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Category: Motivation (18)

  • Expectation vs. Reality: Working in Tech

    "I want to work in Silicon Valley because that is where all tech jobs are at."

    "There are no women in tech."

    "You can't be creative in the tech industry."

    When people think of working in tech, they often have a lot of expectations of what life is actually like. Tom Parzych, Division Manager of Workbridge Dallas, is here to dispell some of the common misconceptions people have.

    1. Expectation: You have to live in Silicon Valley to work in tech.

    Reality: Any large metropolitan area will offer a stable, and consistently growing, technology market. Technology is where most companies are investing. Every industry and sector needs to hire to invest in their technology. Whether the city has a dominant presence of one specific industry (i.e. - Finance, telecommunication, law, real estate, etc.) or a diverse landscape, each industry will need to evolve a focus on technology in order to help the company evolve. The main reason the perception in Silicon Valley is that it is the only place to work in Tech is due to the fact that the dominant industry is software companies.

    Though Silicon Valley is well-known as the tech capital of the world, other rising hubs like Dallas are well on their way to displacing that title. For instance, Dallas was named by SmartAsset as the country's fourth best tech city in which to work. Known as the home of Texas Instruments and mogul Mark Cuban of Shark Tank fame, Dallas has its share of fast-growing VC-funded companies with IT Services provider CPSG Partners and real estate CRM developer Think Tech Labs, along with 168 Inc. 500 companies. With 3.9% job growth from March 2015-2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that "among the 12 largest metropolitan areas in the country, Dallas ranked first in the rate of job growth and third in the number of jobs added."* Additionally, the annual Urban Land Institute (ULI) report names Dallas the top U.S. market for overall real estate prospects. In terms of affordability, Dallas exceeds even their much admired neighbor Austin in the ULI Affordability Index.

    Start your job search in tech by checking out these job listings in Dallas or a city near you.

    2. Expectation: The technology industry is dominated by men.

    Reality: This is a common misconception based on historical data and the previous 'IT' field. There are a lot of companies who would like to diversify the make-up of tech departments and often that starts with the opportunity to hire women. There are many programs that now encourage female involvement in the tech industry, including 'Women who Code' meet-up groups and other industry-interest groups that encourage more female involvement in the technology community.

    There are more women in the tech industry than you think. Tech companies are making more of a conscious effort to increase women in the industry. After learning that only 30% of Google's employees were women in 2014, they offered free coding lessons to women and minorities to encourage more involvement. As many obstacles women face in the tech industry, there are ways to overcome them and make a statement for future generations.

    3. Expectation: Working in the tech industry can be monotonous and there's no room for creativity.

    Reality: A lot of people in the industry are extremely creative and are focused on fostering that creativity and challenging themselves to evolve their skill set through solving complex problems, which requires looking at solutions from various angles and points of view.

    The tech industry is filled with creativity. When people think of "tech" they imagine engineers or programmers, but they often forget the design side of tech. User Experience (UX) designers are the ones who create the interfaces for your screens and how it affects your experience with the product.

    4. Expectation: You need to fit a specific job description with a skill set matching everything that is listed in the requirement section.

    Reality: Most of the positions (especially senior roles) are very much based on the overall potential of a candidate. There are so many technologies that environments can utilize and the industry is constantly evolving. Any company would be very hard-pressed to find someone who had the specific stack they are currently working with and they shouldn't want to! Hiring managers aren't putting as much of an emphasis on resume screens, therefore you shouldn't put a lot of emphasis on job descriptions.

    Ready to start your tech job search? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you'll love:

  • 4 Job Search Errors You Need to Avoid

    There are a lot of articles on the World Wide Web that instruct potential job seekers on what they should do: how to conduct their search, format their resume, present themselves on interviews, and negotiate the right offer. Here, we discuss a different spin by discussing what potential seekers should NOT do in their efforts to find a new position.

