November 16, 2016
The technology industry is notoriously competitive. When searching for new employment, engineers, solution architects, programmers, and other technology professionals need every advantage they can get to stand out in a crowded market. While the internet is flooded with articles on how to ace your next interview and tweak your résumé, recruiters and hiring managers in the tech industry are looking for unique qualities in a new hire. In some cases, these qualities even run contrary to conventional wisdom on the subject. Whether an industry veteran or fresh out of college, there’s plenty to learn if you want to figure out how to get hired in the tech industry.
Getting Hired in Technology
Many of the basics of job hunting and interviewing still apply for technology positions. Speak clearly and confidently during an interview, dress professionally, make good eye contact, give strong handshakes, and so on, but these foundational aspects of job hunting are often underappreciated in the tech world.
Despite being hired for a technical role, many engineers are still expected to interact with customers and clients on occasion. The hiring manager needs to see that the applicant can handle themselves in that situation.
In most industries, a long stint at a single company can convey loyalty, responsibility, and the ability to hold down a job, but in the tech world, it shows complacency and narrow focus. Hiring managers want to see you broadening your skills, increasing your proficiency with different technologies, and displaying a hunger to learn and grow.
The average tenure for a professional in today’s market is 2.5 years. If you exceed that number at your current position, be sure to clearly demonstrate on your résumé that you have taken active efforts to gain new certifications and expand your understanding of technology.
Seeking Out a Big Name
When new engineers or programmers graduate college, a common strategy is to seek out the biggest, most recognizable name in business and begin a career there. This may be effective for some non-technical careers, but it could do more harm than good for technologists.
At these large companies, departments and job roles are often very siloed. A recruiter will fear that your specialties will be too narrow even within your chosen technology discipline. If you are coming from a large company, make sure your application articulates the breadth of knowledge and experience you gained from that position.
Truly, a medium-sized company or firm looks best on paper. The company is large enough to deploy and maintain a sophisticated, modern IT environment while being small enough to demand multi-faceted experience from the IT team.
Proficiencies and Certifications
On the one hand, the tech industry is great for job hunting because there are a multitude of certifications and proficiencies that can be listed on a résumé. These proficiencies and certifications are perfect for demonstrating your expertise, but the problem is that many applicants will embellish this list or include technologies and skills they haven’t touched since college. Furthermore with certifications specifically, many job hunters will omit the year in which their certifications were active and instead list a number of expired certifications. Even if you are entirely honest on your résumé, recognize that it could be met with skepticism.
If you do list your proficiencies, be sure you are able to talk competently about these subjects in an interview. When you list your certifications, include the years that they were or are active.
The Phone Interview with HR
Most hiring processes will begin with a phone interview with someone from the HR or recruiting department. Oftentimes, these professionals aren’t very technical, and when explaining technical concepts to them, there is a natural inclination on the applicant’s part to try and simplify their language. Even though you’re trying to simply articulate your thoughts and experiences in a way they will understand, it can easily come across as arrogant and condescending. Most HR professionals doing this task will have had meetings with the hiring manager and been briefed on the important attributes needed for the job.
In your initial phone interview, speak to the HR rep or recruiter as though they were well-versed in the subject.
The Hiring Process
Job hunting is a lot like dating. People tend to hire those that they can find common ground with, so as a job applicant, you must try and find that common ground as soon as possible. Along the way, present yourself as a capable, competent professional, and you’ll be on the right track. A job hunt can be tough, but don’t give up. There’s a ton of opportunity in the technology field, and our industry grows every day. Happy hiring.
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