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Most IT professionals have been warned by their IT recruiters and IT staffing firms to never ever be late for interviews for IT jobs. Unfortunately, being late usually means you’ll never get the job, nor will you win points with your IT staffing companies and technical recruiters. Most people don’t know why being late to an IT job interview is such a problem, though.
The main reason it’s not ok to be late is that there isn’t really a good reason for it anymore. Between smartphones, GPS, and of course your IT recruiting companies, you should be able to get good directions to your interview. If you don’t take the time to consult any of these sources and get lost, then you’ll look particularly unprepared and not resourceful or good at problem-solving. None of these are qualities you want attached to your name. So do what you have to do to make sure you’re 5 minutes early to all interviews. It’s not even worth going if you don’t.
All IT professionals have, at some point or another, had a tough time getting their IT managers or coworkers to read or respond to an email. Information technology is a busy field, and sometimes IT contractors are too swamped to be able to respond to all their emails quickly. In these cases, IT consultants should want to get attention with their emails, but not be too aggressive and build bad reputations (perhaps tarnishing their chances of working with IT recruiters again or getting new IT Jobs). Here are some ways to make sure that your emails are read, but IT headhunters and IT staffing firms don’t know you as the one who’s ‘difficult to work with.’
1. Start with a really positive re line. If you use things people want to hear, like ‘Good news,’ you’ll definitely increase the likelihood your emails will be seen and responded to. It’s always easier to respond to a pleasant, positive email.
2. Make a reference to a request they’ve made or one of their top priorities (if it’s actually relevant) in your re line and early on in your email. It’s always a sure way to get somebody’s attention if you write your email with their perspectives and values in mind.
3. Keep it quick. Whatever the content you use, keep your email short. Shorter emails are easier to respond to. In a time crunch, the easier your email is to deal with, the more likely you’ll get a response.
Information technology has always had a lot of contracting, but as of late IT professionals are finding themselves in contractor positions even more. Why are IT recruiters and IT staffing firms searching for more IT contractors than ever? There are a few reasons.
Firstly, more and more start-ups are growing and starting in the recovering economy. This means that IT headhunters are more likely to look for IT consultants to work at these start-ups. Since a bad hire can be particularly disastrous for a small company in its early years, hiring contractors is a good way to minimize this risk. Companies and professionals can make sure the fit for IT jobs is good before really making a binding employment commitment.
Secondly, plenty of companies that aren’t strictly in the IT sector are finding a need for IT professionals to do small projects for them. Rather than needing these professionals full time, they only need them for a short period of time, thus making contracting a popular option.
Lastly, it’s worth reiterating that IT has always been a contractor-heavy industry. As it grows (and it is definitely growing) so will its demand for contractors.
Since a lot of work is project-oriented in information technology, most IT contractors find themselves leaving IT jobs somewhat frequently. What IT consultants say on the last day of the job, whether their IT recruiters and IT staffing firms have found them a new job or not. Here are a few guidelines for IT professionals on what they should not be saying on their last day at job.
Don’t blast the company, job, your boss and coworkers, or the product or service. Assume anything negative you say will eventually get back to somebody. IT can be a small industry, and you’d never want to burn a bridge or tarnish your own reputation. It’s not worth it– no matter how good it would feel to let the criticism fly.
Don’t say anything about counteroffers and try to end all conversations about them ASAP. In the long run, nobody is actually happy at a place that gives them a counteroffer. It’s not worth getting into any haggling over one, either. Keeping things civil and clean is your best bet.
Don’t frame your decision to leave as something related to money. This will make things awkward and potentially do a lot of harm to your reputation. IT recruiters and IT staffing agencies don’t like to work with IT professionals who just jump from job to job, seeking the highest compensation. Don’t make it seem possible to view you in that light.
For IT contractors hunting for new IT jobs, sometimes it’s hard to think critically about the questions interviewers ask. IT recruiters and IT staffing companies can prepare IT consultants for the questions they’ll be asked. However, there are always some questions that seem to come out of the blue. Sometimes, these questions veer away from legal topics, like resumes, technical knowledge, etc, and into the illegal. IT Professionals can review the below list so they won’t be caught off guard when they’re asked about one of these off-limits topics.
Criminal history: In some states, while a background check is legal, asking about criminal history is not. Even if it is legal, this kind of question isn’t really appropriate for interviews.
Marital status: Again, marital status isn’t always illegal to ask about, but it’s pretty much always inappropriate. Employers may be trying to fish for a few pieces of information that just aren’t fair to judge you on as a potential employee.
Religion: Like marital status and criminal history, this isn’t always illegal. If you think you’re being asked the question out of discriminatory motives, this is important to note and probably discuss with your IT headhunters.
Age: Sometimes interviewers slip and try to ask about age. There are plenty of reasons why answering this question outright can be harmful to you as a potential employee. Check in your state’s laws to see if this question is illegal and consider how you’ll protect yourself if it is.
There are some fields, like information technology, where mistakes can make a big impact. When IT contractors make large mistakes with big consequences at their IT jobs, how should their managers respond? Here are some tips for both IT consultants and IT managers about how to handle big mistakes.
For the IT professionals who made the mistake: Start by taking action. Don’t hide the mistake, because it will make things far worse—both for your company and for you. IT recruiters and IT staffing firms will want to work with somebody who is honest with their bosses and coworkers. Hiding mistakes looks very dishonest. Secondly, make sure that in addition to fixing it, you pay attention to why the mistake happened in the first place. If you don’t know why the mistake happened, you can’t avoid it in the future. Lastly, make a plan for how you’ll ensure that the mistake is fixed and will not happen again. If you can handle it with grace and competence, you may even be able to bolster your reputation with IT headhunters.
For the managers dealing with the mistake: Start by removing any emotion from the situation. Investigate the mistake and seek employees’ honest responses to questions like ‘what happened?’ Accusations may seem like the best way to go, but if you approach employees with a more collaborative attitude, you’ll get more help solving the problem and more information about why the problem occurred. This leads to the second and most important point: don’t just solve the problem, figure out exactly why the mistake was made. You need to know if your employee needs more training, if there are other factors at play, or if the employee isn’t able to meet the job’s expectations. After the mistake is fixed, do some analysis and figure these things out. Then work to fix these issues so you never have to deal with the same large mistake again.
Most IT consultants have had to do phone screens or phone interviews at some point or another in their information technology careers. While IT contractors should always be able to count on their IT recruiters to help prepare them for phone interviews, there are a few things they’ll have to do on their own.
1. Schedule (or make sure your technical recruiters schedule) the interview for a good time. Make sure you’ll be able to get to a quiet place (with good cell reception) for the call and that you’ll have extra time in case it goes over. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll be interrupted, distracted, or rushed. Double confirm the time, phone numbers, and who will call who with your IT headhunters if they schedule the interview for you.
2. Be just as prepared for this interview as you might be for a face-to-face one. Research the company, look over the job description, and refresh yourself on all relevant technical knowledge you’ll need to know. If possible, have hard copies of relevant info, like your resumes and notes on relevant technologies that you can refer to if you get stuck. Phone interviews might seem like they’re going to be less rigorous, but being the prepared candidate will really set you apart.
3. Be a little more enthusiastic than you might be in person. You don’t have to go overboard, but keep in mind that the interviewer is only experiencing your voice. Make sure it conveys plenty of personality and is just as engaging as you’d be in person.
For seasoned IT contractors, the question ‘Why do you want to work at this company?’ isn’t new territory in an IT job interview. While it may seem like a simple question with no wrong answers, IT consultants can definitely blow this question (and in turn their shot at the IT jobs they’re interviewing for!). What’s the correct way for IT professionals to respond to this question so they impress the interviewing managers, IT recruiters, and IT staffing firms they’re speaking to?
When faced with the question ‘Why do you want to work at this company?’ your best place to start is with your research on the company. Start by reciting some of the awards, perks, and anything else the company might brag about. Next, consider what the company values and find ways to match up your strengths with these values. You may want to talk to your technical recruiters to get some ideas for this. Lastly, take the opportunity to mention any connections you may have at the company. If you know somebody who works there, name drop them and mention it if they said good things about working there. Having connections within the company, in addition to meeting its needs with your strengths and appreciating the benefits and achievements it tends to tout, will all create a great impression.
This spring’s recent college graduates in information technology are likely starting new IT jobs or just started them this summer. While IT contractors fresh from college may have resumes chock full of skills and experience using particular technologies, their skills as IT professionals may not be nearly as polished. Here are a few skills IT consultants should work on acquiring to excel at IT job interviews, in their first real jobs in the field, and to impress IT recruiters and IT staffing firms.
-Learn not to take things personally. Negative feedback about how you interviewed, your resume, or how you’re doing at work is all going to help you in the future. Try not to let it sting too much personally, because your feelings will get in the way of your ability to take that feedback and use it. You’ll also appear a lot less professional if you respond emotionally or defensively to negative feedback.
-Avoid looking entitled. Whether you’re old or young, this will rub people the wrong way. Having a humble, willing approach at work will make all the difference. Managers and coworkers want to work with people who are easy to get along with and don’t mind pitching in to help the team. Be that person and you’ll quickly gain a strong reputation in your field and ace your IT job interviews.
-Don’t give up easily. If you have a problem, work hard to solve it yourself. The best employees are the ones who don’t bother their bosses or coworkers over anything but the most imperative issues. Needing to have your hand held often won’t make you look good in the future—at your first job or others!
In a field like information technology, there’s no room for useless IT contractors in a company. Business is too fast and demanding for a company to continue to pay IT consultants who aren’t contributing to the bottom line and doing their IT jobs well. How do you know if you’re one of those IT professionals who’s just not cutting it at work? Here are a few signs: 1. You’re not sure if you’re meeting expectations. Sure, your resumes match up perfectly to the job description and your IT recruiters said you’d be the best candidate for the job. But you can’t tell how well you’re actually performing. Don’t wait to find out. Talk to your IT recruiters who’ve placed you and your managers if you can. Get feedback on how you’re doing and what you could be doing better. 2. You don’t feel confident about the work you’re doing. If you’re regularly asked to do tasks that you just don’t have the background knowledge to do (or at least figure out how to do), you may not be a good fit for this job. 3. You don’t like what you’re doing—and it shows. Even the most capable employees can be fired by their employers for having a poor attitude. Make sure you’re avoiding this easy problem.