    There are certain misconceptions that people have when starting the search for the right role and making the wrong decision can sometimes make the search all that much harder. First, I will discuss what not to do while starting your search. Next, I will cover what not to do when formatting your resume. This can be especially critical since this is typically your first ‘in’ with a potential hiring manager. Lastly, I will cover how to not conduct yourself during the interview process, and how to handle some hard-to-answer questions.

    Found a job? Not sure if it's the right one? Here are 5 ways to find out.

    Do NOT expect the Resume Boards to find your next position...

    In the technology field, there are more than enough positions open, which span various fields, niches, and locations. Many are under the impression that this means recruiters, HR, hiring managers, and others of the like are constantly checking the boards for talented resumes. While there is some truth to this, many positions get filled through networking and referrals. I’m sure every programmer, systems analyst, DevOps Engineer, DBA, etc. have gotten calls when posting their resume that are inappropriate for the basic requirements of what they are looking for (i.e. location, title, salary range, contract or permanent roles). This is because anyone has access to your profile and will try to make a square peg fit into a round hole.

    In order to find the next position, you must be proactive rather than reactive. Technology is a very different industry than most other industries. You should be sending your resume to companies that you find interesting (regardless of a job posting or not). You should also be connecting with people at those companies through social media that is profession-friendly (LinkedIn, Google+, etc.), this is the tech industry; be creative! You should also be connecting with recruiters that are specific to your location and know the local market or have inside information. Furthermore, since the tech industry is very collaborative and sharing in their training, you should check out local tech-specific meetings and advocacy groups for introductions to others within the tech industry. Get yourself out there, connect with people who likely have similar interests, and market yourself to the open industry…do NOT expect your resume online to do all the work!

    Do NOT make decisions for the individual considering your resume…

    The first step in most job searches is to update your resume. This can be a very daunting task for some, as ‘selling’ yourself on a piece of paper is nearly impossible. You should have a copy of your resume that you update for specific positions, and use your experience to relay your qualifications for the duties of that specific posting. However, many people ‘screen’ themselves out of even applying for a job based on some ‘requirements’ of the posting. Most hiring managers understand the difficulty of conveying a skill set on a resume (remember: they are people too, and have probably even looked for a job themselves). If you make the decision that you are unqualified based on a ‘job requirement’, you are essentially making the decision for the person who is considering your resume, and that decision is ‘no’.

    Now, this advice shouldn’t be taken too literally. I’m speaking to certain job requirements. Such as, if you have 5 years of experience and the posting calls for 7 years of experience, you should give yourself the shot. Perhaps you have had more diverse experience in those 5 years versus someone with the targeted 7 years. Additionally, if the role calls for 6-7 years of experience, and you only have 4-5/7 years, send in your application regardless! Most understand the room for potential and growth, which should be conveyed through your interview process.

    Do NOT make your resume a novel

    (no matter how much experience you have)…

    Any technical resume over 3 pages is not being read. Do NOT make your resume overly detailed. Especially in technology, most of the languages or systems you used 6 years ago may not be relevant to the current tech landscape. Technology is constantly evolving and those who work in the field need to do the same, and more importantly, show that evolution. This is directed towards those who would be considered senior in their career, of course, but you should not have to list every technology you’ve worked with since the beginning of your career. Instead, focus on those projects that are current, relevant, or that you’ve acquired on your own time (through mentorship, side projects, etc.).

    When you are targeting a specific role, if the posting calls for a requirement you possess, but most other roles don’t- make sure to put the skill on the resume for that role and move on. For example, if you are a Microsoft Web Developer, your C# experience should be applicable for 98% of the roles you are applying for. That VB.NET experience from 5 or 6 years ago may only be applicable for one posting. Additionally, if you have 4 years of JAVA and 3 years of C#, but want to work in a JAVA environment, tailor your resumes appropriately and apply for those positions. Most hiring managers will pass on those who ‘walk the line’, because it shows some experience in a couple of things, rather an expertise in one or two things. You should NOT just have one copy of your resume, there should be a couple variations.

