Article by James Vallone – VP of IT Staffing Solutions at Motion Recruitment Partners
Interviewing IT contractors is very different than interviewing candidates who are looking for full-time positions, as there are more matters to be mindful of. Contractors think and act differently during their job search. To successfully engage IT contractors, you should tailor your conversation during an interview to be more in line with their agenda and what’s on their mind.
Begin by understanding that a tech contractor’s job security is based on weeks or months, not years. Typically, contractors are not as interested in long-term career development at your company (unless it’s a contract-to-hire position). They will want to focus more on the specific challenges and expectations of the project at hand. Contractors also greatly value their independence and will view you as the employer on a peer-to-peer basis (or service provider to client basis) rather than an employee / manager relationship. IT contractors pride themselves on their ability to adapt, fitting into diverse cultures, and becoming a member of a team for temporary periods. Time is an IT contractor’s chief currency when working with more than one company.
To keep contractors fully engaged during the interview process and interested in your opportunity, here are four important things to pay attention to during the interview:
Be Specific About Contract Length: If a contractor asks how long the contract period is, don’t waffle and admit that you are unsure. What does the contractor hear? They hear that you may consume far more time than the contractor wants to commit to this engagement, or conversely, that you may not provide a long enough engagement to make it worth their time. Always be specific about both the estimated minimum and potential timeframes so they can feel more secure about the engagement.
Don’t Disclose Specific Contractor Pay Rates: First, if you’re working with a staffing firm, redirect any questions the contractor has about pay rates back to the agency. This question is for the agency to address. If an agency is not involved, it is not in your best interest to specify rates early in the process. In doing so, you may risk being too low and turn them off from the opportunity. The candidate may decline your contract on the spot without taking the time to explore if there is room for negotiation. On the other hand, if your rate is higher than what the contractor expects, then they’ll hold you to this rate and you may end up paying more than you needed to. It is best practice to ask the contractor to provide their pay expectations first so you can establish more control during negotiations.
Don’t Discuss Your Overall Budget: Any talented IT contractor will want to work for a company that has a solid and reasonable budget in place for staffing. However, they do not need to know exactly what your entire budget is. For instance, communicating that you have a significant budget in place will certainly prove to the contractor that IT is an important initiative for the company. Although, the contractor may leverage this information against you and inquire as to why you’re not paying them more. On the other hand, disclosing a budget number that is very low will have the obvious impact of stirring up concern about the commitment to IT spend. When it comes to disclosing your budget, use adjectives, not numbers, to discuss the financial context such as, “We have a solid or healthy or strong budget in place for this department.”
Don’t Make Promises About Contract-to-Perm Conversions: Some IT contractors may inquire about a potential conversion if they are interested in a permanent position. They may also ask because they are not interested in a permanent position altogether. It is important to understand where this question is coming from before you provide an answer. Ask the contractor first about their interest in becoming a permanent employee. If you find they are ideally looking to eventually be converted to a full-time position, give them a realistic timeline of when the job could convert, but be honest and explain that any conversion would be based on the contractor’s performance during the contract period and that this is not guaranteed.
Remember, it is your job to sell the contractor on the great opportunity to work at your company. You will always be competing with other employers and must differentiate your opportunity. Avoid these common interviewing obstacles and keep the interview hyper-focused on the selling points to attract the best IT contractors.
With over 400 highly specialized tech recruiting professionals across North America, our agency experts know firsthand how people think and act during the hiring process. Our 2016 research study debunks the biggest misperceptions for tech job seekers and offers helpful advice on how to navigate today’s competitive job market. Here are the four most common myths you should know:
Myth 1: “If I don’t have all the required skills, I shouldn’t bother applying for the job.”
Advice from the experts: “Know where you stand and act accordingly. If you’re less qualified, be prepared to make your business case upfront on your resume or cover letter as to why they should still consider you. Always apply to jobs even if you are not sure since you are applying to the company (not just the job). Other jobs may exist that will be a better fit. Also, job specs can be very fluid in tech and some companies can/will adjust requirements and provide training for the right person.”
Check out which companies are hiring by applying to one of our many tech jobs online!
Myth 2: “If I’ve been a job hopper, potential employers will not consider me for the position.”
Advice from the experts: “It’s not the WHEN, it’s the WHY that counts most when explaining job hopping to a potential employer. There are many completely understandable reasons for leaving a job after a short period of time. Make sure to specify any of these acceptable reasons for leaving directly on the resume to avoid any negative stigmas.”
Read why "Don't be afraid to try different things" is tip #3 in "5 Tips For Young Professionals Who Want a Career in Tech"
Myth 3: “If the company has no job postings online, then they must not be hiring.”
Advice from the experts: “The elusiveness of the tech job market means that candidates should never rely on job boards alone. They should leverage their networks as much as possible and also work with a localized, specialized tech recruiter who uncovers these hidden jobs on a daily basis.”
Let us help you discover your dream job - Contact a Jobspring Partners in a city near you!
Myth 4: “If I’m the leading candidate for a Perm position, I should be able to negotiate my starting offer as high as I’d like.”
Advice from the experts: “As highly qualified as a tech candidate may be, there is and will always be competition. A candidate’s savvy negotiation and education on the marketplace (via salary reports) is expected from employers. But when candidates exhibit indulgence or entitlement in regards to a potential offer, their well-intentioned actions could backfire on them.”
