How To Impress In Your Next Job Interview

The tech market is flooded with job applicants nowadays. January is one of, and may very well be the, busiest time of the year in the job market. As a result, January can be seen as both a time of great opportunity but also increased competition for both prospective employees and employers.

You'll need to stand above the masses if you want to stick out and improve your chances of being hired. We reached out to dozens of employers, workers, hiring managers and recruiters in the tech and other experts from businesses such as Diversified Maintenance for advice on how to do just that. We've distilled all that we learned to the below 13 quotes on what you need to know.

1. Chris Chancey, Founder of Amplio Recruiting

What skills really stand out?

There is no denying that tech is hot right now and demand for tech skills will only continue to grow going forward. In the current job market, the most in-demand skills are those pertaining to data analytics, programming, and cloud services. In particular, Python, JavaScript, and Java skills will really help with the job hunt. Other nice to have skills that can set you apart are SQL, .NET, HTML, and CSS.

Unique ways to pitch yourself as the right hire?

During the hiring process, tech professionals can take these steps:

Show that you have the technical skills that align with the company's prevailing technology. Tech companies are not all the same; different companies use different technologies and just taking the time to build out your skills in line with what the company needs will position you as a great potential hire.

Showcase your soft skills such as communication, teamwork, collaboration, leadership, and learning skills. For example, during the interview, explain how you used any of these skills to solve a problem in the past.

Show your expertise: Tech is very much a ‘show not tell' field. You will increase your job prospects if you have a side-project that you are working on as part of your portfolio. This goes a long way in showing your passion for the job and the industry as a whole, and that's a plus in every employer's book.

How to stand out from the crowd?

To stand out from the crowd I would advise that you understand and fully immerse yourself in your industry, not just your particular skill. Tech is constantly changing and employers are keen to hire people who anticipate these changes and can offer the timely solutions that give their company a competitive edge.

Learn More About Amplio Recruiting

2. Jaime Picozzi, President of HumonTeq

How to stand out from the crowd?

Utilize your resume to do more than just tell your qualifications. I had a candidate cleverly display their ethical stance on their marketing strategies on their resume. This candidate would only work on white hat marketing efforts, no red, grey or black. Prior to having this conversation with this candidate, I noticed that the profile picture included with each page of the resume had a picture of them in a very prominently displayed white hat. Of course, I had to comment on it. This started a more difficult conversation with ease and their resume was in the forefront of my mind because of its uniqueness. I have also encountered short video introductions included with resumes. This allowed a ‘face to face’ interaction demonstrating demeanor, communication skills, and professionalism without additional steps. These are all tactics that will stand out to recruiters and allow for a quicker turn around time. If you are being presented as a candidate through a recruiter take a deep breath, and then remember their inboxes are flooded like yours are! Not beating your recruiter up will put you at the top of their pile. In my opinion, recruiters will be your golden ticket to the opportunity you want most. They will have built relationships with the hiring managers and be able to tell you their secret asks. I may have served a hiring manager who loved to be called ma’am. That insight is invaluable over applying directly but with some LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook research you can capitalize on such things also.

What skills really stand out?

I have found that candidates that have older systems knowledge and have taken the classes or certifications to combine that with development and coding skills are leading the pack. As many organizations are faced with choices like moving to the cloud or upgrading their SQL databases, the candidates that can not only work on their current environment but possess the skills to help them migrate to a new platform are worth their weight in gold. The same goes for each space, being a phenomenal digital marketer is great; but having the skills to affect the algorithms of LinkedIn and Facebook increases your reach and opportunities. Having government clearances can also put you in a class of your own. But professionalism is the secret weapon. It seems an antiquated word as we move into a Millennial driven world of screens, twitch and Tedx. People are challenging social and professional norms for a workplace that best fits who they are as a person. The lost art of face to face communication in an environment where the CEO could be the next person you have to explain your tech project to makes you invaluable to an organization. A hand shake, eye contact and a little please and thank you go a long way.

Unique ways to pitch yourself as the right hire?

This is a tougher one. For me it always boils down to honesty. The proof is in the prove-it test! If you are honest with a recruiter or hiring manager from the beginning it sets the pace for everything else. It allows them to know that they can count on you for interviews, prompt responses, and most importantly that they won’t be let down when you join their organization. Be sure to include multiple ways for hiring managers to learn more about you on their time. LinkedIn, Facebook, Github, an attachment of your portfolio, a cover letter, a reference letter; all of these things demonstrate your work, your accomplishments and who you are as a person much better than listing them in print on your resume. And adaptability. This is a tricky one. Being a jack of all trades but a master of none only works some of the time. Demonstrating that you are able to break down the barriers between industries and put your skills to work in any environment will help you succeed. Be prepared to stand your ground and have a fluent story for how it all works together but from someone who is still working out what they want to do when they grow up…adapt and paint the picture of how the organization will thrive with you there and it will be very difficult for them to turn you away.