    Do NOT get in your own way through your interview process…

    Phone screens are sometimes a necessary evil. While the industry is moving heavily towards first-round in-person interviews, there are still some companies, hiring managers, etc. that conduct phone screens as the initial point of contact. With this being the case, there are certain assumptions you should NOT be making. Within technology, there is a misconception that the recruiter or HR representative conducting the phone call may not be technical or may not really know how to ‘screen’ you. However, more and more technical positions call for someone to interface with people in the company, both who are technical and non-technical. These screens can be a great way to show your diversity and ability to work with different internal constituents. When speaking on the phone with a hiring manager, some assume there is no room for fault or difference. Make sure to conduct the interview in a conversational way, if they ask you a ‘how to’ question, and you get the feeling that isn’t what they are looking for, clarify it with them! Do NOT assume that there are only black and white, yes or no answers.

    A lot of people within technology are typically very good at what they do, but can have a hard time relaying this information in an appropriate way. For instance, one should never speak in absolutes and they should be very careful about the verbiage used. Recently, I had a candidate go to an in-person interview with a hiring manager for a local start-up. The candidate was a great fit for the role, and he was really excited about the position. When he met with the hiring manager, he was asked a question: “How would you rate your experience with ASP.NET”. Now, the candidate was a Web Developer with tons of ASP.NET (and he really knew his stuff), and he answered “Expert level”. Fatal mistake. The next question from the hiring manager was about some concepts of ASP.NET, and the candidate got all right but one. When the hiring manager was providing feedback, he said the candidate “shot himself in the foot”. He explained that while he was very interested in the candidate, his concern is that the candidate wasn’t an ‘expert’ and got a very simple (in his eyes) question wrong and that indicated a level of not only knowledge but naivetés that he could not justify. The candidate should have answered with “I’m very comfortable/confident with my experience, but I’m always learning”. This probably would have allowed for a more positive dialogue vs. the one that resulted.

    In addition to remembering what to do in your technical job search, remember what NOT do to!

    While there are very specific recommendations and information out there on what to do to get a job, there are also a lot of things NOT to do that are sometimes forgotten. These small, but sometimes costly, mistakes can be the difference between you landing the ‘right’ job and the ‘next’ job!

    For more job search advice, you should read:

  • How Taking a Contract-to-Hire Job Benefits You

    When job hunting, it’s common to see three types of jobs: salary, contract, and contract-to-hire. While it’s more common for people to choose salary jobs, there are some unexpected benefits that naturally align with contract work. When picking a new job, what is really important to you and how can a contract or contract-to-hire job help you meet those goals? Evan Gordon, Regional Director of Workbridge Philadelphia, raises some great points for anyone considering these types of roles. 

    1.       Strong work-life balance

    Contract work has a strong work-life balance built directly into its structure. Hours aren’t set at 9 to 5, but instead are project based. This leads to more flexibility. If you prefer to work at night, to spend more time with kids during the day, you have that option. 

    The other perk is that you are also paid for every hour you work, so if you do work long hours on a product launch or staying late to fix a problem, you are compensated for every hour. 

    Want a company that treasures work life balance? Check out these job listings.

     

    “A contractor's schedule is more project oriented. They have more flexibility.”

    - Evan Gordon

    2.       Try before you buy

    When you interview at a company, how do you really know that this job is the right fit for you? Do you get a sense of your team, the culture, or your boss from a 20-minute interview? While they are interviewing you, are you evaluating them or are you more worried about making yourself look good?

    As a contract-to-hire, you have the rare opportunity to learn all about a company before you commit to a full time position. How do you like working with your team? Is there a rich company culture? Do other people enjoy working there? How is your boss? These are all things you can decide for yourself, and if you choose another opportunity once your contract is over, there’s no stigma for leaving the job. 

     “You can only know what it’s like to work at a company if you experience it firsthand.”

    - Evan Gordon

    3. Building strong relationships in a short time

    The best job seeker is always networking and building relationships. What better way to stick in someone’s mind then working a project with them. As Evan Gordon says, “It’s a small world and everyone talks to each other.” By building a great reputation as a hard worker or team player you not only build up a reputation, but have several people who can vouch for your talents. 

