So you’re ready for a change of scenery or a new challenge at work. Whether you work in tech or you’re breaking into the field, it’s great to have some insider help on scoring your next gig. Learn more about what you should know about the hiring process at a tech company.
Creating the Perfect Work Profile
Your resume is the most important part to get right. Read more about writing the perfect technical resume.
Job searchers, I have a secret to share: many companies don’t need to read a cover letter to tell if candidates are worth a callback. It only takes a minute to scan your resume and see if you meet the job requirements.
A cover letter can still be useful to explain red flags like gaps in employment or short tenures at certain companies, but that’s not guaranteed to get you an interview. And you’d better have a perfectly polished letter without spelling or grammatical errors.
After reading resumes, most employers look up candidates to see if they have a LinkedIn profile or public Facebook page. They look at your picture and location and check for consistency on your resume and profile. Bonus points if you share interesting posts that match team culture or your friends endorse you for skills related to the job.
Ask yourself this: if you’re looking for a job, does your social profile tell the story you want to show employers?
Make sure you have an updated picture. Check your privacy settings so only your friends can see every post and picture on your page. Otherwise, potential employers can see that you can afford a pricey beach vacation or that you’re selling products in a pyramid scheme from home.
Research and Apply for Jobs
Before you apply or set up an interview, check them out on Glassdoor.
You’ll find interview questions that have been asked in interviews and tips from recent interviewees.
Read reviews from employees, and make note of any red flags to ask about at the end of the interview.
Nailing the Interview
Besides the usual technical interview question prep, go through the requirements of the job description and make a list of situations and examples to show your expertise for each area.
Here’s a modified version of one of our favorite interview questions.
Imagine you’re on our IT help desk team. You have 3 problems to deal with today for your client. How do you handle this situation?
First, the CEO of the company walks up to you and says he can’t access his personal email on his phone, and he’s leaving for a conference in 5 minutes. Second, the engineering department calls you and says the whole team can’t get online. Third, you get an email from accounting saying they can’t print paychecks, and today is payday. What do you do?
We love using this kind of real world scenario for customer service interviews. The candidate’s follow-up questions, thinking out loud, and final answer should tell you a lot about their problem solving skills. We want to see that you can think for yourself, ask good questions, and make the right calls based on the information you have.
You should be prepared to answer questions like these. Think about some of the situations you might encounter at this company, and make a list of the skills and experience that would make you a good fit for the role. This should help you with any kind of curveball questions interviewers might throw at you.
Learn about Your Manager
In the interview and with your research, find out about your boss.
You might not have a lot of experience with good bosses yet, so consider what a good manager looks like.
Instead of just telling the team how to set up an email server, they take the time to explain why you should do it a certain way. Sharing their own mistakes not only builds rapport, it also shows how building experience and making mistakes is how you improve in the IT world.
Your manager should give your team everything they need to be successful. If you’re an agile team, you’re discussing roadblocks during daily scrum and finding ways to solve them.
Being approachable also means employees feel they can come to managers with mistakes, problems, and red flags instead of sweeping things under the rug. The ability to turn mistakes into teachable moments is a big distinguisher between good and bad managers.
Get Details on Remote Work & On-Call Policies
Some companies believe you need to put in 40 hours behind your desk to prove you’re doing your job. Others believe 50+ is the minimum, and evening work is required. Find out which kind of company you’re joining by asking about office hour policies.
Your job might be completely remote, which is a great option for some people.
Work-life balance is the biggest benefit of telecommuting. It makes everyone less stressed and more productive to have the option to work from home after a long night working on call, or to work from a doctor’s office during your kid’s appointment.
Staying in touch with your team is the key to making telecommuting work. Slack and other productivity apps are great because you can use them from any computer or phone, and you can customize when you’re free to chat and when to receive notifications.
Check for Culture Fit
Maybe you’ve worked at companies with amazing perks like generous 401k matching, onsite gym, game room, telecommuting, free snacks, and even a dog-friendly workplace.
Yes, these perks make it more enjoyable to work there, but they’re not deal breakers when choosing your next job.
Choosing the right company to work for really comes down to your team, who you work with every day.
You can do your job without a nice view, fancy gym, or pool table. None of that matters if you love the people you get to work with. On our team, we make inside jokes, talk about the latest Game of Thrones episode, and try out new playlists. We have fun working together, and we collaborate well on projects.
That’s why culture fit is such an important part of the interview process. You want to pick a company you can be proud to say you work for and a team you work and play well with.
Ask yourself, could I see us having a drink together after work? Picture going out to happy hour or a team lunch. The business and the work might check all your boxes, but when it comes to personality and bonding as a team, you want to make sure that’s a good fit for both sides, too.