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Job searching as a less-than-ideal candidate

I was wondering if anyone out there has any tips, either as a job searcher or as an employer, for someone who Joel would probably describe as "smart but doesn't get things done".

That's not really an accurate description, but that's definitely the picture that one might see when looking at my resume.  I'm a year out of college with a 2.5 GPA in my computer science major at a good, but not namedroppingly good school.  I have some good history on there, including basic J2EE and .NET experience, but nothing that I feel would make me stand out in particular.  As far as I've been told, I have above-average personal skills, and I come across as knowledgeable, but I'm not really sure how I should go about getting my foot in the interview (or something like that) in the first place.

Could anyone suggest ways of making myself appear more marketable?

Full Name: Required
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Lie on your resume & interview.

You'll notice people often say things like "never lie on you resume & interview, THEY'LL FIND OUT!" but keep in mind the people telling you that are THEY....  Just trying to scare you.  In reality, hardly anyone ever checks into this shit and even if you get called on it, it doesn't matter unless you're at the director level or higher.  They aren't going to bother trying to blacklist some coder just out of college.

LIE, LIE, LIE.

I'm telling you man, its the way to go.

Mr. Fancypants
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

To be blunt, the IT job market is still tight.  You have to network.  You'll probably have to use a recruiter and take some jobs that you don't like to get experience and even that might not work.  If you have a security clearance you may be able to get a job with the government.  It is very difficult getting a job in software development.  Extremely difficult especially right out of school.  IT budgets cut, software companies running lean.  Be sure to customize your resume.  You might be able to start your own business.  I started my own 'Computer fix-it code-it remove-the-spyware' business.  I charge $35 an hour for removing spyware, $75 an hour for consulting.  I make $50k a year.  People are ignorant.  Play on it.  (Have some fun and make 'em sweat when you find porn on their HD.)

The problem now is that all of the people who signed up 4 years ago to CS programs when the market was hot are graduating and expecting high paying jobs to be waiting.  The fact is those jobs really aren't there (save the government contracts which require security clearance).

It takes a lot of time.  A lot of patience.  A lot of people work (i.e. networking).  Don't get your hopes up but don't give up.

Also looking for coding work
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Another problem is the huge influx of candidates from the previous 4 years and of course those candidates that were laid off during the recession who had experience.  All of this adds up to bad news for guys like you and me who have hopes of getting a job out of school.

Now that CS enrollments are down to somewhat normal levels all of this should level out.

If you're in the Midwest you may consider moving to the East or West Cost or perhaps the south where there seem to be more software companies.

Also looking for coding work
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Really, if I were you guys, I would look at the bigger picture. You guys and tens of thousands more have been set up.

New graduates are not "expecting high paying jobs to be waiting." They're mostly looking for any jobs and they're aware those jobs are not waiting at all. Why do you use the language of the people who set you up?

Ring your bloody politicians and complain you idiots.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Before the inevitable "lying on your resume" debate kicks in, let me suggest that your resume doesn't have to be as bad as you think, and can still be truthful.

Have a low GPA?  Don't put it on there.  Just put the school and what degree you received.  I've never put a GPA on a resume, and I've never been asked about it.  I really don't think anyone cares.  Maybe I just haven't worked for picky enough companies, but the paycheck spends the same, so look for companies that aren't picky.  As for the school you went to, there are plenty of people with great jobs who didn't go to Harvard or Yale.  Just don't sweat it.  For every hiring manager or HR screener who won't consider candidates just because they went to an average state university, there are bound to be plenty who will.

As far as the positives on your resume, make them count.  You say, "I have some good history on there, including basic J2EE and .NET experience, but nothing that I feel would make me stand out in particular."  Why not? Re-write those sections to emphasize what *was* impressive about those experiences.  How did your efforts make a difference?  Did you do a project at school that someone ended up using, adopting or learning from?  How about contributions to other projects such as open source?  When someone reads the experience section on a resume, they don't care about job titles or the boilerplate job description of what you did on previous projects.  They want to know how you changed things for the better.  Figure out a way to convey that message in your resume, and you'll do fine.