Learn More About HumonTeq

3. Kwaku Farkye of Alpha Middle, LLC

“When you’re looking for a new job, standing out is crucial to getting hired. First, make sure to customize your resume for the company you’re applying to. Go to the company’s website and read about their product, company culture, and challenges they face, so that you can find relevant subjects. You can also use LinkedIn to find people who work for the company, and identify skills or experiences they have that are similar to your own. Before you apply, leverage your network by contacting individuals that either work for the company, or know someone who does. Try searching for events the company, or an employee of the company, will attend — conferences, hackathons, and meetups are great places for this. Finally, when you have a conversation or interview, be comfortable, passionate, and respectful. Actively listen, ask questions, and instead of simply mentioning you have a skill, explain how you used the skill in a prior experience. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so, and express your willingness to adapt and learn — two traits every tech professional needs!”

Connect With Kwaku Farkye

4. Susan Braakman, Operations Manager of Seuss Recruitment

How to stand out from the crowd?

First things first: it is important to have a nice-looking resume. Pay attention to the design and make sure that it is a maximum of two pages. I would recommend to implement colors into your resume and to choose a suitable picture of high quality. Always match your LinkedIn profile to your resume and make clear what exactly you are looking for or what value you can add to a company.

Another useful tip: call your recruiter or Hiring Manager! It is very easy for recruiters to ignore emails and for your email to end up in a pile. Make a quick phone call after applying to mention your name and making sure that they remember you.

What skills really stand out?

Of course, this depends on the vacancy and position that you are applying to but looking at it in general, there are a couple of questions that you ask yourself to find out. First, how do you distinguish yourself as a person? This is what makes you unique and different from others; why would people want to work with you? Look at what value you can add to a company; are you able to reflect on yourself? How well do you know yourself? Know your strongest and weakest traits.

Unique ways to pitch yourself as the right hire?

It is not necessarily unique, but what always leaves a good impression is a video in the form of an elevator pitch. Make this unique by being authentic and really bringing out who you are. Share the video with your network and on your social media pages (the link can also be included in your resume). However, do not decide to make a video if you are not comfortable doing this, because it will be noticeable and might ruin your chances.

Learn More About Seuss Recruitment

5. Sean Si, CEO and Founder of SEO Hacker

We’ve had our fair share of applicants and I’ve interviewed all the applicants before they were accepted into the company. Since we’re now expanding our team, people that stand out from the extensive list of applicants are what we need most and here’s how applicants can stand out:

Knowledge about the Company – Applicants that have done their homework and researched about our company definitely stands out when they’re interviewed. Why? Because they show interest. Knowledge about the company tells us that the applicant researched the company, our values, our mission, our vision, our clients, and our services. This interest is a major factor when we interview applicants and this could be a reason why they’re accepted into the company.

Questions – Traditional interviews entail that there is an interviewer (the company) and the interviewee (the applicant). However, this doesn’t work for us since the applicant’s interest in our company isn’t shown when they only answer our questions. When applicants ask questions, this lets us know that they’re in it for the long run, and they want to know everything before they enter our company. Basically, if an applicant lets us feel that they have the heart to stay and grow with the company, this is a major plus.

Values – In relation with the mentioned bullet points, if an applicant understands our values and is able to convince us that their values are in line with ours, more often than not, that applicant will go a long way in our application process and has high chances of getting hired. Aside from above-average skills and credentials, a company isn’t able to grow if its employees don’t share the same vision they do.

These are some major factors that make the applicant stand out and most of our employees here in our company have been able to satisfy at least one of these factors; which is why we’re able to expand at a faster rate than other companies.

Learn More About SEO Hacker

6. Jason Lavis, Marketing Director of Natural Resource Professionals, Ltd.

“There are a few merging megatrends that make a huge difference to HR practices. Artificial Intelligence, big data, machine learning, and automation mean that the tech landscape is changing in real time. Every year, new jobs get created, and others disappear due to automation. For example, a few years ago social media marketing managers didn't exist. In a few more years there will be no more truck drivers.

There are two ways to combat this, regardless of industry. Firstly, make sure that your resume or CV is keyword rich, with a focus on relevancy. Go through and reduce the number of generic words like ‘passionate' or ‘team player' and add keywords specific to your skill set and experience. Applicant tracking software will pick up those keywords and increase the chance of a human seeing your application. When humans see your details, you'll want to illustrate situations where you solved problems creatively. This is what employers need, flexible dynamic problem solvers.”

