Technical Recruitment Insights: Past Experiences and Elevator Pitch
This time something less technical, but after all, incredibly important, right? Each of us certainly has recruitment experiences that can’t be forgotten (for many reasons), but not all of us know exactly what to do to avoid duplicating our mistakes during recruitment interviews, as well as what red lights to look out for when we notice during the interview that the Recruiter does not behave professionally. We would also like to touch on the topic of good elevator pitch creation and explain the secret of preparing it. About all this we will try to write here, but not too widely, so as not to stray from the topic. Let’s go!
How to Prepare: Job Description & Company Research
When preparing for a meeting, it is worth re-reading the job/project description. This will help us find out what technologies we will be questioned on. Let’s also conduct our own research, visit the company’s website — this will allow us to learn about the company’s business profile, industry, clients and translate the information gained into our own experience. We also then have the opportunity to draw attention to an important detail that we missed while reviewing the offer and applying.
What technical interview questions can be expected?
- Soft skills questions
Inquiries are not always about technical issues or programming languages. The Recruiter is also interested in such issues as teamworking, executing under time pressure or other soft skills, as they are essential to provide the team a new person whose attitude will improve the implementation of projects, rather than smashing the concept every now and then.
Sample soft skills questions
- What activities do you execute one by one when working on a new project?
These types of questions are aimed at getting to know your work pattern. When answering clarify the information about how you schedule activities over time, with whom you consult on your actions and possible difficulties. It is also worth mentioning about how you report on completed stages and whether you prefer to work independently or in a team.
- Have you ever come up with an initiative regarding new projects?
A technical Recruiter always asks about past projects. This makes it possible to determine, among other things, how strongly the candidate has been involved in a project. If it turns out that you will have little knowledge of a project you have worked on, this will work very much against you. In this case you should, of course, mention the ideas you came up with in your previous workplace. This could be a completely new, original project, but also a solution that brought a great deal of new to the tasks already undertaken.
- Tell us about the projects you have done recently?
The answer should be specific and include points such as: for whom the project was carried out (what branch, what the project was about), who you worked with, what tools and technologies were used, what the project brought to you, if and what you would do differently now. You can also mention what was your attitude to the subject matter you were pursuing — did you find yourself comfortable with the the area discussed, or whether you would have preferred to work on something else. It is important to be able to explain the entire architecture of the project, the most important mechanisms in it and how the problematic issues were solved. You will then give the impression of a person who knows what is going on in the project and it will be a sign that you had a significant role in it. Everyone wants to have such a person in the team, as opposed to a mere “code slapper for simple tasks”.
- What do you do when you know you won’t hit a deadline?
The company wants to see if you can handle a difficult situation. Think about how it looks to you and answer honestly. The other side will certainly take the answer well if you explain the reason for such a situation in the first place. A good answer is if you say that you are trying as soon as you can to notify your Team Leader about the matter and set another possible date for completing the project.
- How do you take care of upgrading your knowledge?
It is also worth telling how you gain new experiences and expand your knowledge. It is worth showing off not only keeping up with the latest technical news, but also mention learning new languages, keeping a programming blog, participating in Hackathon, lecturing at conferences, creating your own projects, participating in various types of trainings, conferences, business fairs or meetings, etc.
2. Technical questions
Of course, questions about technical issues can not be missing. Often a programmer has to describe how she/he plans the various stages of work when a new project is about to start. Candidates receive technical tasks from the IT area to solve, as well as questions of logical questions that are designed to test analytical thinking and how the candidate approaches a given topic or problem. On the Internet we can find many examples of recruitment tasks.
Among them, the following seem to be the most important:
- What do you usually do when you see an error in your code?
It’s a test of technical knowledge in a practical form. Often, in addition to questions that test our knowledge and skills, Recruiters prepare practical tasks involving, for example, live coding. That’s why it’s a good idea to remind yourself of the most important issues that relate to a specific programming language. Before the recruitment meeting, it is also good to practice various programming tasks. While solving the task, it is good to explain what you are currently doing.
- Suppose you are given the task to … (and here comes the difficult task) — What do you do?
- Pair programming
- Data structures tasks
Data structures are one of the most important parts of a job interview, and often on the basis of them the decision to hire a candidate is made, so practicing tasks on data structures will give you an advantage over your competitors.