    “It’s a small world. Everyone knows everyone.” - Evan Gordon

    4. Not just the same old routine

    After you’ve worked a job for about six months, you begin to feel comfortable in your responsibilities. At about a year, you have mastered the task and begin to make improvements; but as you stretch into two years or even five years, the same old routine can begin to get stale. You have to ask yourself, are you still learning? Is there room for growth?

    As a contractor, you are assigned to different projects. You could be building a virtual reality project one month, and working in the medical field the next. Tech has permeated almost every major industry and so contracts can run the gambit. As a contractor you have a choice, not an assignment. Learn, grow, and experiment, what more could you want from a career?

    Don’t get stuck in a job you don’t love. Contact us here to find one you do.

    “When people get bored, they leave.” - Evan Gordon

    These factors are only some of the reasons why a contract or contract-to-hire position could be your next exciting opportunity. As you search for a new job think about the following questions: What companies are tackling projects or issues that are important to you? What do you want to learn at your next job? What relationships will propel your career to the next level?

    Ready to start job searching? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you’ll love:

  • 4 Surprising Paybacks You Get from Being a Mentor

    At first glance, mentorship seems a bit of a one-way street. With a closer look, it becomes clear that there are some surprising benefits for the mentor, as well as the mentee. Sam King, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates NYC, discovered four unexpected paybacks that will encourage you to consider mentorship yourself.

    1.      The satisfaction of watching someone evolve

    Looking back at their own experiences and evolution, many of the best in the tech industry grew up being a mentee. For those who were mentored most of their lives, it's only natural to want to give back in the same way. But as simple as mentoring sounds, there is a right and wrong way to go about it. The correct way is to be as open and able to share as much as your mentee is sharing with you, and to talk an honest journey together. Their success is theirs; however, the pride of seeing your mentee grow from the person you first took under your wing into an accomplished professional is yours to share.

        2.      Knowing in a small way you were a part of someone’s success

        There are only a few things money can buy in life, but being able to see firsthand - and knowing that in a small way you facilitated someone’s success - is certainly not one of them. It priceless. Mentoring provides an amazing feeling that hits you at the core of your heart and there is no other feeling like it.

    3.      A deep look into your own faults and weaknesses

    When you are mentoring someone, it allows you to discover the obstacles in your own game and what you can do to improve on yourself. Talking to someone about what they are doing or what they are going through also allows you to look at it from a different perspective. You might approach a similar situation in a new light. Furthermore, it gives you a chance to communicate a different learning experience in the future.

    4.      You learn what makes you uncomfortable

    A mentor is essentially a mirror of your own reflection and you learn what makes you feel good and what makes you frustrated in life. If you are approaching mentorship in the right way, you should be sharing equally in the benefits of the relationship, just as your mentee is.

    Mentoring someone not only makes a difference in someone's life, but takes you on your own journey of self-discovery. Take the time to mentor someone and you'll be surprised with what you learn about them as well as yourself.

    You might also be interested in:

    About the Author:

    Sam King, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates New York, is a serial mentor for you professionals in business. When she signed up for a job in the tech industry, she wanted to experience what it was like from the other side: to mentor. Since mentoring her first mentee, Sam has continued to be a mentor throughout her time at Workbridge Associates. She says that watching someone's growth and success will never get old and she continues to learn more about herself every day.

    Work with Sam to find tech talent or the next step in your tech career.

     

  • 4 Obstacles Women - And Young Professionals - In Tech Face & How To Overcome Them

    With under 17% of technical positions in the US filled by women, its easy for the female technologist to feel as if they're at a disadvantage.  While it is obvious that many women are making great strides and contributing to the technical world, there are many obstacles that women in tech, and simularily young professionals - face and need help overcoming. Here's a few key roadblocks that could keep you from being successful, and how to get around them:

    1. Not being taken seriously – Many women feel like they aren’t given the same respect as their male counterparts in the workplace.  Whether in a meeting or interview, sometimes its easy to not believe that the young woman in a designer dress and neatly plated hair is capable of coding an algorithm designed to compute the trajectory route of the east coast's next hurricane or create the next social media fad.

