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:
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.
Written by Sara Mauskopf, Director of Product at Postmates. This article was originally published on TechinMotionevents.com.
Now that I’ve been at Postmates for almost 8 months, a lot of people have asked me the difference between Product Management at a larger company like Twitter where I worked from July 2010 to July 2014, or Google where I worked from 2007 to 2010, and at a startup like Postmates. I too was curious before I decided to join a startup.
So first, let me define Product Management at a larger tech company. As a Product Manager, you are responsible for defining a roadmap for your area and ensuring that roadmap meets the goals or objectives you set forth for your team, which should align with the goals of the company. You’re responsible for ensuring the items on the roadmap are prioritized, and that there are clear product specifications for those items. Finally, you work closely with the team to build, launch, collect data/feedback, and iterate to a standard of exceptional quality. Through all phases, including planning, you are working closely with engineering, design, and other key stakeholders across the company. And because everyone looks to you as a leader for your product area, it is important you are inspiring those around you to do their greatest work by setting the right context, establishing a sense of urgency, and working collaboratively.
Looking for a product or project manager role? Check out the job board to see if any positions are a good match.
As it turns out, all those fundamentals remain the same at a startup. In fact, the fundamentals are so important that having experience at a larger company as a Product Manager is one of the best forms of training for startup Product Management. But on top of all that, at a startup you have responsibilities and challenges that do not exist at a larger company. If you are thinking of making the transition from big company PM to startup PM, here are some things you’ll want to know.
1. You’ll often have to do things you have never done before and probably suck at.
Working at a startup, you quickly discover where your personal weaknesses are because on a daily basis you need to do something you have never done before and probably are not good at yet. Executing out of your area of familiarity manifests through needing to do something that larger companies have a person or team dedicated to doing. For example, at a startup you will most certainly not have a user research team that helps you assess how your feature will be received in the market. If you want user research or early feedback on a prototype, you will have to find and interview users yourself. Although it can be daunting to roll up your sleeves and try something you have never done before, it’s also the fastest way to learn how to do it. If you are lucky, you may discover a talent you didn’t know you had!
2. You’ll need gymnast levels of flexibility.
Imagine any company has 5 “fire drills” a quarter. In other words, 5 times per quarter, the average company has to quickly react to something in the market, change a plan due to unexpected data or user feedback, or get in a war room and really focus on a hard problem that has not been given enough attention. At a larger company, those 5 instances are spread out between a lot of people and teams, so you personally probably only experience a "fire drill" at most once per quarter. At a startup, any fire drill usually involves most of the product, design, and engineering team because the team is so small. It’s important at a startup that you can quickly tackle these fire drills, avoid getting thrown off course, and reprioritize your roadmap when needed. Most importantly, you need to mentally be able to deal with plans changing more frequently. It’s ok!
3. You’ll do less talking the talk, more walking the walk.
At a startup, there is nowhere to hide. People who can step up to the plate and tackle the challenges will shine and get even more responsibility. Underperformers who can’t cut it will quickly make their way out. In addition to not needing to worry much about whether your individual performance will be recognized, if you ask any good PM at a larger company they will tell you they spend some percentage of their time carving out territory for their team, evangelizing the great results of their team, and other activities generally thought of as “managing up”. It’s not because large companies are full of evil political people, it’s just because when you have a lot of people working in one place it’s easy to get lost in the noise if you aren’t making it clear what your team works on and the results they have achieved.
You don’t have to worry about that much at a startup. Now, I spend my time working and moving the company forward rather than evangelizing my team internally. With fewer people to communicate with, you can spend more time doing the work, which is great because there is a lot of work to do.
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About the Author
Sara Mauskopf joined on-demand delivery company Postmates in July to build and run its Product Management team. Postmates is transforming the way local goods move around a city by connecting customers with local couriers who purchase and deliver goods from any restaurant or store in a city in minutes. Prior to Postmates, Sara was a Group Product Manager at Twitter, having joined the company in 2010. She started her career at YouTube and Google as a Partner Technology Manager (a role that's a mix of partnerships and engineering). Sara graduated with a bachelors degree in Computer Science from MIT.
