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Things techies do to wreck their job search

Posted on 15/11/2018
by Chris Hart

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Getting a new tech job isn’t easy—especially when everyone is fighting for the same one. Sending out a polished CV and turning up for an interview in your shiniest suit and squeakiest shoes is just not enough anymore. In fact, some companies might turn you away if you come dressed like an estate agent.

It’s not just a case of what to do, you need to think about what not to do as well.

Lucky for you, we’re here with some examples of how you can royally screw up your chances of getting the job you want—and how you can ensure that doesn’t happen.

Screwing up the skills section of their CV

Having a skill section is not the problem—it’s what you put in it that matters. Believe it or not, interviewers could ask you about the skills you’ve listed.

You don’t have to be an expert in everything, but if you can’t answer questions about what you’ve listed, then it shouldn’t be on there. This is such a common mistake techies make; they list a load of tech they may have touched on once 10 years ago, but can’t answer a thing about it.

It’s so easily avoidable, but people fall in to the trap of quantity over quality. Keep it succinct and keep to it your core skills.

Not providing examples of their work

This is more for the developers out there. If you’ve worked on something pretty damn interesting, then include a link to it on your CV. Companies want to see what you can do—and a CV only goes so far.

The quickest and easiest way to do this is by showing evidence of what you have done. You will not be the only dev applying for that role and having lots of fancy fonts and graphics all over your CV is not going to make you stand out—everyone does this. But trust me when I say not everyone will add links to their work.

Only saying “Check my GitHub”

You’ve got a GitHub, great. You’ve included a link in your CV, even better.

But if you are asked about your work during an interview, don’t just refer them to your GitHub. They want you talk them through your work, the process, the details, the problems and how you overcame them.

This is your time to shine. So use it, don’t skip over the question and give a lazy answer.

Saying they know better

You may actually know better—which is fine. Debating an answer or a solution is good, having a different solution to them is good, explaining that solution and why you think it’s better is also good.

But telling an interviewer they’re wrong?  Not so good.

Companies want to hire for the future. They want to hire intelligent people that are going to help their company grow, so it’s not a problem if you know more than they do. But they don’t want their ego knocked or hire someone who comes across as stubborn and closed-minded.

Panicking about tech questions they don’t know the answers to

You can’t know everything. Your mind might go blank, or you might get a question or two wrong. It’s OK—you haven’t blown it.

But there is a common mistake techies make when faced with a question they don’t know the answer to: they sit in silence sweating, before stuttering out the first words that come to mind.

The problem is not the not knowing: it’s the sitting in silence, sweating and stuttering out the first words that come to mind.

At this point, the client has forgotten about the fact you don’t know—in fact, they don’t care that you don’t know. The only thing going through their mind is: “How are you going to solve an actual problem if I hire you?”

The secret is how you react. Enthusiasm and positivity goes a long way. Giving an honest but pro-active answer—or telling the interviewer how you would find the answer—is as good as knowing it.

Talking about what their team did

When asked about a project you worked on or a problem you faced, it’s easy to fall in to the trap of saying “We did this” and “We did that”. More than likely you are part of a team, but an employer wants to know what you did.

The more you say “We, we, we,” the more it sounds like you relied on your team or didn’t do much yourself.

Give your interviewer an overview, but make sure you go in to detail about what you did in as many details as possible.

The list could go on, but the above are the most common mistakes people make to ruin their chances of getting that job they want. There is no magic formula or sure-fire way to beat the competition, but there are definitely certain things you don’t want to be doing to cock it up for yourself.

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