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.
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.
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
In the land of software development, there's more than one correct way to solve a problem. Since technology itself is limitless, it should come as no surprise that the available tools and resources are boundless as well. Now the question is, which tools should we choose, not only to get the job done, but also to best express oneself?
Those who work with technical people every day have probably noticed that very few companies use only a single technology for their IT needs. Just like those companies, often the best technical people don't limit themselves to one brand of tools or frameworks. They step outside their technical comfort zones and experiment with anything they can get their hands on.
Here are four reasons why you might benefit personally and professionally from trying out new technologies.
1) Learn New Paradigms
2) Learn New Ways to Use Old Technologies
Speaking of functional programming, your experience may cause you to look at LINQ on the .NET platform in a new light. One technology hiring manager was explaining that his organization’s use of Angular.JS (with its draconian dependency injection) caused his team to think differently about DI containers in their .NET server side, resulting in more flexible and more testable C#. In this way, working with one technology influenced how they interacted with another.
3) Job Mobility
Here are four basic ways that broadening your technical repertoire can open up possibilities for career advancement.
- You can contribute to different areas of the same project (front-end to back-end, application to data analysis, etc.)
- You can move to new projects entirely (has your organization been piloting a new tech stack?)
- You can move to new organizations entirely. If this is the case, I can refer you to a specialist. (Wink!)
- Some organizations only fill full-stack or generalist positions. It’s worth mentioning that this is often true of smaller product development companies or startups.
4) Right Tool for the Job
Many organizations are pushing the limits of relational databases. The high performance or high availability required by their applications call for something new. NoSQL databases are answering this call, but often each in their own way. Spend some time understanding their relative merits and you can be your organization’s hero. Can you drop joins and go for the high performance of key store or document databases? Is your problem better suited by a graph database? What these specialized databases give up in the relational model they make up for by excelling in their particular area of application.
The following books are a great resource if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of current and new technologies:
- “Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages” by Bruce Tate
- “Seven Databases in Seven Weeks: A Guide to Modern Databases and the NoSQL Movement” by Eric Redmond
There are many benefits to be had from interacting with a range of technologies. Whether you’re looking for new ways to tackle an assignment or hoping to advance your career by opening new doors, there is no reason to limit yourself to one brand of tools or frameworks.
Article written by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager at Workbridge Orange County
So you did it, you’ve completed your college degree or spent a tireless amount of weeks learning to code in a hardcore bootcamp – congratulations! But now what? While everyone’s career path will be unique and there’s no step-by-step guide to getting you to a C-Level position within x-amount of years, there are definitely career moves you can make to set yourself up for the success you’re looking for.
As a Practice Manager at a highly-recommended tech recruiting agency in Orange County, CA, I’ve come across plenty of Junior-level engineers seeking to get into a Mid-level role to advance their career. For those not qualified for the position, my dedicated team and I were able to give those candidates feedback on how they can better brand themselves, and what skill set was needed to turn them into a highly sought after candidate. We focus on the Orange County and San Diego tech markets and have close relationships with hiring managers at companies as small as startups all the way up to Fortune 500’s. Because of this, we know what hiring managers are looking for in Junior to Mid-level engineers. Below are the five smartest moves to make after graduating from a dev bootcamp or college with your C.S. degree:
Build Your Brand
Update your Linkedin profile to include a personal summary, a work or project summary and include your skills in the appropriate sections. Nowadays this is one of the major ways recruiters from companies and agencies get connected with you about a job you may be the right fit for.
Get on Github. For many hiring managers this is a 'nice-to-have' but for junior engineers this is especially crucial as it may be the only thing a manager has to look at.
Connect with a Dedicated Recruiter
Find a dedicated technical recruiter who specializes in positions where you’re looking to work or understands your skill set. Even if they can’t offer you a position right off the bat, inquire about interview advice, resume tips or keep in touch with them for later on in your career.
