What should candidates look for, and what should they avoid?
As a company, we went through progressive growth since our establishment in 2017. With the growing demand for recruitment services of all sorts, we decided to expand our services, and include Outsourcing, and recruitment in our core portfolio. We decided to open our new brand DEV Course which will be specializing in all sorts of recruitment services. That, too, is the reason, why we wanted to know from our colleague Jiri Kucera about the specifics of the industry, why he decided to work with DEV Course, and many more.
We started a DEV Course brand focusing on recruitment services because we felt there was a need in the market to do recruitment differently, with the emphasis on people, not numbers.
Today, we will elaborate on the most common threats to candidates during the interview process, what to look for, what to avoid, and how one can become an IT specialist himself. Are the boot camps and Requalification courses worth it? And what else should the candidates be on a look-up for?
Q: What are the tricky situations candidates can come across when at the interview?
Well, sometimes, the companies like to give much more challenging issues for the candidate to solve than it’s relevant to the position. They don’t expect the candidate to resolve the problem as such, but they are rather interested in observing how they think, and how they approach the problem solution. The candidates shouldn’t be stressed if they in such a situation don’t manage to go to the end with the task, but rather concentrate on approaching the problem from the right angle. They have to remember that they are not expected to solve every problem they are presented with, but rather to see how they can work around it – whether they can seek information through Google, engage their teammates, etc.
Q: Are you staying in touch with the candidate even after he’s successfully placed somewhere? In other words, are you supporting them even after they landed the job?
Nowadays, there are many ways of employment – in addition to the old-fashioned “Permanent employee status” when the company employs the candidate full time, and we only played the role of the mediator, they can also collaborate with the candidates through contractors when even though the candidate works on the client’s project, he is working under the DEV PACK umbrella. For our contractors, and consultants, we always assign their mentors and buddies, and they meet at least twice a week to discuss the peculiarities of the project, potential issues they want the help with, or they want us to address to the company they are working with. We want to be aware of the issues they have, so we can also communicate that with the clients, so they are aware of it, and can change it if possible.
We are in constant touch with our candidates, we watch their progress, act as their mentors, and if needed, intermediate between the company and them.
Now, when it comes to the candidates that become full-time employees, the situation is slightly different. We, of course, are trying to make sure that everything works as it is supposed to, that the candidate is happy with the placement, but here we have to respect the wishes of the company, as the candidate is now their full-time employee. Often, the candidates themselves, write to us with the praises on the placement – or with a request to help if they need to. Of course, we’re very careful when we’re choosing the candidates for our clients, and that’s probably why we (knock-knock-knock) don’t experience negative experiences from our candidates that often.
Q: What do you think are the most common mistakes candidates should avoid?
I always start by advising my candidates to be authentic, not play games. If they are trying to please the company at the interview, and not being true to themselves, they are not only lying to the company, but also themselves, and there is a high chance that they will end up unhappy in a position that doesn’t fulfill them. Secondly, candidates should be honest about their financial remuneration expectations. This market is very thin, and we know we have a high demand for the candidates, and we know it’s normal that even junior candidates get very generous offers. The rule of thumb is that you should never come to the negotiation with only one fixed sum in your head, you should have at least two sums – a minimal good offer and an ideal one. Minimal good offer is what you need to cover your costs of living, and you should know that sum, that is something you should never go below. An ideal sum is something you imagine earning, and even here, sometimes people either ask for too much or too little. If they ask for too little, we navigate them, because it wouldn’t be fair to them due to their seniority and experience. If they ask for too much, they automatically disqualify themselves from working in some interesting start-ups, but fit into the corporate environment, where they earn what they want, but eliminate their career progression. In both cases, is however important that both sides are honest when it comes to the budget for the role from the beginning, so they don’t waste too much time if the expectations don’t fit.
Q: What in case when candidates get no responses in the process of job-haunting?
In a majority of such cases, the candidate has a nothing-saying CV or applies for the unsuitable role. A recruiter has a zig-zagging eye pattern for reviewing the resume, and if they can’t find the relevant information confirming that the candidate is a good prospect for the role, they will simply dismantle it, and forget about it. So, when reading a JD for the role, the candidate should seek the similarities between the job description and their experience. If there are any, they should amend the CV and tailor it to the particular role. Ask someone to review and rewrite your CV – it is money well spent, especially if you have a particular role in mind. Some specialized companies and individuals can write an Application Tracking System recognizable resume that will increase your chances of landing the interview. Also, pay attention to your Linkedin profile – it is like your business card. Have your skills and expertise mentioned, ask people to give you their recommendations, it speaks volumes. Also, review the way how you’re applying for the role – is your language appropriate? Sometimes, even without any intention, some candidates might appear arrogant and full of themselves, and that is only simply because we all perceive written communication differently. Also, be objective when applying for a role. We see many candidates applying for a position they are not ready yet for, and a recruiter will dismiss such applications.