If that fails, consider setting your sites lower.  Get a support job, then bust ass making a difference.  Take it upon yourself to solve the little problems that everyone else has learned to live with.  Write small utilities to  make someone's job easier or automate common tasks.  If it's not a totally Dilbert company, you'll get noticed and get better opportunities.  If it is, keep adding your efforts to your resume, and someone else will notice.

Good luck.

MacSqueeb
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I think in this market you gotta build up your experience and skills, or you will lose out to those laid off with more experience.  Show off and improve your skills by putting up a web app from your home.  Create a freeware WinForm app.  Get certification from MS or Sun, etc (although this is not as valuable in marketplace as job experience).  Bid on jobs on RentACoder.com -- though I say this with reservation because if you are fairly new to the field you may have trouble with the business side of it, e.g. overpromising.

If you want to track towards the Windows/.NET side, consider moving closer to Redmond.

Brad
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

You went to an okay school. You got okay grades. You don't really know anyone in the industry who can get you an 'in' at a company (I'm assuming). Repeat after me:

Do you want fries with that?

Not
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I dropped out of high school and I just got a promotion to a more senior programming position at an excellent organization and a raise.

Just thought I'd mention.

Oh yeah and before I got hired here, I knew absolutely nobody.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Maybe it's true that IT attracts morons.

> If that fails, consider setting your sites lower. Get a support job, then bust ass making a difference.  Take it upon yourself to solve the little problems that everyone else has learned to live with...

Try prostitution too.


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

go to BORDERs once a month.  Spend $50 on a book for whatever the currently hot technology is.  Spend 3 weeks learning it.  Buy another book.

lather, rinse, repeat, keep applying to jobs.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

If your concern is that you *look* like a "doesn't get things done" type, how about developing a program.

Worked for me.  (I didn't realize it at the time, but I"m sure it was impressive that I went from zero to having developed 3 apps in VB 3 in about 6 months.)

As someone once told me "lots of people can write code, few can develop [entire] applications [soup to nuts]"


And if you can't develop an entire app, then perhaps you're right and you should look for work that makes more use of your people skills and less use of your programming skills.

I can say that, as an employer, I care  a LOT more about how well you can LEARN and THINK and problem-solve than I do about your GPA.

Mr. Analogy
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I'd say that your GPA is a pretty good metric of how well you can learn, think, and problem solve.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

How well do you interact with people? Can you establish a rapport quickly and have the other person gushing about their life? If you can relate well to people, then get out of the paper shuffle and start meeting people.

I spent this week at an IT convention - manymany small and midsize companies there. Often the CEO was in attendance. They love their products and love to talk about them. And lots of them are looking for good people.

I think it would be worth the admission fee to get into one of those and spend a few days getting around to meet people.

Do NOT take a resume. Take business cards. Go around and talk to the vendors. If they ask why you're there, tell them you're just interested in seeing what's out there (which should be true enough). If you can get to the "you know, we're looking for..." then trade business cards and email a resume that night.

Be a little picky. Learn what the company does, and see if the business resonates with you. Unless you're about to be evicted, then trying to weasel into a place you don't believe in is just a recipe for misery.

Best of luck!

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I am a 21 year old with no high school diploma (I didn't drop out, I just wasn't allowed to graduate due to an 'incident'), not a single day in college.

My first job was doing online tech support for $10/hr when I was 15 for HyperMart, back when it was free and cool. 

Currently, I make $60,000 a year writing VB6 code as an IC in a long term position at a major car airline. I'll give you a hint: it's not a "foreign" airline.

I have never, ever not lied to a company to get a job.  I always elude to HS graduation, I always list "part time" college experience.

It's a very rare company that treats it's employees with full propriety.  Why then do employees owe it to the company?

F*^( 'em and do what you need to do to get ahead.

The people in here who think it's so damn hard to get work and this and that are just being foolish.  They're the people who wait in line at a lane closure while you ride it to the last possible minute and cut in.  People like them are important for you, but you need to be agressive if you want to actually get somewhere.  You don't "make it" by waiting in line. 

