manager. Think about the process like cooking. Your IT recruiting companies might be the chefs, but even the best chefs can’t cook something great if they’re missing half the ingredients for the recipe.
Remember that as the candidate, you’re very invested in the outcome of this process. If your IT staffing firms can’t send over a great resume for you, you’re not going to land any IT jobs. So take the time to give them a great, general resume to work from. It may yield you a great IT job in the end!
There are a lot of ways to prep for your IT job interviews. You probably already spend plenty of time gathering information from your IT recruiters, researching the company online, and practicing your answers with a family member or in front of the mirror. You’ve likely brushed up on technologies your technical recruiters told you to. Here’s one thing your IT staffing firms would suggest you don’t forget: Make sure to blatantly state your interest in the position for your interviewer.
Many technical recruiters find that their candidates assume that just by going to the interview they think they’re expressing interested in IT jobs. This simply isn’t true, though. The purpose of an interview is actually for both employer and candidate to explore whether the position is a good fit. You may hear something at an interview that makes you decide the job is definitely—or definitely not—a great fit for you. Unless you tell your interviewer, they won’t know for sure if you still are interested. Additionally, IT staffing companies also find that employers prefer it when candidates show enthusiasm about the role, work, company, etc. Giving a strong, deliberate statement of interest will achieve this effect.
So how do you make sure you do this well? IT recruiting firms would suggest that you simply give a direct statement, preferably near the end of the interview. You don’t need to gush (and in fact shouldn’t). Instead, being precise and even-keeled in your tone will work best here. Note that after hearing more about the role, you think it would be a great fit for a few particular reasons. Be articulate here and consider trying to name at least one reason that benefits the company, too. Later, when you write the thank you note for your IT recruiting agencies to give on your behalf, make sure to repeat your interest in the role again. Being open about this may just land you the job!
Have you ever wondered why your interviewers often ask you about your career, even if your IT staffing agencies have already given them copies of your resume? Here are a couple reasons why your interviewer may need you to walk them through information that’s already on the resumes your IT recruiting firms have provided them with.
- They simply don’t remember it. IT recruiters would suggest you not take this personally at all. Your interviewer may be talking to many candidates. They may be handling various projects at the same time—in addition to interviewing. If your interviewer asks you about something that’s already on your resume, your technical recruiters would urge you to answer it pleasantly anyways. Being rude or condescendingly pointing out that the information is on the resume definitely won’t land you any IT jobs!
- Your interviewer may have questions because your resume is full of technical details. Especially in IT, resumes can be long and full of complicated details for various projects. Don’t be upset if your interviewer needs to ask you something that is already covered on your resume. Your IT staffing companies would urge you to patiently respond to any questions, remembering that your resume might be too long and complicated for them to remember perfectly.
- Your interviewer might be less technical, and thus need you to re-word or explain things on your resume. Your IT recruiting agencies may be able to let you know this before the interview, but sometimes they may not. If your interviewer isn’t as familiar with the technologies you’ve worked with, or possibly isn’t technical at all, they may ask you questions that you’d think your resume can answer. Again, your IT staffing firms would suggest you answer them patiently and offer to clarify further if needed. The key here is to make sure you demonstrate an ability to communicate well, even with people who have less experience or understanding of certain technologies. This can be a moment where you really cement your candidacy!
If you’ve worked with IT recruiters before to find new IT jobs, you already know that strong questions can be your best assets. Here are two strong questions that IT staffing agencies would recommend you ask.
Firstly, your IT recruiting firms would suggest that you ask about how the company or team does performance reviews. Since this is the kind of in-depth information that your technical recruiter doesn’t include on the basic job description, it shows that you’re considering the position a bit more deeply. It also shows that you’re considering how success is measured in this position. This is the kind of candidate that IT recruiting companies have no problem placing in jobs. You can show that you’re the kind of candidate who doesn’t just want to land any job; you want to land a job you can succeed in.
