In today’s demanding market for technical talent, professionals might think it’s easy to land any job they want, provided they meet most of the requirements in the job description. That’s not true, of course, even if tech’s job market is nearing full employment levels. Sometimes, your candidates don't necessarily cross the finish line.
Below are some reasons why even technically qualified applicants end up rejected. If you’re a recruiter, advise your clients to avoid these behaviors.
Exhibiting a “WIIFM” Attitude
Displaying a “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) attitude (versus a “how can I help” attitude) during a job interview will get tech professionals the boot, noted Scott MacKinnon, CEO of recruiting firm Technical Connections. It doesn’t matter how technically qualified the candidate is; they need to show a passion for contributing to the prospective employer’s goals.
“The employer is looking to hire someone because they have a problem or issue that needs immediate attention and fixing,” MacKinnon explained. They aren’t going to hire anyone who isn’t willing to put the needs of the team before his or her own.
Instead of inquiring about salary or other perks when the interviewer gives the opportunity to ask questions, a tech candidate should try to gain a better understanding of what the business is trying to achieve and how they can help the team advance towards those goals. That way, they can avoid the fate of those who seem too self-interested.
Hiring tech talent? Get ahead with our guide to recruiting in 2020.
Inability to Express Ideas
Even if the tech candidate correctly solves complex coding problems on a whiteboard, they may end up eliminated from the hiring process if they can’t effectively communicate ideas, and the reason for taking one method opposed to another.
“Communications skills are becoming increasingly important, especially in small environments where developers need to sell their ideas to non-technical product managers and architects,” said Kevin Reetz, an experienced technical recruiter with Riviera Partners. “That’s why technical evaluators want to understand how you arrived at your solution before giving you the green light.”
Appearance of a Risky Hire
The more it costs to hire, the more selective employers become. For instance, if a recruiter will receive the equivalent of 30 percent of a candidate’s first year’s salary, and the job will earn six figures annually, the candidate will definitely need to bring their “A game” to the interview. Otherwise, the hiring manager may figure that the risks of hiring that candidate outweigh the potential benefits.
As a result, hiring manages are reluctant to hire a candidate that is deemed a flight risk, or if they show signs that the fit isn't exactly right.
Again, employers don’t want to hire those who are simply looking to collect a paycheck; they want tech professionals who are passionate about helping the company build a superior product or service.
To avoid coming off as uninterested, tech professionals should ask questions about the company’s product and how they can impact the team. Also, they should look for opportunities to describe their interests and the ways they intend to apply their skills and experience to the company’s goals.
Winging the Interview
These days, failing to research the job, company and hiring manager before an interview isn’t going to cut it. With vast amounts of information easily accessible via the web, hiring managers expect tech professionals to ask intelligent questions about the technology stack, demonstrate they've read the job description, provide relevant examples when describing their experience, and show how they might fit in with the company culture.
“From the hiring manager’s perspective, failing to prepare for an interview sends the message that you just don’t care,” MacKinnon added.
Failing the Background Check
If an employer finds that the candidate provided incorrect dates on their application, or that they never earned a degree that they claimed to have, their experience and skill set won’t matter. (And by the way, regardless of marijuana’s legal status in any given state, candidates may still be required to pass a drug test if they apply for a position at an international company.) Make sure that all the information listed in a candidate’s application is truthful.
Requiring an H1-B Visa Transfer
Even if the candidate meets the key job requirements, getting a new employer to consider them for an open position becomes more difficult if they need to complete an H-1B visa “transfer” (officially known as a petition to change employers) to switch companies.
“Some employers are hesitant to consider applicants who don’t appear to have a strong enough case to qualify for a specialty occupation,” Reetz said.