Looking for a quick guide to prepare for your upcoming interview? The search for a new job is time-consuming prospect that often keeps you at your current role far longer than you should be. Don’t let the interview hold you back any further in time or effort. Use these tips for before, during and after to leverage your interview opportunity for a job offer.
Stuck at the job search stage? Let a nearby Jobspring recruiter help.
1. First up: your resume. This is the first impression that you make on your next potential employer, so use this to guide what you should and shouldn’t be doing with it:
- Be concise and to the point with everything you include.
- Don’t make things sound a lot more complicated than they were.
- Start with a simple and clear objective. Use the job’s keywords.
- Tailor your experience for the role that you are applying for.
- List only technologies and skills you’re comfortable and confident with.
- Include skill level where applicable to these.
- Focus on your experience. Doing is better than knowing.
- Show how you used your skills rather than listing them.
- Aim to keep your resume to 2 pages max. It’s not a novel!
2. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. This is your social resume, whether or not you know it. It’s important to have an updated profile as LinkedIn is probably the most used tool by both employers and job-seekers. You're more accessible to employers and recruiters the more accurate and relevant your LinkedIn profile is. Give employers the chance to come and find you first, or pro-actively apply to their jobs on LinkedIn to set yourself apart.
3. Know about the company. 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, don’t be that person. “So, what exactly does your company do?” will turn off your potential employer. You’re interested enough to interview. Act like it.
4. Research your interviewer. Use Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, the company website and any other outlets (Have they spoken at a recent event? Been featured in an article?) See if you share any common connections. Learn more about their background. Employ what you learn as topics of discussion or ways to relate to the interviewer right off the bat.
5. Have examples ready to go. Make sure you have at least 1 or 2 projects that you’ve worked on recently. If there are projects directly related to the role you’re interviewing for, bring these up. Don’t gloss over them either - go into details. Employers like hearing why you chose specific strategies, platforms or technologies.
1. Respond directly to questions. Pay attention to the question that is being asked, and focus on answering that question alone. Do not 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. If you’re asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t pretend to know the answer! Let the interviewer know that you don’t have the answer, but don’t stop there! 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. On that note, it’s okay not to know everything. It is not okay to have no initiative to take on new challenges. Employers are probably not going to find a candidate that has 100% of the skills they want. Part of the reason you’re probably looking for a new job is to learn new skills, and most employers know this. Show them you’re able to pick up new skills quickly by proposing a solution to the problem, even without those hard skills yet.
4. Ignore a rude interviewer. Spoiler alert: your interviewers are only human. Don’t let this put you off for the rest of the interview. After meeting with him/her, you may decide this company is not the right place for you. Keep your cool throughout the interview and make a positive impression. You never know when you might cross paths with them again. This is sometimes used as an interview tactic; working in engineering and IT is known to have situations that are high pressure. Some employers want to see how you’ll react in uncomfortable, high-stress situation.
5. Be engaged. The interview is a platform for the employer to assess your skills, and see if you are a fit for their company. It is also a time for you to figure out whether or not the company is a fit for you. When you are given the opportunity, have questions and discussion topics prepared. 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.
Ready for the interview stage of your job search? Apply to a job here.
Always 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 who did that one extra something. It show your appreciation for being considered for the position, and gives you a last opportunity to show your interest. Here are a few tips:
- A short letter is fine. A long letter is desperate.
- Be personal. Don’t google an outline and skip personal details.
- Thank the manager for setting up the interview and setting aside time to meet. Also thank any team members in this area.
- Bring up specific parts of the interview that you enjoyed
- Highlight key reasons as to why you’re interested in the job.
- Close the letter with an indication you look forward to hearing back, and if they have any questions they should contact you.
Here are some related job search tips:
The $1.5 billion Powerball Jackpot drew nationwide excitement, long waits in lines and office pools of lottery tickets. Someone has to win the lottery, right? More than 86% of possible combinations had been bought, according to TIME Magazine, and at least three people are taking home millions after last night's drawing.
Everyone’s asking – “what would you do if you won?” The allure of quitting your job and partying with the rich and famous is strong but…if you become an overnight billionaire, here are five convincing motivations not to leave your job:
You might not be quite as rich as you thought you’d be. You won’t be a billionaire right away, unless you get a lump sum instead of annuities. However, if you get a lump sum, you won’t be a billionaire at all, since even pre-tax, the lump sum is under $1 billion according to Money. "Seventy percent of people who land a big windfall, lose it within several years," said this NBC News article. Many winners don’t plan a budget overestimate annuities, so you may need your current income, after all.
