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The Tech Interview

You know, I love tech companies. With a computer engineering undergrad, I’ve spent my entire career working in the world of technology in one way or another.

I’ve recently met a number of job seekers who have had job interviews at tech companies. They’re the kind of companies with only a few hundred employees. They have ping pong tables, video games, and free lunch.

Quickly, I noticed that something was different about their interview experience. Before the interview, we worked to update their resume and elevator pitch. But, nothing could have really prepared us for what happened next.

The attitude inside the doors of the tech companies was different – very different. Lots of young, flip-flop wearing employees fill giant tables where they are setup with computer monitors. There are no offices or cubicles. Imagine working in a Starbucks, or a lunchroom. Employees look exhausted. Their eyes are red and they’re yawning while interviewing candidates. Despite the office perks, these folks are working their hearts out day and night. And, the stress of the environment seems to come through in the interview.

Many of the interviews are what’s sometimes called a stress interview. They’re interviews designed to upset the job seeker, and to get a reaction out of them. In the middle of the interview, the hiring manager might tell the candidate that they’re not qualified for the role and that their experience is useless to the company. They do this all in a relatively rude and challenging way. Then, the hiring manager asks the candidate to respond. I’m really not sure how a candidate is expected to respond in these situations, especially if they have any self-respect.

There’s also an obsession around money. At a tech startup, everybody wants to know how much money you want to make. If you’re coming from any sort of non-startup environment, it can be tough to pin down your salary requirements because the benefits are different. Startups often provide equity in place of high salaries.

Tech companies are also looking for someone like them. Even when a candidate has all the required experience, it is very common for the number one objection to be, “You’ve never worked in tech.”

A number of tech companies also have an internal voting structure. Rather than the hiring manager selecting you, the entire team is involved. The team will meet together after you interview to decide whether or not you’re a fit. At some organizations, even one vote against you can keep you from being hired.

Right or wrong, this seems to be the reality that tech companies are living in. If you decide to interview at one, be sure to prepare yourself. On top of your normal interview preparation, learn as much as you can about the company, their culture, and their interview process. To score big at a tech company, you need to be more than qualified. You need to fit in.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

169 | Indeed 2018 Product Update | Raj Mukherjee, SVP of Product at Indeed.com, San Francisco, CA

Episode 169 is live! This week, we talk with Raj Mukherjee in Austin, TX.

Raj is the Senior Vice President of Product at the world’s number one job website: Indeed.com.

I interviewed Raj last year about the latest Indeed products, and I’m so excited for you to learn what’s new at Indeed in 2018.

On today’s episode, Raj shares:

  • What you need to know about your privacy on Indeed.com (in other words, your boss won’t know you’re looking!)
  • The scoop on Indeed’s new skills based screening platform
  • What Indeed Prime is and why you should try it
  • How the enhanced company profile on Indeed may help with your job search
  • Thoughts on the future of remote work

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Raj’s work, visit Indeed at www.indeed.com. You can also follow Raj on Twitter at @rajatism. And, you can check out Indeed Prime here: https://prime.indeed.com/refer/c-xuoiAJQ 

Thanks to everyone for listening! Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

Conquering the Tech Interview with Confidence

I often get questions about what it’s like to interview for a technology job. In particular, job seekers ask what it’s like to interview to be a computer programmer. In fact, my most popular podcast episode ever was with a former Google recruiter, Gayle Laakmann, who described how to prepare for a coding interview.

Years ago, after my bachelor of computer and systems engineering, I competed in a few technical interviews. In the most memorable interview, I was asked to create a complete website. This was before the days of Squarespace and WordPress. The site had to be hand coded, and frankly, it took forever. I learned in this interview that employers have high expectations of computer programmers.

Perhaps they have good reason to give extensive interviews. It’s been said that a great coder can produce ten times as much code as a bad coder. And, it’s hard to get rid of a full time employee after they’re hired. Plus, unlike many other jobs, you really can give a developer a skills test. There are few other jobs where the interview process can give such clear and accurate feedback. On top of everything else, developers aren’t cheap. A company wants to be sure they know what they’re getting in advance.

A job seeker recently shared their coding interview experience with me, in hopes that it might help other developers. They had an initial interview at a company that was looking for experience with a particular programming language. Quickly, the candidate shared that they have not used this programming language in a number of years. They were assured that it would be no problem. The fundamentals were much more important.

