As a new graduate, finding that first job may be tricky and a couple of tips can come in handy. Therefore, we have interviewed one of our consultants, who shares insights on how to proceed.
What are recruiters looking for?
It might seem as if the tech industry, with its hard data and automation, should favour candidates with a natural aptitude for storing knowledge in hard drive-like minds and scoring the highest on every test. That’s not the reality, though. Mathias Quarfordt is a consultant manager at HiQ with a background in engineering and system development. He’s constantly involved in recruitment processes, hiring both experienced and newly graduated personnel, and he’s looking for something different:
– A candidate in our industry, of course, needs technical knowledge. However, when it comes to new graduates, personal qualities usually make a difference, especially a will and eagerness to develop their knowledge. Tech-wise, many candidates are similar. Instead, I’m looking for result-oriented people with an inner drive and the desire to deliver.
Download guide: 8 things we wish we knew when we started working in tech
The CV and LinkedIn part
Mathias states that the chances of receiving a callback are higher if you have a tidy, well-written, and nice-looking CV. This indicates that you’re structured, expressive, and meticulous. In short, if you’ve made an effort, recruiters can tell.
– All CVs look the same when you don’t know the person behind them. So try to highlight things that make you stand out, such as relevant internships, hobby projects, published essays – anything that would catch the recruiter’s eye, says Mathias.
Today, many companies choose to establish contact by simply connecting through platforms such as LinkedIn. Mathias emphasises that even though you’re newly graduated, you should put some love into your LinkedIn profile. Add a photo, tell a bit about yourself, and make your profile stand out in some way.
During the interview process
It’s common not to have much experience with recruitment processes when you’re fresh out of university. But being nervous during your first interview is not necessarily bad – quite the opposite! Mathias believes that nervousness shows that the candidate is taking it seriously. Because in the end, an interview has no right or wrong answers. It only exists for the interviewer to discover your driving factors and how you wish to develop professionally.
But apart from answering questions, you should also be asking some. Recruiters want to know as much about you as possible, and they appreciate it when this is reciprocated.
– I can't stress this enough: ask questions! By asking about the organisation and position, you’re already showing a great deal of ambition. Ask how things are done in the company, and clearly state what you value in an employer. It’s in both your and the organisation’s interest that it’s a good match, and if you’re clear with your expectations, the company can usually fulfil them, says Mathias.
Mathias’ 6 best advice to get hired
Always keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Highlight any relevant achievements from your private or student life, and always add a photo.
Tell the recruiter about what drives you and where you want to go in your career. Otherwise, they don’t stand a chance in catering to your wishes.
Communicate what’s important to you in a future workplace and employer. That’ll clarify if you and the company are a good match or not.
Ask questions! Show the recruiter that you’re interested in the position and company by preparing a few questions for the interview.
Be alert and available. For example, if you’re being asked for references, try to provide them as soon as possible. This will definitely make you stand out.
Be yourself. You’re being hired just as much for who you are as for the education and skills you have, and recruiters genuinely want you to prosper at their company.
Advice from the newly hired
Now, let’s hear some advice from actual job-seekers. Sandra Jinnevall, Edvin Bengtsson, and Osvald Lindholm recently graduated and started working at HiQ. Sandra studied web development at Blekinge Institute of Technology, while Edvin and Osvald studied software engineering and control engineering, respectively, at the Chalmers University of Technology.
The three of them now work as developers at HiQ and share the belief that it’s not too hard to get your first job in tech. All three actually had a contract signed before even finishing their studies. However, they do mention the importance of showing yourself off while still studying.
– For example, try to get a relevant summer job in your field, even though the competition is sometimes tough. Many universities also offer job fairs, which is a great way of hanging out with companies and putting a face to your name. Moreover, you’ll get to know a lot of exciting companies you didn’t even know existed, says Edvin.
Emotional intelligence before IQ
Osvald agrees that attending job fairs is an excellent opportunity to establish contact with different companies and find out what you’d like to do in the future. He also adds that your personality is just as important as your knowledge:
– You want to exhibit initiative, independence, and ambition. I could tell in my interview that, instead of being the best in my class, HiQ wanted to make sure I was a sociable person who could cooperate and work in teams – in addition to my tech skills. In short, emotional intelligence (EQ) is just as important as IQ!
Put your best foot forward
During her second year of studies, Sandra had already made contact with HiQ. Her program offered collaborations with real clients, and Sandra’s assigned company had HiQ as an additional partner. She believes these collaborations are an excellent way of getting your foot in the door:
– After that collaboration, I intended to apply for a job at HiQ. Their fun atmosphere stuck with me. I think I got the job because I put my best foot forward and showed my social personality, in addition to my actual skills. I recommend all new developers do the same in any setting where you can establish contact with a potential employer. Show that you’re a team player because developing is all about building things together with others. And create a LinkedIn profile! I got a lot of messages as soon as I stated clearly I was about to finish my studies.
Is HiQ the right place for you?
HiQ is a creative tech consultant group committed to ending bad tech and simplifying and improving people’s lives. Our best shot for doing so is our brilliant blend of employees, from experienced senior professionals to newly graduated generalists. We always try to create teams with mixed experiences, where new graduates learn from more experienced team members while contributing new methods, energy and a lust for exploring.
As a successful consultant, you need to be a flexible, open-minded team player and be able to take on new and unexpected challenges. That’s why our employees have a lot of experience, even after working just one year with us.
But don’t take our word for it; look at what our employees think about us. At HiQ, we pride ourselves on having many different kinds of individuals working in our offices, so even though it might sound like a cliché; the most important part of working at HiQ is to not be a certain way to fit in; just be yourself.
Sound interesting? Then we’d love to connect with you. And don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a question.