    How to overcome: Let your resume and experience speak for yourself.  While the world may never stop judging a book by its cover or a woman by their stature, no one can argue with experience and accomplishments.  Take yourself seriously, and don't let prejudiced opinions control your confidence

    2. Male-Dominated Management: It’s easy to feel intimidated or underrepresented when the majority of the managers you come across are of the opposite gender.  With only 23% of technical positions managed by females, the numbers speak for themselves.

    How to overcome: Strive to break this statistic; instead of feeling defeated by it, become determined to rise to your full potential.  Study characteristics of good leaders: honesty, listening skills, empathy – and exhibit them.  In most cases, managers aren't promoted based off of their gender, but the leadership qualities one possesses.  Show your managers your worth by putting in the hours, sharing your ideas, and showing your determination for your team to succeed.

    3. Technical Knowledge:  The number of females with technical degrees is decreasing. Many female technologists find that they never dreamt of a career in tech, yet found themselves pursuing a tech career.  With so few women obtaining technical degrees, how can the amount of women in tech increase?

    How to Overcome: More so than other fields of study, technology is always changing.  Self taught coders saturate the market and their knowledge is just as extensive as those who graduated 10 years ago with technical degrees.

    Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO of Monetate, looks back on her entrance into the tech world, saying, “I started in tech accidentally. After graduating I took a job as a secretary for a VP of Sales for a company that turned out to be a Silicon Valley startup, though in the mid-80s none of us knew what those were. I was soon doing a bit of everything, including some programming in their proprietary scripting language, though we didn’t call it that then.  I loved the company, but still wasn’t sure I wanted to be in business, much less in tech. Nonetheless, here I am 30 years later, in my fifth tech startup.”  Without formal technical schooling, Lucinda has accomplished more than many IT graduates can say and has even been awarded Eastern Technology Council’s Enterprise Award for CEO of the Year, all with a Psychology degree.

    Make it a point to constantly learn, ask questions, and inquire.   As more and more technologists rely on their hands on knowledge, degrees in the technical world will become more and more obsolete and your path into a tech career can be as unique as you are.  

    4. Always feeling the need to talk about being a woman in tech – Women in technology need to stick together, right?  Why do women in tech always need to talk about the fact that they are women in tech?  Why do we need more female technologists?

    How to Overcome: Many women feel the need to defend their roles and career successes and praise others', specifically because of their gender – but know you don’t need to.  Instead of focusing on increasing the number of women in tech, focus on diversification as a whole. 

    On increasing the number of women in tech, Cassy Rowe, head of UX/Design at Scoop takes a less voiced stance. “To be candid, I don't necessarily try/target/push for more of any particular gender/race/etc purely because of their gender/race/etc. I frame the conversation differently. I don't see that we need more women in tech purely because we need more women, but I do see that we have a lack of women.”  Instead of pointing out our differences, focus on what makes us all the same: a passion for technology.

    No matter how many more young (female) technologists strive to be the next award winning CTO or UX/UI designer it is still going to be awhile until the statistics fall in their favor.  Until then, continue to make strides, innovate & be more than just a woman in tech.

  • 5 Ways You Know You Found the Right Job

    How do you know when you’ve found “The One” in your career? When you’re looking for “the one” you have a checklist of things you want in a significant other. There are certain things you can compromise on, and those you need fulfilled to be happy. Like finding that perfect person, finding the right job has its own checklist as well. Have no fear, we’ve got 5 top areas that most tech professionals can match their desires up with in order know it’s the right offer and the right company:

    1. Personal Goals

    Even before you start your job search, sit down to think about your personal goals, values and what makes you happy. Once you access that, start looking for jobs and going on interviews, stop and ask yourself, “Does this company align with my values and goals?” It’s easy to get caught up in the red carpet treatment. When companies want to woo you, they’ll offer you all the good things: free lunches, dinners, drinks, etc. The celebrity treatment will eventually fade away, so don’t get caught up in all the flashy things. The right job will be lined up with your values and goals, which will make you happier in the long-run.

