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Hiring Managers Tell All

Are you on the hunt for a new job, or maybe looking to advance your career? On this 9th Day of Sysmas, we're bringing you IT resume tips, interview prep advice, and more - it's all in our new eBook, "Hiring Managers Tell All"! Find out what the experts have to say on what it takes to stand out from the IT crowd... this'll be the Sysmas gift that keeps on giving for years to come!

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Hiring Managers Tell All

  1. 1. Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep & other job secrets.
  2. 2. 2 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. IT: Land of Opportunity and Competition Let’s face it… you need money to live, and to get it, you need a J-O-B. If you’re technically inclined, the IT industry is brimming with opportunity. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts demand for Information Technology jobs to rise at least until 2022. Never Fear... SpiceHead* Managers Are Here For IT job search advice, talk to successful people who have been there and made it. That’s right, people in positions of power who can hire you… IT Managers, Directors, VPs and CTOs! What?You aren’t already friends with a bunch of these smart and connected folks? Lucky for you, many of these experts hang out in the Spiceworks Community. We sought them out, interviewed them and compiled their best advice into this eBook. Read on to get inside the mind of an IT Manager. We’ll share job tips on how to stand out from the crowd, ace your interviews, make a lasting impres- sion and get the job! “How do you prove to a hiring manager that you are the best person for the job?” *SpiceHead – a member of the Spiceworks Community who works in IT (we’re talking about SysAdmins, Network Administrators, Help Desk Technicians, IT managers, Developers, and more!) But in the increasingly competitive and connected job market, it’s not just you and Jimmy down the street competing for that plum position anymore. According to our experts, in large metro areas, you might be going up against as many as 100 candidates for the same role. With those kinds of odds, how do you prove to a hiring manager that you’re the best person for the job?
  3. 3. July 2014 | 3 The Experts As if we were forming a league of superheros, Spice- works scoured the Interwebs to gather a collection of the finest hiring managers in IT. With their experience combined, they’ve reviewed countless resumes, conducted thousands of inter- views and hired hundreds of employees for all sorts of tech jobs. As we like to say in Texas… this ain’t their first IT rodeo. They’ve seen it all and each manager has a unique take on what makes an employee (that’s you) great… and it just so happens they’re willing to share those very same secrets (with you). Paul Chiodo IT Manager Cuba, Missouri 32 years in IT Glenn Pitchford IT Director Midland, Texas 35 years in IT Bruce Gilbert CTO Fort Worth, Texas 19 years in IT Scott Abel CEO, Spiceworks Austin, Texas 34 years in IT Tony Lombard VP of Strategic Informatics Cary, North Carolina 19 years in IT Jen Cantu Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks Austin, Texas 16 years in IT recruiting Dave Boring IT Manager Santa Fe Springs, California 25 years in IT Norman Allen IT Manager Road Town, Virgin Islands 17 years in IT Erik Nordman IT Director Hollis, New Hampshire 15 years in IT
  4. 4. READY, SET, GO!
  5. 5. Table of Contents What Are Hiring Managers Looking For? | 07 CHAPTER ONE What Do I Put on a Resume? | 13 CHAPTER TWO Get Noticed! Stand Out From the IT Crowd | 19 CHAPTER THREE How to Ace an Interview | 25 CHAPTER FOUR Job-Seeking Success | 31 CHAPTER FIVE How to Move on Up! Career Advice From Managers | 37 CHAPTER SIX More Reading Next Steps | 43 CONCLUSION
  7. 7. July 2014 | 7 What Are Hiring Managers Looking For? Are you the kind of person that IT managers want to hire? The sort of person that stands head-and-shoulders above the competition? Maybe even head, shoulders and torso? What skills and traits do hiring managers search for the most? They told us that in addition to tech know-how, they want applicants with a good mix of problem solving, communication and people skills. They also value integrity, the drive to learn and a passion for technology. These qualifications might score you an entry- level job in IT, but if you’re interviewing for a more senior role, you’ll have to prove that you’re all that and a bag of chips (meaning, you also have the relevant job experience). What else do they want? That depends on the role and the manager. Read on to learn more! CHAPTER ONE
  8. 8. 8 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. Q. Who do IT managers want to hire? Each position is unique, but there are some common themes that will run throughout any hiring process. First, does the candidate have a good attitude? I have interviewed people that told me all the gossip and how bad their current job is; they never got a call back from me. Second, will they fit in with the team, or what you want the team to become? This is important because you don’t want to hire a misfit that ‘doesn’t play nice with others.’ But you can use a hiring decision to help guide Anyone looking to work in IT must be technically qualified for the job. Either have the education or the experience or both. On the other side, even when looking for an entry level position, they must have people skills… they have to be able to get along, communicate effectively, and have some level of empathy for the users. On a basic level, I think there are three categories when it comes to IT hiring: Infrastructure / Help Desk / Systems Administration — Managers want a person with awesome social skills, the ability to follow a logical progression, an aptitude for technology, and demonstrated skills for the position offered. Hiring managers are looking for folks that fit the skill requirements of the role, but they are also looking for someone who has a ‘whatever it takes attitude’, who is a problem solver, who is a hard worker, who will be a team player, who will add value and help improve what the team/company are trying to achieve ” — JEN CANTU Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks “ “ “ the team toward the culture you are trying to create. Third, do they have the skills to do the job? I place this one last on the list because skills can be taught; attitude and fit cannot be taught. I would rather have someone who has fewer skills and a great attitude than someone who has all the skills and a bad attitude.” — DAVE BORING IT Manager, Sante Fe Springs, CA
  9. 9. July 2014 | 9 I want a strong leader who stands up for his team, takes the heat when necessary, and is willing to tell the business unit ‘no’ when it’s in the best interest of the business. Programming / Scripting /Automation/Database — A candidate must be detail oriented, and be able to solve complex problems using mainstream technol- ogies. They need the ability to complete projects, and complete them on time. They must be able to work with teams and be agile, and work well with others. Manager / Director / Project Management — must be able to work with teams of people, not just from the IT side, but also from the business side. There’s been a big shift in the last 10 years where the line between IT and the business side are really starting to blur… Candidates did not used to need a lot of soft skills. There’s been a big change where soft skills are just as important as the technical skills depending on the position… (for example) communication skills, leadership, project management and planning.” — BRUCE GILBERT CTO, Fort Worth, TX “ They should have experience building teams, and have the ability to help their subordinates work together. While it may not be absolutely necessary they understand the details of every technology deployed, they should have a good rudimentary understanding of technology.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO I’M A TEAM PLAYER!
  10. 10. 10 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. Trajectory for the particular job that they are interviewing for… especially when it’s a mid to advanced level position. If you have a proven path where you’ve gone to school for IT, you’ve interned and volunteered for IT, you’ve had an entry level job in IT, then that makes a better story from my perspective.” — TONY LOMBARD VP of Strategic Informatics, Cary, NC Q. What separates a great candidate from the rest? “ Communication. A good candidate can quickly fix the problem at hand. A great one fixes the problem and then documents the steps so that they can be replicated for similar problems in the future. A superior candidate saw the prob- lem coming and communicated their prediction to me because they were proactive in monitor- ing the IT system’s health.” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX “ Art goes here. STAND OUT FROM THE PACK!
  11. 11. July 2014 | 11 I like to see someone who is well rounded in terms of having a broad range of experience… it’s nice to see someone who’s obviously trying to do more than what the job entails. One of the intangibles is, what do they do out- side of work? What work volunteering have they done? What technology organizations do they belong to? Do they have certifications that they got on their own? I just like to see things that were outside of what they have to do. I like it when people are self starters… I want someone who can identify a problem on their own and either come up with an idea and a plan or execute something that will benefit the organization. A great candidate will have a great atti- tude, fit well in the team, and have all the skills necessary to do the job. A good candidate will have fewer skills, but still have a great attitude and fit well in the team.” — DAVE BORING IT Manager, Sante Fe Springs, CA It’s the communication skills, problem solv- ing skills, and their ability to convey these in the interview makes them stand out. Also, a lot of what makes a candidate stand out comes from their work history or their school history. If you have jumped around from job to job or major to major, and cannot show job or project perfor- mance, you will not be a good candidate. The best candidates are the ones that can engage in a technical discussion and create a rapport with the interviewer. This is especially true when the candidate is explaining technical information to a non-tech- nical person. Being able to scale the conversation for the interviewer is an attribute that will really make a candidate stand out.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “ Definitely I want someone with a good work ethic. If work is done and we can leave at 4, great… but there also have to be times that we need to fight fires and put in the work necessary. Last but not least, they need to be able to learn.” — NORMAN ALLEN IT Manager, Road Town, Virgin Islands “ “
  12. 12. Photography with a cover overlay goes here. 02 DOCUMENT YOUR EXPERIENCE.
