Mr S with a advice from recruiting stand point.

Apr 10th, 2018
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  1. Mr S. writes in...
  3. I want to offer my advice from recruiting stand point.
  5. To set the premise, it’s important to note how an employer is looking at a junior, non-experience Sys-admin: For a given employer, this is a *risky investment* rather then anything else, and as with all investments, the employer considers the following:
  6. Investment (time, money, alternative investments), Risk, Yield, Timeline, Predictability.
  8. Risk: This is easy, the employer is putting a lot when recruiting junior sys-admin. Sure, the salary is probably lower, but not significantly, what’s more concerning is that tasks are expected to take longer, task may need oversight and correction, there’s a long learning curve, a mentor should be assigned to train and course-correct a junior sys-admin, and so forth. This is very concerning to a potential employer as it is both a big investment AND a relatively significant risk (depending how much redundancy there is).
  10. So, once approaching an interview, a candidate should make it very clear to an employer what makes him/her a GOOD INVESTMENT, one that has relatively low risk, good predictability, and a long-running yield.
  12. Few points to start with:
  14. Passion for tech:
  15. This is important one. IT roles are tough. People don’t realize it, but it can be daunting job at times, and really, if one lacks a true passion, it’s easy to get burn in this profession, and a burn-out IT personnel are true burden to a business. Also, passionate personnel are often more creative, up-to-date, come up with new ways to solve problems and so forth.
  16. It’s important to show a true passion for tech and IT in general. There are many way to do so: talk about the podcasts you’re listening to (wink wink), talk about the home lab you’ve set, about the summer project you made for your church/synagogue/YMCA, tell how you fix your friends and family computers every damn visit, how you install LineageOS, jailbreak your PS4, it doesn’t really matter, but do show an employer you have true passion for tech outside of the 9-5 world.
  18. You’re here to stay:
  19. Often time, employer are afraid once you gain enough experience, you’ll bail on them.
  20. This tie to the predictability part.
  21. Acknowledge to the employer you are aware of this concern of them and you have every intention to be a “long distance runner”, you’re here to stay, invest and grow with the company.
  22. This concern of them is real and often discussed so you might as well address it with sincerity.
  24. Self-sufficient learner:
  25. You must show you’re extremely good at picking up skills, finding information, learning, self-advancing, etc.
  26. Now, the WORST possible answer is “I’ll google it”, this is a stupid answer and shows somewhat of a shallow approach.
  27. What an employer wants to see is someone who is pro-active about their skill set. Haveyou enrolled to “Linux Academy” to pick skills on your own? Are you subscribe to dev mailing list? Are you participating in communities? Do you know how to ask questions in forums, IRC channels, do you know how to peek at a github repo? Are you well versed with manuals?
  28. Be sure to talk very coherently, with details on how you seek information, how you advance yourself, how you gain knowledge and don’t just “I’m googeling it”.
  29. On the same note, be sure to note how you’ve put this skills to practice, even on a small scale (“After hearing on TechSNAP about Ansible, I took a deep-dive on Linux Academy and then setup a small LAMP stack on DigitalOcean to practice it”).
  31. Troubleshooting:
  32. This is important. You should REALLY make it very clear you have very good troubleshooting skills. Now, it’s tricky, since there’s no real course on troubleshooting, but, you should talk about it.
  34. There are a lot of tasks that are plain troubleshooting exercises, if you’ve read my post about installing pfSense on DigitalOcean, this is exactly it. You have something that doesn’t work (running pfSense on DO) and you make it work. The path that takes you there is troubleshooting.
  35. Be sure to talk about such tasks, how you approach the problem in a systematic manner, how you identify the problem, eliminate possible causes, narrowing on root causes, establish probable course of action, performing the tasks involved, iterating on them, etc.
  36. Since you are without experience, do talk about anything that is troubleshooting, from fixing your car, to jailbreaking your whatever, troubleshooting is a skill that spans to many aspects of life other then computers.
  38. Well-articulating:
  39. IT involves carrying out often complicated task, facing complicated problems and often working with other people while doing so. It’s important to show you can well articulate and explain problems and situations in a clear and accurate manner.
  41. Security:
  42. Employers are now fully aware of security risks and the tasks IT depts has in managing and mitigating these.
  43. You need to show you are aware of security management, understand it, and know how to approach it.
  44. Show that you read related news and literature, show that you track security advisories and you know what they mean, how to patch, etc. You don’t have to manage large infrastructures, just be very clear you aware of it, understand it and have good healthy approach towards security.
  45. (From my experience, often times people who show this tendency early on are becoming a central point later on).
  47. Good healthy human relationship.
  48. IT personnel have a stigma of being unsocial, condescending, blunt/rude, impatient attitude towards other.
  49. Since IT involve talking to a lot of other human beings, if you can show (and don’t be afraid to plain out say it) you’re a “people’s people” with good, respecting and pleasant human relationship skills, that’s a big plus.
  51. -S.
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