    Don’t get stuck in a job you don’t love. Contact us here to find one you do.

    2. Innovation

    Innovative companies will have new ideas they want to implement, or aggressive updates on current product offerings for continuous improvement.  You should feel excited about the project you’re going to be on, the new technologies you’ll be working with, and all the things you’re going to learn.  You probably don’t want to be a part of a stagnant company with an existing product that they do nothing but maintain; these aren’t going to be the type of companies that can adapt to a constantly changing environment.

    3. Mission and Outlook

    When you find the perfect person you often envision your life with them five or maybe ten years down the road. It’s the same with a job. You have to envision what the next few years will look like with this company. How are their stocks looking? (Or maybe they’re a startup and not publicly traded.) How much funding do they receive? All these questions can help you anticipate how the company will look in five or ten years. You want to make sure the company you’re working for is in a market where they can expand their product and grow. The right job will have a good outlook for you in the next few years, without worrying about the company heading in a different, more volatile direction. 

    4. Company Culture

    Seeing how your significant other interacts with family and friends can provide a window into whether it will be a lasting relationship. Similarly, knowing how a company treats their employees will give insight into what your office life will be like on a day-today basis. Furthermore, how people communicate and work together is crucial, since that’s the atmosphere you’ll ultimately need to communicate in and work with. Take a look at the environment and how the office is laid out; it can be a big factor in finding a place that not only fits your personality but your needs and desires as well. Do you need a collaborative, open workspace or a quiet, secluded area to concentrate? Another aspect to look for? Humility: a company with little ego is less likely to put their egos before the employees. The right job will allow you to voice your own opinions when needed.

    Want a company that treasures work life balance? Check out these job listings.

    5. Work-Life Balance

    Balance is everything in life. There’s work life and then there is life outside of work. The right company will give you the best of both worlds: the ability to live the life you want and be able to do the work you love. Sometimes those two can be one and the same. Many companies, especially tech companies or startups, require a lot of around the clock work, and that might be your cup of tea. Either way, the right job will align with how you want to live your life.

    Bonus key area, if you still don't know if it's the one? Growth.

    Finding the one – the job or love of your life – can have the same goal at the end of the day: both make you want to be a better person. The right job will enable you to grow professionally and personally.  You should be able to climb the corporate ladder, and not feel stuck in a bad relationship with your company. Growing and learning is important, so you should be able to find ways throughout your job experience to continuously evolve.

    Ready to start job searching? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you’ll love:

  • 6 Reasons Using GitHub Will Make You A More Desirable Candidate

    GitHub is one of the most important tools available to programmers, managers, and other professionals in the tech space. According to GitHub’s website, there are 11.6M people collaborating right now across 29.1M repositories on GitHub. The question is, how can you use this in your job search?

    Start your job search by applying to one of Workbridge's open roles on the job board.

    Prospective developers, proven ninjas, and coding wizards, if you’re contending for a new position without a GitHub account, you’re actually already one step behind. Here are 6 reasons you absolutely need to be using GitHub to make yourself a more desirable candidate:

    1. Having side projects will help you with your job search. Not only will it give you something deeper to talk about in conjuction with your current role, but also gives you the chance to develop a passion and show off your entrepreneurial side. There a number of reasons a side project could put you a notch above another candidate in a close race.
    2. It’s becoming expected. The hiring manager will be researching your GitHub account, and may even request your information alongside a resume. Take a few days to polish your account and add some non-proprietary examples of code that you have worked on. These days, companies might be a little worried if you don’t have a GitHub account.
    3. Some companies leverage GitHub in their own processes. Hiring managers are creating tech tests and small projects for candidates to complete as a way to vet talent. In the workplace, teams of programmers are able to store their work and access any changes that other team members make in real-time. Being well-versed in the system is a skill in and of itself.
    4. GitHub is a community where you can meet other developers. You can network, connect, comment on, discuss, share your work, collaborate on projects or build upon others’ efforts. In a word, use GitHub to “engage.” You never know, that partner on a project could be your next employer.
    5. It can demonstrate your skills. Many companies won't interview someone without code samples, and often job seekers cannot share their code because it's proprietary. With GitHub you can post projects outside of work. With that said, don't be afraid to post unfinished projects! Many times, technologists are hesitant to do this, but it can actually reveal a lot about who you are as a developer and show your thought process.   
    6. You’re expanding upon your tech knowledge. Learning new languages that you’re not currently using at work, or honing skills that you'd like to keep growing, is important - especially if you’re working for a company with an old code base or spending most of your time doing maintenance instead of new coding. Managers love to see people who are passionate about technology and spend time outside of work researching the newest frameworks and languages.