Network and Get Noticed
If you haven’t yet tried out the networking aspect of looking for a job, step out of your comfort zone and add it to your to-do list. Meetups and networking events such as the one that my company organizes for tech professionals, Tech in Motion, are a great way to get your name out in front of an influential group of people.
When you are vocal about your employment status, you might find your next mentor or even your next job at an event or job fair, so make sure to put your best foot forward.
You will hear it over and over again, but keeping up with the newest technology is crucial in any market. Every company wants someone who has experience with the trendy new technology that very few other engineers have, so being ahead of the curve will set you apart.
Just because you have been on the market for a few weeks, doesn’t mean you should lose motivation. Great things take time! Every company has different needs. You just need to find one that fits your criteria and vice versa, and sometimes that takes time.
Bottom line is that building your reputation in a way that advances your career will take time. Following these steps will point you in the right direction and hopefully help you find a job that you truly will be passionate about. By staying up-to-date with technology, networking and building your own brand, you will find the search more successful.
Largest concentration of tech talent in Canada makes it the ideal location for recruitment agency specializing in hard-to-fill IT positions
Boston, August 10, 2015 -- Workbridge Associates, a leading IT recruitment agency specializing in hard-to-fill technology positions, has announced the opening of their new office located in the heart of downtown Toronto. The city's emergence as the largest and most dynamic hub of technology talent in Canada makes it the perfect location, and allows the agency to provide Toronto area clients with highly qualified candidates for a wide range of IT positions.
"We're excited to expand our footprint further by opening this office in the center of Canada's largest city," said Matt Milano, President of Workbridge Associates. "This new office in Toronto puts us in a better position to help our clients find that perm and contract IT talent they need to build their businesses."
See the official Press Release distributed by CNW.
Article by Miles Thomas, Practice Manager in Workbridge Philly
For clarification, this article is not about “the best programming language”, but simply trends online and what we can conclude from looking at them. Using data from the end of 2014 to the beginning of 2015, GitHut analyzes the statistics of over 2.2 million GitHub repositories, RedMonk analyzes the popularity of a programming language by the number of active projects on GitHub and the number of tags on StackOverflow, and PYPL measures how many tutorials for different programming languages are searched for using Google. After looking at all three of these sources, several patterns become clear:
2.) For native mobile developers, Swift is climbing while Objective C is falling. It will be interesting to watch how long it takes Swift to completely overtake Objective C as the most popular native mobile development language. Ever since Apple’s announcement last summer at WWDC 2014, Swift has been trending up while longtime iOS SDK cornerstone Objective C has been trending down.
3.) There are a bevy of functional programming languages on the cusp of mainstream relevance. Though Python has long been used by programmers near and far, lesser used languages such as Scala and Clojure are now creeping up the charts. A recent focus on concepts of “scalability” are likely the reasoning behind companies moving toward a more functional approach.
4.) DevOps & Data Science tools remain on the periphery. R, Matlab, Chef, and Puppet are some examples of tools & languages that haven’t gotten a foothold as mainstays just yet. DevOps & Data Science roles are just now becoming mainstream positions with small-to-mid-size technology companies, so the trends will likely be changing more over the coming years.
5.) Some languages are dying slow deaths atop the charts. Languages such a VB, Ruby, and Perl are slowly creeping down the charts. Perhaps this is a result of newer programming languages supplanting them as better fits within development environments, but only time will tell.
Though several more observations could certainly be made, these appear to be the most relevant with the most far reaching repercussions. The conclusions to be drawn from these trends:
1.) Some technologies will be flashes in the pan, while others will be mainstays for years to come, regardless of flaws.
2.) The “Open Stack” movement is having a clear effect on the market trends of popular programming languages. Microsoft’s recent announcement that the next version of Visual Studio will be open source compatible is evidence of that.
4.) Functional Programming languages aren’t at the top (yet). Languages used to develop highly scalable applications have their place, but will likely take some time to supplant more commonplace languages atop the most popular and used programming languages.