To put this in a much classier way: (to paraphrase) act like you have faith and faith shall be given.

Shawn Hunter
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

While I don't agree with the cutting people off thing ;), my experience is very similiar to Shawn's.  While I never claim college experience, I do pad the resume a bit.  The reason being that HR departments make it very difficult to get your resume in front of someone who is actually qualified to evaluate it.

This is a necessary evil:  If the hiring manager had to evaluate the resume of every applicant for an IT position, he'd be overwhelmed.  But the side effect is that you need to do whatever you can to get past that HR person.  I like to think of them as the goalie.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Wednesday, June 23, 2004


> The reason being that HR departments make it very difficult to get your resume in front of someone who is actually qualified to evaluate it.

Are the HR people at Microsoft also like that?

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

"Maybe it's true that IT attracts morons."

Self-fulfilling prophecy.

Clay Whipkey
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I'm telling you, just lie.

The reason all these people are telling you not to lie is because if you buy into their bullshit you're at a disadvantage to them because they lie.  They lie like motherfuckers.

And so should you.

Everyone does it.

Mr Fancypants
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

This shit comes around all the time, just what the hell is wrong with all these graduates?  They always seem to ignore the blindingly obvious, maybe they don't deserve a job.

You wan't to be a programmer?  Then fucking well PROGRAM something.  Prove to employers that you CAN DO even if you don't have the grades.  Personally I'd much rather hire someone with no qualifications but shows some intelligence and enthusiasm than someone that cheated to pass college (like the vast majority of graduates).

That is how I did it straight out of college and I had a job almost straight away, while all the cheaters moped about for months waiting for someone to throw them a bone.

grow a pair
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

i'm 21, and make around 45hk part time doing contract programming  Situation similar to shawns (although I managed to squeek by and graduate hs).  Don't lie on your resume.  Cause if you do, someone like me will be doing interviews.  5 Months ago I was to help out hiring two additional J2EE guys on a project.  I didn't have hire power, but I did the phone interviews and resume screening.  Man, I tore into all the idiots that lied on their resume and I let them embarrass themselves.  I'm not a jerk, I would just ask "please explain polymorphism".  "Oh, you've never worked with that?  It says here you did 6 years Java and have a masters in CS..."  It really ruins your credibility when your caught in a lie during an interview.  Be honest, and for the stuff your good at, go ahead an puff your chest out.  Good luck.

vince
Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Philo has the best advice here, with MrFancyPants as a runner up. Up your game to the next level. Resume says "I need a job," but Business Card says "I'm somebody, and you should come to me."

First of all, YOU FUCKING ROCK. Nobody can compete with you, you're the best in your field and don't let anybody tell you different. If it wasn't for you, your professor probably wouldn't have been able to teach his courses because you are the one who kept him up to date on the latest technologies. (Or something to that effect).

Lose the self defeating attitude, this self-effacing "I hate myself, but I'll disguise it as fact" attitude won't win you any races.

Second, learn how to dress, walk, talk, and think like a master pimp. If you had to choose between Pierce Brosnon (James Bond) and Dudley Moore (Arthur) who would you choose? Very good, now buy all his clothes, master his smirk, and get his haircut. It might help with the ladies too.

Think of it this way: What is your advertising budget for finding a new job? What percentage should be spent on clothing, what percentage on resumes, what percentage on.. you get the idea. Where are your efforts best spent? Talk to other people who have jobs & find out how they got them. Call up HR directors & tell them you want to interview them. Tell them it's for Human Resources Monthly. Take them to a fancy restaurant & interview THEM for a change.

If you don't have the guts to do this, what makes you think you'll do well during the interview process?

Here are some more tips:

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=151070

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, June 24, 2004

When you go to an interview, ask the interviewer if you can use the office phone to make a call afterwards, because you have to give a decision to Google.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

What's a GPA?

Ian H.
Thursday, June 24, 2004

It is the Green Pig Alliance, a terrorist group whose aim is world domination for green pigs. Not too many members as yet, strangely.

