The joys of being an adult: thanks to bills and needing to eat, we all need income and/or a job. But today’s job market is unlike any before: 2022 is the year where people are looking for bigger and better careers.
And that’s why you’re here (presumably): You’re a developer looking for new opportunities. With everyone on the move, you’ll want to stand out above the crowd (even if you gotta shout out loud.) 🎵
Today, we’ll share what’s been going on in the hiring world, some tips on how to better showcase yourself, and a handful of do’s and don’ts for the hiring process.
- The tech industry has always had hiring bumps in the road, but 2022 is crazier than ever.
- You can make yourself standout by making it as easy as possible to hire you: apply on their site, respond ASAP, and be flexible with change.
- Expand what you bring to the table by continuously learning about new tech and languages, working on your soft skills, and understanding the core of technology.
- Go in with the mindset of “I hope I like them;” you want to make sure you’ll like working at this company (just as much as the company will be happy to work with you.)
But Why now?
The Great Resignation
One year ago, over 3.8 million Americans left their jobs in a single month. That national quit rate of 3.1% was the highest since they started recording. Ever since then, the Great Resignation has kept on rolling thanks to more benefits, more salary, and more opportunities for the American workforce.
Tech is no exception to this change; however, there’s always been a role-filling issue. With the speed of change that happens in this industry, completely new areas and expertise’s pop up every quarter. The expansions of web, followed by mobile, and then by cloud have all caused shakeups in the tech space.
And now it’s quicker than ever before; innovation can happen in months as opposed to years. When companies decide to implement new tech (like crypto, NFTs, or the Metaverse), they’ll have to create departments and jobs quickly that may have never existed before.
This brings us back to the hiring situation in tech; in the US, only 28% of tech professionals say they intend to stay in their current position long term. That number gets smaller the younger you go: only 16% of those aged 19 to 29 plan to remain where they’re at.
With the stress of losing top tech talent, lots of major companies are now paying more, especially for positions in data science, cloud, and product development.
So that’s good news, right?
But all of this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to easily find a new job. With the more people leaving and more jobs open, that means more competition.
Places like Indeed allow you to apply and send your resume to dozens of companies in only a few minutes. While this does make it easy, it also means more applicants for potential employers to evaluate.
Companies are keeping their expectations high, so you need to stand out. And if that’s what you’re looking to do, you’ve come to the right blog.
Tips and Tricks
Apply on their Website
With it being so easy to apply on job boards, you need to start off on a different foot. You can do this easily by applying for jobs on the individual companies website. This shows that you truly care about working for them specifically, because you took the time to apply through their channels.
“We had over 300 people apply for our Junior .NET Developer role, and I was in charge of deciding who we would interview.” Said Dan Murphy, Slingshot’s Executive Director of Slingshot Ventures (who also wears the Hiring Manager hat.) “I had to find the easiest way to narrow it down. While we had hundreds apply across all job sites, we only had 50 apply on our own site. We started there, and that’s where we found our person.”
Respond Quickly and Efficiently
Tech people are data people; we’re going to evaluate the details whenever we can. If you take several days to send a one sentence text-speak email, chances are you’ll fall through the cracks. You should respond in a reasonable time frame; don’t hurt yourself to send an email in 5 minutes, though.
You should also put effort into what you say and how you say it. Each interaction is an extension of who you are and what you’re capable of doing. You can make yourself easier to hire by putting a little time into communicating. Be concise, and say what you need to say.
Get to the Core
To be an expert in something, you have to start with the basics. It’s easy to put your head down and focus solely on the development piece; it is what you do day in and day out after all. But it’s an awesome bonus to potential employers if you have a general understanding of the core and process of software development. Knowing more than what you have to allows you to be even more successful.
Always the Student
While not a tip you can accomplish in under 10 minutes, this is still a good way to stand out against other developers. When you can, put some time into practicing and learning about new languages and tech areas. With the world of tech changing every few months, it’s important to stay up-to-date on what’s happening.
Not only will this improve your current skills and expand into new languages, you’ll also show companies that you’re willing to try new things.
Practice for ~That~ Question
“Tell me about yourself!” causes all of us to shudder. In that moment, you forget everything you’ve ever done. So, since it’s probably going to be the first question in an interview, take some time to think about it.
