Interviews are the gateway to landing your dream job, but for most people interviews are a stressful and uncomfortable endeavour. You finally have your chance to impress a prospective employer and secure that golden opportunity, but unnerving thoughts and doubts begin to make you nervous. Nerves are to be expected, but if you let them overcome you, they could dampen your chances of securing the job that you may well have the skills and expertise for. What is the best way to ease your apprehension? Being prepared. Having an understanding of the overall interview process, the types of questions asked and what is expected of you will not only enable you to be more prepared, but it will serve to quieten some of them unsettling anxieties. So, what should you expect from a ‘typical’ developer interview? Every company has their own way of doing things and the procedure may differ slightly depending on the role that you are, but a lot of companies follow a similar process. The interview process tends to comprise of one or two phone interviews, followed by up to four on-site face-to-face interviews. The initial phone interviews are used to simply screen candidates to assess whether they are worth meeting in person. The first of the two phone interviews (or first half of the interview, if there is only one) will ask primarily behavioural questions. Behavioural questions are not designed to challenge you; they’re used to get you talking and to make you feel comfortable. Big open-ended questions are often asked such as “talk me through your CV” or “tell me about a challenging project you worked on”. The questions are designed to help HR professionals get a feel for you, the type of person you are and whether you’re a good fit with the company. Some light technical questions may also be posed asking you about your relevant coding knowledge, database expertise and so on. Following the initial phone screenings, you may be invited in-house for a series of face-to-face interviews with the appropriate members of the team. Large companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google hold four face-to-face interviews lasting approximately forty-five minutes each. These interviews primarily focus on your technical abilities with only one focusing on your behavioural traits and/or culture fit with the respective company. The technical interviews are a means of evaluating your problem-solving skills. The interviewer wants to see if you can translate your thought-process into reasonably correct, well-structured code. You will be asked a coding/algorithm question and be expected to write, test and optimize code often using a whiteboard, with some companies offering a laptop instead. Having a foundation in data structures and algorithms is really important. These are fundamental concepts, like binary search trees and breadth-first search. You will also be asked to develop an optimal algorithm for your code. It’s important to note that your code and algorithm does not need to be flawless. It is your approach and methodology that is being evaluated. Once the technical side of the interviews are complete, you will be given time to ask questions that you may have regarding the role or company or whatever may be on your mind. This is what a ‘typical’ developer interview process is like. However, every company is different. A great resource to discover the interview process for the position that you are applying for is Glassdoor. Here you can read what other applicants experienced with sections offering advice and types of questions asked.
As the old saying goes, first impressions count and that is never truer than when it comes to an interview. How you present yourself paints a picture in the prospective employer’s mind of your interest and dedication to landing the position. But does this apply to an IT developer interview? ‘Silicon Valley’ culture has strongly influenced the IT industry uplifting many long-standing traditions in the world of business. The stereotypical ‘IT guy’ is depicted as a laid-back person wearing jeans and a hoody at best, but is this appropriate when interviewing for a developer position? There are a number of things that must be taken into consideration when gauging what to wear to a developer interview. First and foremost, it is important to note that developer positions are open in a wide array of industries ranging from a small tech start-up to a global bank. The culture and industry in which the company operates in will dictate what you should wear to the interview. For example, in a bank, formal business attire is expected and worn by nearly all employees. If the employees are wearing suits, you should suit up for your interview. If a suit just isn’t for you, dress smart. A co-ordinated, well fitted smart outfit with dress shoes will suffice. A bank is a very black and white example. The tech scene is a different story, where the lines can become blurred. Even some of the top tech firms dress more on the business casual side, making it hard to gauge what is deemed office appropriate. Smaller tech firms can dress very casually, with a suit not being expected or even appropriate. A good trick is to research the company’s culture through a simple Google search, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and so on. Try speaking to an employee of the company or even a similar company to get an idea of what is expected. Interviewees are always susceptible to underdressing to match the company culture. It is recommended to always dress professionally, no matter what type of company you are interviewing with. Your appearance signals who you are, your professionalism and even your work ethic. Men should consider wearing trousers or khaki pants with a long sleeve shirt and dress shoes. No jeans or trainers, its simply too casual for the occasion. Women should consider wearing a pencil skirt or trousers with a collared shirt. A work dress is also suitable. Wear whatever you are most comfortable in but err on the side of overdressing. Whatever you decide to wear, ensure the clothes are clean, crease free and the shoes are polished. Good personal hygiene and care is a must. For men, make sure you’re clean shaven or your beard is very neatly trimmed. If you use hair product, go easy with it. For women, keep the make-up light and professional. If you have a lot of jewellery and/or piercings, best to take a minimal approach to both. Make sure your nails are neat and if you are wearing nail polish, make sure it’s not chipped. Last but not least, try not to use overpowering perfume or aftershave - a subtle scent is best. During an interview, there are a lot of variables outside of your control, so why not make the most of the variables you do control? Research has shown that the first few seconds of meeting someone is the most crucial, with the visual impact you make being the most important factor.
