Nailing the IT Interview

As large organizations have focused on increasing their IT capabilities, searching for high-quality and adaptable candidates has become increasingly important. Recruiters are seeking prospects who can evolve with the culture of their company.

For the past 20+ years, recruiters at Vertex have watched the demand for tech talent rise. We already covered the “Do’s and Don’ts of Resume Writing” in a previous blog post. We now want to fix our attention to one of the critical moments that most applicants prep for in advance: Interviewing. More specifically, interviewing for an IT job.

We have seen some great and some not so great interviews and would like to share some advice that all prospective IT job hunters should consider.

Honesty & Integrity

Part of interviewing for an IT job is nailing the technical aspects of an interview. A prospective candidate should expect to be asked about their qualifications and skills. Some questions that recruiters may ask will have definitive answers. It is in your best interest as a candidate to answer honestly. If you don’t know the answer, it’s not the end of the world! Admit that you don’t know the correct answer and suggest a solution as to how you would go about finding the right one. This shows a recruiter or interviewer that you are willing to admit when you don’t know something, as well as demonstrate that you are motivated to find a solution. Often, the interviewer wants to see how you problem-solve. Be honest and leave a lasting impression of integrity.

Play to Your Strengths

Organizations are always looking for self-aware candidates who can excel in their position. During your interview, try to work the conversation around your strengths and things that you are confident about. Staffing managers are looking for applicants with specific skills. You do not want to be afraid to really demonstrate your knowledge of the required skill. If you are applying for a position that has a required platform that you have spent a lot of time getting familiar with, expound on it. Talk about what details you liked, what about it that you thought wasn’t user friendly, and what improvements you would have made.

Geek Out!

This is a bit of a mix of the previous two tips. When you inevitably get into the technical discussion of an interview, do not be afraid to really demonstrate your knowledge. If there is a software that you have spent a lot of time getting familiar with, show off your knowledge. The hiring manager who is interviewing you is usually knowledgeable of the topic and will be interested in a mutual discussion about it. This could also help you break tension or defeat nerves. If you can embrace your inner geek and have a conversation in which you feel comfortable and confident about a topic, the interviewer will notice.

I hope this helps you better understand what hiring managers look for when interviewing applicants. A confident interview is the all-important first impression of your job hunt.

Good Luck!

BC / AC: Should You Negotiate Salary on a Job Offer? How Covid has Changed Salary Negotiation 

Since COVID, all facets of recruiting have changed: location, duration, communication, work hours, even entire jobs. One of the most sensitive subjects of recruiting is salary negotiation. Somewhere, someone instructed newbie candidates to negotiate pay offers. This issue comes up frequently, as many entry-level candidates believe they’ll be perceived as being weak if they don’t ask for more money.   

This may have worked well with hiring managers BC (Before COVID). But that convention has gone out the window during COVID. These days, everyone is working on their last nerve after a year of being cooped up, overworked, and stressed out about business and the economy. Hiring managers have restricted budgets and very little wiggle room exists for an increase, especially for an entry-level candidate.    

We ran into this recently when we recruited, packaged, prepped, and presented a candidate who received an offer and came back asking for over 16% more in the base salary. This was after he agreed to the salary range upfront.  After talking to his friends, he came back for more. Even though he had four years of experience, the position was still considered associate level in the dynamic world of technology.   

Many millennials have internalized the notion that they should always negotiate salary. Think twice about negotiating pay until AC (After COVID). If you are working with a recruiter, he or she will tell you what will work within the budget allotted for the role.  I recommend after all the hard work of the interview and the offer comes in, take it!  You can negotiate vacation, benefits, workspace, workday hours.  What’s most important is to land a job that will give you experience in your desired field.

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