With the abundance of opportunities for IT professionals within the job market in Ireland, how can you tell if you are hiring the right person? The IT professional is most definitely faced with both opportunity and competition. As IT is such a broad term, there are niches within this industry where the IT professional can specialize. Niches include Software Programming, Software Testing, Website Design, IT Administration, Application or Technical Support, Business Analysis or Project Management but there are also further niches and some roles can even crossover. To establish the goals and interests of a candidate it depends on the questions you can ask at the initial meeting. The most important aspect in understanding an IT professional is to understand their ambitions, the culture they admire in the workplace and what they value from an opportunity. The Values of an IT Professional? The same factors are hugely important to IT professionals as in other areas such as Salary, Location, Benefits Package and Career Progression. Along with the above, there are other factors to consider in the IT sector. Technology is rapidly transforming, and for an IT professional it may be important to join a company that is progressive and that keeps up to date with the latest technologies and trends. Staying current with technologies also means investing in training. IT professionals may favor companies who will invest in ongoing support and training for staff. Company history and type of company can be hugely important to an IT professional. Is this an IT position in a tech company or a non-technical business industry? Is it a startup or a well-established company? What are the company’s plans? Are they expanding? These are questions for a HR Manager to be aware of at interview stage and, they may be important factors for an IT candidate in choosing a new position. The Culture Fit This year 11 technology companies made the list of the Top 25 companies with the best culture and values (more than any other industry). This shows the importance of culture in the IT industry and how it is vital for finding the right fit. Tips for this include asking some of the following questions: what do you enjoy where would you like to see yourself in five years what would be your ideal role/company/industry These questions can really help an employer understand an individual rather than trying to put their recruitment needs in front of the individual’s best interests. With the majority of IT companies choosing to adopt an agile culture while the majority of IT professionals being introvert in nature it is important to really understand the candidate’s personality traits before moving forward so questions like “how do you deal with pressure” and “what are your strengths and weaknesses” can give you some indication of the fit. Having this conversation establishes credibility and shows the candidate that you firstly, understand their needs and secondly, know your market place and can offer advice based on their interests. It is really in everyone’s best interest to ensure a great match between your company and candidates. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to hiring the best IT professional for your organisation.
Ireland has a thriving indigenous IT sector and is home to the second highest concentration of ICT multinationals in the world, outside of Silicon Valley. Forty per cent of Ireland’s GDP – some €72bn per annum – comes from its technology sector, which employs more than 105,000 people. Since 2011, more than 15,000 jobs have been announced in the sector, making Ireland the go-to place to locate international Tech headquarters. According to the Government’s ICT Skills Action Plan 2014, Ireland is likely to face an average increase in demand for high-level ICT skills of around 5% a year out to 2018, with the employment of ICT professionals anticipated to rise to just over 91,000. Ireland’s skilled, educated workforce and competitive corporation tax continues to attract foreign investment, with 9 out of the top 10 global ICT companies maintaining a presence in Ireland, and all of the top 5 software companies. This is accompanied by strong performances from our indigenous SMEs and an increasing number of innovative, well-funded Irish start-ups who are gaining recognition on a global level. The Irish government are dedicated supporters of the Irish ICT sector. They have created a number of initiatives to encourage and support new start-up activity such as schemes to relax visa requirements for non-EU citizens with in demand IT skills and have increased investment in research. The Technology Centre in Data Analytics is a collaboration between DIT, UCD and UCC, and is part of the sustained effort to make Ireland top of the market. IT employers in Ireland can recruit from a domestic talent pool of highly skilled, flexible candidates, with experience in leading global companies, and also, from a large number of mobile professionals from across the EU. These candidates are actively looking to relocate, attracted by Ireland’s ‘IT Hub’ reputation. Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia’s entry to the EU has expanded the skilled talent pools accessible to Irish employers.
