The interview is widely considered to be the most important part of the job seeking process, but how do you get there? To be considered for a desirable position, you need to stand out among other qualified applicants. Are you bringing the right tools and skills to the table? Before you’re even looking for your next job, do the homework to make sure you’re a top-tier candidate by the time you apply.
Sam King, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates New York, has some valuable market insight on the best practices for positioning yourself as a desirable candidate in the competitive IT job market of today.
Looking to hire tech talent or find a job in New York City? Contact Sam's team here.
Know Where You Stand
Whether you are entry level or an expert in your field, knowing what’s expected in your industry should be the first step in any career, and especially your job search. In any given role, your scope of work and responsibilities will vary drastically depending on your experience level, tech stack, and ability to manage others. Soft skills and hard skills both play a role in determining your experience level.
- Soft skills usually involve user interaction, or business side interaction with product, marketing, sales etc. and are most necessary for IT managers.
- A junior engineer is traditionally less involved in these areas. Soft skills like excellent communication and understanding tech’s role in driving business are gained over time as opposed to hard skills, which are usually more relevant to design, architecture, development and implementation of specific technologies.
- Junior candidates spend the majority of their time focusing on building and integrating systems but aren’t ultimately driving the decisions behind the scenes.
- Decision making is reserved for the senior staff, who have the ideal perspective to make well-informed business decisions.
Get Familiar with Your Audience
Research the companies you’re interested in. Talk to people in your network and check out recent press about them. What type of company culture do they have? Is there room for growth? Is it a team environment? Which technologies are they using? What are people saying about them online? Who’s on the leadership team and what makes them successful? What types of products or services do they offer? Would you use their product or service? This research will give you the best indication if you’re a good fit, not to mention your knowledge of the organization is sure to impress the hiring manager conducting the interview!
Level the Playing Field
What do other professionals in your field have certifications in?
Are they publishing their work on popular code repositories like GitHub, HackerRank & BitBucket? Candidates who show initiative in acquiring certifications for new technologies will find themselves at the front of the line when compared with candidates who stick to the status quo. You’ll be able to better position yourself for success by modeling your efforts after the best practices of others who have come before you. A study conducted by IT Business Edge claims that “Forty percent of tech consultants said obtaining a certification helped them land a new gig.”
Tailor Your Resume
Your resume should be adjusted for each job you apply to. Emphasize the most relevant skills required for the job in your summary, skills section and in your work experience. The ideal resume length is one to two pages, so avoid cluttering it with irrelevant experience. It should be easy to navigate and reflect your ability to provide a solution for a current business need, as well as showcase any subject matter expert contributions you've made as a thought leader.
Make Your Web Presence Shine
Your online profiles (LinkedIn, About.Me, etc.) are the first things potential employers will see when evaluating you for a position. Check LinkedIn and About.Me to make sure your message is clear and accurately describes your ability to contribute to the organization. What type of language are people with similar jobs using to describe their experience? Let others know what technologies you work with, what certifications you have and the level of experience you can bring to the table. Sam King, Division Manager of Workbridge Associates New York, has this to say about what helps candidates stand out:
Interested in attending networking events in your area? Check out Tech in Motion today!
Practice Makes Perfect
Consider every interaction an interview, whether with a potential hiring manager or a connection that could be a reference for you in the future. Practicing interview Q&A’s before the job search will help you seem intelligent, personable and prepared in any interview or conversation, as well as help you conceptualize what your best qualities and career desires are. In an actual interview, the line of questioning tends to follow a common theme. Research typical questions asked in technical interviews and prep answers for each. You shouldn’t be surprised by questions like “What role do you think you’re a perfect match for?” or “What’s a personal challenge you’ve been able to overcome?” in a job interview, and you shouldn't be surprised by them outside an interview.
One of the biggest contributing factors of salary growth is experience, and the way that engineers can leverage their experience to get the best possible pay will make the upmost difference. After analyzing thousands of job placements across the United States and Canada, we have built a graph that demonstrates the growth of annual salaries by experience level in the tech industry.
You're probably wondering why the above graph illustrates that having "0 years" or no years of experience in the tech industry can get you a higher paying salary than someone who has one or two years. Surprisingly, an entry-level university or college graduate with little to no experience can actually negotiate at 4% higher salary than their peers who already have some experience in the industry.
4 Obstacles that Young Professionals Face in the Tech Industry
Some reasons behind this are:
1. With a shortage of tech talent, there is fierce competition amongst big companies to attract engineers and tech graduates right out of school.
2. If the candidate has little experience, but is already searching for a new job, it's a big indicator that something went wrong, such as termination of employment. It could also indicate that a person is looking for some type of career change (industry, company, technology, location, etc.) and would be willing to settle for a lower salary.
