Deep Dive into Tech Industry: A Snapshot of the Hiring Landscape
On 22nd July, we had professionals coming from different tech companies coming together to share how the hiring process in the tech industry is like. As tech firms become increasingly prominent in our economy, the idea of a job in the tech sector is gaining traction and appeal among millennial. Our speakers, (Clarice Lan, Cheng Lei, Swetha) shared their experiences as tech recruiters, exploring some of the common ideas about the tech hiring process.
On non-tech roles in tech companies
The idea of a career in the tech industry has drawn many students coming from various backgrounds applying for non-tech roles in tech companies. While it is usually competitive to secure these roles, it is not impossible.
According to Cheng Lei, in order to show yourself as a good fit for such roles, you have to be hungry to constantly learn as tech industries move very fast. When you are working in the tech industry, you will always be challenged with learning new things. Given how things are always so fast-paced, a growth mindset is pivotal as you need to adapt and adjust to the changing times. In order to succeed in the tech industry, you have to show that you are responsive to the challenges that you face.
On hiring for technical roles
Securing a technical role is not a walk in the park. Although it might be lucrative, it usually involves a lot of preparation to secure one.
For a start, you can find out more on technical roles through the company’s website. According to Swetha, The best way to look out for technical roles is going to the career website pages of the company you wish to apply to. It includes job descriptions, what [the job] entails – as not every role is the same. Most importantly, you must be comfortable with it.
Before heading off to the interviews, go in prepared and show that you are equipped with the skills to take on the role. According to Cheng Lei, he recommends that you get a refresher on technical concepts while preparing for tech interviews. At times, interviewers will jump you with a tech question and how you code a solution. They’ll pass you a whiteboard marker and expect you to write down the solution. Most importantly, come in as who you are and don’t stress yourself out. The failure in many candidates is that they are too stressed and place expectations on themselves to come up with the most optimal solutions, and that’s where they trip where they buckle under stress.
Do remember to do your research on tech companies as there are some companies like Netflix that do not offer a lot of tech roles. Most of their tech roles are based in their overseas headquarters and there may not be a need for tech roles in Singapore. So, be sure to read up on the technical roles that are available in the tech industry space.
Before applying for a technical role, you could have a hand at experiencing how working at a technical role is like. Salesforce offers a fun learning platform called Trailhead where you are able to get hands-on learning on technical skills. Setting it up is free and the learning modules are comprehensive to help you understand the skills and capabilities required for a technical role.
On starting out in the tech industry
If you are looking to get into the tech industry, be agile to different changes in the tech industry. As a fresh graduate, take this opportunity to try out different areas. Swetha first started out in banking and finance and eventually ended up in tech recruiting. You won’t know where and what you will end up in. Shortlist what you like and talk to recruiting managers to understand their businesses and daily roles. This will help you better envision what kind of role you would like to be in. Don’t be too restrictive. Explore as much as you can and have as many conversations as you can and see what goes along with it. Networking helps. Speak to more people and in that process, you may be able to find that silver lining.
For Clarice, she did not start out doing tech recruiting. She was exploring what she wants to do with different internships. For her, she kept her options open and sought opportunities out there. For the tech industry specifically, the attributes that they look out for are transferable skills and experiences that shape a compelling narrative. It is all about how you perceive your experiences and how you tell a story. This is especially for non-tech roles in the tech industry. In that aspect, tech recruiting is similar to non-tech recruiting, except that tech recruiting places an emphasis on growth mindset and how you can adapt accordingly.
According to Cheng Lei, hiring in Microsoft does not discriminate based on nationality. Grades are not asked for but rather, there is a fundamental emphasis on how how suitable candidates are to the company. For foreigners, if there are difficulties in obtaining a work permit, Microsoft will do their best to assist but there are some areas which they cannot control.
On company culture
When working in a tech company, company culture is important as it determines how motivated you are to go to work and the level of synergy you are able to have with your colleagues. For the speakers, they share their take on what company culture means to them and the company values which resonate with them.
At Salesforce, there is an ohana culture and I wake up excited to go to work everyday.
Leaders are understanding of workload or personal needs and there is an inclusive culture with diversity and inclusion being a hot topic. Salesforce has plans to make sure that no one is discriminated against and everyone is included.
My best takeaway from Salesforce is that leaders are set up for success. My peers support me and they’re my biggest advocates. The company gives you a lot of space to learn and unlearn – everyone makes mistakes but there is a great platform to learn from it.
With regards to career progression: you know what you are in for and where u can progress to, you can move into different functions so there are lateral movements within Salesforce.
Netflix has a dream team culture where we are like a family – colleagues working together for the same goal – which takes some digesting and get used to learning. Netflix has a super inclusive culture. I may be introverted in a team of extroverts but everyone can still work together well and I feel included in the conversations we have.
At Netflix, there is an emphasis on people over processes. I work in a lean team and I am empowered to make decisions instead of doing things for the sake of process. I feel empowered to make an impact in her role and that is what I enjoy the most being at Netflix.
Microsoft is a large organisation, our leaders are very grounded and humble, open and real. Just 2 days ago, I was on a call with our Executive Vice President for global sales and marketing, Jean-Phillippe. We were having this call with the university hires. As part of the Q&A, I asked him, What’s the biggest mistake you have made in your career? He was very upfront in his response and shared that when he made that mistake, he thought it was the end of his career. It takes a lot of courage for a senior leader to show mistakes in front of university hires. There is a culture of trust to acknowledge and celebrate mistakes. I thought it was an interesting moment because it is not something often seen in leaders across large organisations. The senior leaders are grounded and humble, and they will come to you asking for your thoughts and feedback to improve the company. He openly called for the university hires to tell him what Microsoft should do for the future because they are the future of the company and they are more relatable to the upcoming digital generation. Therefore, they should be more vocal about their thoughts so that we can bring the company towards the future.
Starting out in the tech industry may be daunting. But if you are resourceful enough, you will be able to find help in the right places. Sometimes, all it takes is acquiring the capabilities, resources and networks to get yourself to where you envision yourself to be. For that, MatcHub could help you in that journey of finding yourself. We have resources on our website, blog and social media to help you discover your best fit. The journey to finding yourself in the tech space may be tough, but half the battle is won when you take the first step to find your best fit.