Skip

Please help me get this IT Support position.
June 9, 2007 10:28 AM   Subscribe

I recently went thru an extremely long interview process. thru 3 interviews, i made the cut from 70 people, to 20, to 4. There were 2 positions available. I had the interview of my life and didnt get the job. Now i have another interview for a similar position in another company. Please help me get it.

i am an eclectic type with experience in what i do but no degree in the field. i've been in school for 2 years now and have 1 year left until graduation. i currently teach technology at a public school (2 years). its an assistantship with a pay that matches that of a teacher with 1 year experience (about $30k USD). see my resume.

I have a friend who works in the company and department that interviewed me. he says that they raved about my performance for nearly 2 weeks. but then they hired 2 people from within the company to fill the spots. i dont know what went wrong. i was articulate, knowledgeable, well spoken. i focused on all 3 interviewers and answered all questions with confidence. I was honest about my college education, but i think i balanced that with the work i privately (linux server, virtual environments, web development, etc). One of the interviewers actually spoke to me after the interview and invited me to his spring football tailgate. i dont know why or how i managed to screw it up.

but i dont want it to happen again.

Now i'm about to interview for this position. even if i got the lowest pay rate - near what i make now - 3 or 4 years experience would help my resume, allow me to finish my Degree, and give me some experience in the field i wish to go into.

should i mention my side projects? i built (and now admin) an entire Sports Site which serves about 40 individual sportswriters. its a custom job with many unique features developed by me. i did this to learn PHP and MySQL because it may be a year or so before i can find time to take a proper class. to further facilitate this project and skills development, i built a LAMP server. I then built a simple Political Forum for some colleagues. At home i not only run my own server, i built and admin a local network which i use to support my closest neighbors and business machines belonging to 2 friends. i'm also the local 'comfixmycomputer' guy. i think i could easily pass a number of certification exams as i do pretty well on practice exams. The only reason i havent taken the actual tests is because everyone tells me that these certs are a waste of money. i have a family and dont make a lot of money teaching; i cant afford to drop hundreds (thousands) of dollars on pieces of paper which may not do me any good. i figured it was better to save the money to pay for college classes.

Ok. so thats it. i've laid it all out. Support Managers, customer service managers, fellow geeks, HR people - what do i need to do to get this job?
posted by Davaal to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
From what you say, it sounds like you did everything right and just got a bad break. Don't let this crummy experience shake your confidence; you clearly made a great impression and then at the last minute fell victim to policies about hiring from within. That doesn't mean you didn't impress the hell out of the people who interviewed with you.

You could try contacting the people who interviewed you and ask them if there was anything you could have done differently, but they may or may not be at liberty to tell you.
posted by crinklebat at 10:52 AM on June 9, 2007


Realize that in many hiring situations the end result is known ahead of time, but the process must be followed, just in case the magical superapplicant is found. Especially in a case where both hires were internal. Unfortunately, I think these kinds of cases are exactly where degrees are an advantage. You may have nearly identical skills to the other applicants, but if they have a degree, they are more appealing (if for no other reason that getting a degree demonstrates an ability to follow through and take direction). Your side projects show that you have those attributes, so you should definitely mention them, particularly if you can point them to the sites so they can se exactly what you are talking about. Someone in the field can tell you if the certificates mean anything, but if you don't get this next position (good luck, btw) you should focus your energy and funds on finishing school. Maybe speak to an advisor at your school to see if some of your experience can qualify for transfer credit?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:01 AM on June 9, 2007


I agree with crinklebat that it wasn't you. In job search processes, there's always an element of randomness out of your control.

Good luck with this next interview process!
posted by umbĂș at 11:09 AM on June 9, 2007


Also, in general, when an interviewer takes a personal interest in you, it doesn't hurt to follow that up. Whether or not you were able to make it out to the tailgate, for example, the guy who invited you is probably worth staying in touch with. He might know others in your field who are hiring, etc.
posted by PY at 11:29 AM on June 9, 2007


Yes, absolutely stay in touch with the person who invited you to the tailgate. continue your networking, make a friend, who knows perhaps your next opportunity will stem from this person, this tailgate or one of the people who attend this tailgate.

As for why you didn't get that job - some companies will give preference to internal candidates over external ones. so it is nothing that you said or did.

And now that you have an invitation to the tailgate party, consider it as an honest personal invitation to stay in touch. in other words - this is not the last time that this company is hiring, and this particular interviewer wants to keep you close.
posted by seawallrunner at 11:41 AM on June 9, 2007


they raved about my performance for nearly 2 weeks. but then they hired 2 people from within the company to fill the spots.

seawallrunner has it right

The problem with large bureaucracies is that it's wheels within wheels, and the law of cause-and-effect (e.g., you are the right fit for the job) does not apply.

My advice: choose smaller companies, and target a specific job. The hiring process at smaller companies is based more on personal relationships, and there is way more opportunity to hit above your weight and perform in a wide variety of roles.

Try a larger company in five years.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:59 AM on June 9, 2007


The best advice I've ever gotten about job hunting is that it goes like this:

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO YES

So you just collected the first of many NOs. Get busy collecting more; the faster you get your NOs, the sooner you'll get to the YES. :)

(that sounds a little flip, but it's deadly serious... and sorry that it didn't work out this time. Keep at it!)
posted by Malor at 1:55 PM on June 9, 2007


Sorta Nthing the "don't feel too bad about it" sentiment. I've been at the same employer for almost 10 years, and internal people just wishing to move to a slightly different job get priority. It's not as bad as it sounds, a couple of years experience with the the specific groups and workflow within the company will trump even the best candidate. Internal experience is like equal to a year of training an outside person to work within the system.

