GM’s global IT staff is expected to expand by about 10,000 in the next three to five years as it brings 90 percent of its outsourced IT work back in house.
In addition to Austin, the company will establish three more “innovation centers” in as-yet-unnamed cities.
Hiring is already under way in Austin, where the company will add 500 IT jobs.
“We want to take location out of the equation,” said Cheri Ott, GM’s director of human resources for global information technology. “Where before we might have brought someone to Detroit, now we’re able to consider someone in the Austin area. We want to find the best talent in any of the technology spaces where we need people … by having these innovation centers across the United States. We want to make it desirable, regardless of where you live.”
The new jobs include software developers, project managers, database experts and business analysts. The positions range from those for the experienced – such as senior IT project manager, senior agile coach/scrum master and enterprise data warehouse senior Big Data integration developer – to the entry level.
Ott said interviews and campus recruiting have already begun, and new hires will begin work immediately.
If you plan to apply, GM’s interviewers will probe deeply into your experience, so come prepared with specific examples that will demonstrate your key strengths and accomplishments. “We’re looking for people who can articulate their experience and communicate clearly what they bring to the party,” Ott said.
Software developers, working in collaborative teams, will be creating enhanced tools to support GM’s global business, supporting areas such as manufacturing, product development or supply chain while using both traditional and agile development methods.
Advice on Landing a Job
To apply, Ott says you should start at its website and study each position’s specific requirements. Also spend time learning about GM as a company, because understanding its business is key.
“Beyond technical competencies, we’re looking for people who understand the business, who have leadership skills, competencies like problem-solving, decision-making and dealing with ambiguity, learning agility,” she said.
Once resumes are selected, recruiters do an initial phone screening, then hand them off to hiring managers. The managers also conduct a phone interview to get a sense of whether there’s a general fit before scheduling a face-to-face interview.
“We like to drill down into a candidate’s experience,” Ott explained. “How did you approach this situation? Why did you select this approach? What was the result? Not all outcomes are positive. We want to hear about your learning. What was the takeaway, the lessons learned? Lessons learned is a big thing with us because we want to have strong learning agility. A lot of these things are all about trial and error. To be able to look back, evaluate the pros and cons and take that learning to the next challenge, is what this is all about.”
“Having that continuous-learning mindset and being open to change and challenge, dealing with ambiguity, are key because things change,” she added.
Advice for Experienced Pros
Because the company allows a lot of cross-functional movement, GM offers opportunities for IT pros to build upon their previous experience or dive into new areas. “If you love working on an enterprise data warehouse, come on, because we’re building an enterprise data warehouse. If you have a lot of years in software development, perhaps you haven’t had the opportunity to develop software for the automotive industry.” In addition to your technical skills, the themes to emphasize are your desire to make a difference and your love of challenges.
Advice for New Grads
Ott describes GM’s effort as “one of the largest IT transformations you could be involved in.” Joining the company in one role doesn’t mean you’ll stay have to stay there. The start up of such a massive IT transformation provides myriad opportunities to add new experience, which is part of the company’s ongoing career development program.
Don’t worry about lack of experience. Any school experience, internships, maybe you managed a project in a fraternity — all of that counts. GM wants people who have initiative, a strong work ethic, a desire to make a difference, and wants to learn. Bring specific examples of what you’ve done. If you say you’re creative, for example, prepare a story of a specific time you demonstrated that.