Anyway, you shouldn’t make any drastic changes for six months. Instead, set aside a small (celebratory, perhaps?) amount of money, and make a plan. It will give you time to set a budget, consider any investments and let the buzz die down.
Don’t wait for the lottery to change your life. Here’s 4 reasons to start looking for a new job before you NEED to.
On that note, it’s easier to say no if you seem like your normal self. Once the cat is out of the bag that you’re rolling in it, friends and family will come out of the woodwork offering ”great investment opportunities” and calling in favors you never recalled using. Before telling your friends, in fact, Mark Cuban told The Dallas Morning News that a tax attorney should be your first call when you win, and you should consult him before you say yes to anyone.
Your career should be about more than money. While we all need to pay the bills, a fulfilling career is about more than just the dollar signs. For some it’s about passion, for some it’s about making a difference and yet others truly love what they do. If you love your current job, there’s no reason to leave it behind. If your career is on the right trajectory, instead use this opportunity to augment what you’re already excelling at.
If you’re a tech professional unhappy with your current job, contact the local Jobspring Partners for career advice.
Just quitting your job won’t mean immediate happiness. “If you weren’t happy yesterday you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness,” said Mark Cuban to the Dallas Morning News. “If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It’s money. Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.”
When you’re in IT, it’s all about approaching systems proactively versus reactively. Why not approach your career the same way? Competent employees can get unexpectedly laid off, office environments can erupt without notice and life circumstances can suddenly call for a change. According to a 2015 CareerBuilder survey of 5,000 candidates, "3 in 4 full-time employed workers are open to or actively looking for new job opportunities."
Don't be caught desperate to find a role if you're the one in four not looking. If you're not completely happy at work, be proactive going into 2016 about exploring your options and job searching. Below are a few key reasons why you should be looking for a new role when you’re still at your current employer.
Time Is On Your Side
How long could you support yourself and your dependents without a steady paycheck? That time frame is the maximum amount of time you have to find an adequate position once you’ve left your current position. If you start looking proactively while you’re still at your current employer, your time frame for taking a new role is exponentially expanded. This way, you can focus on finding a position that you’re excited about and one that will fast-track your career, as opposed to one that will simply pay the bills.
Start now by checking out some tech jobs on the Jobspring Job Board here.
No pressure, you’re already viewed as an asset!
Many hiring managers believe the best candidates are the ones who are actively working. Employed candidates are viewed as being proven assets. Where does this mindset come from? Well… have you ever wanted or needed something so badly that when under pressure, you’ve completely botched your attempt to get it? Unfortunately, this happens all the time during interviews when you’re facing unemployment. On the other hand, if you begin your search while you have a comfortable employment situation, you take significant pressure off of yourself and lessen the likelihood of self-sabotage when interviewing for a new role.
Get What You Really Want
As a passive candidate, you’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you! The ball is in your court, and potential employers will be more willing to roll out the red carpet for you. Hopefully your skillset will land you a role that will move you in the direction you’ve always wanted to go. If there is a specific technology you’ve always wanted to work with or a cutting-edge industry you're passionate about, this is an opportunity to ask. As a passive job seeker, you can be more selective with the companies and roles you’d like to interview for. You have more control of your commute range, the tool sets you work with and any other job factors that are important to you.
Room to Negotiate
Lastly, you’ll have more control of dictating what your final offer will be. Simply said, what will it take for you to leave your comfortable role to start at a new and exciting company? Everything in terms of compensation should line up— don’t forget that salary isn’t everything. Instead focus on the total package the company offers. Not only will you have the upper-hand on getting a higher hitting salary range, you’ll also have leverage to get additional vacation time, flexible hours, stock options and a myriad of other perks that are possible in an offer.
So if you’re not in an absolute ideal position, make sure you keep your eyes and ears open to new and exciting opportunities. You can always call a local Jobspring recruiter and tell them exactly what your current situation is and how you’d like to be kicking off 2016!
Not convinced? Here are 6 more reasons to start working on your resume now.
Whether you’re looking for a career change in the New Year or simply wanting to add that new skill you learned in 2015, the Holidays are the perfect time to update that dusty, outdated resume you haven’t touched in a while.
A new year means a fresh start, and for a lot of companies, it means new roles to fill. So if you’re looking for new job opportunities, it is important to spruce up that resume so you can stand out from all those other applicants. Even if you’re not seeking a new career path, improving your resume or C/V can help you set new goals for the new year, look back on past accomplishments, identify skills you may want to brush up on and can even prepare you for when you do decide to make that big career move.
