The Interview: What is IBM Looking For?

By Gary Markell

InterviewIBMHave you ever considered being an IBMer? What type of people and background profiles are attractive to IBM hiring managers?  Do I fit the IBM culture? What do I need to do to become a viable applicant?

The IBM People

IBM’s reputation for having an exceptional culture spans decades. I always ask each applicant when screening them for a role, why they are attracted to IBM? Candidates most-often respond specifically regarding our reputation in the global market. They speak of the IBM professionalism, the IBM culture, our people, our position within the global consulting community, our advanced technologies and our innovative approach to meeting business and technology needs.  Most frequently, they have worked alongside an IBMer, have a friend working at IBM, or often times a relative who is an IBMer. In almost every case they say that IBM employees stand out as being the “Cream of the Crop”, “Highly Professional”, “Technically Advanced”, and “Exceptional Leaders”.  Having the positive reputation for a favored culture does not happen by chance. It happens by intentional thinking and intentional actions.

Beyond the Resume

Our culture has the positive reputation for being able to stand out against the competition for a couple of reasons.

1) It starts with who we hire. We respond to applicants based upon resumes that fit the job of course, but we do not stop at the resume.  We also seek out the soft skills and the behavioral profile. Our culture is important to us and maintaining the reputation for being “One of the top companies to work for” is paramount.  More than often people say, “IBM is the number one company on my wish list”.  We also hire based upon interviewing using “behavior based interviewing” style.  All recruiters and interviewers at IBM are certified with the “Interviewing the IBM Way” course.  We look for the right attitude, motives, and behavior patterns combined with skills and experiences candidates possess within their technical and functional landscape.

2) We continuously train our employees. IBM believes in advancing our employees both from a technology base, and also from a culture standpoint.  When I first came to IBM, I remember being told to always be positive toward IBM associates. “If another IBMer has a question or needs help, take the time to help them out. We are a family here.”  I loved that statement.

What About You?

If you have a positive approach regarding interacting with people, if you are passionate about your work, embrace learning, have a willingness to mentor and train others, are unselfish regarding sharing the credit, and if you embrace innovation, then you have more of what we are looking for than you may realize. Although it is important, we are not simply watching for the resume that fits. We are also very interested in the whole package and how you think and interact with people matters significantly to us.

Once on-board you will find that training and development are common focal points.  IBM creates a win/win scenario making the best of our resources and existing talent to train, mentor and grow your career. A company is only as good as its people. It is crucial for you to be with a company which is proactive and deliberate regarding growing and advancing your career, and it is just as beneficial for IBM as we invest in you in order to grow you as an IBMer.

Getting Started

We require all applicants to complete the on-line job application. Not to be confused with the employment application which comes later, the job application will take about 10 minutes.  There will be some “Basic Requirements”, and some “Preferred Experience” to answer on the application, including technical, functional experience, and education. Once this is completed successfully, you are considered an applicant.  A recruiter assigned to the requisition will review your application, and your resume. The recruiter will then contact those candidates that best meet the requirements set by the Hiring or Practice Manager.

Where do I register and apply?

We have thousands of open positions all over the globe with some positions working remotely, many traveling during part of all week, and some that you may need to relocate. My best advice to you would be to register on-line and search for a position that would best fit your background and experience.  Once you have found positions that fit you can apply to those within the career portal.

The First Step: Register and then Apply On-line. 

Note: If you do not have an IBM career center account, please register at the IBM.com career center prior to applying to any position.  You can do so at this link.


About the Author

gary-markellGary Markell is a senior recruiter with IBM working within GBS, Global Business Services division. With over 20 years experience starting his recruiting career in 1993, Gary Markell has been a full life cycle recruiter, Account Manager, Director of financial Services Recruiting, and in past owned his own recruiting agency for over six years. Gary Markell has served as trainer, mentor many times. Father of eight, he resides in Southeast Michigan with his wife Cristita and three youngest children, C.J., Anna and Timothy. He is active in church, as part of the choir and worship team, and has served in mission work in his past. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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