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
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 CJ Terral, Recruiter in Workbridge San Jose.
What value do you provide to the marketplace? Think about it. It’s not a question most people answer for themselves, because it’s not easy to answer and certainly more difficult to properly manage.
The value you add is a direct correlation to your “brand”, the nebulous concept that marketers around Silicon Valley seem to chatter about on a daily basis. It’s important to realize, though, that increasing your personal brand is much more than a task on a to-do-list. It should be a lifestyle choice.
Why do I say this? It’s simple: increasing your personal brand enhances the way others think about you, your work, and your contribution to society. It’s more valuable than money, because it’s the reason why people choose to promote you, invest in you, or even want to work with you in the first place. Increasing your brand makes you a more valuable individual to those who you directly and indirectly associate yourself with.
Increasing your brand image is simple, but not easy. The result you’ll receive out of doing it depends on the amount of time and effort you choose to invest in improving it. As I see it, these are the 3 pillars of branding that you may want to consider when working on increasing your value in the marketplace.
First, establish a set of guiding principles which fit around your particular lifestyle. Lacking consistency may portray you as a flaky, non-committal person who can’t be relied upon. Working on being a dependable person will help you in most any place throughout your life. It starts with understanding where you want to go, while focusing on the present and staying mindful of how to accomplish your goal at a steady, daily pace.
Learning how to implement the goals and tasks you set-up for yourself will demonstrate to others that you stay true to your word. It is much more likely for people to request your assistance on critical projects and areas of improvement with your company. Learning how to execute your goals on any level takes discipline, yet will be the reason behind your largest personal and professional achievements.
Achieving an image in other peoples’ minds is one thing. Teaching these same lessons to others is another. Leading people who need help in increasing their personal image in the marketplace helps you as much as it does for them. You can become a resource for many groups outside of your own business industry, and that is powerful.
All in all, increasing your brand image can be easy when done correctly. Make sure to be consistent in your beliefs and actions. Secondly, make sure to put into practice what you say you will do. Lastly, keep focused on adding value to others by leading them in the ways that allow them to also add value in their respective marketplaces. Other than that, you should aim to add value to those around you.
Article by Eitan Sheer, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge Silicon Valley
It is no secret that User Experience and the emphasis on interface have become one of the more vital aspects to the product development process. While UX existed in the past, it was never as abundant as it is nowadays when most industries are moving away from the idea that everyone can do UX and into an era of UX as a specialized field. As such, more companies are realizing that UX is directly correlated to an increased user base as well as profitability. This increase in the popularity of UX has led to an industry wide pursuit of user centric design and an idealization of a simplified product. And while we’ve seen and heard of many possible answers to the question of the hottest and most prominent recent design trends, I would say that the answer can be boiled down to the following four trends: iOS7, responsive design, data visualization, and dashboards.
We’ve heard of many opinions and mixed reviews about iOS7, but no one can disagree that the overall experience had a major impact on current design. While Windows 8 came out with the flat style prior to iOS7, it is no secret that iOS7 has been the raved about ecosystem for coming out with a very flat design and color scheme that a lot of people are looking to match. As such, iOS7 is pioneering a new shift to cleaner, lighter, thinner & flatter design, and it feels like everyone is jumping in line to fit in. However, we’ve also heard of flaws in the new iOS7 experience. For example, one could always create folders, but now the user is given the option to create folders within folders. This feature is great for organizations that need to consolidate and combine large amounts of relatable items, but it also offers a challenge. On the old iPad, the user could place 20 items in every folder. With the new design, users can only place 9 items in every folder. This has turned the new feature into more of a constrictive necessity than ability, as people are forced to create folders within folders in an attempt to abide by the 9-apps-per-folder design.
Another major trend is responsive design. In the past, we didn’t really have tablets and so many different types of smart phones with varying screen sizes and interactive experience. This variation coupled by the fact that people are now accessing information while on the go more than they ever have before, has made responsive design the most relevant trend. Traditionally, if you are looking to build and design on multiple platforms you also need to write code that fits those different platforms. Responsive design allows development team to use the same code base across multiple platforms, and simply shift the look and feel to best fit the intended interface (be it web, mobile, tablet, or any other device). This has led to a code base that is easier and much more scalable; and in turn, a lot more efficient with lower development costs.
I’d also like to touch on data visualization. While data visualization has already been established, we are definitely seeing a major emphasis on certain aspects of it. Infographics may be trending, but not necessarily new. That said, what has been identified as important and trending is data visualization for the financial sector and the data mining industry subsector. And if you are able to innovate in the data mining space the result is absolutely something that trends.
Lastly, we’ve also seen a recent rally around dashboards. By common definition, dashboards are a matter of displaying large amounts of information quickly and with efficiency. This functionality offers awareness and quick action to those in leadership positions or, for that matter, to any person who needs to be able to make some sort of educated fact-based decision, and make it quickly.