Running a sales and recruiting team comes with many challenges; keeping up on technology trends typically falls on the back burner for most. However, those who keep up with the ‘latest and greatest’ trends have the upper hand in educating those you are assisting with their search. The UI/UX design world is no exception, with 88% of young adults being connected to a smartphone it has become imperative to deliver the best user experience to compete. (Creativeblog)
2014 brought us design trends like: The hamburger menu, pushing the limited when it comes to resolution, and the expansion of in-house design teams. With the end of the first quarter on the horizon, I thought it would be a great time to discuss a few of the design trends we will be seeing in 2015.
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Lean design has been leading the way in recent design trends. This will continue, but as companies and designers continue to hone lean design and how it lends itself to mobile applications, they also need to set themselves apart. In 2015, we will see (and we have already started to) skeuomorphic cues in lean design. Keep an eye out for additional physical presences; transparency and layers will become more common, apps will continue to look flat and conform to strict grids. The focus of design will revolve around movable objects within the screen. In the summer of 2014, Google transposed this design trend on Material Design.
I am definitely guilty of (over) using the term sticky or stickiness when talking about design. I like the idea of creating applications that not only engage a user on their first use, but also ones that keeps the user interested over extended periods of times or uses. The more our devices become connected to our everyday lives, i.e. thermostats, home security, or digital experience with our cars, the greater the need is for efficient and effective delivery of information. Slippy UX is giving the user an application designed for “glance-ability”. Coined by Jake Zukowski, Assistant Creative Director at Frog Design, "slippy UX is intended to be invisible-enough and non-distracting enough for the user while still delivering and absorbing information".
There are two emerging trends in connectivity, the first being something more apparent every day, even if we are not aware of it. The ability to send information to many devices, syncing with the cloud, and allowing users to maneuver their information has already started to be a driving force in design. Forrester Research found that 90% of users who own multiple devices start a task on one device and finish it on another. In 2015, we will see user experience that functions across all platforms seamlessly, regardless of device or screen size. The second connectivity trend will be an extension of what some of our mobile apps already do: accessing GPS and Bluetooth to respond better to user needs. The combination of these integrations, wearable technology, and the Internet of Things will result in apps that collect data on the user to deliver advice and infer when the device should be delivered. The term to look for here is Ambient Intelligence.
With worldwide IT on track to spend a total of 3.8 trillion in 2015, we will see the above trends and many more, become apparent in our every day lives.(Gartner.com) What trends are you excited about in UI/UX Design for 2015?
Bitcoin has been all over the news recently with its fluctuating value, increased acceptance by online marketplaces, and moneymaking opportunities. This cryptocurrency became popular in the underground online market because it cannot be duplicated and can be exchanged between parties safely and anonymously without the use of a third party like Paypal. The Bitcoin network is a public ledger that includes the history of every Bitcoin transaction, adding new ones to the end of what is called the “block chain”. The block chain is maintained and supported by the power of a globally distributed computing network made up of all Bitcoin participants. Transactions are added through hashes within nodes and verified to be legitimate by hashing pre-existing nodes. This action is called a “proof-of-work”, and once enough transactions have been proofed, they are grouped together and added to the chain, completing a block. As blocks are completed, new ones are discovered, rewarding the finder(s) with newly minted Bitcoin in return for the use of their computing power. Unlike Paypal, who charges a fee for its verification and transactional services, the Bitcoin network incentives its members, as they are required for it to opperate. It is important to note that Bitcoin itself is backed only by supply and demand and that there is a finite amount of Bitcoin that can eventually be minted. The rest of this article will be about how ANYONE can get started mining for free, so if you are interested in learning more about the system, check out Bitcoin.org and the original spec document by the creator.
A Bitcoin “miner” is simply a device connected to the Bitcoin network that is contributing computing power. To access the network, simply click this LINK and download the client for your appropriate operating system. Make sure you have enough memory (12-14K MB) and time (~24 hours based on your bandwidth) because the client will download the entire history of the block chain to your computer. Once you are caught up to the end of the chain, the client will let you set up a new “wallet”. Your wallet is an encrypted account within the network obtainable and recognized by a character address. For example, mine is: 1B2tNjrB78siE6D9kVi6zhguStiFrrcodR (feel free to send me Bitcoin!). To receive/send Bitcoin, a user simply exchanges this number with another user, setting up a transaction allowing for anonymity with one another if they choose. All of this is done within the client, which is simple and easy to use. From the client, you can view your current balance, transaction history, and even save addresses of other users’ accounts for reference.