    Submit your resume and a Workbridge associate will contact you about your job search.

    Whether you view it as a social network, a warehouse or a host, use GitHub to its full potential. Perhaps you are searching for that next gig or just trying to stay relevant with one of the hundreds of JavaScript frameworks, but either way, GitHub will continue to facilitate the advancement of software development around the Globe. As the tech industry continues to exponentially change the face of everyday life, it is up to you as a professional in this space to be conscious of trends in order to stay competitive – when you’re on the job hunt, you’ll thank yourself.

     

  • The 5-minute Guide to Nailing The Interview

    Beginning a job search and interviewing for a new position can be an intimidating task. Which items should I put on or leave off my resume? Which topics should I prepare for?  How do I deal with questions that I don’t have answers to? With a few pointers, you can get organized and put yourself in the best possible position for your interview. Here's a quick guide on how to nail an interview. 

    Don't have an interview set up yet? Get the job search process started with these openings.

    Pre-Interview Preparation

    1. Let’s start with the very first thing: your resume.  This is the first impression that you make on your next potential employer; it needs to be a good one! There are a lot of misconceptions about what to list, and what not to list on your resume. Take a long hard look at what you're including and how you're including it. Here are some "dos and don'ts":

    • Do make sure that you are concise and to the point with everything you include.  
    • Don’t make the mistake of making things sound a lot more complicated than they were.  
    • Do start with a simple and clear objective.  The objective should (obviously) line-up with the position that you are applying to.  
    • Do make sure your resume reflects the role that you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying to an individual contributor opening, it doesn’t make sense to list that you are seeking a managerial position.
    • Don’t go overboard and list every technology and skill known to man in an effort to attract interest.  If a technology or skill is listed on your resume, it's fair game to be asked about in the interview. Stick to what you are comfortable and confident using. 
    • Do include skill level. If you have basic experience in some technologies and skills, indicate that.
    • Do focus on your experience. One of the biggest pet peeves for hiring managers is when they ask about a skill, and the candidate’s response being somewhat along the lines of, “I haven’t done much work with that.” Hiring managers are more interested in the work that you’ve done than seeing a long list of skills.  Spend most of your time showing employers how you’ve used your skills rather than listing technologies or skill sets.  
    • Don't write an encyclopedia, last but not least.  Try and keep your resume to 2 pages max.
     

    2. Have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, and research your interviewer. This is basic, and most people have done this already, but it's important to have an updated profile as LinkedIn is probably the most used tool by both employers and job-seekers. You'll open yourself up to a number of different opportunities, and give employers the chance to come and find you. This is also a great way to learn about people you will be meeting with in upcoming interviews.  Take the time to research the people that you’ll be meeting to see if you share any common connections, and to learn more about their background.  These will all be great topics of discussion when it’s your turn to talk and ask questions during the interview.  Interviewers will be happy to see that you’ve taken the time to do research on them, an indicator to them that you’re taking the interview seriously.

    3. Do your homework on the company that you are meeting with.  Make sure you have as good of an understanding as possible of what the company does, and what some of their products are.  When it’s your turn to ask questions in the interview, don’t be the person that asks, “So, what exactly does your company do?”  As obvious as this sounds you’ll be surprised at how often people make this mistake.  This is one of the biggest turn offs to potential employers, and gives the impression that you don’t have any real interest in the position.

