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 whne interviewing with a tech company? ‘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 full time position?
There are a number of things that must be taken into consideration when gauging what to wear to a interview. First and foremost, it is important to note that tech 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 oftem become blurred. Most 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 and LinkedIn or even try speak to an employee of the 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 your commitment to landing the job.
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.
Posted by Adam Dunne on 24 January 2019
Start-up vs Large Corporation
Start-up vs Large Corporation
Join a start-up or a large corporation? This polarizing question has no clear-cut answer but is consistently debated in the software development world. Both start-ups and established corporations come with their own individual set of advantages and disadvantages. There is no black and white answer, it all depends on what you value most. Method vs Madness This is one of the most distinctive differences between the two. In a large corporation, there are clear and well-established processes in place that dictate everything. All tasks are divided into work items and Gantt charts and then equally spread across the team. Everyone fulfils their specialised job role with changes to the process only occurring with pre-emptive planning. Start-ups on the other hand operate on an ad-hoc, needs must basis. Whatever is needed at that time or in the very near future is prioritised. Tasks are not divided equally among the team, nor are they debated over numerous meetings. Work processes and tasks can change very quickly as the start-up moves into a different direction or it loses investment or something else entirely. Corporations’ organised and clearly defined processes remove a lot of ambiguity and ensure that developers are not overworked. However, it often stifles work productivity as time is lost through constant meetings and ‘going through the motions’ of bureaucracy. In a start-up, developers are afforded full responsibility of their work which is very attractive to many. You are likely to be your own manager removing the time-consuming meetings and bureaucratic processes. However, this does come at a cost. If something goes wrong, it is on you to fix it. It doesn’t matter if its 5pm on a Friday or if you already have an unmanageable to-do list, it is up to you to fix it. Professional Development & Career Advancement This is a grey area as both start-ups and large corporations offer great paths to professional development and career advancement but in very different ways. In a large corporation, you will learn valuable skills such as navigating large-scale projects, how to effectively integrate teams, how to work with mature code and the inner workings of large organisations. In addition, you will have a lot of support from developers within the organisation and from extensive training usually paid for and provided by your company. There are clear paths to career advancement on a merit-basis. Those who have clearly demonstrated that they are the best for the job or promotion, tend to get it. On the flip side, start-ups give you the chance to gain working experience in many, often cutting-edge technologies. You will likely have the opportunity to make important architecture yourself while working in different roles on different parts of projects. The support system will however naturally be lower. You will likely work with a select few very smart individuals, but Google will be your best friend for solving issues. Career advancement can be very quick as you will grow as the start-up grows. The earlier you get in, the higher you will advance all going to plan. If you excel in an autonomous role where you dictate how and what work is done, a start-up will work for you. If you excel in a position with clear direction and a solid support system, a large corporation is for you. Pay & Compensation This tends to be the deal breaker for many. Naturally, large corporations can offer a lot in terms of salary and overall remuneration packages. Heavy hitters such as Google, Facebook and Amazon often offer above market salaries with incredible benefit packages to lure in the best talent in the market. Start-ups cannot afford to match the big corporate outfits. You are likely to do the job of three people for the price of less than one in the early days. You will have to acclimatise to a lower standard of living, however there is always the chance that it could pay off in the future if the start-up is a success. Only you will know which one is for you. Start-ups are risky and require a lot of hard-work but they can pay off in a big way. Large corporations are safe, slow moving but can also offer a lot. It all comes down to what you value most and your career aspirations.
