You’re on the hunt for a job. The tech sector is huge and there are thousands of companies out there, but which ones should you apply to? We’ve come up with some simple points to help decide whether a company is right for you.
Before you jump into applying for a job, it’s crucial that you know what you’re looking for. Granted, it’s unlikely that any company or role will be perfect for you, but that’s not to say you can’t come close. Try making a note of what’s important to you in a company and the role itself, and anything you want to avoid; that way, you’ll find it much easier to figure out which companies you should be applying to. Think about which areas of tech you’re interested in, which programming languages you’d like to learn, the training they offer and the technologies you like to use.
It might sound obvious, but once you begin whittling down roles to apply for, make sure to do your research. Start by exploring the company website; what kind of tone do they adopt? Is it formal, conversational, or maybe even humorous? What are their values? What kind of tech are they using? Discovering these aspects can give you big clues about the company culture, helping you decide whether it’s somewhere you’d like to work, and if you’d fit in.
Be sure to research the company social media pages and read about them on external sites like Glassdoor to get the inside scoop and see what past and present employees have to say about the company. Doing some basic research before you apply to the role will save you tons of time and effort in the long run, and will help avoid any disappointment.
The job description is usually your first interaction with a company. It’s their chance to showcase the role and make you want to work for them. However, a lot of companies (especially in tech) have the tendency to simply write a long list of skills and qualifications needed. It’s important to understand the requirements of the job, but employers that take the time to describe unique aspects of their culture, opportunities for progression and work perks show that they really value their employees.
Paying attention to the way a company treats you once you’ve sent an application can be a good indicator of how the business operates. How long did you wait to hear from someone? Are you being treated professionally? Are they keen to answer your questions?
The point is, the way you’re treated even from the very beginning of the application process can tell you a lot about an organisation’s values, so if you aren’t treated in the way you might like, it’s probably a warning sign that the company isn’t right for you.
Once you’ve applied to companies you’d like to work for, and you’ve reached the interview stage, it’s really important you don’t mess up. We’ve listed four of the biggest interview errors according to tech professionals to help yours run smoothly (hopefully).
1. Turn up unprepared- The old saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ couldn’t be any truer. Leslie Norko, Deputy Program Manager of Engineering at Computer Sciences Corp. says “with all of the information available, there is no excuse for someone not being prepared for an interview” (Monster), so before you go, research the company and industry in detail to find out key information like their mission statement, competition and values. Be sure to prepare some example answers for a range of questions, so that whatever the interviewer asks, you’ll be able to mould one of your examples to fit.
2. Tech talk- You’re going for a job in tech, and it’s tempting to start regurgitating fancy jargon in the hope of impressing your interviewer- but remember, the person you’re talking to may not necessarily be a tech pro. Whilst it’s great to show your understanding of technical concepts, over-using jargon means you’ll run the risk of alienating the interviewers, so avoid taking it too far.
3. Exaggerate skills- Of course, in any interview you want to impress with your skills, certifications and tech knowledge, but accidentally taking it too far and telling the interviewer you hold the world record for the most code written in 10 minutes probably won’t go down too well. As Sean Chou CTO of Fieldglass says “a lot of techies are very talented, but what comes out is arrogance” (Monster), so keep your feet on the ground and tell the interviewer about your relevant skills and how they apply to the role- just be careful not to start making false claims.
4. Be yourself- It’s all too tempting to walk into an interview with your game face on, and not show much of your personality. Although it’s good to remain professional, lose the facade and let your personality shine through. Not only will it make it easier for the interviewer to have a good conversation with you, but you’ll come across much better. Smile, be yourself and make the interviewer want you as a member of their team.
This post first appeared on the ISL Recruitment blog.