Are you looking for a senior position in IT in Barcelona? In this interview, Megan Walker, hiring manager at Marfeel, a company helping publishers monetize mobile traffic with an ad-optimized reading experience designed for smartphones and tablets, explains what to expect from the market. She also provides some useful tips to lead a productive job search.
Q: Is there a war on talent in Barcelona?
Barcelona is a rather competitive place for IT talent. That means there are more positions open than people that can fill them. Our company searches mainly in Europe. Filling these positions can be challenging when you are looking for more senior talent, especially software developers.
The difficulty in filling roles depends on the type of technology you are working with. For instance, in the front end there is a lot of demand for Java Script developers, also for React developers. Other profiles are harder to find like professionals with DeVops experience, a skill that is relatively new in the market.
In contrast, at an entry level I think that the ecosystem in Barcelona is easier. There are a lot of good coding schools here feeding into the entry levels.
Management positions are also in demand. In this case, it’s more a team management role with tech profile. For these roles, it depends on the technical requirements each company needs and how easy it is to find management profiles with that particular expertise.
At Marfeel, for example, we want managers with technical backgrounds who are familiar with the code, especially if they started their careers as developers.
Q: Is BCN a good place to be if you are a senior IT manager?
Definitely yes. There are a lot of technological companies based here in BCN. Due to cost and talent, many companies have decided to set up developer hubs in the city. What that means is that there will always be a demand for a coordinator and for a senior IT manager. As product development and SaaS-based companies grow, there is an increasing need for mid-level managers. That means there are gaps in the market right now for this type of profile.
Q: Where do you search for candidates?
It really depends on the profile we are looking for. If we are looking for a senior IT manager type of position, we advertise the role on our careers page and repost it on LinkedIn and Glassdoor. This generally brings us an interesting pipeline of candidates to choose from.
In terms of more challenging profiles, like very technical profiles, we look at developer platforms like Stack Overflow or GitHub to get a sense of what they could bring to the table. And LinkedIn of course. We also use Landing Jobs, which is a service that we pay for, to match the position we have open and the candidates. We have also used recruitment agencies for highly specialized technical profiles.
Q: What is the selection process like?
It’s a thorough and fast process. First we look at a CV or resume to check key requirements of the role, the past job experiences including what technical knowledge they have worked with and their experience working with other people.
The second part is a phone interview. Depending on the role, we prepare a series of questions in advance to quickly check to see if the profile fits and also explore whether the candidate is motivated. We see if they have read anything about the company and then we deal with salary expectations.
If all this checks out, we move onto a face-to-face interview. Here we have the hiring manager that deals with the technical knowledge and somebody from the people team. The first part is about the professional experience with more technical questions: what technologies they have worked with, what methodologies (like Agile, for example) have they applied with their teams, etc. Then hiring manager asks them to solve a problem to see how they think and manage challenges.
Then comes the people part: We explore what type of personality they have, the company-employee cultural fit. Then after that, the senior IT roles have a practical exercise where they discuss a topic with current senior employees.
If it’s a software developer, we have a practical test that comes between the phone interview and the personal interview. It’s usually a project to demonstrate the technical knowledge. Once it’s evaluated by the technical team, we decide whether or not to invite them to the personal interview
Q: What should a senior IT manager do to be visible to recruiters like you?
Given today’s world, it’s necessary to have an online presence.
If you are actively looking for work, your online presence has to be well defined and you have to have a clear personal brand. Being clear on LinkedIn is key: technologies you have worked with and indications on team or project management experience.
Also, there are many tech meetups going on across the city. A lot of companies including us host these types of events where we bring communities together to discuss a certain topic. It’s a great way to network and get an insight to potential companies that you might like to work with.
Q: What kind of information do you really want to jump out at you on a CV?
For me, it’s the place to show in fact and figures what you do, not a place to portray your soft skills. That is something I look for in a personal interview instead.
Include all the technologies you and your team have worked with, team management expertise, particular projects with facts and figures. Numbers are key since they help the recruiter know the scope of projectsyou have dealt with.
Key achievements or key outcomes are also very helpful. It’s hard to say what one has done in a company solely based on the years they have worked there. Therefore, demonstrate what you have done with the time you had. I like to see these achievements before the role as it summarizes the outcomes.
Another pointer is be very keen on detail and make sure the contact information is correct. I would advise you to have a colleague read through it to catch small errors or typos.
In terms of format, I’d rather have bullet points that big chunks of text. Recruiters have little time to scan every CV.
Q: What recommendations do you have for LinkedIn?
Use the same type of information you would include in your CV. Have enough content but don’t make it too long. List facts and figures wherever possible and relevant. This allows recruiters to compare your experience with the current role at stake, including information like how many members were in your team, the technologies etc.
Again, readability is key so I recommend bullet points. Keywords are also very important. What are the skills and experience that connect you with the job you are targeting? Be sure you include these. One helpful tip is to look at job descriptions you are interested in and extract keywords from there into your LinkedIn profile. This will help you come up in recruiter searches. Another thing I think is important, because not everybody does it, is to have a professional photo. Be sure the background is clear and that in the picture you are dressed as if you were going to work.
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