Welp a company finally contacted me about "getting to know my background more" when I applied for their web designer job. I'm unsure of how to prepare for this (interview). The company which contacted me is apparently a staffing company that fills up jobs for other companies. What kind of questions should I expect? I've listed I have several years of experience on HTML/CSS (job requires advanced knowledge of this), and I only have three sites to my name which I've coded for. How do I plainly put it that my experience has been on this website helping people, and fiddling with code / side projects on my own? I HAVE been coding for years...
What questions should I expect?
Each company is going to be different. I think the best thing you can do is to present yourself as not only confident, but also enthusiastic about the position. Ask questions! Most hiring managers (or anyone doing the actual interview) want to know that you're truly interested in working for them. Asking questions is a great way to show interest in both the position and the company. And if you start to feel nervous, remember - they are not there to intimidate, they are expressing a curious interest in you, they want to get to know you. Or they wouldn't have scheduled the interview in the first place. Something about you got their attention. Use that.
Best of luck!
I agree with everything @WolfShade ; has mentioned and I'll also add a bit more.
Go in with a list of questions, about the position, the company (who are they?, what do they do? how many employees do they employ? etc.), as the questions are answered, ask follow up questions. You should be able to spend 10 minutes on your questions alone.
I'm also going to quote myself from another thread:
You need to be able to do the above. If you show all of the above, you'll have no problems getting a second interview.
As @WolfShade ; says, each company is different and a recruiting company is even more different. They will probably know what are your expectations. Not only salarywise but also in terms where you want to be in the medium-long term (say 5 years from now) especially because you're very young (yep, I do remember you :D)
You're right to suspect that they will ask you about your past projects. The fact that you have only three under your own name doesn't matter. What matter is what you've done in those projects and the bits a pieces that you did elsewhere. In any case, you will have to explain the problem you solved, how you solved it (in easy words) and why you chose that particular option and not other.
So let's say that you improved the CSS of a particular web page. You can then say "well, it had to be adapted to mobile devices and therefore I used media queries to do this. Media queries are very popular to sort out this kind of situation. Since the column on the right is merely superfluos information, I decided that the column would be hidden for mobile devices else the page would be too long to scroll in such small screen"
If it is a personal project, you can always tell them that you created that particular project because you wanted to experiment with different techniques or that you wanted to gain more control over a particular aspect of CSS/HMTL or wanted to challenge yourself to find new solutions to a known problem and be creative with your code.
As long as you can explain your decisions, you should be fine.
If you're just going to have an interview with the recruiter, then you're just going to have to give them things that they can sell. Technical Recruiters are salesmen (or saleswomen in most cases). They probably don't know the difference between CSS and CS (computer science), all they really know is buzzwords. They are salesmen and you're the product. Some are very good, some are not. But even if they aren't good, they can still help you get your foot in the door with an interview and you can become the salesman.
Most of the time they just want to meet you to make sure you're clean and presentable. If they test you on any technical knowledge, it's going to be in the form of some standardized test developed by someone else that will then feed them back information in the form of selling points.
I've been through recruiters a few times and talked to A LOT during job searches. Often you will find that you will be speaking with one and the job they are recruiting you for gets filled and they forget you exist. It doesn't really matter how well you impress them, all they really know is buzzwords and if you don't fit those specific buzzwords, then you don't meet the qualifications. I mean it could be something as simple as the difference in "PHP Developer" and "Web Developer" (who works in PHP).
I've learned to not much much energy into talking with recruiters until they start talking about definitive times for interviews.
Now if you start talking with a Senior Recruiter, then you need to treat them like they are the ones with the job. They've been around the block and they know their stuff. There is a big difference in these people though, they are generally older (30-50) and have extreme confidence, as opposed to the young good looking recent college graduate who acts like they will start crying if someone yells at them.
One of the problems is that I'm unable to find out which company will be the one hiring me. The recruiting company places IT people across "several of the biggest companies in the Pittsburgh area." So I probably won't find out about which company until I do the interview. I can ask some basic questions about them there though.
As far as salary goes, I shouldn't be too picky I presume? It being my first job in the field. I don't want to make it seem like I'm picking the job purely for the pay. How should I play that off? Would saying "I don't care about the pay" work as a hindrance to me?
The woman who contacted me, her title is "Talent Qualification Specialist - Pittsburgh"
Thanks! I'm definitely enthusiastic. I plan on mentioning that this isn't just a career to me, it truly is my passion and I will be dedicated.
Long time no see Molona! What should I say about my salary expectations? Should I look at entry level job salary comparisons and kinda give them a figure in that range? Or should I shoot semi high and haggle it down?
In two of the websites, I was sub-contracted by a member here to take a PDF and code the home page. From there, the person was able to employ that on the remaining pages since the structure made it easy to do that. Hopefully I can get my new website up and running to have my portfolio online before the interview - so I have something to show
So I have to shave :(? Shouldn't be a problem . I'm getting back into the game, and was wondering if doing more CSS3/HTML5 studying would be more appropriate than making sure I'm technically sound in all other areas.
I'll remember that about Senior Recruiter. I do not believe my recruiter is one.