  13. 13. July 2014 | 13 What Do I Put on a Resume? Now you know who managers are looking for, but how do you get them to pay attention to that impressive skill set of yours and – more importantly - select you for an interview? Resumes are powerful job tools that have been around since forever and like it or not, having a good one is both a must and a great way to get your foot in the door. But how can you best document your accomplishments on a piece of paper (or online profile)? We asked our expert panel of hiring managers… CHAPTER TWO
  14. 14. 14 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. Your resume needs to simply tell me why I should hire you. Don’t make me work to figure you out. Your resume should scream, ‘I am the perfect person for this job because…’ That means that you are going to have to customize your resume for each position you apply for. Yes, that’s work, but you are applying to do work. Don’t tell me what you did or what you were respon- sible for. I really don’t care. I need to know what value you can bring to me. Did you virtualize servers? Great! But tell me why you did it and what the end result was. For example, it saved thousands of dollars in hardware maintenance expense, reduced electrical usage, improved DR, etc.” — DAVE BORING IT Manager, Sante Fe Springs, CA Q. What are hiring managers looking for in a resume/ curriculum vitae? “ A resume can say a lot. Just the actual document itself can be judged. It can tell a hiring manager how detail oriented you are, how well you can communi- cate, etc. In regards to the content of a resume, hiring managers are looking for brief information that gives them a lot of detail – numbers, goals and accom- plishments that tell them the impact you had. Also, a resume shows tenure, which is more important than people think. Managers don’t want to read bullet after bullet of responsibilities, they want IMPACT. If what you are listing isn’t impactful, then don’t waste the ink. Think PAR….Project, Action, Result. Think about how the story you tell with your resume aligns with the require- ments of the job you want.” — JEN CANTU Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks “
  15. 15. July 2014 | 15 If you want to impress me, then research my company a bit and then show me your knowledge that relates specifically to what we do. “ Good basic skill set – do they match the job description? It should be a summary, not a book. Keep it to one or two pages max. One is best, two is OK, and three will get tossed. I don’t read long winded ramblings of their life at another job. The best ones list their skill set in columned bullet points, and then their work or school history with a listing of the skills they actually used. I will ask about the details in the interview if I feel they are germane to the offering.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “ I’m not looking for someone who wants a 90 day job. I want to see someone with some stability in their background and industry experience if it’s applicable… Show me something measurable or quantifiable and something to support it. Tell me about a VDI solution that saved the company X amount of money over 2 years, and reduced server footprint from 100 servers to 25. It’s not always about saving money… it could be operating more efficiently or saving power… just something that is quantifiable.” — BRUCE GILBERT CTO, Fort Worth, TX “ If you want to impress me, then research my company a bit and then show me your knowledge that relates specifically to what we do. You’ve been doing VMware installs for years? Hmm, let’s talk more. Implemented a mobile device management solution for a fleet of home healthcare workers? Ooh, tell me more!” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX
  16. 16. 16 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. Q. What are some common resume mistakes? Whatever you do, DO NOT use a functional resume, no matter what a recruiter tells you. If I get one, it goes straight into the trash can. I don’t have time to figure out what you are trying to tell me, and I assume you are trying to hide something by using that format. Save the functional resume for when you get written up by the Wall Street Journal and they need a bio.” — DAVE BORING IT Manager, Sante Fe Springs, CA “ If you put it on your resume, I am going to ask you about it… have integrity. Think of it like structural integrity, a beam runs through a building and is consistent from the beginning to the end, and that’s what I mean by integrity – you want to have consistency through your resume that accurately reflects who you are.” — TONY LOMBARD VP of Strategic Informatics, Cary, NC “ A lot of resumes I’ve seen are completely unstructured or there’s misspellings or they’re just poorly organized. I like to see that someone has taken the time to at least put them in reverse or forward chronology or some sort of structure that that tells me that they thought about what they were doing.” — NORMAN ALLEN IT Manager, Road Town, Virgin Islands “ If you are looking at a variety of jobs, you shouldn’t have just one resume for all of them (unless you are very young and/or green in the field). Tweak your resume to speak to the require- ments of the job description and really work hard on a cover sheet that tells them exactly what you have done in detail that has prepared you for their position.” — ERIK NORDMAN IT Director, Hollis, NH “
  17. 17. July 2014 | 17 While you may think that what you do outside of work is none of work’s business, it still reflects on your character and how responsible you look. Don’t embellish, don’t overstate your skills. It is what it is, and you have to be OK with the true facts of your career. If you’re caught bullshitting you will be immediately disqualified. I would much rather have someone say, ‘I don’t know, let me find out’ vs. me finding out in the interview that you have no clue about something you listed. Be conscious of your social media content… That picture of you passed out with shaving cream and sharpie drawings might have been a good time, but it is going to reflect badly as a job seeker. Remember, you’re in the IT field. Trust is a huge issue. And a big part of trust is how a person conducts themselves. While you may think that what you do outside of work is none of work’s business, it still reflects on your character and how responsible you look.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “ Let’s all agree that a huge list of every technology that you’ve ever touched is a waste of time. Learned COBOL in college? Ok, whatever. Used every version of DOS back to 2.0? Congratulations, see you later… Tell me about projects and results – not buzzwords and checklists. Oh, and personal references? Don’t bother. I’m happy to assume that your mother loves you and your best friend thinks you’re awesome.” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX “ TELL YOUR STORY.
  18. 18. 03 BE A TECH ROCK STAR!