The one question I am always asked when preparing a candidate for an interview is “how do I answer the weakness question?” The worst reaction you can have to this question is to say I don’t have a weakness. Everyone has a weakness and the reason the interviewer is asking this question is to see how you act outside your comfort zone. People often make the common mistake of trying to turn a negative into a positive. An example of this would be I’m a perfectionist or I work too hard. These answers are boring and show the interviewer you have put very little thought into his/her question. Also you are not actually answering the question you’re just trying to put a clever spin on it.Another mistake candidates make is being too honest. Never mention a weakness that you have if it is going to stop you from getting the job. So don’t answer “I’m lazy” or that “I’m always late” as this is not what your potential new employer wants to hear. The trick to answering this is in the same way you would answer any interview question and that’s by preparing your answer in advance. It can be very difficult to talk about your flaws in a stressful situation like an interview so make sure you spend time preparing your answer. These are a few ways to best answer the weakness question: 1. Pick a weakness that is acceptable for the job Don’t pick a skill or requirement that is on the job spec that you don’t have and say it is your main weakness. This will only put doubt into the interviewers head. 2. Pick a weakness that you can develop For this type of answer you might think of an example where you had a weakness but developed it over the course of your time in prior employment. 3. Describe your weakness in a concise way Don’t go into loads of detail on this question. They are asking you your weakness so be brief and don’t come across as negative. A common answer that candidates often use when asked the weakness question is on their delegation skills. Here you can mention a time when you used to have the mentality that only you could do the job but over time you realised that it was actually slowing the work down and by delegating to other staff members the job was done quicker. This answer is perfect to give but it depends on what job you are going for. If you are going for a managerial role where managing and delegating work will be part of your job description then don’t use delegating as your weakness. Every question in an interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, so it is important you never miss a genuine opportunity and the weakness question is no different. Treat it like you would any interview questions that you find hard and prepare your answer.
It’s a great time to be in Information Technology in Ireland. Recent Reports quote a lack of qualified local talent, and that there are plenty of opportunities for people with the right mix of IT skills. So how do you choose the contract opportunity that’s right for you? As a contractor the temptation is to take the first offer you get, but it’s useful to take a step back and consider it carefully before accepting. Before you move forward with an opportunity, ask yourself the following questions: a) Is this a suitable role for my skill-set? Be sure you’re comfortable wih the fundamental requirements of the job and your future role on the project team and the position is a good fit with your primary skills. b) If some responsibilities fall outside my skill-set, am I comfortable with that? If you were careful to be honest and set the interviewer’s expectations appropriately during the interview process this shouldn’t be an issue; however, it is important for you to be comfortable with the scope of your future responsibilities and your ability to learn the skills you might lack at the start of the project. c) Are the working conditions and compensation acceptable and appropriate to my skill level? Don’t be afraid to aim high and negotiate, but do consider your relative expertise and existing market conditions to set realistic goals for yourself at this stage. Stay in touch with job boards to keep up with current market rates. Your recruitment agent is also in a good position to determine what the appropriate compensation should be for your skill level. d) Is this a good career move for me? Your first offer may not necessarily the best. Deciding whether to accept any given opportunity is a very personal decision, but do keep in mind that no contract lasts forever. e) Is the job in a feasible geographic location? Though this point is often overlooked when considering an offer, spending several hours a day or more commuting to work every day will impact your finances and quality of life. Now is the time to calculate your transit time as well as the cost of fuel, parking, public transportation, etc. and figure these factors into your salary requirements. f) Do I understand the local taxation and legal requirements of working in the project location? Are you legally entitled to work in the project location? Do you need a work permit or visa to enter the country? If this will be working as an independent consultant, some type of legal structure is required, usually a limited company. Have you decided what type of structure to use? Is it suitable for working in the geographic location where the role is based? What are the tax implications in the working location? Are there any implications in your home country? Typically working in another country will require significant up front investigation on these issues, as there is always some impact on your taxation obligations. If you consider all of these questions carefully and overall, on balance, the role seems like a good fit; it’s time to accept the offer. The choice of consulting opportunity is dependent on many personal factors, but I use this list of things to consider when comparing a new consulting opportunity with my current role. About the author Aidan Duffy is an independent consultant with 20 years international IT experience in Europe and USA, working with blue-chip multinational companies.He writes on Oracle topics at www.ILoveOracle.com and invites Linkedin Contact requests at this link ie.linkedin.com/in/aidanduffy/