Every year I get a new phone, though the last 3 have been BlackBerries. Yesterday, I picked up a new HTC EVO–my first Android phone. Yes, I stayed up until 2AM playing with it. And I’ll probably do the same tonight. In fact, I had to tear myself away from the phone to tend to the blog. (Imagine!)
Anyway, what struck me is that in no more than 3 dedicated hours, I learned a brand new operating system and interface. I’ve never used Android before. Not even close. Yet user experience design is such an important part of application development these days that any new technology can be picked up faster than a sack of burgers from White Castle. (I already regret writing that–sorry.)
That’s why technology doesn’t matter anymore. I bet 75% of today’s job postings list a bunch of technology, even home-grown apps, that the ideal candidate is already familiar with. So during the interview, you’ll be asked, “Have you ever used DreamMaker’s iSuite version 3.2?” Well, that’s a tough question to address since the answer is invariably No, but it’s easy to worry about not knowing what might be an integral part of the job.
It’s almost a rule that recruiters and corporations think their way of doing things is the only possible way. Job postings reflect that. What’s more, hiring managers always think the perfect candidate will be searching for their job during the 4 weeks they leave the position open. Well, good luck. I don’t know where the lofty expectations come from, but combating that during an interview is a must for most of us.
So if you’re asked about a particular application, or technology, what do you do? Don’t lie, of course. But I certainly hope you read the job posting, noticed the strange tech system or app, and researched it. So when you’re asked, you can say No, but hopefully have a few good questions in response.
But aside from that, I recommend every Millennial be prepared to explain how technology is so ingrained into their lives that learning anything new is a non-issue. Remember, most Corporate Americans are used to new technologies that dramatically change the way they do their jobs and take a long time to learn. The distance between mainframes and web apps is astronomically greater than the distance from Windows 7 to the Android OS.
In fact, the Millennials I’ve hired in the last few years are almost always surprised at the technology in Corporate America. Surprised at how old it is. Graduates today are already experts at PowerPoint, Xcel, HTML, SQL, Access, and who knows what else. Technology simply isn’t an issue any more. I mentioned a few posts ago that good candidates have a handful of stories to relate during an interview. One of those stories should center around comfort and familiarity with technology. It’ll come up in almost every interview.