Job-seekers have more opportunities nowadays than ever before, even more so for tech talent. Yet, you’re bound to run into some challenges along the way; ineffective resume posting, salary negotiations, and many other scenarios where you could use some advice. It’s one thing to start the process of looking for a new job and another to get to the finish line of accepting your dream offer. When it comes to the job hunt, our expectations don’t always align with the realities of the market on both the candidate and the hiring company’s side. Here are the top 7 situations you may encounter during your search and how to deal with them effectively.
Scenario #1: “I’m applying online and keeping up with the latest job posting only to learn that companies are already interviewing, and I am not hearing back at all.”
Once you’ve decided that you are looking for a new job, update your resume. Take the time to show off your skills on paper- it’s one of the first things your recruiter considers whether you are a good fit for the job or not. After updating your resume, research what positions best fit your skills, experience, and aligns with your personal & professional career goals. To optimize your chances of receiving an interview, I highly recommend networking to get ahead of the job posting game. While it’s easy to research and apply to multiple jobs at a time, an online job posting that you found today might have been circulated for weeks internally and could have interviewees lined up already. By combining your efforts online and in-person you have a higher chance of landing an interview. Networking can be easier than you think! Talk with your peers, join meetups or different networking groups specific to your industry, or partner with a staffing company to help you get your foot in the door. These are all viable options to avoid blasting out your resume to an unresponsive black hole.
Scenario #2: “I’m making X at my current company, so I should be making the same amount at any other company I go to work for.”
Salary negotiations are bound to come up along your job search. With tools like Glassdoor and Indeed, candidates can view salary ranges for open positions or titles at their desired company and compare them to their current salary. Some candidates might see the rate range and be discouraged or even unimpressed in the beginning, but I always encourage candidates to negotiate a better offer or even look beyond the salary before deciding. Yes, it’s an essential piece to your new job- but it’s not the only piece. See how your skills and experiences stack up to the competition. Think about how the interview went and if you can see yourself working there before thinking about the salary. With our team of recruiters, we’re advocating for candidates each day. We know top talent is hard to come by, especially in the tech space, so candidates can use their skills and experiences to negotiate if need be. Also up for consideration? Benefits, company culture, potential growth and earning potential, commute and career goals. All these elements come into play in the final stages of accepting an offer, don’t let a pay rate be the only deciding factor to whether you apply or take an interview.
Scenario #3: “I got a job offer already, so I don’t need to pursue the other opportunities I had in play.”
At the end of the job search process, one of two things happen. Either you receive a rejection from the company or you are offered the job. If you got the job, congrats! It’s always a relief to know that you have an offer on the table, however; this is not where the job search process ends. What about those other opportunities? Here is where many candidates make a mistake in their job search- they receive a job offer, accept it and then go back to their other options to share the news. What should you do instead? My suggestion is to get in touch with each recruiter you were discussing other opportunities with, to make sure you take the right opportunity for you.
To have a choice at a few different job offers you should follow up with your recruiter to let them know about where you are in your process and to check in to see where they are in theirs. Follow through with your other interviews to secure the best opportunity for yourself in the long run, and a good staffing partner is going to be a career coach to help you make the right decision. In the end, it’s important to stay connected to leave the door open for other opportunities in the future.
Scenario #4: “My recruiter reached out to me and asked to meet in person or meet via video before interviewing with an end client.”
Video interviews are becoming more and more frequent. With video, you and your interviewer have a chance to connect on a more personal level before you go into an office to meet them. If you are not a local candidate, video calls can be beneficial to connect face-to-face that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Nowadays, people have smartphones, tablets, and laptops, allowing them to always be connected and giving them access to everything on the go. For our team, we prepare to talk to candidates through Skype, Zoom or Facetime so we can give them a chance to practice being in front of a camera giving them the same face to face experience they will have with their final interviewer. Remember, on a video call you will be visible to the interviewer so make sure you look presentable, located in a quiet space, and without a distracting background.
Scenario #5: “I’ve been out of the workforce for a couple of years to go back to school. Will my employment gap hinder my chances of landing an interview?”
Employment gaps always raise some red flags when an employer is looking at your resume. Even if it’s for a year or two, you will be questioned or asked to explain any gap in employment. However, there are situations where employment gaps for reasons like education or training could benefit you. For whatever the reason is for the employment gap, you will have to explain it to your recruiter and interviewer. Including a cover letter gives some background as to what you did in the past, what you are doing now, and everything in between. While in school, I recommend that candidates still find ways to enhance your skills in a real-world setting by volunteering or doing freelance work. Stay connected with your network, even if you are out of the workforce. It will benefit you for any future endeavors.
Scenario #6: “I’m just starting my career. After graduating from a top program with my bachelor’s degree- I have some experience but am afraid it won’t be enough to get an interview.”
College graduates are a little different- they’re eager and excited to get their job search process going. According to a study by the US Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics the employment rate for individuals between the ages of 20-24 with bachelor’s degrees was 86% in 2017. Even with the low unemployment rate in tech, the same principles still apply for a college grad as an experienced job seeker when applying to jobs. Update your resume, be sure to include volunteer experience, internships or any portfolio material to help you stand out. Network before graduating, make those connections early on with professors, alumni, and career advisors. Mark your LinkedIn profile as open to opportunities so recruiters can find you and reach out. Attend your college’s career fairs and campus interviews, don’t rely on your resume alone. As a college student, don’t be afraid to expand your search outside of your desired location, company, or even field of study. Lastly, if you can’t get a full-time job right out of school, look for part-time or contract work to get your foot in the door and show your strong work ethic to future employers. There are a lot of opportunities out there, just start the process early.
Scenario #7: “I’ve always worked as a full-time employee for a company but have thought about working as a contractor now. Where do I start?”
For starters, I would start by researching open positions for a consultant in your field. Next, you should understand the difference between contract work and contract to hire roles. Many companies nowadays work with consultants who are on short-term or long-term contracts. IT contracts vary from 6 to 12 months- in many cases, you can work on a contract for multiple years based on the need. Contracting can be a good way to engage with companies to map out a long-term gig. Case in point- the contract to hire model, this is where your role starts as a contract and then after the contract period is over consultants are converted over to full-time employees with the company or your contract can be extended. Working as a consultant gives you the flexibility to earn more, gain experience on exciting projects and freedom to move around if you choose. It’s a competitive market for consultants, particularly for IT consultants. Top talent is always needed, and our team works with great companies in the industry across the US on contract, contract to hire and direct hire roles. Working with a staffing company can give you more choices between contract, contract to hire and direct hire role, as well as a dedicated partner to help guide you through the job search.
Stay positive, diligent and remember to be patient, you never know where your next role will come from. Connect with me today for more advice and thoughts on your job search.
Michael Cohen is the Senior Vice President of Service Delivery at ConsultNet, one of the nation’s most respected IT staffing firms.