Once your wallet is created and you have your address number, it is time to contribute to the network! This is done through a separate minting application linked to your wallet. Bitcoin itself is open-source, so developers have written their own applications for computing additions to the block chain. (Personally I use the application BitMinter for Mac which I will explain in the next paragraph). Mining is based entirely on computing power. The more power a miner has, the quicker it can complete blocks and be rewarded with Bitcoin. As an individual miner accessing the network through your PC or laptop for the first time, computing power is delivered by your graphics card. To increase power, you can purchase an Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) designed for Bitcoin mining or build your own. These devices are pieces of hardware sold in a variety of shapes and sizes advertised by a numerical representation of how quickly they can process hashes and validate transactions. Price correlates to speed, but other factors to consider are the electricity needed to run the device, cooling, and noise.
Unless you have a massive Bitcoin mining hardware farm already put together, chances are you won’t find any Bitcoin by letting your mining application run solo. You are competing with all other participants, so a good way to increase your chances is by joining a mining pool. Here, a group of participants link up to combine computing power into one focal point. When a block is discovered, the rewarded Bitcoin is divided up by the amount of computing power each member individually generated. Members are typically rallied around one central mining application developed by the creator(s) of the pool who sometimes take a small cut of the rewarded Bitcoin for putting everything together. The application I mentioned above, BitMinter, is part of a pool and I’d definitely suggest it to anyone curious about getting started mining for free. The website and associated client are very informative and kept up-to-date with real time data on the amount of power being generated by all members, the time and difficulty of the last block discovered, the percentages paid out, and historical information of the pool.
Now that you know the basics of Bitcoin, how to access the ledger, and contribute to the block chain, it’s up to you to determine your method moving forward. This is a way to get started for free, but it takes money to make more money through the purchase of hardware or buying space in cloud-based Bitcoin mining operations. Also, stay current with news on Bitcoin. Each day, new companies form around mining, opinions are shared on the future of Bitcoin, and innovators discover a new way to use this awesome currency.
Article by Alex Clark, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring DC.
Just a month after its status page confirmed that a major DDoS attack crippled the site for three hours, it may seem like poor timing to write a piece about the importance of GitHub. But if you ask me, they are in good company. Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple all reported attacks in 2013 alone. And no one would question the importance of those companies.
For now, let’s focus on why GitHub is one of the most important tools available to programmers, managers, and other professionals in the tech space. GH is, literally, the largest host of source-code in the world with over four million users currently contributing to its more than six million repositories (1). The question is, what are you waiting for?
Prospective developers, proven ninjas, and wizards, if you’re contending for a new position without a GitHub account, you’re already one step behind. Interacting with hundreds of tech professionals in the D.C. Metro area, I’m often asked “What can I do to improve my chances of landing a dream job?” My answer is always the same. “Go home and create an account, start a repository and display your code tonight.”
As Q1 draws closer and a flood of candidates hit the market, you should be looking for anything to set yourself apart from the pack. What better way to do that than by displaying your work publicly for all to see? Take a few days to polish your account and put up code. Network, connect, comment on, discuss, share your work and build upon others’. Collaborate on a project and challenge yourself for all to see. In a word, use GitHub to “engage”. Whether you view it as a social network, a warehouse or a host, use GitHub to its full potential.
When career hunting, it’s important to know who will be looking you up on GH and that person is likely to be a hiring manager. If there is one major hiring trend to point to this past year, it’s that employers want to see your GitHub account. With much more frequency, companies are asking for candidates to submit their account information along with their resumes.
Perhaps the biggest illustration of GitHub’s importance is how companies choose to leverage it. Hiring managers are creating tech tests and small projects for candidates to solve as a way to vet talent. In the workplace, teams of programmers are able to store their work and access any changes that other team members make in real-time.
GitHub will continue to facilitate the advancement of software development around the Globe. As the tech industry continues to exponentially change the face of everyday life, it is up to you as a professional in this space to be conscious of trends in order to stay competitive.