The New Normal for Technology Candidates

 In Staffing & Recruitment

Talent acquisition is being affected by the current pandemic crisis and it is changing the way technology candidates are being interviewed and selected. As technology recruiters, we understand the challenges that so many of you are facing during these trying times. Some of you may be worried about your current position while others are concerned about furthering their careers. In the past, tech jobs seemed to be nearly recession-proof. The good news is that statistics indicate that the industry is still moving ahead in a positive direction much more than others.

There are plenty of software tech job opportunities available, so do not worry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of software developers is projected to grow 21 percent over the next decade – which is much faster than all other occupations. There will always be a need for software engineers and the techs who make it all happen. Period.

But change is inevitable, so the question is, how can you, as a tech professional, embrace these changes and continue progressing your career? Recently, we have seen that those that do well are those that have been able to adapt by pivoting when necessary. You may only need to alter your current approach to meet these new and possibly temporary challenges head-on. We would like to share with you what is changing in the tech space and provide some tips on how you can pivot to stay ahead and thrive in today’s job market.

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Increased Competition

According to Indeed, the employment-related search engine, there has recently been a 30.25 percent growth in new job listings in the tech industry, which demonstrates there is still resiliency for many tech positions. For example, the demand for software engineers has been on the rise for years and shows no real signs of slowing down.

Yet, due to current layoffs and furloughs, the competition for the top software developer and engineer positions will remain strong.

The Recruitment Process

In-person interviews will no longer be the norm. Often the initial screening will take place via telephone interview followed by a series of video interviews. In a video interview, the candidate shows up at the scheduled appointment time and meets with one or more of the team members that are responsible for hiring. Although this method has gained traction over the past few years, many candidates do not realize there are techniques that will help project a higher degree of professionalism.

Video Interview Tips

  1. Find a quiet, private, well-lit place in your home or office. Avoid back-lighting and find a soft source of light that is in front of you and the camera, as it will brighten up your image.
  2. Check your internet connection, audio levels and webcam to ensure all are working properly.
  3. Close extra browser tabs and applications. Turn the sound on your mobile down or off.
  4. Dress professionally and avoid bright colors such as yellows, as they tend to distract the viewer.
  5. Prepare as you would for any interview, with a pen and notepad in the event you need to jot down information. Make solid eye contact and keep hand gestures to a minimum.
  6. Smile and demonstrate genuine interest. Stay focused on the interview.

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Remote vs. In-office Environment

Some of you who are currently employed already understand the challenge of working at home. It’s sort of like walking on a balance beam. For some reason, it is nearly impossible to avoid parts of home life getting in the way of working a normal workday. Personal pets, children, deliveries and more become unavoidable distractions, which means you may need to start earlier or work later to allow yourself uninterrupted and focused time on your work.

Contract vs. Employee Work Situations

If you are already involved in or are offered a contract position, you will want to make the most of the opportunity and frequently demonstrate your above-average value in an effort to get hired permanently.

In other words, make sure your immediate supervisor is aware of the hours you have put in, the tasks you have successfully completed and any new ideas and insights worth sharing. Many contract workers and employees who are working from home fall into the trap of not being as visible as possible, which can be a big mistake. The adage “out of sight, out of mind” holds true more than ever before. Exhibit how your work adds unique value to the supervisor, department and company as a whole.

How to Become More Marketable

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Get familiar with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Many job seekers think their resume tells the whole story, but here is something to keep in mind. Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems which enable electronic handling of initial recruitment and hiring needs. So, when you apply for a job online, your resume is often being processed by an ATS and it may never make it to the human recruiter. An ATS system uses search algorithms that look for specific keywords in submitted resumes, depending on the position.

Therefore, if your resume is not optimized for the specific job, it may wind up in the unqualified pile. These systems are used to save time by searching and locating the best candidates. Unless you are only applying for one specific job title, it is in your best interest to alter your resume to ensure it is appropriately optimized for each position.

Continue to update your portfolio

It is so easy to get complacent when you submit several applications and resumes. Most of the time, job seekers forget to keep their portfolios up-to-date, particularly after the sample of their work is uploaded to an online portfolio site. If the examples are more than one-to-two years old, your application may be dismissed due to a lack in demonstrating updated skills and projects.

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Keep learning – updated knowledge in the tech industry is critical!

  • In the rapidly changing tech industry, it’s more important than ever to continue learning the latest information. Lead the pack by knowing the most and being able to hold an intelligent conversation about the latest changes.
  • While deepening your skillset consider expanding your knowledge base to include other tech disciplines.

When using LinkedIn these tips can be very helpful  

  • Personalized Messages – Whenever you connect with a new contact, be sure to send a personalized message that is pertinent to that person. Attempting to connect by using LinkedIn’s default message is often seen as sloppy networking. Make the effort worth both your time and the person with whom you are trying to connect.
  • Update Your Profile Often – A profile that is never updated and changed is rarely one that is interesting. Choose words that are exacting and positive in nature. Avoid the use of negatives and contractions. These little tips can really make a difference.
  • Use Images when Posting – Posts that do not include images are seen as dry and are easily passed over. Remember there are millions of posts every, single day – so if you want to increase engagement and attention, you need to include images. Being viewed as a professional includes posts that are germane and visually interesting.
  • Join Groups and Expand Your Network – There are a few powerful LinkedIn groups that offer excellent networking opportunities. Spend time reviewing which could be most helpful to your career and sign up! It doesn’t take more than a few minutes each day to check in a look for opportunities.

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Increase Your Network

  • Use all available social media outlets and local and online tech organizations. There are even Meetup.com groups that focus on learning the latest methods for various tech positions.
  • Technology recruiters can help take the worry out of finding a new job. They will save time in trying to locate available positions before they get filled. Recruiters have their finger on the pulse of job opportunities as they come available… and it will not cost you a thing.
  • If remote work continues to become the norm, it is wise to improve your social interactions and communications rather than follow the tech stereotype of having poor communication skills.
  • Find a mentor who has more experience and can help you get to the next step of your career.

Review Your Employment Requirements

  • Do not rely on returning to the way things used to be. That is short-sighted and may never happen. Start by taking care of your immediate employment needs.
  • Remote programs and contracts may become the norm for reasons that surpass the current pandemic. It may be more economical and efficient for the company and its employees to telecommute. Therefore, do not shy away from contract work.
  • You may want to take a position that provides an opportunity to learn new skills while perfecting existing skills.

In Summary

Although the job market for tech developers and engineers may appear to look shaky, it is far from it. For example, there were 1,365,500 software engineering jobs in 2018. That number is projected to surpass 1,600,000 by 2028. The current pandemic may temporarily slow down the hiring process, but it is expected to regain its strong momentum by year’s end. Any way you look at it, there are changes that will affect technology jobseekers permanently.

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Those who are looking to find a job or move to another company will need to change their approach to finding that perfect position. The new normal for technology candidates will encompass how to:

  • Find a job
  • Revamp and optimize your resume
  • Update your portfolio
  • Rethink your job requirements
  • Increase your professional networks
  • Prepare for being your best during video interviews

If all of this sounds like a lot of effort, it is true – it can be. This is exactly how a recruitment company can help. We at SOLTECH are known for finding excellent positions and opportunities for our job-seeking clients in record time. We can help find part-time, temporary, contract, and full-time situations that meet your specific needs.

Are you looking for your next opportunity in tech? We work with some of the best companies seeking top candidates in the region. Check out our list of available positions.

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