How do you prepare for a job in IT?

Finding it hard to prepare for a job in IT? We are here to provide useful information and help for a job in IT. We will also help you find that perfect IT job.

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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Howard Jackson Case Study – Nick Ashton

Facing the challenge of finding the right job
Today, Nick Ashton works as a New Business Sales Executive at Virgin Media Business. Originally from Wolverhampton, Nick graduated from Leicester University in 2010 with a 2.1 Bachelors Degree in History. Nick is a bubbly, outgoing person who enjoys speaking to people and interacting with them face to face. While he was at university he was seriously considering undertaking a career in sales or marketing when he graduated. Nick also has a strong interest in technology and IT and he hoped that he might be able to incorporate this interest into his future career. He was sure that if he could work for a good company that offered great products and services, he could build a successful sales career. Although, like many other careers, a career in sales can sometimes be high pressure and demanding, it can also be a highly lucrative, enjoyable and rewarding career.
With this in mind, after his graduation, Nick searched the internet and found a job in Stoke on Trent as Business Development Manager selling tableware. The role gave Nick the opportunity to be creative and to spot opportunities to generate revenue for the business. Nick worked at the company for a year, during which time his girlfriend lived in Manchester. Therefore, in June 2011 Nick decided to make the move to Manchester so he could see more of his girlfriend and continue with his sales career.
Nick’s found his next job on the internet again and he moved to be a Business Development Manager for a lead generation, email marketing and web forensics software company based near Manchester. He soon discovered that he enjoyed selling technology as well as explaining and demonstrating the benefits that the company’s software could offer to his clients. This role was more focused around IT and technology which is the career path Nick wanted to follow and he gained some valuable sales experience in the role. He also learned that he had a real aptitude for understanding and pin-pointing the benefits of technology and he won a lot of new clients for the company in the process. In addition, Nick built strong relationships with his clients and his colleagues and he formed a solid foundation to continue his future sales career.
However, the company lacked direction and like many of his colleagues, Nick soon found himself encountering obstacles when he tried to move the business forward. His colleagues were encountering the same obstacles and gradually, Nick’s colleagues left the business one by one and Nick decided that he had come to the end of the road with the job and it was time to move on. His only challenge was finding a suitable role with a good company where he could apply and develop his skills and move his career forwards. At this point Nick knew that he had gained some valuable experience in his first two jobs. However, he was also very aware that he needed find a job that offered longer term career prospects so he could develop his skills, grow with the company and climb the career ladder.
Howard Jackson steps in to help
Nick knew that one of his former colleagues had left to join Howard Jackson, an IT Sales Recruitment company which has a sister company, Celsius Graduate Recruitment which recruits graduates for a wide range of clients. He also knew that Howard Jackson specialises in recruiting IT sales people and they would be able to help his search for a new IT Sales job. Consequently, following a conversation with one of the Howard Jackson Directors, Nick was confident that Howard Jackson would be able to help him land the IT and technology sales job that he hoped for.
This led to a meeting with one of the Howard Jackson consultants at their offices. The consultant took the time to understand exactly what type of role Nick was looking for, the skills that he had and how he wanted to develop as a sales professional. During the conversation, Nick highlighted that he wanted to progress his sales career in the IT and technology sector. He also emphasised that he would like to work for a company that had diverse products and services and a larger chain of command. Importantly, he also explained that he wanted to sell different technology products so he could understand the various challenges and perspectives his clients faced and how he could help to solve them.

Nick explains, “I was not 100% sure of how to go about finding the right job. If I had known about Howard Jackson or Celsius Graduate Recruitment before, I would have contacted them when I first graduated. Fortunately, as soon as I was in touch with Howard Jackson, I knew my career was in safe hands and they gave me the input and advice I needed to move forwards with a company that suited my skills and career plans. .

Nick also explained that his ambition was to move up the career ladder and have opportunities for progression. In addition, ideally he would like to have a supportive line manager that would take time to help him develop his skills and to further progress his career. The Howard Jackson Consultant listened as Nick explained his skills and ambitions, asked pertinent, detailed questions and explained how Howard Jackson could help Nick to find a job that suited his skills and ambitions.

Nick had never had any help with finding a job before and he was very reassured by the depth of detail that his Howard Jackson delved into to discover exactly what Nick wanted in a job. Previously, Nick had just applied for jobs on the internet and hoped for the best. Now, with a Howard Jackson consultant helping him, Nick was confident that he this time he would find a job that suited his skills and ambitions.

Landing the perfect job with a little help

A week after his first meeting with Howard Jackson, his Howard Jackson Consultant contacted him to say that Howard Jackson had found Nick a job as a New Business Sales Executive at Virgin Media Business. Nick was absolutely delighted as Virgin is a high profile, well respected company that is known for looking after its staff and Nick knew that this was a fantastic opportunity that he could not miss!