Soft Skills Needed for Career Progression
Soft Skills Needed for Career Progression
Are you looking to progress in your career? Soft skills may be the key to propelling you to success. According to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends report, 90% of executives rate soft skills as a priority for their employees. You may have every technical skill mastered for your role, but this amounts to little if you don’t work well with others. The modern workplace requires consistent teamwork, collaboration and communication with little room for those who don’t work well with others. Unlike hard skills, which can be easily measured and quantified, soft skills are intangible and difficult to quantify. Soft skills are personable attributes, usually linked to how you work and interact with others. Soft skills are necessary for your success and your career development as they help facilitate human connections and relationships. Effective soft skills make you visible for the right reasons, opening up more career-related opportunities such as a promotion to team lead or management. According to LinkedIn data, the top five most in-demand soft skills in the tech industry are; Creativity Persuasion Collaboration Adaptability Time Management Creativity: Creative employees are always highly sought after. You may think that you’re not creative but there are steps you can follow. Creativity in the workplace is about thinking or doing something slightly different. Approach each task in work with the attitude that the current method is only temporary until it is replaced by something better. Discuss your ideas with people, incorporate their feedback and above all else, don’t be afraid to fail. Put yourself and your ideas out there, failure is necessary for success. Persuasion: Being able to persuade others that your idea or way of doing something is no easy task but it is necessary to achieve your goals and objectives. There are many ways to persuade people, some more shady than others such as nagging and coercion. Successful persuaders get others to buy into their idea. You need to understand how your audience thinks, what makes them tick. Practicing active listening and empathy are excellent ways to discover how someone thinks. You also need to really believe in your idea and communicate it well, don’t be afraid to receive some negative feedback, it is part of the process. Collaboration: Collaboration is essential in work. Within the tech industry, it is the norm to collaborate across departments and teams due to the nature of the work. Building effective collaboration is more than teamwork, it means building trust. It is important to communicate clearly about everyone’s role in the process and agree upon it. It is important to place the overall goal ahead of your personal goals or recognition, true collaboration is about the overall outcome. Recognising others for their work or contribution and offering credit is a great way to build collaboration. Adaptability: Adaptability is one of the most sought-after qualities in an employee as advances in technology continue to accelerate at an increasing rate. The ability to modify one’s thinking, beliefs and behaviours to better suit the current or future environment is becoming essential in the modern digital age. It is almost impossible for organisations to keep up with the rate of change, adaptable employees are the key to future-proofing the business. To be adaptable in the workplace, you need to be open to new projects outside your comfort zone, accept and embrace that your role may change to better suit market conditions and convey calmness and confidence when you are faced with a sudden new dilemma. Time Management: Time is a great equaliser, everyone has the same number of hours in the day and learning how to effectively utilise your time is the key to success. Setting goals and prioritising each goal is a great way to manage time. Before completing any task, assess how urgent the priority is and how much of your time does the task warrant. Consistent planning is an essential element of time management, keep control of your daily, weekly and monthly workflow. For more tips on time management – read this blog (Insert link: https://www.sigmarrecruitment.eu/blog/2019/08/how-to-improve-productivity-at-work).
Keeping It Professional – How to use LinkedIn properly
Keeping It Professional – How to use LinkedIn properly
While there are plenty of social outlets to vent and express your feelings online, LinkedIn is not one of them. Outside of work we have all been told by a friend or colleague NOT to talk about work, regardless if the information is positive or negative, nobody wants to tackle these topics after 5:30. The same rules apply when it comes to LinkedIn and your working world. Nobody wants to hear your opinion on football, nor do they want to see photographs of your family, or that funny picture of a dog chasing its tail. There are plenty of social media outlets where you can express these interests and opinions. Try to differentiate your work world and your social world. LinkedIn is used by hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide. It is a place where you can sell/offer your experience and skills within the working community. How you demonstrate this information will be the reason why you are being headhunted by businesses and agencies, or on the contrary why you are finding it difficult to gain any traction in your network. Here are some key tips on how to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile. 1. Profile Picture: Your profile picture is a unique selling tool. Isn’t it always nice to have a face with the name? It makes you stand out more, makes you more memorable and ultimately portrays a big message to your professional network. When you’re using a picture, please do NOT have a picture of you including: Dogs, Cats, Bars, Nightclubs, group pictures, poorly formatted pictures or wearing a football kit. This is the first thing that a hiring manager will see, make it count, and make a positive impression. Recent surveys have shown that your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photograph on it than without. 2. Spelling/Grammar: This one is self-explanatory, yet it is the most common issue you’ll find on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn personal page is essentially your own online stock for hiring managers to buy into. You want your stock to be professional, assertive and representative of your ability. Ensure to spell-check your personal information and details before you submit them on your page. This, of course, will rule out any “where, were, we’re OR they’re, there and their” mistakes that are most common. Remember, this is your professional profile – nobody else will correct your work for you. 3. Networking A great way to get the most from your LinkedIn is by expanding your network. LinkedIn users have a tendency to add their closest friends and don’t explore and maximise their potential to widen their networking net. Reach out to old acquaintances and colleagues, clients and customers, and most certainly your college alumni – these are quite likely the most beneficial additions to your network. They have probably pursued the same routes as you have and can provide you with a broader reach in your network. 4. Creativity: “Creative and Responsible” – are the most used adjectives by LinkedIn users over the last few years. Never have we seen such creativity and responsibility by users across the globe. Although going by this statistic we should be societies full of Steve Jobs’ and Richard Branson’s. True creativity now-a-days in the business world is explored via strategy. Please don’t misconstrue your creativity as an innovative personal attribute that no other user could possibly think of. Instead why don’t you portray this “creativity” via a different route? Present your publications, merits, videos and any other projects that will depict the right image of you. We must be strategic on what information we want on show and what will make us stand out and be remembered. I’d advise you not to use LinkedIn as a place of social interaction, rather see it as a way for you to canvas your experiences and skills to date, and interact with professional communities globally. Think professionalism every time you log in and you should be presenting your best foot forward.
Why Job Seekers Should Use Recruiters
Why Job Seekers Should Use Recruiters
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.