  19. 19. July 2014 | 19 Get Noticed! Stand Out From the IT Crowd Besides resumes, how do you get an edge over the competition and show you’re the best-and-only man for the job? What about social media – what’s up with that? Online portfolios, blogs, and IT communities like Spiceworks have become great ways to prove your technical know-how, your passion for technology, and those dynamite interper- sonal skills we’ve heard so much about. Read on to find out how you can build a personal network and create a body of work that represents what an amazing employee you are… CHAPTER THREE
  20. 20. 20 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. VERY. That should be the avenue you take when you find a role you are interested in or when you are kicking off your job search. Reach out to your connec- tions. They are happy to help you. You don’t have to constantly go to events and partici- pate in industry activities although those things help. Q. How important are personal connections? ““ In my experience, both from job seeking and from hiring, I would say that it’s critical. I am in my current position because one of the clients of my consulting company thought enough of me person- ally to send me an unsolicited note about the open position. Some of my best hires have come to me because I called them and said ‘I heard that you’re pretty sharp. We need to talk.’ In those cases I heard about them from our mutual personal networks. Those same networks can also be valuable to you when preparing for an interview. If someone has encouraged you to apply for a position, then they may be a valuable source of info on the company. They can tell you about the longevity of executive management or the new ventures that the company is pursuing. At interview time you can say something like ‘I know that your CEO has been with the company for 15 years. I’m impressed by that kind of stability.’ Or perhaps you can point out that your skills align well with that new line of business that you heard was being considered. It’s these touches that make you stand out to a hiring manager.” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX ...Everycurrentandformer co-workerissomeonewhoisa partofyournetwork.Everyone youmeetthroughfriendscan becomeapartofyournetwork. Every customer, vendor, etc. Build your network and don’t be afraid to use it to find your next job!” — JEN CANTU Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks
  21. 21. July 2014 | 21 This is extremely important. As you progress in your career, it becomes even more important. At the entry level, this is a minor issue, but for any- thing above entry level it is going to be a factor. Many jobs are never advertised. In many cases, as a hiring manager, I find my candidates from people I’ve worked with in the past, or people who are recommended from others I trust. This works the other way as well. When a new posi- tion opens, the first people to hear are the friends and relatives of the people who work there.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “ Connections are very important. In some jobs and social circles it is easier to network into a job, but being polite, being direct, and being aware always help. If you are looking for a job, you need to be willing and able to tell anyone you know who could get you in touch with someone who can help.” — ERIK NORDMAN IT Director, Hollis, NH “ It’s a platitude, but it’s true… who you know is more important than what you know… If an embedded employee who you know and trust and work with comes to you and says, ‘Hey, I have a guy or girl that I want to add to our family, I think he’ll be a good fit,’ then I don’t need anything more…I still need to check their skillset, but it’s almost an automatic entry into the process.” — TONY LOMBARD VP of Strategic Informatics, Cary, NC “
  22. 22. 22 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. Absolutely! Everybody knows that artists and models have portfolios to show what they can do. It is common for other professions to use samples of their work. For example, grant writers often provide partial copies of their proposals and lists of the dollar amounts that they have helped their clients to acquire. So, why shouldn’t an IT Pro have one? This might be in the form of a blog (assuming you have something interesting to write about) or a web site highlighting some of your accomplishments. The profile pages in Spiceworks are a great way to do this. You get to demonstrate your writing skills as you describe your projects and show off your work. This won’t get you past the mindless robots in HR who are just checking boxes on a form before sending some resumes on to the hiring manager, but it will make you stand out when the person who counts takes a look. The purpose of a portfolio is to highlight your best work as an indicator of your talent. The ability to include pictures and videos provides a way to plant a strong memory in a hiring manager’s mind. Q. Does it help to have a portfolio/ body of work that’s separate from a resume? “ You can wow them with the content of your projects and your writing skills at the same time. Don’t forget to highlight some of your soft skills in your portfolio...” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX It’s always good to have a portfolio which can come in various formats depending on what you do. For creative folks a true portfolio of their work is a given. For technical folks it’s a little different. There are sites you can showcase what you have done (code samples, apps, etc.) or projects you have worked on. For example, in the Spiceworks Community you can build a profile page and discuss IT oriented work you have done in more detail than on a resume, and this is a great place to point a hiring manager to because it provides a deeper level of technical detail about what you have accomplished. It ‘shows’ your work. What you have actually done versus a resume just saying what you have done.” — JEN CANTU Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks “
  23. 23. July 2014 | 23 ...If it comes down to two people with the exact same background and social skills, the portfolio may push one candidate ahead of the other. “ I think the Projects portion of Spiceworks is a splendid way of showing off your work. Having some samples of your work, and some experiences of success to share in the interview are very helpful.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “ Yes absolutely, I was impressed with you’re doing atSpiceworks. Ithinkthat’sgoingtobegreatfor people myself included… it’s a really great tool and I think it’s a consistent way that people can list that sort of information.” — NORMAN ALLEN IT Manager, Road Town, Virgin Islands “ The Spiceworks profile gives them an advan- tage in the sense that it gives a more in depth look at their technical experience… If it comes down to two people with the exact same background and social skills, the portfolio may push one candidate ahead of the other .” — BRUCE GILBERT CTO, Fort Worth, TX “ I added someone to my team about a year and a half ago who shared a published paper with us, and it was great. I read it and I said, ‘I want that guy on my team!’ because of this great contribution (to his portfolio). This kind of proof is exactly what we’re talking about… you can look it up and ref- erence it, and it speaks to the fact that this person loves Information Technology.” — TONY LOMBARD VP of Strategic Informatics, Cary, NC WANT AN ITPORTFOLIO OF YOUR OWN? BRING YOUR PROJECTS TO LIFE WITH A SPICEWORKS PROFILE.