Let us help you get to the next step in your career. Contact your local Jobspring office
Either way, here are 6 simple, easy tips to spruce up your resume over the Holidays:
1. New Year = New Look
Updating your resume and renewing its appearance will give you a rejuvenated sense of confidence and a fresh start to the New Year. If your resume has had the same layout for 4-5 years, it is time to give it a more modern look. It can still have a conventional format, but it should be done in a more contemporary style. Employers notice unique resume designs, so try to make yours stand out as much as possible.
2. Tailor versions of your resume
When developing your resume, be sure to tailor separate versions to fit each career field or job position you are applying for. Employers may spend only about 30 seconds scanning your resume to determine whether your background and skills match their requirements. An effective resume will convince an employer that you have the skillsets and qualifications for the job you are applying for.
3. Optimize your keywords
Use the same keywords from the job that you are applying in the employment sections of your resume and in any online profiles to improve keyword optimization. For example, if your current title is “Business Systems Analyst” but the job title you are applying for is listed as “IT Supervisor” - and it has essentially the same requirements - then consider listing your position on your resume/profile as “Business Systems Analyst (IT Supervisor)” to help clarify what you are pursuing in the eyes of the hiring manager. Another example would be to take keywords from the job ad and replace existing ones in your skills/qualifications and even profile sections with them to match more closely with the position requirements. For instance, if you have “excellent communication skills” listed on your resume but the job ad has “superior communication skills” listed as a requirement, consider changing it to the word “superior” in order to help with the keyword optimization of your target role.
4. List your most notable achievements for the year.
Review your past year’s accomplishments and make a detailed list of the challenges that you have experienced, the steps you took to overcome those challenges, and summarize your successful accomplishments. Spotlight as many achievements on your resume to help you land that interview you have been waiting for. This will also help you be better prepared in the interview when answering those tough questions.
5. Create a killer "Summary of Qualifications"
For your prospective employer, a Summary of Qualifications can influence your chance of being called in for an interview. Functioning as an intriguing film trailer or the summary found at the back of an alluring book, this key function of the resume section is to impress employers and entice interest about your possible talent. It is essential that your Summary of Qualifications appears within the top section your self-marketing document and your list should be no longer than 3-5 key points. First, brainstorm your skills, experiences and abilities. Treat this like a creative writing exercise, where you can refine and limit your summary later. Next, review and critique your summary on an ongoing basis. Is it targeted? Specific? Have a friend or family member provide you with feedback. Lastly, compare your summary of qualifications with your listed work experience. Your summary should accurately showcase what you have done as well as your competencies.
6. Always look ahead and stay relevant.
Write your resume and social media profiles, such as LinkedIn, to be forward-looking documents that showcase how your accomplishments are not only in alignment with your own future goals but the results desired by a prospective employer. Do not include every job you have had in the past. If your employment history is not related to the job you are applying for, then remove it. You also want to remove any work experience that is outdated 15 or plus years, and ensure that you list achievements that are relevant to the role you are applying for. A full-stack hiring manager will not care that you won that national golf championship in 2010, no matter how proud you are of it. Your resume and profile should promote your career goals while your skills and experiences should help you get that desirable job and add value to the next company that will hire you.
The Jobspring Partners team wishes you a Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year! If you feel like your resume needs some sprucing up and you want a fresh start but you don’t know where to start, please reach out to us - we’d love to help!
Game rooms. Unlimited vacation time. Free yoga classes. One year of maternity OR paternity leave. Tech companies these days are offering some phenomenal employee benefits, but not every company can afford to offer such lavish options. Sometimes it’s the simple things at a job we love that we need to appreciate. It’s easy to get swept away in the daily grind of a work day, so here is a list of little perks around the office that are worth being thankful for this holiday season.
Location, Location, Location. Chances are you probably don’t live right next door to your work, so instead of sitting in traffic right at closing time or riding the rush hour train, why not go for a walk and see what’s around? You’d be surprised how many people work in an area they never take the time to explore. Maybe you’ll find a new happy hour or a restaurant you would have never found otherwise.
Speaking of happy hour, they say that an office that drinks together, succeeds together. They don’t actually say that, but a Gallup study shows that employees with a best friend at work are 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. So if you have coworkers who enjoy being social after a long, hard week, it could make you much happier and productive in the long run.
Snacks on Snacks on Snacks
Nothing gets you through the end of the day 2:45 like a good afternoon snack. According to USA Today, a study by PeaPod shows that while “56%,of full-time employees are "extremely" or "very" happy with their current job, that number jumps to 67% among those who have access to free food.” If your office provides healthy snacks like green tea, fruit, or vegetables it can make you feel better as well.
Your job doesn't offer snacks? Here's a list of open roles at companies that do!