In every industry, you need job-specific skills and expertise to perform your role. These are called ‘hard skills’. Naturally if you have a high level of the hard skills required in your field of work, you’re likely to progress in your career. However, in the real world, you need more than just job-specific expertise to be successful. ‘Soft skills’ also play a significant role in advancing your career. Unlike hard skills that are tangible and can be measured, soft skills are intangible and quite difficult to quantify. Communication, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking and conflict resolution are all key soft skills that will serve to boost your career. 1. Communication Communication skills are of utmost importance in the workplace as they improve your chances of building relationships with your co-workers and clients. Communication skills enable you to clearly express what you need from a fellow employee and understand what is needed from you. This in turn boosts your productivity and sets the tone for how you are perceived in the workplace. 2. Teamwork Having good communication skills builds the foundation for good teamworking skills. The ability to be able to collaborate with others towards a shared goal is invaluable. Being a good team player makes other want to work with you, want to help you, enabling you to benefit the pool of knowledge and expertise in your business. This in turn will improve the quality of your work. 3. Problem Solving Not everything goes your way in the working world. Minor and major problems can occur at any given time during your career. The ability to be able to solve these problems, to navigate through unexpected challenges will be indispensable to your career. 4. Critical Thinking/Observation Critical thinkers bring a fresh perspective to organisations. Having the ability to not only to read information, but to use your intuition to unpack, truly understand what you’re seeing and notice any patterns will set you above from the rest. 5. Conflict Resolution Conflict resolution is an amalgamation of teamwork and communication skills. Conflict is human nature; it’s present in every single workplace that has more than one employee. Having the ability to constructively work through disagreements and resolve issues with other employees conveys your professionalism, maturity and commitment to your role. To be truly successful in the workplace, you need to have a mix of both hard and soft skills. These five skills will serve to enhance your career no matter what industry you work in.
In this modern era of hyper-connectivity, with smart devices that are so smart you can be contacted through your wrist watch, is there value in using a third party to help you find a job or are you better off going it alone? Well, with the global market seemingly more turbulent than ever and every company sending out similar soundbites on why they are the best, it’s increasingly hard to know what path to choose as a jobseeker. Jobseekers have never had it better with companies creating novel ways to attract new talent. Whether it’s a mini-golf course on the roof, an onsite masseuse, gym membership or yoga classes, it shows companies are aware of employee turnover and that the job itself isn’t enough to attract and retain talent anymore. However, on the other side of things, a job for life is clearly a thing of the past for most of the labour market, unless you’re a health professional or a teacher. This means more diversity in a person’s career, certainly among millennials, under 25’s and graduates in particular. This also means more disruption in previously stable careers and the need to diversify people’s skills and keep an eye on the market. It’s a dynamic environment in recruitment with marketing and internal recruiters partnering to attract the best staff, so why use a recruiter? Industry Knowledge Most recruiters specialise in one niche of the market and as a result become market experts within their sector and can give you a complete roadmap to the lay of the land. Going it solo will mean that you will have to do your own research about each company you are applying for who will each have their own unique requirements. Your recruiter, however, will be able to provide you with a company background, describe the team structure, the key aspects of the role and what exact experience the hiring manager is looking for. A recruiter will help you decide whether the position is for you and keep you updated as things develop in the market you’re in. Recruitment agencies provide a completely cost-free service to jobseekers. They only charge the companies hiring, so why not have unlimited access to the inner workings of the company you’re applying to and assistance for free? Direct Line To The People In Power Recruiters have a direct line to HR directors and hiring managers. Why not make the most of this? With a direct line to the people in power, you get the inside information on what makes a company, a department or even a specific job so exciting. If you have high goals of progression or want to work on a set type of projects, you won’t find this information through a job advert and may not realise if you have made a mistake until you’re in the job. Another aspect a recruiter can help with is when it comes to negotiating salary, the recruiter will know exactly what can be negotiated and keep things on track. You can focus on performing in the interview and the