Find out the Expectations versus Realities of Working in Tech
There are several myths out there about the tech job market, but the key is to identify these myths and not fall into the trap that many other job seekers may unknowingly fall into. To sum up, (1) if you’re less qualified, be prepared to make your business case upfront as to why a company should still consider you; (2) if you’re a job hopper, be sure to specify acceptable reasons for leaving on your resume to avoid negative stigmas; (3) never rely on job boards alone, instead, leverage your network and work with a specialized tech recruiter in your city; and (4) don’t be that candidate who exhibits indulgence or entitlement in regards to a potential offer – it could backfire on you.
Contact a local Jobspring Partners today and let us help you kick off 2017 on the right foot.
With the tech-industry unemployment rate dropping to an impressive 2% nation-wide in 2016, it is easy to understand why hiring managers and human resource departments alike are experiencing heart-ache when thinking about tech hiring initiatives this year. Having worked with a few military veterans throughout his career Del Crockett, Regional Director of Jobspring D.C., gives us three great reasons why companies should hire veterans to address their biggest hiring problems.
As a high technology recruiter for the last decade, I have seen my fair share of hiring markets over the years and I can easily say that today's hiring landscape is the most difficult I have seen in my career for companies to navigate. Quite simply, we are looking at an Economics 101 problem to the max degree: High demand and nearly zero supply.
In an attempt to curtail the depressing amount of supply on the market, numerous development boot camps have popped up in an attempt to teach non-technical professionals to become developers. Although that has been questionably effective, it got me thinking, what about our military veteran resources out there? How are we overcoming common misperceptions and utilizing their unique skill set to impact technical hiring agendas?
The squeeze on the technical talent pool has not only forced companies to broaden their technical expectattions, but also take into serious consideration the "soft skills" and/or "intagibles" that can end up making a candidate a fantastic hire over the long term.
Over the last few years, companies have started to make that exact adjustment. I am regularly seeing companies make offers based as much on intangible soft skills as they are technical abilities. With that trend inevitably growing as the market continues to tighten, it is a great time to be looking at our veteran's as a high quality option to fill technical roles.
1. Prospective tech candidates do not fit the team culture
Company Feedback: If I had a dollar for every time I received feedback from a hiring manager stating that a candidate was "technically great, but not the right culture fit"...The truth is that culture fit is beyond critical, especially for small to medium sized companies. Most clients I work with will overlook some technical ability to find someone with a "go-getter" attitude that is ready to learn. In a hiring landscape dominated by more and more candidates feeling entitled due to the current demand, it's not unusual to see hiring managers pause when faced with the decision on someone who might be a detriment to the team/company culture.
Why hire a veteran: Teamwork and trainability are possibly a veteran's best attributes. Early on, those in the military learn that in order to become a good leader, one most be a good follower. Rising through the ranks is a right of passage that must be earned and the same can be said in most companies. Finding a candidate who believes in these concepts will ultimately benefit the growth of the teams, its operation, and overall retention rates.
2. Prospective candidates lack experience executing under pressure
Company Feedback: Let's face it: Programming environments have their moments of being high pressure, there is no way around it. Start-ups? How about every day! With the typical development team working on a two-week sprint cycle, the ability to handle deadlines calmly is as critical as the quality of code you put out. Similar to coaches, hiring managers love finding job seekers who they can count on, come crunch time. Not everyone has the mental strength to execute come "crunch time" on a consistent basis. You're either clutch or you're not.
Why hire a veteran: Needless to say, veterans have become accustomed to making important decisions (sometimes life dependent) for themselves and their team under the most intense situations. The ability to solve problems under the most unparalleled circumstances is a quality that every hiring manager can use, especially at start-ups.
Are you a veteran looking for a job? Apply to a job in D.C. or a city near you!
3. Prospective candidates are too "big picture" focused and lack attention to detail
Company Feedback: With famed companies such as Facebook and Google constantly re-shaping the technical landscape, it is understandable that many of today's candidates can find themselves getting hyper-focused on today's "hottest new technology." Unfortunately, for many hiring managers, that latest technology may or may not be a critical element in their current production enviornment. Even when it is, many candidates only understand the overarching general concepts rather than the in-depth details on the "why" and "how" the technology can be utilized in a real production environment. This inability leaves companies vulnerable to low quality code and implementation, causing bugs, delay, and often-times, resentment within the team ranks.
Why hire a veteran: Officers and soldiers in the field are trained to keep an impeccable sense of detail with everything they do. From the way they dress and keep quarters, to addressing tiny logistical details on the battlefield, veterans are trained to embrace the responsibility of always being meticulous, while working towards the big picture. This is a trait that is nearly impossible to find in today's hiring market. Considering that the slightest mistake in a line of code can be the difference between a product being received well from users and the same product totally failing due to bugs or security concerns, having staff who embrace "getting lost in the details" can make all the difference.
According to Joseph Kernan, NS2 Serves Chairman and Vice Admiral (Ret.), U.S. Navy, in an article from the Business Journal, "Hiring a veteran not only provides your company with a devoted employee who has the potential to become a highly productive member of the team, but you're also giving a deserving veteran a fresh start in post-military life and a chance at a fulfilling career." Looking to hire a veteran? Contact Jobspring here so we can help find you the right talent for the job.
Ready to start job searching? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you'll love: