Making Introductions for Job Interviews

(Cross-posting from http://osr.cs.fau.de.)

As a human being, as a professional, and more recently as a professor, I’m happy to help people find jobs (time permitting). In fact, as a professor we have tagged HR professionals in our CRM database so that we can reach out easily to them. Still, introductions for job interviews require preparation on the side of the job seeker. There are a couple of things to consider.

The most common mistake that job seekers make is to ask me: Help me find a job in software engineering or product management or something else. Even if accompanied by a resume, what am I supposed to make of this? Pass on the resume to every company in the world?

The job of job seeking starts with the job seeker. They must find out where they want to go.

If they can’t, they should at least determine some companies of interest to them and provide them to me so that I can decide whether I can actually be of help.

Once I have a set of company names, I may be of help, i.e. I could possibly forward the resume to friends there. I will mostly likely get back the question: Which job is he or she applying for? Ideally, the job seeker searched the job offerings and provided that information. Usually, I will hear back that the job seeker should apply officially through their website, so that we can take it from there.

With application databases being flooded by people from populous countries, standing out is difficult. Career services advise you to spice up your resume with technical terms (Rust, Kubernetes, React, Gulp, random framework du jour) but this is only a poor help for hiring managers to work with HR professionals who don’t understand tech. Thus, an additional recommendation by me to look at one of the gazillion applicants may be helpful.

Thus, the job seeker must determine their target companies and jobs themselves, and only then can I make a recommendation to friends that will make the seeker’s application stand out. Please note that I will be rather hesitant to do that if I don’t know the seeker at all (friend of a friend of a friend) or if you are a student who flunked all my courses. Still, just being able to activate connections may speak in favor of the applicant.

So this is the best I can possibly and reasonably do in the general situation: Shine a light on a particular application in the job application database of some company. The job seeker still needs to find the companies and jobs of interest themselves.

There is a special (but not too uncommon) situation, which is that a company, in dire need of talent, has a strong referral bonus program in place. Then, and only then may I be able to forward a resume to a friend and my friend will do the job seeker’s work of putting it into the database. As a job seeker, I wouldn’t bank on it, and in any case, even that friend will usually ask which particular job the seeker is interested in.

FAU students, you can find an aging list of companies (needs urgent updating) of industry partners here: https://osr.cs.fau.de/about/partners/

Happy holidays, everyone!

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