During the second round of interviews, the same candidate was asked to complete a test. The test was using a technology that they weren’t familiar with. They were able to do research on their own, but it wasn’t enough. As you can imagine, the candidate walked away feeling unhappy with the experience.

Similar to the “build a website” homework that I had, this homework was meant to push the candidate’s limits. As frustrating as the experience can be, companies use these techniques to vet out potential employees. And, in some cases, the company does this to their own detriment. They can easily burn through candidates and come up with no one to hire.

As a candidate, one takeaway is this. Interviewing is a two way street. I often compare it to dating. Since when do we go on a first date and hope the person will marry us, before we’ve even ordered drinks? Interviewing is no different. Prepare and do your best. But, take the time to pay attention to how the hiring manager treats you. Look for a mutual match. If you don’t find a good fit, keep moving on. Just like with dating, if you stay with someone who’s a bad fit, you may miss out on the right opportunity.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

143 | Indeed Prime – Raj Mukherjee, San Francisco, CA

Episode 143 is live! This week, we talk with Raj Mukherjee in San Francisco, CA

Raj is the SVP of Product at Indeed.com. Indeed is the world’s #1 job website with over 200 million visitors per month from over 60 countries. In addition to Indeed, Raj has also worked at a number of other organizations, including GoDaddy, Google, and Microsoft.

On today’s episode, Raj shares everything you need to know about using Indeed Prime. Indeed Prime’s tagline is “Get hired within one month – job search not required.” Listen and find out how this recruiting tool (that targets technology candidates) is helping both employers and job seekers.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Indeed Prime or to try it out, visit the Indeed website here.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

116 | Learn to Code – Laurence Bradford, Founder of Learn to Code With Me in New York, NY

Episode 116 is live! This week, we talk with Laurence Bradford in New York, NY.

Laurence is the Founder of Learn to Code With Me. She’s also a contributor to Forbes. Her specialties include technical content creation, online education, and front-end web development. 

On today’s episode, Laurence shares her secrets for learning to code, switching to a technology field, and how to avoid the high price tag of going back to college to get a second degree.

laurence-bradford-podcast

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.


To learn more about Laurence, check out her website at learntocodewith.me.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching. Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

What We Can All Learn From Techies

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Last year, I received a text from a friend. It said, “I spent some time today figuring out a new video software.” And, it had a link to a fun short video.

This friend doesn’t use video at work, but he and two other IT guys are creating a YouTube channel. This is the second project for the team, who also recently started a podcast, to learn about podcasting.

This occurrence isn’t an uncommon one in the technology world. Techies are creating new social work groups on Meetup.com every day. They gather together and learn how to use software like WordPress, Python, Java, Oracle and PHP. They bounce ideas off of one another about how to start a podcast, how to build video games or how to make mobile apps.

They organize breakfasts, lunches and weekend-long coding sessions called hackathons. They host events for younger generations to teach them about programming.

The thing that’s interesting is, technology professionals do all of these activities in their free time. Their companies don’t sponsor these events. They aren’t compensated for participating.

But, the time they devote helps to keep their skill set up to date. Technology is a field that’s constantly evolving. In IT, if you want to keep up, you must keep learning. It creates job security.

In addition to beefing up their resume, this time builds their network. If there’s a job opening, you can bet someone will look inside these groups for candidates.

Lastly, it allows these professionals to cross-pollinate ideas with those outside their company’s four walls. They aren’t confined to the traditional thoughts on how to do things and can compare notes with others.

Although your industry may not change as often as technology, there are a number of great lessons to be learned from this group. First, don’t wait for your company to keep your skills up to date. It’s your responsibility. Be sure not to neglect your continuing education.

This may mean you may have to use some personal time, or even some of your own money. Think of it as an investment in yourself and your future value.

Once you’ve decided to give this strategy a try, you may wonder where to begin. Meetup.com is a natural place to look for special interest groups. You may also check the colleges in your area for continuing education courses. They often offer abbreviated courses at reasonable prices. Professional organizations can also be a great place to look.

Don’t have time to get out? Or can’t find anyone near you to network with? Search online. May universities such as Harvard and MIT are placing some of their course materials online – for free. And, there are many other online resources such as LinkedIn and website forums where you can network with others in your field.

At the end of the day, one of the best keys to being competitive is to always be learning.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach