By John Einar Sandvand (text and photo)
So you are looking for a new and challenging job as programmer? A job in a forward-leaning and innovative company using the most modern technologies?
Schibsted Tech Polska´s two recruitment specialists Aleksandra Grzybowska and Aleksandra Niemyska (yes, it does seem like you have to be named Aleksandra to work as recruiter in our company 🙂 ) estimate they have seen more than 7000 CVs and talked to 1500 ++ job applicants in their career.
More than most they know what it takes to land that great programmer jobs – and why some applicants consistently fail.
Here are the eight tips from our recruitment specialists to you as job applicant:
Tip 1: Study the company before you apply!
Research the company before you send your application, and prepare questions you would like to ask if called up or invited for a face-to-face interview. Good questions show you are motivated!
– We experience some quite embarrasing situations sometimes. We call an applicant and he/she does not even know what Schibsted Tech Polska is, even though he/she has applied. Then they may ask us to spell the company name and wonder what our company does. But they also say they would love to work as programmer for us!, tells Aleksandra Niemyska.
Tip 2: Have someone review your CV before you send it anywhere!
Your CV is the first impression you make. It has to be correct, neat and without spelling errors. Example: If you state that you know English, it is not much help if the English in the CV is full of obvious mistakes.
Recruitment specialist Aleksandra Grzybowska says relevance is more important than how long the CV is. She recommends you at least include the following in your CV:
- Technologies you have actually worked with
- Job titles with start/end month for each employment
- Short descriptions of the projects you have worked on – and especially what was your role and duties
- Technological interests beyond what you have had chance to use at work
- What you would really love to work with – and what you would not like to work with
- Links to your blog, online portfolio and open source projects
Tip 3: Keep your CV in line with your profiles in social media!
Be sure that a potential employer will check your profiles online. Therefore it is very important that your resume is consistent with what is said on your profiles on services like LinkedIn and GoldenLine.
– We regularly see candidates where the CV tells a different story that LinkedIn. Sometimes they seem to be on much more senior level on LinkedIn than on the CV, while other times the CV can be extensive while their LinkedIn or GoldenLine profiles are almost empty, says Aleksandra Grzybowska.
– I think you should look at LinkedIn and GoldenLine as extensions of your CV.
Tip 4: Have your programmer portfolio easily available!
Make it easy for the potential employer to check what you are actually doing. When applying for a programmer job it can be of great interest to see some of your code and technical projects, not only hear about it.
Aleksandra Niemyska says:
– Show us your skills as programmer, be it through your blog, your profile on Github or Bitbucket, contributions to open source projects or other evidence of your actual work.
Tip 5: Be available!
The attractive companies, where many programmers apply, are always in a hurry. They don´t wait for the candidates. If you are not available, the offer for a programmer job will go to someone else.
Schibsted Tech Polska´s two recruiters estimate that around 20 – 30 % of the candidates are not making themselves available after having applied for a job. They don´t pick up the phone, respond to emails or try to always postpone things.
– Being available is part of the image you create of yourself, says Aleksandra Niemyska.
Tip 6: Be prepared to answer about what is in the job advert!
Many candidates try to make the recruiters tell them which questions will be asked during the interview.
The answer is simple: Read the job advert again!
– Chances are high that the questions will be about what is mentioned in the job advert, says Aleksandar Grzybowska.
– Some candidates expect that there is a hidden agenda and that we are trying to trick them somehow. But that´s not true, at least not in our company. Instead expect a clear agenda with an open discussion.
Tip 7: Stay humble!
The IT industry is a business where employees always need to learn. But it is also an industry where recruiters see many spoiled candidates, who think they are already the best in the world.
Demonstrating your willingness to learn is therefore important when applying for a programmer job. In fact: Sometimes managers choose to hire more for attitude than actual skills. Why? Because it is much easier to learn skills than to change attitude.
Tip 8: No tie. No T-shirt. Choose something decent in between!
So you have been invited for an interview. But what to wear?
The recruiters suggest the first step is to check the website of the company to see what is the dress code. Usually IT companies are quite informal. Still an interview is a somewhat formal situation, and it is wise to dress nicer than you would normally at work.
The practical advice: Tie is not necessary. But neither you should use T-shirt. Choose instead a buttoned shirt and decent pants, not jeans.
Says Aleksandra Niemyska: – The most important thing is to wear something you are comfortable with. We see candidates in suit who really don´t know how to wear a suit. That looks awkward!
Send a thank you mail afterwards to the manager and recruiter you have contact with and meet.
Even if you don´t get the job, it leaves a good impression and makes it easier to apply for a programmer job in the same company later.
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