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A Developer's Guide to Getting Hired

, 2 Oct 2012
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Jobs within the software industry come with even higher expectations than most. This increased scrutiny can be overcome but it requires additional attention.
Finding a job can be difficult, but getting hired comes with a different set of challenges. One suggestion recommends jumping into the process cold with the expectation of honing your interview skills over multiple interviews. Other job seekers pay money to be guided through mock interviews and receive professionally written resumes. Although these options may work, they aren't the most efficient use of time and money. Jobs within the software industry come with even higher expectations than most. This increased scrutiny can be overcome but it requires additional attention.

Building a Resume
  • Keep it short and to the point. Do not exceed two pages in length. Interviewers do not need a personal biography.
  • Refrain from building large sections that list out every software ever written. They do not provide proper context. Within each job/project define the technologies utilized. Interviewers look for these keywords to further explore.
  • Each job listed should tell a short story.
  • Refrain from providing excessive non-technical information. Prior jobs in fast food, retail, or any other non-technical environment are not necessary.
  • Do not lie about items on a resume. Good interviewers will sniff these out.
  • Ask individuals in the industry, friends if possible, to provide feedback on one's resume. Multiple mistakes in a resume are a red flag for employers.
  • Aside from a resume, build a visual portfolio. It can encompass screen shots of different software built or examples of coding. It's important to show pride in one's work.
  • Have the resume pre-saved in multiple formats including Microsoft Word and PDF.

Before the Interview
  • Review one's online footprint. See what Google, Bing, and Yahoo have to say. Attempt to clean things up where necessary.
  • Make a "dry run" to the interview location. This will eliminate getting lost on interview day.
  • Review previous job experience. Be comfortable discussing prior projects in detail. An interviewer is looking for competence when discussing prior positions.
  • Programmers aren't the most social bunch. Performing a mock interview with a friend can help point out area of weakness.
  • Try to clear one's mind of all assumptions, fears, and expectations.
  • Obtain the interviewer's contact information in case of any problems (car trouble, emergency, etc.)
  • Research the company and position. It's important to feel comfortable with the company and the requirements of the position.
  • Print out extra copies of one's resume and hand out. Also, bring a notepad and pen along.

During the Interview
  • If running late, call ahead and apologize for the inconvenience. Offer to reschedule if necessary.
  • Make eye contact at all times.
  • Pay attention to body language and posture. Avoid distracting movements.
  • Don't forget to smile. Showing positive emotion is good. Be an active listener and participant. Refrain from acting cocky/arrogant and avoid looking bored/disinterested.
  • Take as much time as needed to answer a question. Don't be too eager. A well thought out answer is better than a quick response.
  • It's OK to say "I don't know," but show a willingness to gain the necessary understanding.
  • Don't volunteer too much information. Be clear and concise. Avoid rambling by mentally time boxing responses. Too much personal information can also be dangerous.
  • Focus on what can and cannot be controlled during the interview.
  • Never discuss salary unless the interviewer initiates the conversation.
  • After the interview or during a break, write down unfamiliar subjects that were discussed. Research these topics and take steps to master them.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Zac Gery

United States United States
Software Developer, Mentor, Architect and UX/UI craftsman. Also, a psychology nut that loves curling.
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Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionBefore interviewing candidates Pinmemberednrg2-Oct-12 8:29 
It can’t be stressed enough: DO NOT LIE ON YOUR RESUME.
 
Before interviewing candidates I take the time to read the resume thoroughly. I highlight certain technologies, and make sure I ask about them in the interview. If you have a technology listed on your resume, you are guaranteed to be asked a few questions on that technology. I find 9 times out of 10, the resume is flooded with technologies that the candidate has no idea how to use.
 
That’s a guarantee that you will not get the position.
 
Also, don’t lie about what you actually worked on because it’s better than what you actually worked on. One candidate caught my eye because he worked for a large corporation, which happened to be my ex-employer. The funny thing was that he said he programmed an application that I wrote a year prior.
 
When we met, he stated that he did the whole SDLC on the app. When he started talking about it, he obviously knew some stuff about how it looked to the user. There was no doubt he had seen it. He said he had been working on it for 2 years. That’s funny, I never saw him. Our times overlapped by over a year. His entire attitude changed when I dropped the bomb that I worked for the manager that he said he worked for, and that I wrote the entire project.
 
As you can guess, he didn’t get the position. It was just his luck that he ran into the person that worked on the project. He probably had another interview and said he wrote it, and got the job. Who knows.
GeneralRe: Before interviewing candidates PinmemberVictoria TO15-Apr-14 2:36 
QuestionAsk for the job Pinmemberednrg2-Oct-12 8:14 
QuestionIf running late..... Pinmemberednrg2-Oct-12 8:11 

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