Nothing like a nice secure place to put your car every day. No need to worry about meters, street cleaning, or struggling with a tight parallel parking job! Sometimes, depending on the area, you can even park your car there on the weekend and see a show or eat at your favorite restaurants.
Who has time to wander the streets looking for a blue box? Even with apps and maps, it can be so confusing! Not to mention, who can keep track of all those pick-up times. The fact that you can get mail delivered to work is great, even better when they pick up in your building…It’s especially nice this season, because you’ll need someone to sign for all of those packages you’ll be getting for your holiday shopping list.
Depending on the size of the office, you’re probably going to eat cake every couple of months. Cookies may get delivered every few weeks. Maybe you’ll get to prank someone by taping balloons all over their workspace, or wrapping everything in gift wrap. It’s all fun and games…until it’s your birthday.
Even if your personal workspace doesn’t have a window, there’s probably one a couple floors up. It’s always a good for the mind and body to watch the sunset. Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the little things in life. (like the view from our sister office in Dallas, below).
The Jobspring Partners team wishes you a happy holiday season and hopes that you have many things to be thankful for this year. If your job isn't one of them though, feel free to reach out to us after the holiday to find one that will be!
Veterans have more to offer than ever, but finding a job is never easy. Are you a veteran looking for a job, or do you know someone who is? Here are some free online resources that can help veterans make connections and find jobs.
- Military Job Networks (MJN) is an exclusive online networking platform created and enabled only for verified U.S. Military Veterans. With 3,600 online private military occupation groups, verified Veterans access private, virtual spaces for true peer-to-peer networking and knowledge sharing. www.militaryjobnetworks.com
- Hire Heroes USA has built a national reputation of excellence for helping veterans find jobs, currently at the rate of more than 60 veterans confirmed hired every week. They partner with more than 200 veteran-friendly companies to offer relevant and up-to-date job postings on the Hire Heroes USA Job Board.
- VetJobs services are available to assist ALL members of “The United States Military Family” advance their careers and find employment. This includes Officer and Enlisted, Active Duty, Transitioning Military, Reservists, Veterans, Retirees, of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, National Guard, Navy, NOAA and Public Health Service along with Trailing Spouses, Eligible Former Spouses, Widows, Widowers and Dependents and DOD civilians. www.vetjobs.com
- USAJOBS.gov is a free web-based job board enabling federal job seekers access to thousands of job opportunities across hundreds of federal agencies and organizations. www.usajobs.gov/Veterans
- MilitaryHire.com has been developed and is maintained by a team of both military veterans and corporate hiring authorities. They worked hard to create a network where former military personnel can seek careers and utilize their professional skills. www.militaryhire.com
- Military.com joined forces with Monster Worldwide (NYSE: MWW) to accelerate our growth and change the playing field for career and educational opportunities for servicemembers, veterans and military spouses. Monster's vision is bringing people together to advance their lives, which is a great fit with Military.com's "members first" ethos and goal of connecting the military community to all the benefits of service. www.military.com/veteran-jobs
- USTechVets.org is a U.S. technology industry career portal created to connect veterans, including transitioning military personnel and their family members, with meaningful jobs in America's technology industry. www.ustechvets.org
- Another free resource is enlisting the help of a recruiter. While not all specialize in placing veterans, many recruitment firms help guide professionals in their careers and place them at jobs, all at no cost to the candidate.
Work with Jobspring Partners if you're interested in a role in IT, or check out the job board.
For a list of further free resources for Veterans in their job search, please see the White House’s page on “Joining Forces” here.
First and foremost, contracting can be a great opportunity to land your next job, fast track your career, and even give yourself a bit of a raise. When job seekers start a new contract position after switching from a full-time role, it's usually amazes them how quickly the process moves. “Wow… that was fast,” is a common response - but don't move so fast that you forget to ask yourself some important questions first.
While you consider the questions below, bear in mind that those who are critical of contract positions may unwittingly provide false information about these types of positions - anything but a full-time job lacks benefits and stability are among common misconceptions. Jobspring Partners actually offers a health care insurance package and PTO, which is a growing trend in companies that hire contractors. A contract role can be an easy and flexible way to gain employment in a fast-moving IT industry. Have kids? Imagine not being tied to a 9-5 schedule. Trying to get your foot in the door with a large company you already applied to in the past? An alternative path to the inside could be through contracting.
Find a contract or contract-to-hire position near you on our job board.
Be sure to have the answers to these important questions from the company, recruiter, or just yourself before committing:
How long is the contract?
Know how long you’ll be working on this contract. That way, you’ll know when you need to start thinking about the next contract or the next steps to converting full-time. Contract lengths can run anything from 4 weeks all the way to, well, forever.
Is this for a project that has been secured?