  25. 25. July 2014 | 25 How to Ace an Interview Congrats! You caught the eye of a hiring man- ager or recruiter and the company is interested in learning more about you. The next step is an interview with your potential future boss and co-workers. Now’s your chance to wow everybody and impress the team with your great communica- tion skills and smashing haircut. Don’t sweat it… even though employers will ask you tons of questions to verify that you’re as smart as they think you are, now’s the time to show that you can handle pressure and know your stuff… heck you might even blow them away with your superior knowledge and quick wit. Here are tips from our experts on how to leave your mark in an interview…. CHAPTER FOUR
  26. 26. 26 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. Q. What’s the main purpose of the interview for an employer? The interview process exists to answer 3 basic questions: 1) Can you do the job? 2) Do you want the job? and 3) Can I stand to be around you for 40 hours per week? The first question explores your skills and ability to learn, as demonstrated by what you have done in the past. What do your projects show me about your knowledge and skills? How do you organize your work and communicate your progress? The second issue tries to identify those candidates who see enough opportunity to learn and grow so that they will stick with us for a while. I’m looking for the person who may not know it all, but wants to learn more. It’s an opportunity for both parties to learn more about the other… it’s an opportunity to learn something about the candidate that’s not on the resume, and that’s where you touch on the soft skills: do they communicate well? I’ll ask something that will give me a sense of their per- sonal confidence and will also touch upon their communication skills, and ask them to explain the experience that they have that’s necessary for the position, and at that point get to the techni- cal aspects of the position.” — BRUCE GILBERT CTO, Fort Worth, TX What do your projects show me about your knowledge and skills? How do you organize your work and communicate your progress? “ “ To determine if the candidate is a fit, has the requisite skills, and if they will stay, show up, and be a responsible employee. In many cases, if they can be trusted. The candidate should be ready to explain everything on their resume. You are auditioning, so practice. Anticipate what questions the interviewer might ask, and have answers for them.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “
  27. 27. July 2014 | 27 Of course, the last question is all about attitude. Do you fit in with my team? Are you an axe murderer? (Which is ok as long as you don’t have a history of taking the axe to your immediate supervisor.) I want to see that you are a team player rather than a lone ranger. I need to know that you own your own projects and see them through to the end without the need for micromanagement. And, most important of all, I need to know that you’re not an adrenaline junkie who wants to be a firefighter, because we want to proactively solve problems when they’re just a small issue rather than constantly rush in to save the day in an emergency.” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX I’M DEPENDABLE. I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT SOLVING PROBLEMS.
  28. 28. 28 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. Q. What can a candidate do to impress an interviewer? Show confidence, communication skills, and experience that is relevant the job they are interview- ing for. It’s natural to be nervous during the interview process, but try to keep some degree of calmness. If you become too nervous and fidgety during the in- terview that makes one think that maybe this person can’t handle stressful situations. If they can’t handle this, how are they going to react when the network goes down and the CEO is banging on the door?” — BRUCE GILBERT CTO, Fort Worth, TX Show a true desire to do the job offered, have the skills to perform the job, and show the ability to be responsible and trustworthy. Come prepared, be on time, read the company’s website, familiarize yourself with the job you are interviewing for, dress nice, know what you are going to say, and be prepared to ask some ques- tions. Finally, thank them for the interview!” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “ “ Be able to tell the story of your experience and why you feel that it makes you a fit for the role you want. Be prepared for the interview, and do your homework on the company and the role.” — JEN CANTU Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks “ “If you walk into your interview having already made a great impression, the barriers are lowered and the interview is easier.” When they are really interested in a position, they should show it. I’ve personally tried many times to get a hiring manager on the phone before an inter- view to let them know how excited I am about the company, position, or possibilities.” “
  29. 29. July 2014 | 29 Pretend like you are already part of the team. Get excited, use people’s names, and let me know that you are comfortable with the group, the interview, and the challenge… you need to make everyone comfortable with you and let them know you are ready to work with them. Besuretoaskalotofquestionsoftheinterviewers as well.” — ERIK NORDMAN IT Director, Hollis, NH You HAVE TO know about the company. And that’s so important because we’re a mission based company. If you don’t know why you want to come work (here) – I’m not really interested in you, because that to me is lazy that you haven’t done your research. Come with 100 questions (for example) about benefits, culture, job duties, and what kind of person (is the boss)? Show interest and dedication and show that you’ve done your homework and that you’re really interested…What’s the differentia- tor? Interest, research, and aptitude.” — TONY LOMBARD VP of Strategic Informatics, Cary, NC “ Answer my favorite question correctly: ‘Tell me about a time at work or school when you thought you were going to miss a deadline and what you did.’ 98% of applicants will say something about doing whatever it takes to get the project done, including pulling all-nighters or working all weekend. Buzz! Wrong! Everybody expects that answer. Some will say that they have never been close to miss- ing a deadline. Yeah, right, but I’ll turn it into a ‘what if’ question and give them a second chance. The 2% will say ‘I immediately notified my supervisor about the issue and then discussed it with stakehold- ers so that they could allocate more resources or adjust the schedule.’ That’s what I want to hear. That tells me of a level of maturity that owns mistakes and understands the value of communication.” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX “
