Today is the first day of year 2012 – Happy New Year!. This blog post is written by my co-author of SQL Server Interview Questions and Answers book Vinod Kumar M.
Let us look – when or how often do people switch jobs? I am of the views there have to be a compelling need to “why you might want to switch a job”. But sometimes this is beyond normal comprehension – as most of the time boils down to personal preferences. But looking at the market – Is there a right time or such decisions?
Was just checking with the US Department of Labor white paper and this very much sums the theory of how often we look out for jobs. Clearly, in the age group of 18-27 there is close to 4-6 job switches on an average, Wow. That is quite the alarming stats by any standards and these numbers in my opinion is very much what I see too. Moving up the age group, the number of job hops decreases while people are more inclined towards job security and stability in their career. I have had the opportunity to talk tons of young kids in my interactions with Academia and even from professional networks for job security – many have even asked me how I landed into Databases as a full-time. There is choice and opportunity in every role and it is up to us to make the best of what we have – and what we are good at.
Note: Just to give you my personal example – I am on my 3rd company in my ~12+ years of career and that by all means beats most of the stats mentioned above. As I said, what is the inner drive to take these decisions? I am ready to talk if you catch me at any event in the future.
I was doing my own search on where is the money, moving into management hierarchy is something most of the youth always admire – Salary Survey for Country: India is a testimony to the reason. And seeing this industry through the recession times, well the cuts from the middle management were also high during that time. The stats are mind boggling and it should have been really bad – tough times never last, tough people do. So let us get back to the positive side of the story and let us concentrate on “us” rather than boil the ocean here.
Getting a job offer is one challenge, but finding out about the company and the people you are going to work for is just as important as cracking the interview process. The first step is to market yourself and this is the most critical step.
We need to understand the basics – the best jobs are not the ones that you will land by having a great word template resume with tons of marketing buzz words to attract more attention. The ones that get advertised on the online / newspapers are mere eye washes and if you are experienced, these will land you no where IMHO.
“Companies don’t hire you, you get hired!!!”
Understand, in booming times like now you might get away from applying for jobs etc. – but employers are not looking for the herd of sheep but real solution makers. Your resume must stand out even in times of tough economy and make the employer feel – you must be hired. Now your question is – “How do I project and show I am that one person you are looking out for?”
Companies even during the recession times don’t freeze up and choke out. Yes, they will surely be selective on whom and why they are hiring even when the cash is low. Once the cycle of recession hits, companies take time to get back to self and old ways – but they are always cognizant of the past and are lesser risk takers after bitter experiences. End of the day – you must call out activities that are result-oriented to get picked rather than just being one not ready to go that extra mile. Be a decision maker, result oriented and a difference maker – these attributes are surely going to get you a step on the door if not the final job. If you get this far and make a mess – well admit it and move ahead.
Note: This is a small industry and there are connections all over, be careful what you project. Overdoing will get you into a bad spot of no-return.
Overdoing at this stage can be a downfall for you. I have had the opportunity to see resumes spanning 18-20 pages. Well, you are not sending the right vibes: trust me, you are not sending an essay competition paper. The last thing you want to avoid is being overqualified.
The last thing you want to hear from any employer is this statement of being over-qualified – though this can be a great compliment for you there is still some point of concerns. You still don’t get hired and your EMI has to pay right. So let us see what this sugar coated, over-qualified term really means-
So now that we have this covered, it is great we will be extra cautious moving forward. Let me rehash on some other attributes that need to keep in mind again when facing interviews.
Positioning yourself is close to marketing yourself in this industry. Productivity is one of the assets which management always loves to hear. Look at areas where you have made process improvements and you are using the tools to the maximum (Developer tools or Office productivity tools). This will sell at any level – from developer productivity to operational productivity: you surely are increasing your chances of getting qualified for the next interview cycle.
I was trying to close on how the working patterns are and what are the things people are looking forward. I know from colleagues in the services industry that they need to clock ~9 hrs per day at a minimum and these are tracked. These paradigm shifts happened during the recession time and see it continue so even now – sad but still true.
Was scanning the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics page on – “Why Do BLS Hours Series Tell Different Stories About Trends in Hours Worked?” And these show CES indicate that hours fell from 36.9 to 33.8 hours per week between 1973 and 2007. Interesting right, these stats do show us one dimension we cannot ignore and personally I think we get smarter at work as we get better in understanding the software we work with and the people we do work with.
This must be your unique value addition and don’t forget to bring this attribute of yours to the table of how you are productive and get the job done quicker using the right tools.
As much as all interviews have a technical requirement, it also critical to have the right communication skills and right choice of words to send better impact. Some of these are 101 basics of communication-
As I said before, choice of words is critical. If you are getting into a team – using “we” is more important than just calling out as “I did it”. You can later sub-classify in mentioning what your role was and which parts were your contributions. Showing the big picture always makes interviews interesting as you are aware of the whole product needs.
If you consider yourself a master of the subject, then better be prepared for the barrage of questions from unknown directions on the very subject. Even if it means reading on current trends, market movements, competition, Whitepapers, mergers, new products etc. – this is critical. You need to show the love for the subject and more importantly you are genuinely interested outside the scope of what you even don’t work. So ignorance is inexcusable.
Say “Thank you” – no matter what the outcome, you surely want to create a positive impression when you leave. Express your gratitude; don’t wait for opportunities– create them.
Mannerism Basics is – “Treat others the way you would want to be treated”. It is very simple and easy to implement – yet tough to follow. Some other manners that come to mind are:
“You don’t have anything until you have your offer, play your cards carefully”
Has it ever occurred to you – what you do today might be affecting your FUTURE? Well, social media is one such thing. These days the HR also keeps track on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to see what type of person you are – whiner or an optimist. There are many lessons one needs to learn either the hard way or at least beware since you landed here in this blog post.
Say what you mean, mean what you say but be lest assured that you don’t quite control what others hear, interpret and use it later pointing back at you.
Though there are enough and more running on your mind as you start preparing for your interviews. Let me take a step back and ask you tons of questions. Answer them for yourself, no one else – this will prepare you mentally.
What are your emotions?
Open questions on strengths –
Now before the interview question-
On telephonic interviews –
Get more info of company culture by asking the right questions –
“The most qualified do not always get a job. But that doesn’t mean only the unqualified get one”
I can keep going on this topic, but thought to wrap up quickly so that you get some final tips and resources for use.
If you reached far, hope there were some interesting tips that were useful to you. Attending interviews is only one part of the equation, being mentally prepared with the right answers to some of the questions is what I think this blog called out.
Have fun and all the best if you are getting prepared for any interviews. Feel free to drop a line to me if you have any comments.
Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)