Article by Workbridge Silicon Valley
Diversity in tech is a topic that has become increasingly prevalent in the media. Many prominent figures in the industry are participating in open conversations on the once unspoken fact that the industry is saturated with white males while other demographics are underrepresented.
A variety of different factors can be credited with bringing the diversity issue in tech into the limelight. One such factor was the #Gamergate controversy that occurred toward the end of last year. This controversy began when Indie game developer Zoe Quinn received explicit phone calls along with threatening messages via social media. The threats were the result of a blog post from an ex-boyfriend alleging that she was romantically involved with a journalist from the gaming site Kotaku and received favorable reviews for her game as a direct result of this relationship.
The allegations were found to be false, the reporter never critiqued her game, yet that didn’t stop the reaction by what later became known as the Gamergate movement. Proponents of the movement claim they are only interested in discussing the ethics of media and reporting in relation to how games are reviewed. However, the argument that the movement solely cared about journalism ethics in game reviews is not an easy sell as multiple women in the gaming industry fled their homes after their addresses and personal information was published by those claiming to be associated with #GamerGate.
It’s difficult to piece together what this movement really was, who supported it and what it stood for as most action surrounding Gamergate was shrouded in anonymity via 4chan, Reddit, and Twitter. It’s no secret that there are glaring diversity issues in the world of technology and Gamergate serves as a small illustration of the challenges facing an industry dominated by the white male demographic.
According to the Department of Labor in 2013 only 20% of software developers were women. Not only that but women who have computer or mathematical occupations earn $214 dollars per week less than men, that’s roughly $11,000 less annually. Today women are earning the majority of all bachelor’s degrees (57%) and yet only make up about 12% of those earning computer science degrees. It hasn’t always been this way, in 1984 more women graduated with computer science degrees than women that will graduate with the same degree in 2014. I think this downward trend really leads back to culture and early education opportunities.
While the gender gap in tech is wide, it’s certainly not the only diversity issue facing the industry. Google released employment statistics this past May, giving the public an inside glimpse at some of the broader diversity challenges facing one of the world’s most well-known tech companies. For instance, of the 46,000 employees only 2% are African American and 3% are Hispanic. With 72% of all leadership roles within the company are currently held by Caucasians (79% male).
It’s not all doom and gloom for the tech world though, Google and other giants seem to be taking steps to improve the diversity problem. The fact that Google made its internal numbers public illustrates a fundamental shift in perspective. It also pledged a $50 million dollar investment in STEM education to help progress the early education of students in science and engineering. On a similar note Code.org teamed up with the White House to promote its new computer literacy campaign called “Hour of Code.” Over 33,000 schools in 166 countries participated and devoted an hour of time towards teaching students to code! The White House also announced plans to have over 50 school districts including the 7 largest districts in the country offer introductory Computer Science courses. These courses are specifically aimed at introducing girls and minorities to the industry at an early age.
Furthermore, there were some historic industry headlines at the end of the year that indicates an industry shift towards becoming more inclusive. Tim Cook became the first openly gay CEO of a fortune 500 company. In September, Obama announced that Megan Smith would be succeeding Todd Park as the U.S. CTO, the first woman in that position. Smith is also openly gay.
While the industry continues to evolve and make positive changes, there is still a lot of work to be done. Gamergate alone serves as an illustration of the massive hurdles that still stand in the way of diversity in the tech world.
Article by Max Schnepper, Practice Manager at Workbridge Orange County
When you’re in IT, it’s all about approaching systems proactively versus reactively. So why not approach your career the same way? As a Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County, too many times have I sat down with extremely competent candidates who were unexpectedly laid off due to no fault of their own. These unemployed jobseekers are often desperate to find an adequate role, let alone one that further develops their skills. If you end up in this type of situation, you're playing from behind –be proactive and put the power back in your hands!
Below are a few of the reasons why you should look for a new role when you’re still at your current employer.
