Getting a job is hard. If you’ve been lucky enough not to struggle for a job, don’t make the mistake of thinking it will always be easy. Equally, finding a good job is harder still. Some more tips for you to consider:
- Leverage your recruiter. They know the companies you’ll be interviewing at, ask what to expect – is it a hard technical interview? Panel interview? Do they want super stars or dependable workers (or both?). Are they free thinking and forward looking, or stuck in a rut. Note that none of those is necessarily bad, but understanding the game going in reduces tension and gives you a chance to prepare.
- Potential employers are not going to tell you why you weren’t hired. Maybe your interviewing skills suck, maybe you were up against someone better – regardless, they aren’t going to tell you. But…they will probably tell your recruiter! Your recruiter wants that feedback because they want to either place you or put you on the back burner. If you don’t interview well they can help. If your skills aren’t there, they should recommend a correction – but could be back burner time. Ask your recruiter every time for the feedback.
- It’s old school, but send a follow up email after the interview. If you’re still interested, let them know. If you flubbed a question, go find the answer and reference it in your email – candidly. Remember to spell check! If you see wiggle room on benefits that might make it work for you, mention that too (though be careful about negotiating too soon if you think you’ve got a good chance).
- Pay attention to how they treat you. Interviewing is stressful on both sides, so it’s a chance to see their corporate ethos under pressure. Are the interview questions fair and challenging? Do they appear to be targeting what the job description defined and at the right level? Do they treat you as a potentially valuable employee, or just a number? Don’t let one misstep cause you to write them off, but it may well be something you want to talk about at the second interview if that happens.
- Have source code and/or projects ready to show off, and to talk through how/why it works. Obviously you can take a lot of time and care in putting those examples together, is it a real world example of your abilities? Yes! Managers get that not all work is done to superlative standards due to time and resources, but they would like to see that given time you know how to do top quality work. It doesn’t need to be a a ton of code, say 2-3 pages.
- If you’re transitioning to a new product/skill, show that you’re already working on it. Download SQL, Oracle, My SQL, Crystal, Perl – whatever – and do something with it that you can show/talk about. I’ve been using SQL for more over 10 years, if I was going on an interview for an Oracle job I would want to install it, create a database, create a table, create a job, back it up – and be able to talk the things I had noticed that were the same or different. Yes, both require a DBA and both require similar skills, but the products are different. As an employer I want to see that you get that, that you’re willing to put in sweat equity on your own time, and that you care enough to try.
One more post on this tomorrow!