Q: How can IT candidates know whether the company is a good fit for them?
That’s a very good question, especially in this field. As I said before, the IT candidates have many offers, but unfortunately, there are often elements – the company’s culture being one of them, that are hard recognizable during the interview process. There are, however, ways, how can a candidate determine some basics. For starters, the candidate should know whether he wants to work for a corporation. He might get get paid more, but can also restrict himself in his future options for growth, and maybe the projects won’t be that interesting. On the other hand, the corporate culture brings longer approval processes, and a strong hierarchy, and that’s not something that fits everyone. Another element to look at is what kind of projects is the company working on – and that is a very strong decision-making point for many candidates.
Every candidate should use their right to ask questions during the interview process. Sadly, many candidates don’t use this opportunity and miss out.
The interview, however, offers a good space for a candidate to come up with even tricky questions (pity is that many candidates don’t use the opportunity to ask the questions), and the candidate should observe how is the recruiter or hiring manager answering. Is there an openness? Or they are trying to paint everything in pink? If so, then they should be dismissed, as they are not honest. There is no company in the world where everything is ideal, and the experienced recruiter speaks openly about the challenges that the role can bring on. They want to avoid the first A-HA moment from the candidate’s side followed by his resignation. That would be a waste of time and resources for all concerned parties. Sometimes, is also good to have a look at whether a candidate doesn’t know somebody already working in the company, and ask them how is it to work for such a company. But an absolute basic is that the candidate must want to ask about that. That is where it all begins.
Q: What’s your opinion about requalification courses? In the current situation, many people are trying to become certified developers, and many companies are offering Programming Boot camps Courses for them. What’s your view on that?
I am a huge fan of such courses, and I try to support them the best I can. Many companies are skeptical when it comes to employing graduates from such courses, and they probably test them more than others. In this field, it’s not about getting a diploma from the course, but about self-education, and self-growth, and it’s fascinating to watch those candidates who become passionate about IT, are growing, and are able to secure very interesting positions within just a few years. Still, speaking about the courses, we must differentiate between high-quality courses and those that are only trying to rip the applicants of their savings. One of the best people on the market is. Mr. Červenka from The Technical University in Ostrava who has helped hundreds if not thousands of people through his courses.
Q: What do you do when you place a candidate on the project, and you find out sometime later that he’s not a good fit – and wants to leave, or a company wants him to leave the project?
As I said before, because we are a company that is putting emphasis on our human relations over the quantity, we are always treating our candidates – even if they are contractors – as part of the company. We’re trying to find them better projects, and because we know them well, we can also guess where they would fit better. We have a wide range of partners we are collaborating with, and the market is very dynamic, hence we are confident that we can find a new placement for a majority of our candidates. The advantage is that in most cases, they don’t have to go through the technical part of the interview anymore, only to get to know the team and get a brief about the projects they should be working on. In most cases, we are successful, thanks to the good knowledge of the candidate’s character and strengths, and also thanks to the network of our partners and clients.
Q: What about the situation when your candidates one after another one leave the client and give you very bad feedback about the working conditions, company culture, etc.? How are you dealing with that?
Firstly, I address the issue with the client themselves. Sometimes, can happen that the client is too demanding, and then, the problem can be on our side, because we are targeting too junior candidates who are not able to cope with the requirements. However, we also had some situations in the past when we knew that the client’s internal environment was not good, and we diplomatically tried to point that out. If nothing changed, and we still received negative feedback from our candidates, then we stopped sending the candidates, as it is not good for our reputation. Nevertheless, a rule of thumb is always to address the issue with the client first, as burning the bridges is never a good policy.
I decided to work with DEV PACK, and their recruitment brand DEV Course simply because their values align with mine. We prioritize people over numbers and personal relations over the mass production of candidates.
Q: The last question. Why did you decide to collaborate with DEV PACK?
I take recruitment as my passion, and I like working with people who put their heart into their work too. When I heard about the company for the first time, I liked the fact that it was no big corporation, but a company with a family feel that is always putting its people in the first place. With the natural progression of the market, we decided to establish a new brand, DEV Course, that is exclusively dedicated to recruitment services of all sorts. We take advantage of having a strong network of candidates and clients, and yet, still prioritizing people over numbers. It’s a good match, and I am really glad that we crossed paths.
Part 2/2 of the interview with Jiri Kucera
This is the end of this interview. We hope you enjoyed our tips and the backstage view of the recruiter’s life. If you want to receive more news, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to our Newsletter.
Authors: Monika Kinlovicova & Iva Gracova