Surveys show that the average interview process for tech pros takes almost 23 days. That’s quite some time, and, according to recruiting experts, it’s because managers fear hiring the wrong person by accident.
Whether you chalk up that terror to the increasing complexity of modern technology jobs (which often involve tasks that recruiters don’t fully understand), or the growing awareness of the costs of a bad hire, the fact is that many managers are reluctant to extend an offer. They’re searching for perfection.
If you’re a tech pro on the hunt for a new job, recruiters’ terror puts you in something of an awkward position. However, you can anticipate the fears of hiring managers and recruiters, and overcome them.
Let’s run down what recruiters fear most:
You’re a Serial Job Hopper
If you lasted less than two years in your previous jobs, or have been working as an independent contractor for a long time, the hiring manager may fear that you have commitment or loyalty issues, explained Payton Blackman, staffing consultant for staffing firm RPC Company.
Surveys show that it takes eight months for a new employee to become fully productive, and many leave before their first anniversary. Given those odds, and the fact that it costs the equivalent of six to nine months’ salary to hire a replacement, most managers simply can’t afford to hire a tech pro who won’t stay three to five years.
Injecting some personality, passion and career goals into your résumé can help you land the interview. Then, when you’re sitting across from the recruiter or hiring manager, be ready to explain why you moved around, how your personal or professional situation has changed, and why you’re in a position to settle down for a while.
“Showing that you’re a real person with goals and objectives, not some sort of unemotional robot, can help you overcome a manager’s negative perceptions and fears about your ability to commit,” Blackman said.
Also, beware coming across as someone who is totally comfortable with change or unafraid to take risks, because a manager may get the impression that you’ll jump ship when something more interesting comes along, explained veteran tech recruiter Katy Imhoff, regional manager with Camden Kelly Corporation. Indicate that you like a dynamic work environment that simultaneously offers job security.
Your Learning Curve is Too Steep
If you don’t have experience with a specific set of techniques, tools, processes, and industry regulations, the hiring manager may fear that your lack of knowledge will slow down the whole system or limit your team’s production.
While it may seem like a viable solution at the time, emphasizing your fast learning abilities typically isn’t enough to overcome the idea that training a new team member will be a burden. “Show that you are willing to take the initiative for your own development and put forth that extra effort to get up to speed,” Imhoff advised.
Describe side projects or mention things that you’ve learned outside of work; a hiring manager is more likely to take a risk on someone who has a track record of learning and creating on their own.
You Act Like a Prima Donna
You certainly have every right to be proud of your hard work and accomplishments. And you want to have faith in your own skills and abilities.
But there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. And given today’s team-based approach to development, which depends on chemistry and teamwork, managers are often reluctant to hire someone who is difficult to get along with or who alienates others.
“Alleviate fear by being proud and confident during the hiring process, but do it in a humble way,” Imhoff advised.
How? For starters, balance your “I” and “we” statements during interviews. For instance, give credit to your teammates first when describing previous endeavors and projects, followed by an overview of your role and personal contributions.
By the way, managers aren’t the only ones potentially apprehensive about bringing someone new into the fold. Your prospective teammates may have something to say about who gets an offer, so don’t overlook anyone during the hiring process. Make eye contact with everyone in group interviews, and attempt to draw out more inhibited or quiet team members, Imhoff advised. You stand the best chance of quelling concerns by appearing both competent and appealing.