Landing a fulfilling new job in the technology industry can be a challenging prospect. But, as difficult as it is to navigate the intricacies of various interview processes, finding the right IT jobs to interview and apply for may be an equally challenging task.
Pinpoint Your Values
As is true with most decisions, the more specific you get with your needs, the better your choices will be. With that in mind, it would be wise for job seekers to not only decide if they want to actively look but also prioritize what characteristics are most important in their next career move. Here are a few big items to consider.
- Commute: If having an easy trip in and out of the office is important to you, figuring out where a new opportunity is physically located will be rather useful in determining whether it’s worth pursuing.
- Money: Whether it’s a family you need to support, a new major purchase you’d like to make or just a desire to fill out the nest egg, money is motivating. And if money’s what makes you tick, you can focus your search in big money industries like finance or insurance where the base salaries and total comp are solid.
- Seniority: If you’re the kind of person that craves meaningful impact and wants to manage others, it would be unwise to pursue opportunities that are still figuring out a trajectory and timeline for employee growth.
- Technology: Many techies want to work with the best technologies (new or not) and get bored when their employer’s technical toolkit is too narrow. If that sounds like you, then probably not the best idea to pursue gigs that keep IT employees in a technological box.
Now you might be saying to yourself, ‘Ok, I know what I value in new opportunities, but how do I know for sure if a particular job opening speaks to those values?’
There are lots of resources that job seekers can use to learn more about a hiring firm, start determining how those firms value IT and whether or not their personality and skills would be well suited to those environments.
For example …
1) LinkedIn: Here’s how LinkedIn can help IT pros decide whether to pursue an opportunity or not.
- Look up the company: What does the language and layout say to you about the firm and its culture?
- Look up the firm’s technology staff: You can also view a list of all a firm’s employees on LinkedIn. This will help you determine several things:
- The size of the IT department: Are there three IT folks in an organization of 1,000 people? Or is the IT department bustling with activity? Either way, it’s a good way to see how a company values IT.
- The people in the IT department: Looking up the people who will likely be your future colleagues is a great idea for a number of reasons. For example, you can determine things like…
- Technological background
- How long employees stick around
- What companies IT employees are migrating from
2) Company website
- The blog might have posts written by team members, have a column from the CTO, showcase corporate retreats and have industry experts from outside the company contributing pieces. It may not. Telling either way.
- The web design could pop, have nice organization and exhibit a really easily-navigable interface. It might not. Again, telling either way.
3) Glassdoor: Glassdoor is worth spending some time with before pressing ‘Send’ on the application. There are many companies you can look up and see what former employees have to say about the firm and its culture, salaries and interview process. Check it out.
4) Personal network: Talk to personal connections (including trusted recruiters) or those who are within two or three degrees of separation and see if they are familiar with the company and its culture. Maybe they even have a connection that worked there and can explain how your unique style would fit into that organization. Poke around, you never know what nuggets of information you might stumble upon.
**No matter how much research you do though, there is no better way to gauge your fit for a culture (short of actually working there) than going into the office for an interview.**
Evaluating at the Interview
At this point, we’re assuming that you identified your values, thoroughly vetted the company online and through your network, applied for a position that interests you and landed an interview at the company in question. With this foundation in order, here are a few ways to see whether you’d like working there when you get up, close and personal at an in-person interview.
1) Get there early and observe: See whether people look happy and how they’re interacting with one another.
2) Ask the right questions: Asking questions like ‘what kind of people tend to thrive in this environment?,’ ‘why do you love working here?,’ and ‘what technologies does your IT department work with?’ can elicit some very illuminating responses that might suggest whether you’d want to work there.