It depends on what's your goal. If you can't prove your experience and what your goal is to get "your first job", go medium-low but not for the minimum, especially if you told them that you have years of experience.
If you believe that your knowledge can be put to the test and you can solve any problem or be tested successfully by a seasoned coder, then go for medium-high, furthermore if you can prove your experience and how good you are.
If you don't know how much you're worth, then again, I'll go for medium-low.
Since this seems to be a recruiter, ask them. They should know the field and what it is currently paying. They should have filled this role for other clients and know what salary was negotiated. Ask them what range they see being offered for these positions and then discuss with them based on your resume and experience where they think you fit in that range.
Another good thing to do is to search for it.
Keep in mind, your searches are not guarantees. If the recruiter gives a number that is 10-20 thousand less than what you see online, that very well could be accurate. If they give a higher number, that smile and say "that sounds good".
Having a number in mind lets them find a company who is in that range. So long as your experience lines up with that salary range, you will be good to go and the recruiter can tell you this information (at least the good ones can).
I'll just add my 2 cents here (because, that's good advice), but never ever aim for low! That only shows you don't value your abilities. Always aim for medium (middle of the salary range) or higher if you feel confident in your abilities. Also remember to negotiate any vacation days, sick days, etc. That usually is always overlooked and is negotiable (when salary might not be too negotiable). The point is, just make sure you feel you have what you need to be happy in the position being offered.
Lastly, when being hired mid-late in the calendar year, your vacation days will be very limited as companies usually only give out the full amount at the beginning of the calendar year. So be ready to negotiate this if you already have holiday plans.
Agreed, but it depends upon the company. For example, the company that I currently work for starts vacation/holiday hours on the fiscal calendar (July 1) instead of the calendar year. It all depends upon how the company models itself.
I would put myself above average, personally so I'll go for maybe a smidge above the average and see what they say. Thanks.
I'll keep that in mind. Thanks
Along with that, make sure you also look into insurance. Some contracting firms have decent insurance rates, while others provide bare boned and/or outrageously priced products. Not necessarily a deal breaker unless you have a family to support, but something to be aware of. One firm talked a big talk and offered me a 15% raise from my salary at that time, but when I priced it out after insurance, it was only a couple hundred dollars more a year as their insurance was more than double what I had been paying....
I completely agree with @mawburn
Though... I've never dealt with Senior Recruiter but had horrible experience with all recruiter. They do not care about when to call you or setting the interview schedule. They only understand buzzwords and will try to convince you that the job they have is your dream job. At least from my perspective, you don't need to shave or even wear suits if you're interviewing a recruiter.. heck.. I would only do "phone interview" with them as they do not have the power to hire you on the spot. I'm pretty sure they have multiple candidates for the same job you're competing. They do not care as long as someone gets hired. I strongly advise looking for a job at monster or other job sites where you don't have to deal with them. Again, I've never dealt with Senior Recruiter so.. maybe they are worth your time. Good luck!
That's very weird... The first thing that all recruiter said was "We have job available at XYZ for ABC and here are the benefits". Only thing they were very hesistent to say is the salary range and instead ask me what I expected. Do not fall for this trap! Some say like "It depends on the skills and experience you have". This is very true but ask a question back "With my current skill/expereince, what should I expect?". If they keep not answering then you can just ignore that person unless you really want to be hired by XYZ company.
Not my experience with recruiters in the initial stages. Before they actually submit your name, yes. But on initial contact, usually not, especially if they are looking at multiple positions and companies. They'll just touch base to get an initial idea of skills/aspirations before a more formal meet/greet and discussions of salaries before submitting names anywhere - with permission of course. If the company puts your name in without your permission, run away. They'll be blacklisted quickly for that....
I've had great success with recruiters. Granted, I typically reach out to them and tell them what type of position/company I'm looking for and the location I want to work in (if you are wanting/willing to move to a new city/state/country).
All of the ones I've dealt with have allowed me to set boundaries. You can call me between X and Y, if you call outside of that, be prepared to get my voicemail. If it is urgent, send me a text (I can usually read those any time and excuse myself if I'm currently busy). Keep the conversations short and to the point.
The recruiter likely wants to size you up so they can find the best option(s) for you. When they set you up for an interview, be sure to check for other amenities (if they matter to you). Do they have a flexible work schedule? Can you work remote? What type of workflow practice do they employ (Agile, Waterfall, etc)? Open layout or cubicle? etc.
You guys maybe right. The most horrible experience one was when I entered an office that was filled with crazy recruiter monkeys. There were phones everywhere, people running left/right, peer pressuring me to setup an interview the next Morning. This was around 10 years ago... so I think you guys know more on recruiters then me.
If you submitted your resummé, they will do a generic interview simply to see how you look and behave and your skills, and then check what position you may fit into with the companies they already work with.
If they contacted you but they don't tell you the name of the company, it is either because the company itself doesn't want them to disclose it (maybe because it is a major company and if someone one that a position is open there people will go crazy and send thousands of CV and would ask for higher salaries) or because they have more than one company with openings and similar characteristics, and depending on how they see you and your presence, they will send you to one or other.
I never had a problem with recruiting companies. Even today, they give me quite a bit of work although, of course, the salary can't be as high as if you're directly hired by the company