3. Once graduated, many young people try to find success as entrepreneurs. If that fails, a lot of them will then resort back to the job market, where their experience as entrepreneurs partially counts but their earnings at the time were little to none. Therefore, there is more leverage for an employer to offer less.
Start your job search in tech by checking out our job listings in a city near you!
Read the entire report on Tech in Motion Events website, and get further insight into how your experience level can influence how much you make.
Companies (much like singles these days) are always looking for great candidates to join their team, similar to how people are always in search of "the right one." This is especially true when it comes to hiring a permanent candidate or even a short-term contractor.
Whether it's on a perm or contract basis, companies can't afford to waste their time with potential candidates who are not serious about their search. The truth is 40% of employees who quit their job last year did so within six months of starting the position (via INC). So how can you avoid this? Perhaps taking your search for exceptional talent to a recruiting agency, a hiring matchmaker if you will, could be your best option for finding "the right one" to join your team.
Why hire a professional matchmaker? Here are a few ways they can effect your hiring process so you be more efficient with your time and energy:
1. Provide a pre-screening step to make sure applicants are what you see.
Recruiters go through a process when verifiying candidates: they talk to them, meet with them in person, check their references, and run a background check. At Workbridge, our contractors are on a W2 and are treated as our own employees, so candidates need to be able to pass our inspection. Companies can rest easy when it comes to the quality of the candidates good matchmakers are providing.
2. Cater to compatibility so you don't waste time qualifying candidates.
Every recruiter also should screen each candidate to ensure they are a fit for the role. Ideally, they would talk to the candidates about their experience and the position to ensure a match. Recruiting agencies that know what they're doing don't waste a hiring manager's time with candidates who are not a fit, and with an outside perspective can sometimes find the diamond in the rough a hiring manager might have missed.
3. Save you time, energy, and effort by doing the hard work.
Recruiters are responsible for helping the candidate through the process, which includes pay rate conversations. They take on the responsibility of providing benefits information, and even supplying benefits for contractors, as well as explaining workplace insurance and background checks. They are trained and experienced to make the process of finding and bringing on the right candidate as fast as possible.
4. Find great candidates you might not find on your own.
Top recruiters have a large network and diverse methods that make finding these hard-to-reach candidates possible. At Workbridge Associates, we even sponsor networking meetups through our event series, Tech in Motion, in all of our active cities. Why waste time companies combing through resumes to find "the one" (or the few)? The goal of skipping this step in the process is to give you more time to talk to qualified candidates, instead of spending that time trying to track them down.
But before you enter into the recruiting process, or the matchmaking world, consider the following:
- Don't go in with unrealistic expectations.
- Even the best recruiters still aren't miracle workers. Recruiters and hiring managers have the same goal: get your open roles filled with the best possible candidate that you can afford. It helps to have an open mind and hire the person who fits.
- Go into the process with a positive attitude.
- Looking for the candidate that fits the role, matches the company culture, and can get the job done is priority. Finding all the reasons why the person isn't perfect is not.
- It takes money to make money.
- Using an agency has its costs, even though options like contracting make it more affordable. The tech talent market is competitive, and you get what you pay for in terms of quality - whether it's a candidate or the recruiting agency you're working with. However, being up front about costs and willing to compromise could help a good recruiter find a way to work within your budget.
"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:
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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:
Thriving Texas tech industry and considerable local talent creates unique need for a recruitment agency in Dallas specializing in hard-to-fill IT positions
DALLAS (November 11, 2015) – Workbridge Associates, a leading IT recruitment agency specializing in hard-to-fill technology positions, today announced the opening of its new office in downtown Dallas. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area has experienced major growth and gained national attention as a booming technology hub, becoming a dynamic location for the agency to provide local clients with highly-qualified candidates for a range of tech positions.
"With the opening of this office, we’re expanding into the heart of a thriving IT community with huge growth potential,” said Matt Milano, President of Workbridge Associates. “We are perfectly positioned to work with top talent who can drive our local clients’ development in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”
Looking for a job or have an open role to fill? Contact the Dallas team here.
This new Dallas office will be led by Division Manager Tom Parzych, and will hold up to 30 people, including recruiters, sourcers and marketing & events specialists. Workbridge Associates plans to start hiring immediately for all roles when the office opens on November 11th. Candidates can apply online at www.workbridgeassociates.com/work-for-us.
Workbridge’s recruitment teams pride themselves on staying fully up-to-date and conversant in the latest IT trends and developments. With extensive access to local hiring managers and technical talent, Workbridge takes a relationship-first approach that emphasizes personal engagement and added search value as much as the nuts-and-bolts objective of filling or landing a job.
For a sneak peek at the Dallas office, see below:
Meet the leadership team and apply to jobs in the Dallas office here.