Maximize Chances of Getting Your Dream Job in IT With These 5 Best Practices
Looking for a job is part and parcel of every professional career. And whether searching for your first employment or a company you want to stay at until retiring, it can be a stress-inducing experience. Occasionally recruitment decisions will be puzzling and feel outside of your influence. That could be a real downer to be rejected from the recruitment process for a job you know you would excel at and don’t even understand why.
To maximize your chances of getting the job you really want, I asked our recruitment team about their best, most satisfactory, weirdest, and poorest experiences with candidates. Then, I condensed what I learned into a short list of advice that should shed some light on how IT recruiters think, what companies look for in IT candidates, and how to prepare yourself for a fruitful job search. Read further to discover five best practices IT candidates can follow to snatch the job opportunities they want.
1. Be certain that you want it
In my talks with IT recruiters, the lack of confidence among candidates was a recurring topic. Your uncertainty about whether you want a new job or not can quickly dishearten the recruiter and the hiring manager, even if you later decide that you really wish to switch jobs.
Recruiters are very vigilant for uncertainty because some candidates pull out of the recruitment process at the latest possible moment (e.g., only after receiving a job offer), which affects the whole recruitment team, including sourcers and schedulers, as well as the hiring manager, the technical interviewer, and their team. Such candidates usually don’t consider the possible outcomes of this behavior. But suppose a hiring manager thinks such a late pullout was unprofessional or unfair. In that case, they can block the candidate from all future recruitments. And since even the recruiters and hiring managers change jobs sometimes, such a candidate might meet them again, someplace else, in the future.
So, consider all arguments for and against changing jobs and be sure that you want it before starting the recruitment process. Check with your partner if they’re on board with your plans before scheduling a first interview. On the one hand, it can bite you in the future if you resign from the process too late. On the other hand, if your uncertainty shows, the recruiters and hiring managers can go for another candidate, even if your expertise seems better suited for the job.
And let’s be frank for a moment. If you reflect on all that and conclude that you only want to ask for a raise at your current company, just look up the salaries on similar positions online and meet your direct supervisor or someone from HR to ask for that raise. You’re a loyal IT expert who was just approached with a fantastic opportunity, and you want to stay. There’s no need for any more leverage than that.
2. Know precisely what you want
Virtually all recruiters I talked to very much appreciate when candidates openly share their expectations, boundaries, and whether or not they participate in other recruitment processes. Sharing such information helps them in better scheduling, keeping candidates in the loop without coming off as pushy, and setting them up for success.
You can make a great first impression if you take a moment to assess your plans, wants, needs, and hopes before your first meeting. Consider your financial expectations, the importance of learning opportunities, company culture, and other aspects important to you in a workplace. Then, do some googling or ask around to confirm that your demands are realistic.
And when you already know what you want, don’t be afraid to share it with your recruiter. To ensure you won’t forget about anything, make a list of questions you’d like to ask to make an informed decision. Although talking about your hopes and wishes with someone you don’t know can be a little bit daunting, recruiters are very well prepared for these conversations. They have experience, a broad outlook, and appropriate soft skills not to make you uncomfortable.
3. Take some time to prepare
One of our recruiters has noticed that people usually don’t think much about the theoretical foundations of their everyday responsibilities. However, during a technical interview, theoretical questions happen pretty regularly. You will feel much more confident if you freshen up your knowledge on topics relevant to the position you're going for, including core concepts, popular methods, and current trends.
It also turns out that candidates in IT often underestimate the value of soft skills. Meanwhile, many recruiters see these as equally important to technical skills. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a natural talent to be good at teamwork, problem-solving, open-mindedness, and other resume-worthy soft skills. A bit of training should be enough to learn the basics; with experience, you will only get better. Just remember that being friendly and considerate always helps build connections with people.
While most recruiters will primarily look for appropriate skills and cultural fit, hiring managers tend to prefer candidates who show interest in their enterprise. Research the company before meeting with its representative, ask questions uniquely relevant to their organization, and you will surely score some extra points at that interview.
4. Treat the recruiter as your ally
Many candidates don’t know much about recruitment, so they don’t know the point of a recruiter’s job. But if you think about it, you will see that recruiters want you to succeed and are on your side. If their goal is to find someone who will be accepted at a company for an expert position, your success - you getting the job - is also their win.
If they choose you for recruitment, they believe you’re the right person for the job. That means you’re on the same team. You can ask questions and discuss your doubts with recruiters freely, as they will either know the answers or get them for you. Good recruiters will tell you what to focus on during your next meetings and what to avoid during interviews. Sometimes, they will even negotiate on your behalf to make sure you’re satisfied with your new employer.
If you want to seize an exciting career opportunity, your best bet is to work with your recruiter, be honest with them, and raise your concerns frankly. It’s counterproductive to be sarcastic, use excuses, or simply resign every time something you don’t like happens. Being open and honest with your recruiter gives them a chance to get you what you want.
5. Respect other’s time
You can use one more trick to ensure your recruiter will cherish working with you. After agreeing to join the recruitment process, check your email, LinkedIn, and/or phone as regularly as possible.
Even if you can’t give a definite answer, it’s better to say that you need more time to think than not replying at all. Good communication makes the recruiter’s work much more manageable, enabling them to schedule meetings and satisfactorily coordinate multiple parties involved in the recruitment process.
The same goes for already arranged meetings. If you let your recruiter know you can’t make it to your technical interview as fast as you learned about it, they will try to reschedule the meeting and keep you in the process. If you fail to show up without notice, it can be too late to do anything.
If you change your mind and want to resign from applying for that job, sending a short message is much better than ghosting someone for days. One recruiter that I talked to said that candidates ghosting her is truly stressful because she can’t easily tell if someone just resigned or something bad happened to them. As I already mentioned, you can meet people involved in the current recruitment process in the future. Acting responsibly is not only polite. It’s also common sense.
Seeking a new job can be stressful, so it’s natural to make a mistake from time to time. From writing a resume through emails and calls to interviews, there’s a lot to navigate. At the end of the day, you can do nothing about the past, so you shouldn’t worry too much about an unfortunate interview or a failed attempt. Use your missteps as a learning experience and strive to do your best next time. Good luck with your job search, and remember to check out our current job openings!