Insights on Hiring IT Professionals: Interview with Ryan McGee of TEKsystems

Our goal is to help every student who walks through our doors learn the skills they need to make the transition to an exciting career in IT. We’ll help you identify the program that’s right for you, provide comprehensive coursework, offer assistance with your resume, and give you interview tips to help you succeed.

One of the best ways for us to help you be successful is to understand what companies are looking for when hiring IT professionals. We recently talked with Ryan McGee, a Technical Recruiter at TEKsystems for more insights about his experience placing IT professionals in roles at companies around the Triangle.

Ryan attended one of our job fairs last fall so he’s used to working with our students on job placement!

What is TEKsystems and what does your role entail?

TEKsystems is the nation’s largest staffing and solutions provider that specializes in the IT industry, partnering with over 200 local companies here in the Triangle. In my role, I kind of operate like a real estate agent. I stay updated on the IT job market locally so I’m in the best position possible to help place candidates in a role that fits their needs and the company’s needs.

How often are companies looking to hire IT professionals?

I see IT opportunities come through every day, whether it’s companies looking to fill a gap based on individuals that have left their team or looking to hire someone new with specific IT knowledge. We typically have multiple people interviewing for IT positions every day.

What are some of the things that companies are looking for IT professionals to have on their resumes?

They’re looking at your background and your progression, either within a specific company or throughout your career. They want to see that initiative that you’re always moving forward, whether that’s getting promoted within or taking the time to pursue additional schooling or certifications. These are typically planned-out moves that indicate someone’s drive for growth, which is appealing for companies.

Personally, this shows me that the candidate is hardworking and knows the direction they want to go in their career and makes it easy to partner with them from a hiring standpoint because it shows that they’re going to be driven.

So, when I see that someone is pursuing certifications at Carolina Career College, I instantly recognize their initiative to work hard to further their career.

What stands out to you as a “red flag” on a resume?

If I notice that someone has been in the same role for a long time, either at one company or multiple ones, that will make me want to ask them some follow-up questions. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad candidate, but I’ll dig a little deeper to find out why there has been a lack of growth.

But, then there’s the other side of the spectrum that can also be a cause for concern. If someone has changed jobs multiple times over the course of a year, does that mean there’s an attendance problem? Are they unable to keep up with technology? So, while they’re opposite problems, too much change and not enough change are both reasons to give me pause when looking over a resume.

Does having a degree outweigh IT-specific certifications?

Honestly, it depends on the certification and the particular job role. Degrees are more generalized, so if you have a Computer Science degree, usually you’ve learned about a little bit of everything within that field. Some companies see that versatility as an asset, but in many roles, a degree isn’t required, because companies are looking more for candidates that specialize in certain aspects of IT, like security.

So if you don’t have a degree, but you have a CompTIA A+ certification from Carolina Career College, that will help you stand out in support roles more than having a general degree would.

Have you helped place any Carolina Career College graduates?

Yes, we actually just had someone who started working at UNC Hospital’s help desk a few weeks ago!

Do you have any advice for Carolina Career College students as they start looking for jobs?

Learn as much industry-related knowledge as you can, even if that means initially starting in a role that’s not where you want to end up. For example, if you want to work in cybersecurity, that’s not generally an entry-level area. So, look for entry-level roles in companies that have security software or a cybersecurity product so you can start to understand the language and the technology behind it and get exposed to the industry. Even if that means taking a couple of dollars an hour less at first, it will make you a stronger candidate when you start applying for those higher-level roles down the road.

In short, know your passion and understand the path that needs to be taken to get there. Investing in yourself through certifications is usually a great first step.

Thank you to Ryan McGee for his insight! If you’re interested in learning more about this process or the Raleigh local market, contact Ryan at rymcgee@teksystems.com.

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