Technology jobs continue to rank among the fastest-growing occupations in the country, maintaining momentum despite the economic downfall caused by COVID-19. Yet many tech jobs remain out of reach—particularly for candidates of color, who continue to be underrepresented across the industry.
The need to innovate, transform and grow in the digital economy has never been greater. To meet these demands, Accenture actively seeks out people who bring their unique perspectives and skills to the table. To this end, Accenture is committed to recruiting, developing and advancing talent—especially professionals of color who are often underrepresented in the industry. The perspectives of these individuals drive the disruptive change that Accenture clients seek, and the global professional services firm is committed to helping those individuals thrive in the workplace.
Chantel Soverall-Johnson, US South Market Unit Recruiting Lead at Accenture, has more than 15 years of experience in executive and leadership recruiting, and has seen how talent acquisition has evolved with the times. The corporate veteran has recruited for startups and Fortune 500 companies, and managed recruiting teams in multiple industries. She’s driven to connect candidates of color with opportunities in the tech world, especially where there have been significant gaps in opportunity and representation.
Johnson credits the current shift in tech recruitment priorities to an increasingly conscious effort to incorporate more equity into recruiting. She says, “[Accenture is] a professional services company, so it’s all about providing our clients with the brightest, most ambitious, diverse skill set of people to do great work.” Currently, Accenture is seeking talent in a myriad of areas from Cloud and Cloud Native and Security to Data & AI, Salesforce, Workday and many others.
So what are her tips for candidates who want to get noticed by Accenture?
Let your passion be your guide. Candidates are encouraged to focus their job search on roles they’re passionate about. While it’s tempting to go for the first job that offers an impressive salary, quality is better than quantity. Candidates should hone in on their interests and the skill sets they can genuinely bring to the table. This increases the likelihood of excelling at the job since it’s work they’ll genuinely enjoy
Leverage your network. When looking for that dream job, candidates must make sure their network knows they’re searching. If there’s a specific position of interest, candidates should put the word out on social networks, especially if they already know someone who works for the company. Employee referrals are gold because they come from a point of established trust and facilitate the job search process, increasing the chances of landing an interview.
Take advantage of recruitment opportunities. Most candidates would be surprised to learn how many recruitment opportunities are available. Onsite job fairs or networking events have moved online, creating a wider reach and new opportunities for job seekers of color. “With all our outreach going digital, organizations have been challenged to reimagine connection points with talent and how we might explore hybrid opportunities of engagement,” Johnson says.
Be fully prepared for the interview. Once candidates have secured an interview, the next crucial piece is doing deeper research and coming prepared to show how they’re uniquely suited to solve some of the challenges emerging on the post-Covid horizon. One way to stay prepared? Candidates should practice their pitch to stay ahead of their nerves at the moment of the interview. Having some practice is always a good strategy to start off on the right foot.
Show off your technical skills. Let’s be honest: It’s virtually impossible to find a job that doesn’t require a technical component in some way. Having a solid set of technical skills is beneficial when pursuing almost any kind of job in the tech industry. However, candidates need to leverage their expertise even if they’re not specifically looking to work at a tech company. Johnson says, “Every company is a tech company nowadays, with most shifting to digital transformation and migrating to Cloud.” Candidates need to be ready to showcase their skills and demonstrate their facility to learn new ones.
Don’t forget about soft skills. Having a technical skillset is crucial, and so are soft skills! As businesses move to a work model that’s nearly completely online, candidates must show off their adaptability and resilience. Johnson cites agility and flexibility as must-haves in the current jobscape: “Being comfortable with change and embracing it is a critical characteristic to have in the corporate world today.”
Embrace your authentic self. Accenture aims to ensure employees can always speak openly and honestly about their experiences on the job—and that starts when the recruiting relationship begins. Johnson encourages candidates to be real and take the opportunity to seek and provide feedback that will be helpful for both sides. She says, “Working at Accenture involves an investment in you personally and professionally at a scale I’ve never seen anywhere else.”
Remember that recruitment is a two-way street. During the recruitment process, it can be easy for candidates to get stuck in the mindset that the interview is strictly an evaluative process. But truthfully, the recruitment conversation is the beginning of a relationship. Therefore, candidates shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and create an open dialogue in order to get matched with the perfect fit for everyone.
Don’t give up! It doesn’t always work out the first go-round, but that’s okay. Not landing the first job applied for can provide a critical learning opportunity. Now is the best time to reach out for feedback from a recruiter and get ready to try again when the next opportunity comes up. With a growing roster of Fortune 500s to service, Accenture is facing an ever-increasing need to expand the team. Candidates are always encouraged to apply when another opportunity becomes available.
Cultivate a growth mindset. During increasingly uncertain times, one of the most powerful tools a person can have is the ability to adopt a growth mindset. Johnson’s advice? “Always be willing to grow and learn. Even if you feel unsure or think you’re not naturally great at something, don’t let that stop you and don’t give up easily.” Doing so will create much more success on the job—and in life—and companies that are actively hiring love to see this.
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This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Accenture.