Article written by Charles Chae, Practice Manager in Workbridge Silicon Valley
What you see is what you get, right? Not necessarily when it comes to Mobile Applications.
There has been an ongoing, fierce debate caused by the disruptive mobile / wireless explosion within the technology sector. With legitimate pros and cons on both sides, passionate evangelists defending their stance, and a vast existing amount of both Native and Hybrid applications available to consumers on all open app markets, it is becoming more and more difficult to know which app is the best to download for your device.
If you think about when Facebook and many others first approached the consumer mobile market and released Hybrid HTML5, Phonegap, or Titanium mobile applications that looked great and fit the need and wants of the consumer, there were really no mandatory needs or glaring negative issues. They worked just fine. However, entire organizations and A LOT of the market decided to change things to Native and even re-architected, designed, and developed their already existing apps. Most were receiving ridiculous adoption rates on both iOS and Android platforms anyway, and it just made sense to make the switch. The downside, of course, being that designing Native apps costs money, resources, and most importantly, time.
Hybrid applications are 100% proven to be much easier and quicker to prototype and deploy, right? Yes, but at what cost? Consumers desire a quality experience, which in my mind can be broken down between the UI and Performance. That is where the Achilles Heel resides in Hybrid applications. Proven weakness on the specific interactive UI aspect is a huge downside both to developers and consumers. As an avid mobile applications consumer myself, I’d much rather wait an extra day or a week for a superior performing and looking application than accept a poor design with a few bugs.
Lastly, Hybrid apps just weren't built for your device. You wouldn't buy an Apple device to plug it into an Android accessory, right? Then why download an application to your device that wasn’t designed or developed for your particular device? In short, Native apps provide the superior user experience. They may take resources to build and cost some time and money, but the end result is worth it.
Article by Charles Chae, Practice Manager in Workbridge Silicon Valley
In today’s market where jobs are plentiful but call backs and interviews are not, it is paramount that you focus on the first and initial impact and impression that you will make upon a prospective employer. In my experience, I have found that people gravitate towards those who go ABOVE & BEYOND in differentiating themself vs. the rest of the competition.
To set the context, let’s assume that you ARE interested in the company since you are taking the time to interview with them. We can also assume that the prospective employer is interested in your background since they are taking the time to speak with you as well. If there is not much interest in the opportunity, it might make more sense to pass on the interview and save the time of both parties involved.
I will walk those of you who are actively seeking a new opportunity, specifically within the CS or Software/Technical realm, through a few steps that I feel will be helpful in obtaining the position that is the most attractive to you in your career at this point.
- RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH: Products, Management Profiles, Company Profiles, About Us, Press Releases, VC’s, Partners, etc. This is one of the most basic steps of preparation that I feel most candidates do not take enough time to do. Also, remember that we are all people from a different cloth and background, but do not make the mistake of just researching the basics of educational pedigree or technical career paths. Focus on the non-technical things as well. Who knows, there may be a side passion that you share with the person that you are about to meet or speak with. It should make a very strong and positive impression as it will be evident that you have done your homework. (ie. Sports, Alma Mater, Music, Lifestyle, Exercise, etc.)
- REFRESH YOUR MEMORY ON YOUR OWN RESUME: Most prospective employers will look at a candidate’s resume and will most likely ask about the projects and career path that is written by YOU! If there are technologies that you ARE NOT strong with, DO NOT put them on your resume. The majority of the clients that I work with admit that they would rather interview a candidate with a resume with a few “buzzwords” who knows them very well vs. all of the “buzzwords” listed without being able to articulate a lot about the topics. It’s also important to emphasize the details about why things were developed the way they were in the past, not just what was developed.
- ARTICULATE AND SELL: When you speak about your past projects and experiences, try to do your best at being VERY DETAIL ORIENTED. If you are asked to explain any past experience, you as the technical candidate should be able to explain OS, languages used, tools used, frameworks involved, databases utilized, etc. Speak about specific device models (iOS; 4, 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, etc.) and (Android; Gingerbread 2.3.5 OS on Samsung-S3 model, 1280x720 pixels). This will only increase your chances of making a great impression to prove that you know your stuff.
- WRITE A THANK YOU LETTER: I truly believe that people do not say “thank you” enough nowadays. More and more people are very busy and sometimes a little too caught up in their own stuff. As technology evolves, social media is becoming the predominant and status quo interface with individuals and the rest of civilization. It makes it so easy to go through everyday life without physical human interaction. I feel that this is one area of the job search and candidate search that BOTH parties do not spend enough time and effort on.
In short, know your background, do your homework and most importantly, BE YOURSELF! These are the keys to success and I hope that these tips will help you find that awesome role that you are currently seeking!
