I was asked to speak at the Tech Startup Job Fair event in Berlin on Wednesday 15.11.17 on the topic of ‘How to find that tech job’. The event was aimed at job seekers fresh out of academia, new to Berlin or maybe even sidestepping into the tech industry.
I’ve worked in tech recruitment for 7 years, but my own personal role is focussed primarily on business development and growth. So it was a pleasure for me to convert my day-to-day knowledge into practical tips for a change.
Below you’ll find a recap of what I discussed. Thanks also to Ivo Betke who supported me with the structure of this presentation ?
- Application channels
- Your CV
- Owning the interview
- Salary negotiations
- Making a decision
Application channels: know where and how to find the right role for you
Network, connect and engage. Sounds like simple advice, but people often forget to engage–or at least find it tougher to master. Do we really engage our community? I’d say that I personally have room for improvement here. Engagement comes in many forms but common ways a prospective candidate may engage with their community include contributing to forums and sharing/creating relevant content.
Keep track of your connections by creating your own CRM Pipeline (on Google Docs, Excel etc.) and tracking whom you’ve spoken to and when. This will also help you gain some sense of perspective as to the scale of your personal network.
These are often a good place to get a sense of a company and, in the tech world, which tech stack they’re working with. Anecdotal evidence from HR managers suggests that career pages are maintained fairly regularly, though my personal tip is to follow any target company on Twitter and their other social media channels. This will not only alert you to their ‘hotter’ roles but also offer insight into how this company seeks to position itself within their own market. This is excellent, long-term prep for a potential future interview.
Yes, speaking to recruitment agencies can still add value. However, you’ll need to do your homework! Make sure you’re working with a reputable agency that really operates within your technical sphere and that sphere only.
Enter talent.io (and others ? ) The benefit we offer as an application channel is a relevance. We provide a direct channel to some of Berlin’s (or Paris or Lille or Lyon or London’s) most exciting product-building companies. Without having to so much as send a CV or write a cover letter, companies–some of which may not even be on your radar–reach out to you with a transparent offer (including salary details) and you decide which ones you want to speak to.
Your CV: no longer just a one-pager
Your CV forms one part of your ‘candidate brand’. You should ensure your CV is consistent with your other professional channels — LinkedIn, Xing, Twitter, etc.
A great CV will include
- Learnings – what did you take away from each of your experiences?
- Product and Scale – website traffic, active user numbers and so on. Think about how other people can put the work you were doing into some kind of perspective
- Methodologies – How have you worked? Scrum, Kanban and so on
- Goal – Know what you want from your next role and tailor your CV to that end. Highlight aspects of your experience that will be attractive to target employers
Know your CV
Be able to elaborate on particular elements of each experience in an engaging way and understand how each experience translates into transferable skills.
Owning the interview: you’ve gotten this far for a reason
Relax and take a step back
You’re there because your skill set is in some way aligned to the employer’s needs. It’s a dialogue, not an interrogation.
One question I was trained to ask myself when hiring was: ‘Could you spend 9 hours sitting next to this person on a long-haul flight?’ and I’m sure many interviewers apply a similar methodology when considering non-technical aspects of a candidate. Respond naturally, be that whether things don’t go as planned or if you need time to think. I’d far rather hire a thoughtful person than a ‘talker’.
Focus and engage
Keep your answers concise and interesting. This will ensure that the conversation remains a true dialogue. Interviews rely on mutual momentum and energy.
Be thorough in your research so that you’re in a position to demonstrate a genuine interest in the discussion.
Salary negotiations: a 360° perspective
In the tech world, there are a number of tools that support you in making a truly informed salary demand. Payscale offers accurate averages according to both city and tech stack. Expatistan offers a good overview of city living costs across the world.
Ensure that your salary expectation is grounded in objectivity. Base it on number of years of experience, discussions with peers in your industry, cost of living in company location and demand of your skill set.
If you’re relocating, be rigorous in your study of local taxes so that you understand exactly what your salary demand must be to ensure you hit your desired net earnings. Know your ‘red line’, the point at which you’re prepared to walk away, before the negotiation has even begun.
Consider also other factors that may impact your financial demand: remote work, budget allocated for continued professional development, pension scheme, equity and so on.
Making a decision: a useful way to measure the quality of your offer
In the tech world, you may have the luxury to choose between multiple job offers. If this is the case, a useful way of measuring the quality of one offer against another is to consider the following factors behind each:
Rate each of the above out of 5 and attribute a score to each potential offer.
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, I hope it helps and wishes you all the best in your job seeking efforts ?