Ask the Right Questions: Candidate’s Role Clarity and Growth Prospects
During a recruitment interview, the candidate also has the opportunity to ask questions.
It is usually a good idea to think about this issue before the meeting and prepare a list of the most important questions for yourself. What information is worth getting?
For example, those about the exact range of responsibilities, organization of work, cooperation with clients, opportunities for development.
Bearing in mind that nowadays recruitment interviews often take place online, you should not forget to dress appropriately. The candidate should get dressed comfortably but neatly, avoiding extremes. It doesn’t have to be a suit and tie, a super classy shirt or a formal dress right away, but overly casual outfits should be avoided. It’s best to choose something balanced, such as a shirt or a more elegant blouse. The simpler, the better!
It’s a very popular concept, but how to construct elevator pitch and when to use it?
What is the elevator pitch all about?
Imagine that you get into an elevator on the first floor. Upon entering, you see that there is a person on whom your future may depend. You have as much time as it takes for the elevator to pass to introduce yourself and your project (professional development) to this person.
The purpose of elevator pitch
– Bring in interest
– Make you memorable
Structure — How do you convey a lot of information in a short amount of time?
One of the classic mistakes is speaking at an accelerated speed. Wanting to convey as much information as possible, we often start talking faster. This can result in the opposite effect — the interlocutor will understand little, and remember even less. If you want to be effective in communication, you need to be precise, provide information in a condensed way, starting with the most important and using short sentences.
Elevator pitch consists of 4 parts
1. I am … — 1 sentence
At the very beginning in one sentence you give the essence of all your
professional experience (the level of your professional development i.e. specialist, manager, director, business sector, type of company, etc.).
2. My experience is … — 5…8 sentences
We describe work experience in a nutshell. Here we provide key summary numbers and key successes. For example: I have X years of experience, including, X years in management positions / I managed teams of up to X people / turnover up to X million euros/ I am responsible for X countries / I have conducted X campaigns of new product launches / I have conducted more than X trainings in 3 countries / I managed X projects lasting up to X years with budgets up to X million euros, etc.
3. My education … — 2 sentences
4. My professional goal is … — 1 sentence
Professional goal — the more precisely you name the function of interest and its position (nature of the company, business sector, location, …), the greater the probability of success. Your long-term goal is not relevant. Thus, we tell what interests us now, and save the information about what stage of our career path it is for ourselves.
Having a precisely constructed elevator pitch, we are very well prepared for a number of key opportunities. This very universality of usage is what makes it a good idea to start creating a whole package of communications with the job market right from EP. You can use them in meetings, in email communications, at a recruitment interview, on your resume or Linkedin profile. Simply anywhere there will be a need.
Warning Signs: Unprofessional Behavior in a Recruiter
Here the matter is quite simple, but it is definitely worth paying attention to the signals indicating that the recruiter is not behaving as expected.
Major red lights
1. Being late for an interview and rescheduling at the last minute.
This should be a warning sign, as this kind of disorganization and chaos during the recruitment process can indicate that the company is disorganized and chaotic in other aspects as well. If you see such communication errors at the core of getting along together, you should think strongly about the legitimacy of further recruiting for a particular company.
2. Lack of all the necessary information (about the project, about the company, about the Recruiter’s duties).
3. Atmosphere during the interview
Can be a reflection of the atmosphere in the company or team. If someone is clearly unpleasant, shows disrespect during the interview, they will probably not respect you at work either.
4. Asking questions that assume a specific answer or are intended to stress the candidate out
Asking a question that makes you feel embarrassed or stressed, such as “Why did the previous company hire you for such a short time?” shows manipulation on the part of the Recruiter, because in her/his lack of knowledge of the previous employer, it is not allowed to imply that it was the company that gave up on the employee, and in this type of question you can clearly read that.
And that would be it. We managed to highlight all the most essential elements necessary to master so that the recruitment interview will not surprise you. You don’t have to go through many recruitment interviews to know what to do and how to behave. If you keep the points we mentioned in mind and recognize how important soft skills are also in this type of situation, you can be sure that the interview will go professionally and without any additional stress. The ground is to approach it holistically, focus on your strengths and always be truthful.