Find out if the business is already won by the contracting company because sometimes firms like to start the interview process BEFORE being awarded the business and have the ability to put contractors on. You certainly don’t want to turn down other offers you had when the job you accepted technically doesn’t exist yet. A simple way of asking is: “If I accept the offer, how soon can I start?” The answer you’re looking for should be a something like immediately, on Monday, or right after your two week notice.
Am I going to be hired as a W-2 employee or as 1099?
The main differences come down to taxes. As a W-2 employee, you will receive pay checks with tax withholding already taken, and you’ll receive an IRS W-2 from your employer in January of the following year. If you are hired as a 1099 contractor, you’ll get full pay with no tax deductions, but you are also responsible for paying your own taxes come April 15th of the following year.
It’s tempting to opt for a 1099 since your pay checks are bigger, but that smile quickly goes away when you realize you not only have to calculate how much you owe at the end of the year, but in fact you OWE MORE! You get tagged with self-employment tax which is another 13-14% of your income on top of the taxes you already pay. As a perk, however, you can write off multiple expenses for your work as well (transportation, computers, phone service, etc.) Think about these points before deciding which is better for you.
What happens when the contract ends?
It’s important to know what your options are. Some staffing companies have other projects they will have needs for, and it’s good to know if you might qualify for those. The benefit of using a technology-specific staffing firm is that a great majority of their other clients will have needs that match your skill set so that when you’re done with the current contract, you increase your chances of landing another quickly with minimal downtime.
What is the realistic time-frame of converting temp-to-hire?
If the job is a contract-to-hire position, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of when you might be converting to full-time status. This sets the expectations on both sides, and ensures that you and your potential employer are on the same page. Typically the timeline can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months. If you find yourself in the eigth month with no talk of conversion, it’s time to revisit the conversation with your hiring manager.
What salary should I expect when I accept a full-time offer following my contract role?
Most people get a bit nervous when talking about salary and compensation, but it's important to be aware of what the potential salary would look like if you convert to full-time. While it may be an uncomfortable conversation to have now, it’ll save you a headache down the road. You don’t want to find yourself having worked 4 months into a contract only to find that the salary they are thinking isn't close to what you were expecting. Of course, it’s important to be realistic as well. If you are a W-2 employee getting paid $45/hour, you should be considering a base salary of around $90,000 (inclusive of benefits and such).
Have more questions about being a contractor? Ask a Jobspring representative near you.
For a first-timer, a contract position can look intimidating. Don’t let that stop you from considering the opportunity and asking the essential questions before coming to a decision. Working with a recruiter can take some of the uncertainty out of the equation if you're unsure, but it comes down to getting all the answers you need in order to make the right decision.
You passed the phone screening. You dazzled at the first face-to-face interview. You met and meshed with the team. Now you need to test your skills in the technical interview?
It's true, the job interview process is an arduous task in today’s society. There are many obstacles that frequently catch job seekers off-guard and cause great opportunities to crumble. One of the most important, and daunting parts of the interview process for software engineers is the technical interview. Accurately preparing for one of these is extremely important in order to get an offer from your company of choice. Technical interviews are often quite rigorous and can push talented engineers to new levels of critical thinking and assessment.
So, you ask, "How do I ultimately prepare for the technical interview?"
Work with Jobspring Partners to find a position you want to interview at.
Below is a how-to guide on how to ace it:
- Be Ready to Whiteboard: This is generally a go-to interview tactic for tech companies to evaluate engineers during the interview process. It’s always smart to practice solving technical questions on a white board to see how your brain operates/critically thinks when not in front of the computer.
- Brush Up on Core Principles and Basics: Always make sure to brush up on any programming languages that may be rusty. Expect to be asked questions ranging from the fundamentals of certain languages to some higher-level concepts. For example, if you are interviewing for a PHP job, it is helpful to brush up on the fundamentals of the LAMP Stack and the MySQL Database.
- Bring Code Samples: It’s always a good idea to bring code samples and github profiles with you to the interview. Companies are looking for writing ability and the ability to communicate technical thoughts through code documentation.
- Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions: An important part of the process is to ask questions about the role to show that you are interested and engaged. Make sure to prepare 2-3 questions to ask at the end of the interview that show genuine interest and thought.
- Send a Thank You Note: This is always a good thing to do when you finish any interview process with a company, but it's easy to forget while focusing on the tech. You want the company and the people you met with to remember you for the right reasons. Always address why you would be a good fit for the role and bring it back to the job description and what was covered in the interview.
If you do all of these things, the odds of you getting a final-round interview, or better yet a job offer, will increase significantly. So always remember, preparation is the key to success in landing your dream job.