Most of the time, companies ask this question to get a quick run down of who you are and what you’ve done. Give a bit of background on what you’ve been doing the last few years, both in work and out of work. Biggest tip here is that you don’t want it to sound scripted; just think of some key points, and ad-lib from there.
Blog About It
Again, this is another tip that you can’t pull out of thin air. But the time and effort should pay off. If you can, start a blog where you share tips, ideas, and side projects surrounding your area of expertise.
This will show companies that you’re passionate about what you do, and that you like collaborating and sharing with others. You don’t need to write novels; a handful of quick write-ups on Medium should do the trick.
Do’s and Don’ts
Now that we’ve shared some tips, let’s talk about what you should or shouldn’t do to stand out in the hiring space.
Don’t Assume Open Market = Open Season
Just because there are more job openings does not mean it’ll be easy to get hired. Bummer, we know. There are more job openings because more people are looking for better positions (probably what you’re doing, too.) You’ll have to speak to the value you provide outside of just being a developer if you want to stand out.
Do express what you want to do, where you want to go, and what you’re not the best at.
Don’t Think Tech is It
We all know we can all code; that’s the name of the game. Of course you’ll be able to showcase if you’re better at coding in a coding test, but there’s more to development than just development. You should also put time into soft skills: communicating, listening, working as a team, and solving problems creatively. Nothing says ‘you should hire me’ quite like a well-rounded expert.
Do showcase your interpersonal and communication skills.
Don’t Forget to do Company Research
We don’t mean memorizing the founding year or CEO’s birthday. What you should research is who you’ll be working for: their culture, their values, and their process. You want to make sure they’re a good fit for you just as much as you’re a good fit for them. By doing this, you can save some time focusing on companies you enjoy (or feel you’d mesh with better) as opposed to companies you’re iffy about.
Do make sure you like the company, too.
Don’t Skip the Study Break
You’re an excellent coder, right? That’s why you’re such a good developer. But pump the breaks: you really should brush up on some things before you jump into a coding test. Take some time to study and review before the exam, so that you’re confident and ready to go.
Do review before jumping into a coding test.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up if You Don’t Hear Back
It’s the old phrase ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’ But in actuality, it’s true for hiring. As we mentioned earlier, Dan had 300+ applications to look through for our junior developer role. Even if that was his only job (which it wasn’t), it would’ve taken forever to contact everyone individually. Even with the 35 from our website alone, there’s interviews, testing, and resumes to review.
So it’s important to remember that the smaller the company, the more work is on a person’s plate. They’re not ignoring your application because they hate you or don’t think you’re a fit; chances are there’s just a lot of other stuff going on. The best thing to do if you haven’t heard back in a bit is to shoot a follow up email for courtesy sake; the worst thing they can respond back with is no.
Do follow-up in a week if you haven’t heard anything back.
Don’t Say Yes if it Isn’t
So you’ve made it to the end of interviews. You’re waiting to hear back from a handful of businesses, and the first calls with an offer. Hooray! Except, there’s an important piece to remember here. If you’re also interested in those other offers, you’ll want to wait to accept.
If you accept an offer and rescind later, you could be adding to the hiring team’s already busy plate. Behind the scenes, they could’ve started gathering paperwork, equipment, and onboarding materials for you. Companies would rather you take time to think it over as opposed to having to start hiring over from scratch.
Do consider all your options before saying yes.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Let’s get back to that offer: you just got the call that you’ve been offered a position at your top company! Hooray again! However, the salary isn’t exactly what you wanted; it’s competitive, but not ideal.
If you think that a salary isn’t enough, you should try and negotiate for more. If a company is offering you a job, they want you to work for them. The worst response you can get back form this is no. Companies won’t rescind an offer solely for asking for a bit more pay.
Do negotiate salary or benefits if you deserve more.
Don’t Think We Want You to Fail
We saved the best for last: remember that everyone you interview with is rooting for your success. They’re interviewing you because they believe you have potential to be a great candidate. Your mindset shouldn’t be “I hope they like me,” it should be “I hope I like them.”
Do remember that everyone wants you to succeed.
We know that was a lot; take a second to breathe. Job searching is a tiring process, and you’re doing great 👍
You’ve got the tools to stand out as a developer: be yourself, share what you love, put effort in to bettering yourself, and respect the process.
Good luck out there; happy job hunting!