Learn More About Natural Resource Professionals, Ltd.

7. Lisa Fox of Lead Gen Hype

“Up your skill set by getting certified or gaining experience using many different tech platforms associated with your industry. This increases your chances of already knowing the software or platform a company needs a prospective employee to use. Also, diversify your skill set to be as useful and flexible in your field as possible. Even if you are a jack of all trades, tailor your resume to highlight the skills and experience asked for by the employer. Add a few supplemental skills to make sure you stand out ahead of the rest.”

Learn More About Lead Gen Hype

8. Jeff Kear, CEO & Co-Founder of Planning Pod

“Because many tech professionals are competent in their technical abilities, I look for two traits that set them apart…

First, for tech professionals to stand apart from their peers, they need to have a passion for understanding the business reasons and user needs behind their efforts. Most tech professionals are usually given scope documentation and build parameters prior to starting a project, but most projects have a fair amount of grey area that require developers and project managers to make quick judgements on the fly. And if they don't understand the reason and impetus behind what they are building, they may make wrong or imprecise decisions that result in a flawed product and lots of wasted hours.

Second, I look for tech professionals that have developed soft skills like interpersonal communications and solid writing abilities. Many talented developers are good at writing code, but not nearly as many are as gifted in conversing with product and project managers or sales and marketing staff to get their input, or writing a summary of the new feature they just launched so our customer care team can create help documentation. It's soft skills like these that save other team members lots of time and effort and that help us create much better features and products because our technical staff have kept everyone else in the loop and received critical input when they needed it most.”

Learn More About Planning Pod

9. Nicolas Straut, SEO Marketer at Fundera

How to stand out from the crowd

When applying, make a point of reading the company's About Us or company culture page and if there's a match between your personality/values, highlight this in your cover letter or message to the hiring manager. Your skills and job history are important but tech companies often prioritize cultural fit when hiring.

What skills really stand out

At tech companies, flexibility and ingenuity are essential because job and company objectives needs are always evolving. Highlight in your resume and application how you've gone above and beyond in the past for a job, learned a new skill on the fly, or solved a need outside of your job description.

How to pitch yourself as the right hire

Pitch yourself as the right hire by demonstrating how you're a great cultural fit, would be an asset who is passionate about contributing to the organization's goals, and how your past experience demonstrates why you would make a great hire.

Learn More About Fundera

10. Ivan Dmitrievskih, HR director at Belitsoft

A good practice is to prepare a couple “happy-end” stories showcasing your strong suits:

  • How you solved a specific problem
  • Demonstrated initiative
  • Dealt with a toxic coworker/client
  • Learned from your mistake and used that experience to succeed later

Storytelling works wonders for building trust.

Learn More About Belitsoft

11. Nate Masterson, CMO of Maple Holistics

“With so many people entering the tech market nowadays, it’s a good idea to focus on some specific skills that can help you get ahead. For instance, artificial intelligence is the future (and actually, it’s basically already here). With everything from intelligent personal assistants to self-driving cars, any experience you have working on projects like this will make you a valuable asset as you look elsewhere for work.

Experience creating apps is also a big advantage in the tech world. Pretty much every company has an app, and many even have more than one. There are companies dedicated to app-making because of the huge popularity and demand, so learning the skills necessary for this type of work is a way to get your foot into the tech world.”

Learn More About Maple Holistics

12. Dan Martino, Owner of 914Digital

“Besides a candidate needing a great portfolio site–which is a must have–I always gravitate to those who can communicate clearly. I can deal with work that isn't revolutionary if we can have a conversation offline or through email. All too often in this industry, we get candidates who are very introverted. This is a major issue. The problem being, of course, is it causes a lot of issues with miscommunication. And, since we have more ways than ever to communicate, the whole process on a project can become a scattered jumble of half thoughts.

I can see right away when a candidate has the ability to work in this field if they can send me a proper email with correct spelling, punctuation, and the ability to hold a narrative.”

Learn More About 914Digital

13. Bryan Stoddard of Web Cosmo Forums

“If you're without a goal, all roads will lead in the wrong direction. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do, and how to achieve it. Don't just submit your application and hope for the best. Contact the employer who posted the ad and talk directly to them, present your previous work and tech expertise. Job hunting is a full-time job, nevertheless, try not to neglect to volunteer, socialize, do freelance work and build upon your resume while you're looking the perfect job.”

Learn More About Web Cosmo Forums


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