Hiring IT Extended

This latest post I did on why you need so much more than a mere A+ Cert really hit home for a lot of readers apparently. Seems like the email is still coming in strong. But one email I received that I thought was interesting was about someone who is about to go on an interview to get a job in an IT dept. What other advice was there to utilize?

Frankly speaking, my expertise is with working independently. So I might not be a whole lot of help here. Still, I do have some thoughts that make sense even in the interview process that ought to help nonetheless.

First of all, if someone was hiring you on contract, chances are good there is a compelling reason why you were selected over that of the competition. I think the same likely applies to an interview as well.

What are you bringing to the table that this company is looking for? Even if you are a bit wet behind the ears, maybe you were a real go-getter while in school and volunteered someplace where you overcame an IT challenge? Anything you can serve up that helps to differentiate you from the other guy.

Another thing that helps is to be VERY well versed in what type of environment you are applying for. No, I don’t mean find out whether they are a Microsoft shop or not. I am talking about doing all you can to get a feel for software being used. What kind of CRM tools does this company use and are you familiar with them? Any weak points you are aware of just based on your impressions of the company thus far that you can strengthen? Basically, anything you can do to help the potential employer realize that you are a worthwhile asset is a good thing.

I realize this is not the most comprehensive list in the world here. But truth be told, these types of interviews can be rather fluid and difficult to nail down in some top ten. And finally, I have always done freelance. So all I can provide is what I would be looking for if I was hiring.


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  • Dan Staehr

    I’ve been working on PC’s since late 2000, and toyed around with my own computer prior to going into the computer repair business. I come from a radio broadcasting background, and had a chief engineer that taught me a lot about computers. I don’t have ANY computer certifications. I have taken some basic computer courses, mainly software related. For someone who operates an independent shop, I haven’t found the need for a certification, AFAIK to get your cert, you don’t need “real-world” experience, just pass the tests. A lot of the material covered by certs really doesn’t help you in the field (IMHO), at least from what I’ve read while studying for A+ for example. Of course a lot has changed since I started out on my own. My clients don’t really care if I have a cert, they just want their computer to work without problems!

  • http://www.matthartley.com Matt Hartley

    Dan Staehr: I would tend to agree. Certs are more less a formality. Experience wins every time when going Indie. Actually, it’s critical to have, unlike Certs.

  • Jeff Mortenson

    I started working in IT back in 1987 as an additional duty in the military. I soon became fascinated with networking and network security. I decided to pursuit my passion full time in 1994, and ventured into a consulting role in 2000. Up until I became a consultant, certifications were not important, as long as your employer didn’t require a certification, you were good. Throw yourself into the consultant role and people want to know what makes you an expert. 22 years of experience is impressive, add the icing … MCSE (since NT4, CCNA, A+, Security+, and a few others, it simply means I have the experience and I have tested my knowledge and have certified my experience and knowledge. I favor adaptive exams, the paper MCSEs almost made my hard work and efforts worthless. I’ll continue to learn, and when the desire strikes, take another test, for yet another certification.