Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

In my day job one of things I spent a lot of time on is recruitment. So when I was asked if I wanted to talk at Rail Girls London 7, something around hiring was the natural choice.

When we are reading a CV or interviewing a person, the questions we are trying to answer are:

  • Has the person done some research on us as a company
  • Do your own thoughts about technology
  • Will you work effectively with the rest of the team

Have you done any research?

  • Can you tell us what the company does? Not in any great detail but have you at least googled the company, read a little about what we do. Have idea of the markets we operate in.
  • Do you understand how our core technologies work and some of the benefits and pitfalls of using them? Again you don’t need to be the world’s number one expert but having some idea of how the different systems fit together

You have your own thoughts on Technology

  • Are you curious? Do you have thoughts on the where the industry is going and try to keep up on trends.
  • Where would you use different technologies and why.

Will you work well with the rest of the team?

  • What are your thoughts on software development, testing and quality?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • What do you want to get from your job?

On a more practical level I also have a few tips:

  • Keep you CV to one or two pages. Just show your major accomplishments, not everything you did ever.
  • A good cover letter can really help highlight your relevant skill for the role, including anything that didn’t fit on your CV.
  • Avoid having a laundry list of skills. Just concentrate on your strongest skill, not everything you used once.
  • Get a LinkedIn profile. Having one is standard in the industry, so you will seem out of place without one.
  • Make sure you get the low hanging fruit of looking “professional”. Have a sensible looking email address. Set the custom URL of your LinkedIn profile.
  • Having a GitHub profile is increasingly important. If you have any code from personal project or studying put them up. It is seen as a strong indicator that you can program and use source control.
  • Only list your social media accounts if they are relevant to the role.
  • Many of the hiring tools will search for and list your social media profiles.
  • Lots of tools exist to help you research companies. Glassdoor is a big one. AngelList and CrunchBase for startups. OpenCorporates for the financial side of things.
  • Hacker News has a month post about who is hiring. The very good Team Prime has recently launched Primed. Silicon Milkroundabout run regular events as does HackerX.