  31. 31. July 2014 | 31 Job-Seeking Success Sometimes getting a job is all about showing how much you want it and how good of a fit you are for the company. All it takes is a small, sincere gesture to blow the competition out of the water. But in the long term, you’re going to have to put in the hustle and work on your skills to move up the ranks (a drag, we know). Our expert managers shared stories about how applicants went the extra mile to get bonus points and what they’ve done in their own career to get ahead in the game. CHAPTER FIVE
  32. 32. 32 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. While I was interviewing candidates for a junior programming position, one applicant asked some very specific questions about our programming practices and conventions… One of our programmers had sug- gested that he apply and allowed him to look at some of our code. (There’s that networking advantage.) He had studied the code before coming for the interview and prepared some questions based on that study. I skipped the question “tell me what you know about our company” knowing that he would give much more than the standard “just what I saw on your web site” answer. That was decades ago and I still remember him very well. He turned out to be one of our best coders. — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX Q. What was a time a candidate went above and beyond to get the job? “ The applicant sent their resume and sample work via FedEx/UPS in one of my company’s shoe boxes. Compared to a stack of resumes that came through ‘normal’ channels, this person’s resume got more attention than the rest.” — DAVE BORING IT Manager, Sante Fe Springs, CA “ “ After the interview, the candidate made and sent various folks SpiceRex (Spiceworks Community Mascot) cookies with personalized notes about why she was a fit for the role and why she was so excited to become a part of Spiceworks.” — JEN CANTU Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks I developed a (multiple choice) quiz on Survey- Monkey so that when the interview is over I can test on general IT knowledge… for example can you identify TCP/IP scenario based stuff? This particular person finished that and went above and beyond and sent examples for each question. So for example if I said you have a 169.254.x.x address, what do you do? “ What he did afterwards was send screenshots of the steps necessary to make things happen to prove that he wasn’t just guessing the right multiple-choice answer by giving me more. He sent it so soon after the quiz that you could tell that he must have really known.” — NORMAN ALLEN IT Manager, Road Town, Virgin Islands
  33. 33. July 2014 | 33 While some of these you might be able to learn from a class, I’m a big believer that you have to do the job to really get good at it. “ For me it was focusing on skills I wanted to build, not titles or positions. I would take a new job because it would give me the opportunity to build one of those skills. For example, I took jobs earlier in my career because they would teach me how to sell, public speaking, managing big devel- opment projects, or how to balance a PL. “ Having persistence, a willingness to diligently pursue a solution, and determination to never give up. That and 60 hour work weeks.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO Q. What is the best thing that you’ve done to advance your own career? “ Be proactive. Even when you have a job you like, keep the next steps for what you want and need to progress in mind. You will be very lucky to find an employer that will give you more money, promo- tions, and job growth for a very long time, especially if you prefer to work for small companies. To grow, you have to be willing to get all you can out of every job and be ready to find something new when your growth slows or when you need more money.” — ERIK NORDMAN IT Director, Hollis, NH Yes, it makes those first 12 months in the new job scary, but it also makes it fun. You’re learning something new all the time. In hindsight I guess it worked – 15 years gave me the breadth of skills I needed to start my first company, Motive, which led to me meeting the team that started Spiceworks.” — SCOTT ABEL CEO, Spiceworks
  34. 34. 34 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. One is identifying issues, whether IT or operation- al issues and making improvements… For example, (at my old job) our servers cost us a lot of money and there was no need to be buying from one particular vendor, so I got permission to seek other vendors… and we ended up saving a quarter million dollars a quarter on IT acquisition costs. The other one that stands out is managing projects, so even if someone gave me a simple project that I could do in my sleep, I used to document my planning for that project even for the little things... this is even before I knew what project management was in the industry sense. I just documented what I thought was going to happen, why we needed the project, how much it was going to cost, and communicated that with the higher ups… that definitely made a made a big difference for me.” — NORMAN ALLEN IT Manager, Road Town, Virgin Islands My willingness to be vulnerable and listen. Not hear words, but really listen and if somebody said I was doing something wrong, if somebody said that I’d rather you attack the problem this way than that way than way... learning how to accept that criticism, put it to good use, and be able to move forward. ...if you’re not flexible, you’re not willing to learn, if you’re not willing to be vulnerable and listen to somebody who has a different perspective, it’s tough. “ “ And being open to learning. I’m in an environment that is a rapid high-growth engine. This quarter alone we’ve grown revenues 80 percent over last year. That’s unbelievable growth. Therefore my entire team including myself have to grow up with the organization as it gets bigger, and if you’re not flexible, you’re not willing to learn, if you’re not willing to be vulnerable and listen to somebody who has a different perspective, it’s tough. That’s the number one thing — my love for learning that’s kept me on the path that I’m on.” — TONY LOMBARD VP of Strategic Informatics, Cary, NC
  35. 35. July 2014 | 35 I started out my post-college career working for an IT consultant. The exposure that I received there to all facets of IT was invaluable, but the opportunity to learn about different industries and how several types of businesses work made all the difference. I would encourage anyone starting out or early in their career to find an opportunity with an MSP or consultant. It’s like eating at a giant buffet every day. You can decide that steak is the thing for you and then go on to specialize in the many forms of that single item (Cisco, Windows Server, VMware, etc) or you can enjoy the wide variety offered by moving on to IT management where you oversee it all.” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX “
  37. 37. July 2014 | 37 How to Move on Up! Career Advice From Managers IT Managers are tech wizards at the top of their game. They’ve worked their way up the corporate ladder and now lead people in their organizations. Were they born with all of the skills they need- ed to be a leader, or did they have to develop them over time? (Hint: it’s a mix) More importantly, if you want to make it to the top too, how do you get there? In this last section of our eBook, our experts share their secrets… CHAPTER SIX
  38. 38. 38 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. Q. What should job seekers work on if they want to one day become a hiring manager themselves? Pay attention to people and act like a manager all of the time. Even if it isn’t in your title, you can be the go-to person for your team and someone who practices the attributes of a good manager with your colleagues and co-workers. If it seems like it’s natural for you, it will be easier for your boss to promote you into a role they already know you can do.” — ERIK NORDMAN IT Director, Hollis, NH Communication, learning about people, learning about balance, learning about what it means to be tactical and what it means to be strategic, how to delegate and feel ok about it and learn to listen as much as possible.” — JEN CANTU Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks “ “ A big thing for me is showing initiative and being organized. Whether it’s something I’ve assigned to a person or it’s something they’ve done on their own, they should be able to present it in a comprehensive way so I can take it to other management and show that this person has done not just what was asked of them but beyond that and what the benefits are. And just being consistent is usually the difference between someone who gets moved up or not. You have to be a manager before you become a manager, whether it’s dressing the part, acting the part, or coming to work on time. You have to do those things before you get the title.” — NORMAN ALLEN IT Manager, Road Town, Virgin Islands “ Understand teams and team motivation. Be the standout IT Guru and go the extra mile. Learn to coach, start by coaching your users. While we com- plain about them, we should never complain to them. If you can learn to coach users and make them better users, you will show management that you can coach a team. Always remember that you can never know everything, and everyone is an expert in something. Keep learning. Lastly, humility; Be willing to take the blame when things go bad, and share the credit when things go good.” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “
  39. 39. July 2014 | 39 Leadership and communication. I highlight these two because they are often overlooked. Most managers just manage - that is they make sure that the work gets done. That is all about attention to detail, keeping track of complexity, etc. Very important, but it’s not leading. To lead, others must be willing to follow you. And for them to follow you they have to trust you. So… one of the most important things you have to learn how to do as a leader / manager is gain people’s trust. And guess how you do that? Communication. It is your job to set clear, actionable objectives and make sure the team truly understands them. Depending on the personalities on your team, that might mean spending much more time with some people than others. And ... they need to see that you care more about their careers, their successes, than you do your own.” — SCOTT ABEL CEO, Spiceworks “Leadership training. There are a great number of easy-to-read read books like Start with the Why or Developing the Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell and The Servant Leader… great resources that point you in the right direction of what it really takes to be a leader of a team or of people. You can’t assume that you’re born as a General Patton and that you’re just gonna kill it because you have every technical skill in your wheelhouse. As a matter fact you’re probably doomed to fail... When you’re leading people, ‘do what you say and say what you do’ translates and pushes out to the entire team… As the leader goes, the rest of the team goes, so developing those skills within you, and being con- scious of historical lessons and mistakes that other leaders have made is a great way to start your jour- ney of being the leader of a team. Always put your people above yourself in any circumstance, period end of story.” — TONY LOMBARD VP of Strategic Informatics, Cary, NC “
