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If you’re working with IT recruiting companies to find your next role, you’re giving yourself many advantages. They’ll help prep you, advocate for you, and negotiate salary for you. Probably one of the advantages that’s least discussed is that IT recruiters can get you feedback when you don’t land IT jobs. As a candidate without an IT recruiter representing them, you can try to ask for feedback. However, it’s never guaranteed. Most employers actually prefer not to give feedback to rejected candidates for legal reasons. They don’t want to say something that could be misconstrued or that they may be sued for. Plenty of companies actually just have a blanket policy to never to give feedback to rejected candidates as a protective measure. There’s also just the issue of time. Most employers simply don’t have the time to give feedback to all rejected candidates. Add to these two common obstacles the fact that you don’t have much of a relationship with the employer anyways, and this makes your chances of receiving feedback pretty low. When you do have IT staffing companies representing you, they may be able to convince an employer to share some helpful feedback.
Why is getting negative feedback an advantage? If you can get constructive feedback, sometimes it can help you learn how to interview better. Or perhaps it can even help you make larger changes in your career. Some common examples of useful interview feedback are when employers tell technical recruiters a candidate didn’t land the job because they brought up politics in an interview, didn’t wear appropriate clothes, or were late. These are certainly reasons IT staffing firms find that candidates are rejected from jobs. They’re also very easy things to fix so candidates can make sure they do nail an interview in the future. Sometimes a candidate didn’t brush up enough on a technology before the interview or was unprepared to take a coding test. If their recruiter can share this, the candidate will know to study and prepare more next time.
So if you’re working with IT recruiting firms, don’t forget to ask for feedback when you’re rejected from an employer. Keep an open mind and really consider how you might use any feedback you receive. While nobody loves being told they did something wrong, that’s only a minor part of this process. You can choose to turn your feedback into an opportunity to become even more employable. You also have the benefit of your recruiter’s opinion. Good IT recruiters will be happy to take a few minutes to discuss this feedback with you and help you understand what you can do better in your next interview, how you can build a more marketable skillset, etc. Taking this time to learn lessons from interview feedback now means a better career in the future.
Interviewing technical candidates can be challenging. You want to find a way to assess their skills without making your interview a non-stop whiteboarding session or test. Here are two questions to ask candidates that IT recruiting companies suggest for technical interviews. These questions help managers explore a candidate’s technical skills, personality, and experience.
What environment did you come from previously? Technical recruiters find this question can help managers get a candidate talking about a few important things.
- Perhaps most importantly, a candidate can take this as an opportunity to talk about the technologies they’ve gotten to work with most recently. They can use this question to help you understand the range of their technical skills (and if they’re what you need in your next hire).
- Next, this question can lead to a discussion about the team they worked on. Was it large? Small? Who did they report to? Did they have anyone reporting to them? IT staffing firms find that this kind of information will help you understand how much of projects the candidate actually handled themselves, if they had to own these tasks or others checked their work and helped, if they can manage people effectively, etc.
- Lastly, the question can give you a good gauge of the kind of corporate culture the candidate is coming from. While technical acumen is important, the ability to fit into corporate culture is nearly as imperative. When candidates don’t mesh well with a corporate culture, IT recruiting agencies usually see that the candidate is unhappy and winds up leaving the role early or is let go.
What environment are you looking for in your next role? IT recruiting firms find that when you can get the candidate to articulate their next ideal environment, it will help you understand if they’re a good fit for your role in a more in-depth way.
- This question will build upon the first one to help you understand not only a candidate’s strengths, but what will make the candidate happier. And good IT staffing companies know that happier employees are always more successful in a role (and stay longer, or until the completion of a project).
- A candidate’s answer to this question will also let you know if their needs match what you and your company can provide. For instance, perhaps the candidate is not interested in IT jobs that report to a higher level like CIO– but your open job requires it. You’ll be able to tell the role won’t be a good match. Or perhaps the candidate tells you they want a more advanced tech stack in their next employer, and you can offer that. Now you can confidently sell the job harder to the candidate. Getting on the same page will help you make the right decision to hire, or not hire, a candidate.
Skype and Facetime interviews are becoming more and more common in the tech field. Considering how often Skype and Facetime interviews are used instead of (or in conjunction with) phone screens, it’s amazing that the technology has only existed for about 15 years. If you have a video chat interview coming up, here are some tips IT staffing firms would suggest. Even if you’ve used Skype or Facetime to do job interviews before, you may still find some new info below to help you nail your future interviews.
