How should IT graduates behave when looking for IT jobs?

A word to IT graduates

I had dinner with a friend of mine last week who also works in IT recruitment.  Inevitably we ended up talking about work and she mentioned that she had been having a difficult few days interviewing graduates for a large project for one of her clients.  It sounded like a relatively straightforward project – the client was interested in taking on graduates for 3 months' work at a decent enough rate and anyone who did well could expect to be offered a full time job.

So what was the problem?  Unfortunately the problems began when she started searching for graduates – many of the candidates she called said they would not work for the rate, even though they were unemployed.  And of those that were booked in for an interview, nearly a third didn’t bother turning up and offered no apology or explanation.  Among those that turned up, candidates who were late or failed to dress appropriately were dismissed by the client, and even more had failed to produce the documentation they were asked for earlier in the process such as their degree certificate. 

My friend was understandably disheartened – there is a commission element in her recruitment work and this project involved a lot of effort and not a great deal of reward for her.  But further, it was depressing to see how many graduates thought it was acceptable to arrive late, dress casually or simply not turn up for the meeting.  Fortunately there were a few shining stars among the interviewees who have been snapped up by the client, but the fact remains that it was a disappointing turnout from candidates whose qualifications spoke for themselves and who could have walked into a decent role if they had bothered to turn up. 

We’ve placed quite a few graduates this year who have gone on to do very well.  In fact if we identify a graduate that we consider to be a cut above the rest, we will make it our mission to find them a new role with one of our clients.  So what is it about these graduates that gives them such an obvious advantage? 

  • They have turned up on time for the interview, smartly dressed and armed with a portfolio of their work, or evidence of their qualifications.
  • They have researched the company thoroughly.
  • They demonstrate passion, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

It doesn’t sound like much, does it?  But a graduate with no experience whatsoever who can demonstrate all of the above is guaranteed to impress us, and consequently we will work with them to find a suitable opportunity. 

Graduates, it is a tough market out there.  But you can crack it.  Don’t sit back and expect your dream job to come to you, because it won’t.  But if you are proactive and professional, and realistic about your salary expectations, you’ll find a role that will get you on the right path to where you want to be, as our graduates have demonstrated.  If you are looking for your first role in IT and want some advice on job seeking and applications, give one of our consultants a call on 01283 530923.