I'm in the same boat, I'm currently applying for another position within my company, and other factors aside my several years experience and knowledge of 'current in company situation' would pretty much guarantee me the job against some outside applicant. I'm fighting against a "the position may be split between departments and the department that wants to pay 1/2 the salary has a good candidate for the position." Depending on which way the money flows I either have a good chance of getting the job , or no chance in hell of getting the job, but it would take an outsider of godly abilities to be selected for this job.

Don't take it that hard, it's probably nothing at all to do with your abilities or your interview. Like my situation it's a combination of the job has to be posted, but any inside person wanting the job is *vastly* superior than hiring an outsider. You would have to be *godly* in your abilities and willing to work for less $$ than you're worth to beat an internal applicant clawing his/her way up the ladder.

It all depends on the job. Around my workplace, there are still some high level type jobs that nobody wants to take... Few people will apply for a Director level job because of the pain involved.... It's just not worth it. But the medium level jobs are worth fighting for..

We just lot an employee of our group to another group, he doesn't even have to change his office location, his position will likely be filled from within the company, while the job is a public opening there are plenty of underlings wanting to move up into his old position. Promoting an underling is a bazillion times easier than hiring an outsider.

I guess it depends on the company, we hire outsiders for the entry-level positions, and we hire outsiders for the high-level positions, but anywhere between will be filled by an insider wanting to move up the ladder.

Don't worry, and don't feel bad. In the end it was better for the company to promote some inside person to your applied for position, The hired person may be your equal, or may be a bit below your abilities but the in-company experience was the deal breaker.

You have to find a job at the lowest level (where there are no internal applicants) or at a high enough level that nobody else working within the company wants the job.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:47 PM on June 9, 2007


Yeah, you totally have to get off the idea that you "screwed it up". It's really, really nice to think that a hiring process is actually meritocratic--that you'd definitely get the job if you're the best candidate (and therefore it must be your fault if you don't)--but that's just not the way it works.

It's also important to recognize, as others have pointed out, that relationships in the market are very fluid, and just because one opportunity at one organization didn't work out, doesn't mean it's the end of things, by a long shot. Within 3 months, the guy who invited you to a tailgate could get a promotion by moving to a totally different company. If you've got a good personal relationship with him, his first thought could be "OK, now I need to hire Davaal". Keep up the network, learn to sort out what's really about you and what's not, and you'll do fine. You've got the chops, and the experience, so take Malor's advice and keep plugging away.
posted by LairBob at 4:33 PM on June 9, 2007


"i currently teach technology at a public school (2 years). its an assistantship with a pay that matches that of a teacher with 1 year experience (about $30k USD).... should i mention my side projects? i built (and now admin) an entire Sports Site which serves about 40 individual sportswriters. its a custom job with many unique features developed by me. i did this to learn PHP and MySQL because it may be a year or so before i can find time to take a proper class. to further facilitate this project and skills development, i built a LAMP server. I then built a simple Political Forum for some colleagues. At home i not only run my own server, i built and admin a local network which i use to support my closest neighbors and business machines belonging to 2 friends. "

So why are you looking to work helpdesk?

Get a job as a PHP coder. (I assume that, surely, even PHP pays better than helpdesk; I don't do PHP myself).

Helpdesk jobs are fun until you've learned all the typical problems, then boring as hell.

If you can seriously "build sites" (as opossed to just hooking together existing modules) and write even some SQL, just get a programming job. Even at entry level, the pay is better, the pay after gaining some has a higher cap than helpdesk, and the work is far more challenging and interesting.
posted by orthogonality at 2:55 AM on June 10, 2007


Malor writes "Get busy collecting more; the faster you get your NOs, the sooner you'll get to the YES. :)"

Malor dude that's infinitely depressing :) ! Let's frame it this way

1. you will be rejected (NO) exactly like everybody else, even the rich and famous.
2. they don't reject YOU as a person, but you as worker for their purposes.
3. they may be dead wrong, and sometimes are so adamantly it's not even funny. Still it's their call.
4. you will be said yes sometimes and find good jobs ! Enjoy that !
5. don't become obssessed with having THAT job position at THAT company doing XYZ and not ZYX
6. but don't accept ANY change : if you seriously plan to do job X , you may accept to hold Y position for a short while to make up for a company shortcoming and eventually accept to remain in Y if you like it, but if you don't then pressure to obtain X back or go away.
posted by elpapacito at 3:29 AM on June 10, 2007


well, lemme thank everyone except 'orthogonality'. i didnt expect a grammer Nazi. i assure him and everyone else, that i speak very well. i'm educated, i have a degree in Music Education and i'll soon have a second in comp info systems. i avoid the shift keys because because my wrists are torn up with carpal tunnel after 20 years of play the piano and various other instruments. eliminating capital letters and certain punctuation actually makes it easier for me to type. i assumed that you know what i mean, being smart people in a casual environment.

i'll have you know that i pay very close attention to capitalization and proper use of punctuation when i speak, though. so no worries.

i want the help desk position because its closest i'll get to an IT department until i finish my degree. plus, its a significant pay increase. teachers dont get pay raises or performance bonuses. i asked a question similar to this nearly a year ago, and people recommended that i get a help desk position while i work on my degree.
posted by Davaal at 6:36 AM on June 10, 2007


thanks guys. i was wondering if it was something i did. now i can go into the interview with more confidence.
posted by Davaal at 6:38 AM on June 10, 2007


« Older Landlord authorized the remova...   |  I am interested in hearing abo... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post