- Make sure your connection is good, right before your interview. Doing it the night before or even hours before won’t give you the same reassurance. Skype a friend or your IT recruiters for a few minutes before your scheduled interview to confirm everything is working perfectly. If you’re at home, consider asking everyone else to get off the Wi-Fi so there are no possible interruptions. IT staffing agencies have certainly seen employers nix a candidate because of a bad skype connection.
- Dress like you were going to a face-to-face interview. The tech field is noted for having plenty of workplaces that are very casual, but that doesn’t usually translate to the interview. Wear a suit (or whatever your technical recruiters suggested), shower, comb your hair, etc before you interview. It’s also very important to note here that you don’t want to assume that you can wear pajama pants or sweatpants because the camera won’t show them. IT recruiting agencies have heard plenty of horror stories about this before. Avoid becoming one of them yourself and dress completely appropriately. From head to toe.
- Take anything odd or distracting out of view of the camera. You may not think anything of it, but if you have some weird posters, desk toys, etc, it’s time to just clear them off and put them away. They could distract, or possibly offend the interviewer. There’s no reason to risk ruining your interview when you can just put them back after.
- Make sure your username is professional. If you need a new Skype account just for job interviews, you might want to consider it. Having a silly or rude name for Skype is just as bad as having an unprofessional email address. Make a simple, easy to remember username that is comprised of your name (and possibly your birthday, location, the year, etc if your name is very common).
One of the most popular questions candidates have before an interview is what questions they should be asking their interviewer. The main rule of thumb is to make sure that all of your questions are about things you’re genuinely interested in and will help you decide if the job is a good fit for you. Asking questions just to impress an interviewer or to try to show off an achievement, research, etc, will never look good. In fact, it could suggest that you just don’t understand professional norms or you have terrible communication skills. Both conclusions could certainly sink your chances of landing IT jobs. Here are 2 questions IT recruiting firms suggest you tweak according to your own needs and ask in your next interview.
1. What makes a successful employee at that this company? How do they succeed both within the corporate culture and in their work? These questions show that you’re interesting in setting high standards for yourself. It also shows that you understand success is greatly influenced by a company’s unique corporate culture. IT recruiters find that employers really appreciate it when a candidate shows some genuine curiosity about what they value in their workplace and how team members can significantly contribute.
2. What will be the goals in this role in the first month, the first quarter? Especially because of the fast-paced, deadline-oriented nature of tech work, IT staffing firms find that employers love to see candidates who are ready to hit the ground running. (This is even more important in contract roles!) Asking about upcoming, short term and longer term goals will help an employer see that you’re interested in coming in and making an impact ASAP.
There are plenty of ways to bomb a job interview. Not prepping enough, not brushing up enough on the relevant technologies, or arriving late. However, one of the most common ways technical recruiters have seen people bomb interviews this year is by discussing politics. In such a politically charged year, IT recruiters have seen a lot of candidates bomb interviews because they thought it was ok to talk about politics with their interviewers. Here’s why you need to avoid this at all costs—and how to gracefully sidestep it.
Why can’t you discuss politics in an interview for IT jobs? There are a few reasons. Firstly, you never know if you’ll be offending your interviewer. Political views can be very touchy and personal. The last thing you want to do is offend your interviewer. The point of the interview is to make a connection with them and help them see you as somebody who’d be an asset to their team.
The second reason IT recruiting firms suggest you don’t talk about politics in your job interview is because it suggests you don’t understand professional norms. Staying away from politics in the office is probably one of the most agreed-upon professional norms. When you break that in your interview, you let your interviewer assume that you probably aren’t professional in other ways, too.
The last reason IT staffing firms tell candidates not to talk about politics in job interviews is because you’re putting interviewers in an awkward spot. Learning about a candidate’s political views can be a slippery slope into areas an interviewer can’t legally ask you about. Most interviewers are working hard to make sure they only ask you questions about topics they’re legally allowed to discuss and evaluate you with as a candidate for their job. So when you bring up topics that might lead into these areas, you will make the interviewer very uncomfortable– if not make them reject you outright.
So now that you know why you can’t discuss politics in an interview, here’s one way to avoid it: come up with some other legitimate small talk topics you can reach for instead. Talk with your interviewer about the weather, sports, movies, etc. When you have a go-to list of small talk topics, you’re less likely to bring up topics that will hurt you, like politics!