The technology industry offers a variety of possibilities, but how can students or new graduates get their foot in the door? The recruitment professional of Frends gathered the best tips together with Aalto University’s Tietokilta.
Personal projects are not a necessity
Personal GitHub projects can show dedication, but they are certainly not a necessity for a job interview or a “meeting”, as we like to call it at Frends. If a company is looking to hire an integration expert and the candidate merely has examples of mobile projects, this can even become a pitfall.
If, however, the projects are related to the company’s way of doing business, and you can explain how they intertwine with its technologies, might projects be beneficial. However, it should be kept in mind that reflecting on one’s skills is way more valuable than overselling. It might be helpful to acknowledge that the project is done for personal use, due to which its lifecycle is not designed to meet real-life business needs.
A recruiter is not a mindreader
When you tell about your school assignments, grades, past work experience, or interests, pay attention to your articulacy. The recruiter is not a mindreader. Prepare for the recruitment process by checking company websites, references, and social media posts. You can point out what you find appealing and why.
The recruiter will not just be interested in what you can now, but what you are motivated to learn more about and how fast you will become “profitable” in your position. You do not have to be the best candidate, as your attitude, motivation, and demonstrating your problem-solving skills will take you far.
By familiarizing yourself with the business beforehand, you can also ask relevant questions and maintain the conversation two-sided. At its best, the process is reciprocal, interactive, and informative.
Technical screening (you can read more about How to highlight technical skills in a recruiting process on our blog) is an assessment method companies use to evaluate candidates’ technical skills. It gives an equal opportunity to succeed even for those candidates with less experience. The length of work experience does not correlate with the level of knowledge.
The implementation of a technical screening varies greatly depending on the company and the nature of recruitment. There are two methods: a technical interview / live session, a take-home coding assignment, or both. Success in technical screening does not guarantee a recruitment decision. However, it helps to give a realistic picture of candidates’ suitability, the level of technical knowledge, and the need for introduction.
Stress won’t ruin your chances
Stress or anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of as it might affect even more experienced candidates who have not applied for a job in a while. However, if you feel like stress is affecting your performance or, for example, gives a distant or otherwise inaccurate impression of you, it is beneficial to mention it.
By actively asking about how the process is moving ahead, you can better prepare yourself for it. In addition, it is possible to bring your notes if they help you succeed. Finally, if you happen to freeze completely, remember that you can always ask for some time to stop and think. The recruiting goal should never be grilling the candidate, especially if the position does not require extreme communication skills in stressful situations. During the conversation, candidates should feel the atmosphere and ponder if it is appealing. The hiring decision is always a two-way street.
Take relevant courses
Another practical course that gives an overview of programming in a business environment is Software Project by Aalto University. It is one of the best university-level courses that teach you the proper methods for Scrum, Git, CI/CD, architecture design, choosing the right frameworks and technologies, and maintaining projects.
In addition, you should learn more about the Databases course, which teaches you the basics of SQL. The focus is academic, but practical SQL Syntax is included. Although the course lectures are in Finnish, it is possible to take this course without knowing Finnish.
Programming 1 is a course that teaches how to read the documentation and how important it is to write it. However, the focus is not purely on business life. Check out advanced-level DevOps with Kubernetes and DevOps with Docker for basic knowledge.
When it comes to Programming 1, 2, and 3, you should take the courses in the same programming language instead of taking Programming 1 three times in different languages. After learning one programming language thoroughly enough, you start comprehending the world better and seeing more abstract matters that various programming languages offer solutions to.
Listen to the podcast: How to bring out technical expertise in the recruitment process (in Finnish).
Listen to podcast
🔊 Apple Podcast
🔊 Google Podcast
🔊 Spotify podcast