I could by lying. It could mean Grade Point Average.
Thursday, June 24, 2004

MarkTaw is right. You have to remember that you rock, above all else. Not be cocky, but confidence will when you over. And you have to have experience in something. Here in Charlotte recruiters will fall all over you if you have any experience with Struts or Swing (if Java is your thing) or if you have web services or c# (if Java's not).

As for me, high-school drop out but grew up working on Satellite dishes and towers and technology. When I wasn't working I was building either programs or web sites. I'm 25 now making mid-80's and looking to start college in the fall. You can do it (without lying) as long as you have experience and, above all, know you can do it.

Think about it from this perspective. You say you have Java experience, right? Ok, say you need to implement a solution that uses a linked list. You can probably think of the code you would use to do that. Well guess what, in C# or VB.NET or Cold Fusion, or whatever a linked list is the same thing and uses the same concepts, just different syntax. Yes, some languages may provide implementations for you, but if you can think of solving problems by the concepts you would use, instead of the code, you will go far indeed.

anon for now
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Ta ;-)

Whilst on the subject of USA qualifications, what does "Majoring" in a subject mean?

Ian H.
Thursday, June 24, 2004

"Majoring" is the specialty in which you did (or are progressing towards) your degree.  Computer Science degree = Majored in Computer Science and graduated.

GPA = Grade Point Average.  Typically, A=4 points, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0 and they average out all your courses to determine your overall GPA.

NoName
Thursday, June 24, 2004

All of the people who are saying, 'Yea I'm a high school drop out and I got a job making $XXk/year' are:

1. Telling some kind of white lies in their posts and are basically full of shit.
2. Got their jobs when the gettin' was good.  During the boom that is.
3. Now they have the experience to show for it.

This is unlike a recent college grad, who has to deal with a TOUGH job market for entry level programmers.

I do second the advice by Philo and MarkTAW.  You may also have to move in order to get a programming position.

Also looking for work
Thursday, June 24, 2004

+++Also looking for work +++

I'm sorry, but you're bitter.

I am a high school dropout.  I'm making 60K/year in an excellent organization and I have a raise coming.  I got this job 4 months ago, with the IT market a shambles, after going 6 months with no work at all.  I had to cash out my retirement.

It all comes down to being tenacious and selling yourself like a fiend.  If you show confidence (but also candor, ie, you admit when you don't know something, but assert that you know right where to go for the information) you'll eventually land something.

I'm sorry but you're incorrect on every last one of your points.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Well.. I do admit that I had prior (1.5 years) programming experience, but this pretty much equates to a CS degree in a hiring manager's mind.  So I'd call that even ground.

I go to Border's once a month and drop $50 on a new book, which I read from cover to cover and learn inside and out.  This is not difficult if you make time for it and actually follow the exercises in the book.  I've found both O'Reilly and Wrox to be excellent (with a few lemons on both sides).

Yes, now I've got some experience to put on a resume, but my 2-4 years experience pretty much stacks up to a CSS degree with a decent GPA at a decent school.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Thursday, June 24, 2004

I was Valedictorian in HS, flunked out of a top school the first year, then went to community college & local Univ.  I didn't do too well at local univ, dropping a lot of classes, and currently have a 1.10 GPA.

I'm doing better now, getting a 4.0 since I got married.  My adjusted GPA will probably be around a 3.5.  But my overall GPA will be *much* lower.

I've never been unemployed for a period longer than 2 months.  I'm currently making 55k, and the boss just gave me a 4% raise starting next month.  I started a business on the side, and its pulling in about 1500/month. 

Of course, I never put my GPA on my transcripts.  I've never been asked.  Has never affected my ability to get a job.  If someone asks me what my GPA is in an interview, I'd tell them, but then I'd explain why I had to drop so many classes, etc.  Then quickly change the subject to what I *did* accomplish.  But like I said, I've never been asked.  :)

someone
Thursday, June 24, 2004

"Of course, I never put my GPA on my transcripts." should be Of course, I never put my GPA on my resume."  Sorry.

someone
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Muppet.

