As Geekstakes 2014 came to a close and the prizes were on their way into the hands of the winners, Modis Senior Vice President Dan Pollock sat down with Linus Tech Tips to discuss the IT job market, what opportunities exist for aspiring IT professionals, what employers are looking for and how to get a foot in the door. Viewers were invited to ask questions during the live stream on Linus Tech Tips and on Twitter using #AskModisLTT.
In case you missed it, here are a few of our favorite questions and answers addressed during the hour-long live stream. You can watch the entire recording on our YouTube channel.
Q: What do employers look for when interviewing for IT positions?
A: When it comes to employment in general – companies are looking for a great match. The right attitude is just as important as the right aptitude. Every company is unique, having different cultures, different challenges and different approaches to doing things. Employers want to see that a candidate will mesh well in their environment.
Q: How can you present yourself as a good fit to a potential employer when you don’t know that much about their company and culture?
A: That’s where Modis comes in. We spend a great deal of time getting to know the culture and personality of each of our clients. We also spend a ton of time really getting to know our candidates so we can make those exceptional connections.
To the average person out there trying to find a job, you should have one goal in mind as you go through the interview process: to obtain a job offer. Once you get that job offer, you can then compare it to other potential offers and determine the best cultural fit. How do you get a job offer? By putting your best foot forward and doing your homework! There’s no such thing as being too prepared for an interview. Study the client, their products, their services and their social media channels. If possible, research the person or people who will be interviewing you. Look them up on LinkedIn, find out where they went to school and what their career path looked like. When you go in for the interview, hopefully you will get to tour the facility and meet a bunch of folks, and that will shed some light on whether or not the company is a good fit for you.
Q: To an employer, what is the biggest turn-off from a candidate?
A: A negative or irresponsible internet presence. Make sure a Google search of your name turns up clean and professional results. Of course, it’s up to you whether or not you want to keep your personal and professional lives separate on the internet. If you’re okay with putting it all out there for the world to consume – just beware – the people who will be sitting across from you in the interview are going to see it. That’s just the reality of the world we live in.
For entry-level positions, employers are more likely to cut you some slack if your internet presence isn’t squeaky clean. But when an employer is looking for a leader – someone who’s going to be a great coach and whom people will respect – they’re hiring for moral character. They want to see that it’s in the person’s DNA.
Q: What types of IT jobs are out there for people that aren’t necessarily interested in programming?
A: The number and variety of positions that exist in IT continues to grow each year as more companies become dependent on technology. However, there are four areas of IT that we are seeing a lot right now:
- Application Development – we typically place a lot of mainframe developers, operating systems programmers, application integration specialists and software process engineers.
- Infrastructure – some examples include IT technicians, help desk support, desktop support, system administration, networking, network architecture, database administration, database developers and more.
- Functional positions, such as Business Analysts and Project/Program Managers – Companies are full of users (people who use technology every day to do their job without necessarily understanding how it works) and they need IT professionals who can translate technical jargon and explain it to them in everyday terms. If you have great people skills but aren’t super technical, you could excel in these types of roles.
- User-Interface/User Experience – these folks design the look and feel, the workflow and how users interact with technology. High level UX designers may come from backgrounds in graphics, multimedia or even art. Colleges even have degrees for this role, such as cognitive science and human factors specializing in the UX space.
Q: Would you say that there’s any benefit of applying for a job at a company simply because you are a huge fan of their product?
A: Absolutely! Follow your passion! We work with some of the largest technology companies in the world. The Apples, the Ciscos, the Ebays, the Paypals…if you’re already passionate about a company’s product or service, lead with that in your interview. If you’re a fan – let them know! Play to their egos. Also, try to connect and engage with them on their social media channels prior to going in for the interview.
Q: What is the process like for getting a job through Modis?
A: Go to our website, navigate to the career section and submit your resume. One of our IT recruiters in your area will contact you and schedule a phone interview to gather some basic information. Then we will invite you to the nearest branch for an in-person interview. If there’s not a Modis branch nearby, we will use Skype or Google Hangout to conduct the in-person interview. The in-person interview is so important because it helps us understand culturally what you’re looking for in a company, which local companies you may want to work with, what your skills are now and what you want to learn, what your career aspirations are, how we can best market you to our clients and what current opportunities we might have for you immediately. After that, we set you up on interviews with our clients. If it’s a permanent position, an offer will come directly from the client. If it’s a temporary contract position, you will get an offer from Modis. We typically place people on multiple consecutive contract assignments with various clients. It’s a great way for us to build long-standing relationships with our consultants.