Then, instead of just sending him off for the interview, Nick’s Howard Jackson Consultant explained the job role and the company’s requirements to him in detail and went over the types of questions to expect and the best way to handle them. The consultant did not put words into Nick’s mouth. He simply helped Nick to put his own thoughts into words and formulate appropriate answers.

Nick was also given lots of other useful tips on how to tackle the interview that he also found invaluable. These tips were not generic, they were entirely appropriate for the role Nick was going to be interviewed for and for the stage he was at in his career.

Next, one of the Howard Jackson Managers spent time with Nick explaining the best way to approach the interview. The Howard Jackson Manager made sure that Nick was fully aware of Virgin Media’s long and short term business objectives and how the company was looking to develop in the future. This gave Nick a clear understanding of the bigger business picture and consequently he had a good understanding of how he would fit into the company and what they were aiming to achieve.

Nick comments, “I needed to find a job that offered me the opportunity to develop my skills and move forwards with my career. Howard Jackson specialises in recruiting IT sales professionals and that they have connections with many IT and Telecoms companies. So they were perfectly placed to find me the ideal IT Sales job I was looking for, which they did quickly in a highly professional and expert manner. “

Following these meetings with Howard Jackson, Nick went into the interview at Virgin feeling well prepared and confident. He really enjoyed the interview and he felt it went brilliantly. Towards the end, he was 99.9% sure he had got the job and he knew that the input from Howard Jackson had been a huge help in enabling him to handle the interview to the best of his ability and have confidence in his answers.

Nick hoped he would be offered the job, and the very next day he received a call from his Howard Jackson consultant telling him that Virgin had offered him the role. Nick accepted immediately and he has now worked at Virgin as a New Business Sales Executive for a year. His role at Virgin has enabled him to hone and develop his skills and grow in his professional career. He is now moving forwards in a job he loves with a company that looks after and supports the people that work there. He is enjoying new and exciting challenges and he attributes this successful career move to skill the Howard Jackson team demonstrated in understanding his skills and to placing him in a role that absolutely suited his requirements and career ambitions.

Nick explains, “Howard Jackson found a first class opportunity for me and gave me the input and advice I needed to be absolutely confident and still be myself. They took the time to understand my objectives and they did not try to pigeon hole me into a sales role that did not suit me or my ambitions. I would definitely refer anyone I know that is looking for an IT sales job to Howard Jackson. I highly recommend Howard Jackson.”

To find out more about Howard Jackson or Celsius Graduate Recruitment contact-
Tel: 0161 905 3400


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Three Dreaded Interview Questions

A job interview can be a daunting task for many people, and as a result, there are many guides and help pages to be found online all designed to help you answer certain questions properly. In this article, we don't intend to tell you how you should answer certain questions, more to advise you how not to answer three of the more daunting interview questions, and to suggest methods how you can find the answers. So here we have three dreaded interview questions:

What are your weaknesses?
Don't be afraid to list negatives about yourself, but only those you can turn into a positive. They don't want to know if you leave toenail clippings on the coffee table, but they also don't want to hear the common answer found on the internet; "I pay far too much attention to detail... so much so i'll stay at work 'til 10pm blah blah blah." They want to find out about you, and as a member of the human race, you will have weaknesses. You cannot 'google' the answer to this question, instead, ask your partner, parents or siblings and see what positives can be drawn out of your negative aspects.

Why should we give you this job over our other applicants?
This is a tricky question to answer because as the interviewee, you know nothing of the other applicants and it's not your decision. However they are not asking for your advice, they are trying to ascertain that you understand the job description and would like to hear how you feel your skills relate to it. This question isn't always asked but it one you should always prepare for, otherwise you could appear that you don't really understand the job you're being interviewed for.

Do you have any questions?
This question, I have in the past found particularly tricky. It is normal for everything about the package and the job itself to be explained throughout the course of the interview and 'do you have any questions?' always comes towards the end of the interview. By making a list of questions and referring to it will show that you've done some advance planning, but don't produce a list of 'What is the pay?', 'How many holidays do I get?', 'Do you pay sick leave?' as these are all 'me, me, me' and will have likely already been explained to you.

What you cannot ascertain throughout the interview is the work culture and atmosphere of the organisation. Is it the type of workplace which has the radio playing, or constant gossip?. You can also ask how they measure performance, through either time sheets, regular appraisals, etc. It takes balls, but asking them outright if they feel you are suited to this role shows that you are open to criticism and openly seek feedback. It also gives you the opportunity to iron out any misconceptions they may have and to reinstate why you feel you are suitable for the role applied for.

And last but not least, Where does the company see itself in five or ten years time? This could come across as a smug 'turning the tables' question, but with planning you can really shine with this. Every industry is subject to technological changes or outside influences, such as local competition or competitors from further afield such as the far east. Take time prior to your interview to explore such possibilities and present potential scenarios, coupled with ideas of your own. This will show that you're looking ahead, and thinking accordingly.