    4. Have examples ready to go. Make sure you have at least 1 or 2 projects that you’ve worked on recently that you’re most proud of and ready to talk about.  Every interview has a portion where candidates are expected to discuss and explain in details the projects that they’ve worked on in the past. Employers are often going to be interested in the most recent projects that you’ve worked on, so make sure you can explain those fully. On top of that, if there are projects that you’ve worked on in the past that are directly related to the role then make sure to bring these up. Don’t gloss over the projects either - go into specific details.  Employers are interested in hearing why you chose to design and develop things in a certain manner.

    During the Interview

    Ok, now you’ve made it to the interview. How do you conduct yourself? What should you always remember?

    1. Answer questions directly.  Be sure to pay attention to the question that is being asked, and focus on answering that question alone.  Do not go off onto a different subject, and start talking about a completely different topic.  There will be opportunities for you later in the interview to bring up topics that you’d like to discuss.

    2. Be honest about your skill set. Similar to listing skills on your resume, if you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t pretend to know the answer!  Chances are the person asking you the question knows the right answer, so pretending to know the answer and giving a wrong answer will be a detriment to your candidacy.  Let the interviewer know that you don’t know the answer to that question….but don’t stop there!  Try and come up with a solution to the problem based on what you know about the topic.  Employers are often very interested in seeing what type of problem solving skills potential employees have, and to see their thought process. 

    3. Remember, it’s okay not to know everything. On that note, it’s not okay to have no initiative to take on new challenges.  Rarely are employers going to find a candidate that has 100% of the skills that they’re looking for. Part of the reason you’re probably looking for a new job is to learn new skills, and most employers know this. Show them that you’re able to pick up new skills quickly by proposing a solution to the problem, even if you don't have those hard skills yet.

    4. Don’t let a rude interviewer rattle you. There will be times when you run into interviewers who come off as impolite. There could be a couple of reasons for this, or maybe the person genuinely is a rude person. Don’t let that put you off for the rest of the interview. After meeting with him/her, you may decide that this company is not the right place for you, and that’s okay. Just keep calm through the interview and make a positive impression. You never know when you might cross paths with them again. Another reason the person might have this demeanor is because they’re using an interview tactic; working in engineering and IT is known to have situations that end up being high pressure and stressful.  Some employers want to see how certain people will react when they’re put in uncomfortable and high-stress situations.  Continue to do what you’ve been doing in the interview, and don’t let this bother you.

    5. Engage your interviewers….at the appropriate times. Always remember that the interview is a platform for the employer to assess your skills, and see if you are a fit for their company.  Yes, it is also a time for you to figure out whether or not the company is a fit for you, but there will be an opportunity for you to do that. When you are given the opportunity make sure that you have questions prepared, and topics to discuss with them.  You need to show the employer that you are genuinely interested in the position. Start with questions specifically about the company, and the job itself. Leave compensation/benefits questions for later. You don’t want to give off an impression that those things are the only important topics for you.  Employers are going to want to hire people who are interested in the company because of the project and how you will be contributing.

    Get more tips on how to interview from a Workbridge office near you.

    Post Interview

    Always remember to follow-up with a thank you note after your interview.  This may seem like a trivial gesture, but it could be the differentiator between you and other candidates.  There are many times where an employer is struggling to decide between 2-3 candidates, and end up hiring the candidate that wrote the thank-you note because it was that one extra something. This will show your appreciation for being considered for the position, and gives you another opportunity to show your interest in the job.

    • The letter doesn’t need to be too long, but also shouldn’t be a generic short letter. You want to show that you actually put some time and thought into writing the letter. 
    • That means it should not look like you googled an outline and filled in blanks.
    • In the letter, thank the manager for setting up the interview and having his team set aside time to meet with you.  
    • Bring up specific parts of the interview that you enjoyed, and specific reasons as to why you’re interested in the job.  
    • Close the letter out with something along the lines of you look forward to hearing from them regarding their decision, and if there are any questions they have they should contact you.

     

    That’s a quick guide to interviewing. Good luck job-seekers! 

    Written by: Aadil Alavi, Lead Recruiter of Workbridge Silicon Valley 

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