Time Is On Your Side
How long could you support yourself and your dependents without a steady paycheck? That time frame is the maximum amount of time you have to find an adequate position once you’ve left your current position. If you start looking proactively while you’re still at your current employer, your time frame for taking a new role is exponentially expanded. This way, you can focus on finding a position that you’re excited about and one that will fast-track your career, as opposed to one that will simply pay the bills.
No pressure, you’re already viewed as an asset!
Many hiring managers have told me that the best candidates are the ones who are actively working. Employed candidates are viewed as being proven assets. Where does this mindset come from? Well… have you ever wanted or needed something so badly that when under pressure, you’ve completely botched your attempt to get it? Unfortunately, this happens all the time during interviews when you’re facing unemployment. On the other hand, if you begin your search while you have a comfortable employment situation, you’re taking a significant amount of pressure off of yourself and lessen the likelihood of self-sabotage when interviewing for a new role.
Be Proactive- Start Your Job Search Today!
Get What You Really Want
Room to Negotiate
Lastly, you’ll have more control of dictating what your final offer will be. Simply, what will it take for you to leave your comfortable role to start at a new and exciting company? Everything in terms of compensation should line up— don’t forget that salary isn’t everything, instead focus on the total package the company offers. Not only will you have the upper-hand on getting a higher hitting salary range, you’ll also have leverage to get additional vacation time, flexible hours, stock options and a myriad of other perks that are possible in an offer.
So if you’re not in an absolute ideal position, make sure you’re keeping your eyes and ears open to new and exciting opportunities. Better yet, call your localized and specialized recruiter and tell them exactly what your current situation is and where you’d like to be!
Article by Evan Gordon, Regional Director at Workbridge Associates
It is an understatement to say the information security market is on fire and as anyone in the talent management space would tell you, it is likely the fastest growing area in information technology. However, it would be wrong to assume there is an abundance of talent. “Cybersecurity job postings grew 74% from 2007 to 2013, which is more than twice the growth rate of all IT jobs. The labor pool has yet to catch up.” (NetworkWorld) This statistic doesn’t even factor into consideration all of the newly created positions opening. As you can imagine, this makes it increasingly difficult for companies to fill their current open requisitions. Here are a few, of the many, reasons for this phenomenon.
1. There have been a number of major security breaches in the last few years that have brought an increased awareness to information security and the need for companies to protect their information and that of their customers. These can be both costly and embarrassing which companies such as Sony, Target and Home Depot learned the hard way. These events are causing companies to be more proactive with the way they view information security which is manifested in the implementation of new security solutions and revamping architecture to be more secure. This results in the need to hire more security professionals. Security used to be looked at as reactive and there to catch the bad guys, now companies are doing more to ensure their information isn’t compromised from the start.
Looking to start your job search? Let us help!
2. Unfortunately, there are not many colleges that offer information security degrees which causes supply and demand issues. Students graduating college with CS degrees are typically studying either software development or systems and networking. Clearly there is a correlation between these subjects and security but most graduates are accepting lower level, support roles. These recent grads can and will often times eventually find their way to the information security field but that’s a good 3-5 years out and won’t solve this issue now.
3. Technological advancements drive the need for information security professionals. Take credit cards for example. Ecommerce barely existed a decade or so ago and now we have “Cyber Monday” which rivals Black Friday as the busiest shopping day of the year. The fact that so many companies accept credit cards as payment online led to the development of various security standards such as PCI. There are also other such standards in healthcare such as HIPAA which creates additional security needs and positions.
All in all, the technology field as a whole is booming and the market literally can’t keep up with the demand for IT professionals right now. With that being said, we are getting more requests for information security professionals than I have ever seen in my 13 years in the industry and I don’t see this trend changing any time soon. As long as there are hackers out there trying to break into companies and steal information, there will always be a need for technologists to be one step ahead and ready to protect company and customer data going forward.