On Thursday, March 14th, Workbridge Silicon Valley hosted a Tech In Motion:SV UX Meetup event. It was an outstanding night that brought information about User Experience (UX) to the Silicon Valley Tech community.
Tech In Motion:SV had the pleasure of having Wendy Johansson speak at our event. Wendy is the Senior Director of User Experience and UX generalist at Tout, a video social networking startup in the Bay Area. Before joining Tout, Wendy was the User Experience Manager at Oolaya where she not only developed the UX team, but also created a user-centered design strategy for the company.
Wendy spoke about "Making UX Matter to Your Company" and shared her thoughts on making UX a strategy within a company and not just a deliverable. The energy in the room was ecstatic! UX professionals and techies came together and everyone seemed to agree that user experience should matter to every company. The crowd was so engaged and beguiled that the presentation became more of a discussion between Wendy and the audience.
We were able to ask Wendy a few questions about User Experience after the event. Check out what she had to say!
WB: A lot of Silicon Valley companies are building in house design teams from scratch. I know that you were the first designer at Ooyala and helped build that team. What is some advice you can give companies when building a team from the ground up?
WJ: Don't just hire a bunch of UX folks and expect great UX to be the result! You need to have every team in the company understand what value UX will bring to the success of your product and be inviting and inquisitive in integrating UX into the company. Without everyone on board, you'll have a frustrated UX team that focuses more energy on fighting for their voice to be heard, instead of fighting for the user's voice to be heard. Second key is to stop seeking a unicorn - you want a UX designer that also front end codes? That's like asking your hairdresser to also design your wardrobe because they both concern outward appearance. It's not the same thing!
WB: When and how should companies incorporate UX researchers into their team?
WJ: At Ooyala, we didn't have a dedicated UX research team until we were ready to start building brand new products based on discovery and exploration of the industry. So we hired a really smart UX researcher to join the team and she started working directly with the Account Management team to set up a Customer Database to define what customers we talk to and when. This really helped us as a Product team to build trust with customers by not overloading them with research requests, and by ensuring we work with the same customers through the lifecycle of a product (from exploration to beta to release).
WB: How can companies do a better job to bridge the gap between engineering and design?
WJ: Create opportunities for engineers and designers to socialize, debate, and talk outside of a project! During a project, tensions may be running high, so bridging the gap isn't the goal everyone has in mind. Setting up an opportunity like a brown bag lunch or happy hour where the two teams can make mini-presentations about their process, how they make engineering/design decisions, etc. would be a great start. Then I think a lot of the work sits in design's court - designers need to educate the engineers about the user they're designing a product for. Help engineers understand why feature x and y are must-haves for a product launch, help them empathize with the user/persona and want to build something for that user!
WB: What do you do to motivate your team and foster creativity?
WJ: I think of my team as people, not as designers. People need to be challenged, need to have room to breathe and do what they're passionate about, and need to have work/life balance. So I'm incredibly concerned about how my team members are feeling as people and like to have very open communication with them about what's exciting or demotivating them. I also want each team member to feel accountable and proud of the quality of the user experience they're creating, so I enjoy "show and tell" of work to other designers (or the entire company!). This gets feedback from your peers and colleagues that you respect and pushes you to always do your best.
WB: What products inspire you or do you feel have great design that values user experience on a high level?
WJ: I'm in love with Airbnb! Not only does it give me the opportunity to live as a local during vacations, but their design is elegant, intuitive and friendly - the same vibe I feel from the Airbnb hosts I meet. I think their ability to project their brand values into the user experience on the website/app and in person is amazing.
Workbridge would like to thank Wendy for accepting our invite to be our guest speaker and for helping us host a successful event! Everyone had a great time and we hope to see more of Wendy in the near future; possibly a UX conference?
We'd like to take some time out to congratulate our new friend Cenker!
Cenker was a pleasure to work with. Upon our first interaction, his honesty and openness made working together very seamless. At first, he wanted to take things slow, so we catered to his needs and only presented him with openings we felt were perfect fits.
When our recruiter Jason Wong setup began working with a company that was looking for a Senior iOS Developer to lead their company toward technological advancements in mobile development, we knew we had the man for the job!
After the initial interview, Cenker wowed the Director with his personality and his technical expertise in iOS Development. Within a span of 5 days, between the holidays and right after the New Year, our client wanted to hire him. Cenker was excited about their product, loved the culture and the people, and immediately saw the potential of the company. He decided to go full force and join the company and pursue their future goals.
Once the offer and acceptance was complete, Jason and Cenker had an amazing lunch, talked about technology, entertainment, travels, and of course, life. Workbridge Silicon Valley will definitely keep in touch with him and we wish him the Best of Luck!
Want to reach out to Jason? He loves to talk about iOS or Android!!
Phone: (408) 295-9400
Email: [email protected]
Drop By: 160 W. Santa Clara St., Suite 650 San Jose, CA 95113