recruiter can handle all the awkward/difficult conversations. Your Own Personal Advocate Who doesn’t want someone singing their praises? With a recruiter you have your own personal cheerleader getting face time with people in power and telling them in no uncertain terms that you were made for this job and could do it blindfolded like Sandra Bullock in Birdbox. In all seriousness, a recruiter is trained find out your best qualities in relation to the job and make sure you don’t get missed by the hiring company. They can also help with CV re-design and know the best ways to catch the eye of the employer. Also, as mentioned, people are jumping jobs a lot more now which has previously been a serious red flag for employers. However, your recruiter can help explain your motivations and elaborate on your CV in minute detail to get over the initial hurdle of pre-screening. Practice Makes Perfect Interviews are a minefield. Say the wrong thing or react the wrong way and you will be stuck in no man’s land with no way back. Nike have a motto “Think training’s hard? Try losing”. Every day a recruiter prepares people for interviews, so let the experts show you how to ace every interview. They have the practice that can make you perfect! They will already have given you the background to the job, the hiring managers and the company, so the next logical piece of the puzzle is on the interview process. Recruiters will have reams of documentation but will always tailor the preparation for interviews to each person to maximise the value. The difference between you and the next person competing for the job is usually a small margin. That could mean that advice from a recruiter, who has placed plenty of candidates in jobs, could be the reason you succeed in getting the role. The future is bright for job seekers with more opportunities than ever. Partner with a recruiter who knows the industry, the companies hiring and who can help make the jobs market easier to navigate.
Searching for jobs is a job in itself. It can be challenging and time consuming but there are ways of making this task a little easier. If you are planning on finding a new job, Sigmar Recruitment has devised a list of top 5 job searching tips to help you in your pursuit of the perfect job this 2019. Get Employers to Come to You Uploading your CV online can increase your chances of being seen by employers. Most job searching websites like; Jobs.ie and Monster.ie allow job seekers to create an online profile using their CV content. This profile can then be viewed by potential employers. There is also an option, when you create your account, to highlight specific jobs and organisations you’re interested in and receive email notifications when positions become available. This is handy for any job seeker as it does the hard work for you and allows suitable job opportunities to come directly to you. Update your LinkedIn Profile The first thing you should do before applying for a job is ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with all your relevant work experience. Often employers will search for you online while reviewing your CV. It’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date as it could be the reason you get called for an interview. Extra Tip: If you are unemployed and don’t have an issue with making your employment status public, you may want to update your LinkedIn profile headline to something like, “Currently seeking (insert type of role here) in (insert location here)”. This will let your network know that you are currently job seeking Target the Right Companies It’s important to know what type of company you are looking for. This all comes down to your personal preference. Knowing what you want will make it easier. Would you rather be; “a big fish in a little pond” or “a little fish in a big pond”? By eliminating the type of companies you don’t want in your search, you will narrow down the available jobs suited to you. Extra Tip: If you know of a company you think you would like to work for, search for reviews of the company online. Glassdoor.com lets you search millions of reviews of companies that are all posted anonymously by employees. This is a great way to get an honest appraisal of organisations you’re considering applying to. Network Use the contacts you have to enquire about available jobs and get the word out that you’re looking for a new position. Often jobs can be found through people we know so it’s a good idea to get in touch with any relevant contacts you may have. Building on your current network can also give you an advantage in your job search. Attending conferences and job expos are a great way to network and find out about career opportunities. Be Positive Finding the perfect job isn’t easy and may take time. As rejections start coming in, it’s important to always try to stay positive. It’s only natural for you to feel deflated when things aren’t going according to plan but try to use the rejection as a motivation to work harder. The right job is out there for you and you will find it if you stay persistent and optimistic. Don’t have the time to job search? If you find yourself not being able to find the time to search for jobs properly, you can contact us in Sigmar Recruitment. You can upload your details and CV to our website and create an online profile that will be accessed by our 125 specialist recruitment consultants to review your details and contact you with potential job opportunities.