Secondly, IT staffing companies would recommend that you ask if the interviewer has any ballpark ideas of what they’d like the person they hire to achieve in the first month or the first quarter. Sometimes interviewers won’t have any estimates about this, but often in IT your interviewer could have specific ideas of what they’d like done on a project and deadlines. If you show that you’re already interested in these deadlines and expectations, you can demonstrate that you’re a conscientious employee. You can also gauge for yourself if you think the company works at a pace that’s compatible with your work style. If they expect too much to be done too quickly, you’ll know that you should tell your IT staffing firms the role isn’t a good fit for you.
One question IT recruiters find that you’ll usually be asked in interviews for IT jobs is something along the lines of ‘tell us about your professional achievements.’ Most technical recruiters find that their candidates do well at this question. It’s not tricky and doesn’t require you to speak candidly about your faults or failures (these are things IT staffing companies find that candidates do have a hard time with). Here’s one way that IT recruiting firms find that their candidates sometimes run into trouble with this question, though: you give too many (or too few) technical details to your interviewer.
What exactly does this mean? Unfortunately IT recruiting companies can’t give you a hard rule, but your best bet is to check with your IT staffing agencies and read your audience. Firstly, before going on the interview, ask your IT recruiting firms to let you know who you’ll be interviewing with and how technical they are. They may be able to help you gauge how detailed you should get when describing your professional achievements.
In addition to checking with your IT recruiting agencies, you should also read your audience as you interview. They’ll probably give you hints – either direct or subtle about whether they’re interested in the technical details of past professional successes. If you can read these hints, especially if they’re subtle, you’ll demonstrate another desirable skill: communication. The ability to communicate well and read you coworkers, managers, clients, and/or end-users is often prized in IT. So if your interviewer looks bored as you describe how you debugged some complicated code, take a step back and try to give a less detailed answer. You may just impress them with your technical skills and your communication skills!
When you’re searching for new IT jobs with your technical recruiters, you may feel awkward or guilty for leaving work for interviews. Leaving work to go on the interviews your IT recruiting firms set up may make you feel nervous that your boss and/or coworkers will find out you’re searching for new roles. Here’s how to deal with that anxiety or guilt.
Firstly, remember that everyone leaves work or calls out to go on an interview at some point. Taking time to go to the interviews your IT staffing agencies have set up isn’t shameful or wrong. Truthfully, most employers would expect that you’d do this at some point—even if etiquette dictates that you don’t share it with them. This is especially true if you’re an IT contractor.
Secondly, approach taking time for interviews as though you were taking time for any other legitimate appointment. When your technical recruiters set you up with an interview, simply request time off for an appointment. IT recruiting companies would suggest that you don’t create an elaborate lie or try to be too secretive. Most bosses and coworkers won’t pry for more information if you simply state that you have an appointment you’ll need to use some of your earned PTO for. IT staffing firms would also suggest that you focus on the fact that you earned this PTO. It’s your paid time off that you worked for. You get to use it for whatever appointments you need to attend.
Lastly, remember to be focused on what’s really important: how you perform in your interview. Leaving work for the interviews your IT recruiting agencies set up isn’t the important part. Save your energy for really impressing your interviewers!
IT recruiters find that many candidates are nervous when they interview for IT jobs. If you usually feel a little anxious before you go on the interviews your IT staffing companies set you up for, here’s one way to feel more confident: have an anecdote ready that highlights a skill or two listed in the job description.
Here’s how to implement this technique. Firstly, make sure you get at least a basic job description from your technical recruiters. Read this over closely and try to pick out something beyond the technical requirements. Your interviewers know that your IT recruiting firms have already had you brush up on these skills. What will really impress your interviewer is if you look for the more intangible requirements. For example, look for statements in the job description that mention the ability to juggle multiple projects at once, or highlight customer service skills.
Now, think about a time you demonstrated these skills. Craft a short anecdote that you can easily recount (without sounding like you’re reading from a script). Your IT staffing agencies are very likely to get positive feedback if you can speak directly to the job description and do it in a concrete way. Your story will demonstrate you have the skills they need. This helps your interviewers picture you succeeding in the role. Practice telling this anecdote a few times in the mirror or with a family member or friend. When you get to the interview, you can feel confident that you have this ace in your back pocket—and your IT recruiting companies may just call you with a job offer!