By Kelly Clark, MDI Group
Today’s IT consultant job market is as good as it has been in years, and many professionals are interested in finding new opportunities. However, outstanding skills and experience are not enough to get job offers.
MDI Group arranges thousands of interviews each year between highly qualified IT consultants and clients who are eager to make hires for urgent project needs. What’s been learned is that consultants who have all the fundamental skills and experience on paper don’t always represent themselves well at an interview. In addition to proper attire, being on-time and other basic interview etiquette, these are some of the most common issues that prevent good consultants from being offered the job:
Technical Breadth but No Depth – Having a diverse technical background is almost always a positive, but most clients look for deep experience in a particular area for a given project. It’s easy for consultants to say they have a broad skill set but more difficult to discuss specific areas in depth and demonstrate the competency needed for a project. So if you’ve only dabbled in an area, be careful how you represent your experience to prospective employers.
The Superiority Complex or Sense of Entitlement – Highly skilled consultants often have more technical knowledge than the interviewer, but some let their abilities get in the way of a job offer. When interviewees make demands such as a private office, state an unwillingness to perform tasks below their skill level and pay grade, or outline project plans counter to the client’s plan, they may be quickly categorized as non-team players and dismissed from the potential hire list.
We Never Did It That Way Before – When consultants have great skills with homegrown frameworks and proprietary software, or have worked in the same environment for many years without any fundamental changes, they are sometimes seen as candidates who will have a steep learning curve or not be as willing to adapt more modern methodologies. Be sure you don’t criticize or bemoan current technology trends, and always demonstrate an open mind and eagerness to apply your skills to new environments.
Lack of Enthusiasm – Clients are looking for more than skills and experience; they have a passion for their business and want to hire employees who are passionate about their work, too. Sometimes lack of enthusiasm stems from the type of client’s business, or it may indicate a need to re-evaluate one’s chosen career path. No matter the reason, consultants who show no passion at a job interview are wasting everyone’s time.
Lack of Awareness – When discussing their work history, many consultants fail to connect their skills and experience to their previous or potential client’s business. Most often, this indicates a lack of curiosity and awareness of how their contributions affect the overall success of their team and the organization. Clients look to hire those who will best support their current team’s goals and objectives, so be sure to mention how you can help them.
False Experience and Resume Information – Falsifying actual experience and training seems like an obvious no-no, but it’s worth mentioning since it is a common reason that job offers are not made or rescinded. Perhaps some consultants think they’re so impressive in person, no one will bother to check up on their resume information? Rest assured that the technology available today makes verification of background information easier than ever. And remembering those who misrepresent their experience is easier, as well.
Giving some thought to these issues before your next interview should help you prevent them from getting in the way of a great job opportunity.
Kelly Clark is the Director of Marketing for MDI Group, an IT Workforce Solutions company focused exclusively on providing professional services that help organizations tackle ‘what’s next’ in terms of emerging technology projects and challenging business objectives. Services range from contract staff augmentation and project teams to contingent workforce management and MSP programs.