  40. 40. 40 | Hiring Managers Tell All: IT resume tips, interview prep other job secrets. You have to develop a good understanding of IT Pros and what motivates them. It’s not always money– it’s often challenge, learning opportunities and respect. So watch the good managers closely and integrate their attitude into your style. You’ll discover truths such as: • Never ask your staff to do something that you haven’t done before or aren’t willing to do again. • Never forget that your most valuable asset is the staff working for you and with you. • When it stops being fun, it’s time to go do something else. (And your staff will.) So, interject some fun into work wherever you can.” — GLENN PITCHFORD IT Director, Midland, TX “ “ Soft skills are much more important in an IT professional career than they were 20 years ago… you want to be able to communicate effectively both written and verbal… whether it’s emails, documents, RFPs, or asking for money, you want to be able to communicate with peers of the same level or with leaders of the company. Also, leadership, the ability to mentor a team, delegating, and also budget management.” — BRUCE GILBERT CTO, Fort Worth, TX
  41. 41. July 2014 | 41 Q. Any final job seeking tips? Always be honest with yourself and your potential employer about your abilities. Know what you want in your next job so you can easily identify a good fit for YOU.” — JEN CANTU Director of Recruiting, Spiceworks “ “ Have persistence. A willingness to diligently pursue a solution, and determination to never give up. ” — PAUL CHIODO IT Manager, Cuba, MO “ Don’t settle. Be willing to talk to your boss about what you need and to leave if the company doesn’t provide it. The process of finding and chang- ing jobs is hard but it gets easier with practice and as you gain experience and skills, every job change becomes more lucrative and satisfying.” — ERIK NORDMAN IT Director, Hollis, NH Itsoundssimpleandobviousbutbehonest. When peopleaskyouaquestionjusttellthemthetruth, no matterhowbadtheanswersounds. Why? Because realhonesty in the workplace is a rare commodity. Our society has conditioned us to think that being per- ceived as successful, being right and advancing are the key to getting ahead. It does not focus on the value of failure and what we learn from it. When I interview people for Spiceworks I ask every candidate the ques- tion: ‘what’s been your biggest professional failure?’ Why? Two reasons: First, I want to see if they’ll tell me the truth. Will they pick something significant that was clearly painful for them to go through, and hence tell me about. It shows immense character to reveal something like that in an interview. And secondly, I want to see what they learned from the experience. If they took the failure and turned it into success. This is critical for a company like Spiceworks – we’re dong something that’s never been done before so being good at learning from our mistakes – quickly and efficiently – has made us what we are today.” — SCOTT ABEL CEO, Spiceworks Never stop learning, never let your skills collect dust. Just keep learning something new and set realistic short term and long term goals!” — BRUCE GILBERT CTO, Fort Worth, TX “
  43. 43. July 2014 | 43 More Reading Next Steps Well there you have it – tips that’ll serve you well next time you’re on the IT job hunt and, for that matter, throughout your entire career, delivered by successful people who know what it takes to get hired! We hope you learned a lot from these tips and that one day, you might be the one doling out nuggets of wisdom for eBooks. If you have more IT career related questions or a just an insatiable hunger for more career advice and conversations, make sure to check out the following resources in Spiceworks: • IT Career Forum in Spiceworks • Get Your Spiceworks IT Portfolio • Career Advice From IT Pros eBook • Advice for First Time Job Seekers in IT Thanks for reading, share this with a friend, and best of luck in your IT career! CONCLUSION
  44. 44. The contents in this report are a result of primary research performed by Spiceworks. Unless otherwise noted, the entire contents distributed as part of this report are copyrighted by Spiceworks. As such any information made available by any means in this report may not be copied, reproduced, duplicated, published, displayed, transmitted, distributed, given, sold, traded, resold, marketed, offered for sale, modified to create derivative works or otherwise exploited for valuable consideration without prior written consent by Spiceworks. For more information visit This report contains information of fact relating to parties other than Spiceworks. Although the information have been obtained from, and are based on sources that Spiceworks believes to be reliable, Spiceworks does not guarantee the accuracy, and any such information might be incomplete or condensed. Any estimates included in this report constitute Spiceworks’judgment as of the date of compilation, and are subject to change without notice. This report is for information purposes only. All responsibility for any interpretations or actions based on the information or commentary contained within this report lie solely with the recipient. All rights reserved. 2014. About Spiceworks Spiceworks is the professional network more than 5 million IT professionals use to connect with one another and over 3,000 technology brands. The company simplifies how IT professionals discover, buy and manage more than $525 billion in technology products and services each year. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Spiceworks is backed by Adams Street Partners, Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Goldman Sachs, Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. For more information visit Curious how IT pros are boosting their careers? Read our IT Career Tips eBook.