I am not bitter.  You are a liar/bullshitter through and through though and I would never hire you simply because I can see right through it.

4 months ago the IT job market was not a shambles.

Your post doesn't add up.  You say that you had 1.5 years of experience then got a job 4 months ago.  Then you claim to have 2 - 4 years of experience?

Where do you live?  Depending on where you live it is easier to get a job.

Don't get me wrong, I could give a shit less about you but I can just tell that you are full of shit.  You may call it selling yourself but I would never in a million years hire someone like you.  I know your type.  You play on ignorant people.  You're good at manipulating people.  I can spot you a mile away.

I don't care where you went to buy your books.  In my book you ain't nothin but a no good lieing piece of shit.

From now on, on this board that is what you will be labeled.

Also looking for work
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Also looking for work,

In my case, you are pretty close. When I first began working on computer projects, I had no real right to be, something I realize now. I did everything trial-by-fire, which is a really bad way to do it. But back then, you could get a 90k-year job by mentioning that you knew what HTML was.

I was fortunate enough to build my skills and get a job for 3 years where I ended up running a large inter and intranet site for a government agency. I got to go to a lot of training, got to speak to a lot of well-respected individuals, and learned that I didn't really know what I was doing.

I ended up with quite a bit of experience, and have spent a lot of time (and money) at Borders and Safari with books like "Data Structures and Algorithms." I love technology and learning concepts and theory behind it.

But, I know that my ultimate goal is to have a PhD in either CS, CE or EE. I am beginning a BS in the fall for a CS with heavy concentration on CE.

I'm not a fool. In any subject area you need a degree to move forward unless you write your own or are someone like Richard Stallman who can walk in off the street to the MIT AI Lab.

So yes, in my case I was able to get in on the technology craze nearly 7 years ago, and stuck with it, which enabled me to get the positions I am at today. But I've been successful because I've hungered for more, which includes wanting to get to a program and go for it all the way.

As for the OP - the other suggestions are good. Don't put your GPA on your resume. Do highlight the accomplishments and technologies you have worked with. Do be confident in your interviews. Don't be afraid to follow up (though don't be obsessed either). Don't burn your bridges - the last position I was at wanted 3 supervisory and 2 peer recommendations.

And good luck!

anon for now
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Trial-by-fire, as anon says.

Bitter, you're right, I mis..err..typed.

I've got around 1.5 years of pseudo-professional experience from my last job, where I was technically a help desk guy but did perl tool development in an unofficial capacity.

As a hobby programmer, I have about 4 years experience in Perl, two in VB, 1 in C++, and less than a year in C# and Java.

If you want to believe that I'm a liar, if that helps you sleep, that's fine.  Ask yourself, what would my motivation for deception be, in this case?  I'm sorry that you can't find work, but I did.

Yes, the IT market WAS a shambles 4 months ago.  It's a shambles now.  I live in CT where it's nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find good IT work without 8 years of experience in X.  I don't have 8 years of experience in X.  If you want my opinion, I got lucky.  I also dressed the part, walked the walk, talked the talk.

I conversed intelligently with interviewers on the subjects I'm familiar with, and admitted a lack of experience where I wasn't so familiar.  They seemed to appreciate this.

I can assure you that I have no college degree, a GED, and nothing but self-training when it comes to programming, and I'm doing just fine with a 60K salary.

If you don't believe me, it's no skin off my nose.  As for declaring that I will be branded a liar on this board, well, that's fairly presumptious of you to speak for everyone here, don't you think?

Again, what in the world would my motivation for lying be?

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Also, you got quite a thorough analysis of my character from a two paragraph (less, really) post of mine, in which I made one semantic error (I failed to elaborate fully on my experience).  You must be some sort of genius to be able to know someone so intimately based upon a half dozen sentences.

Moron.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Suggestions.

1.  Go to job fairs.  While they are exhausting, at the very least you have LOTS of interviews.  And some companies actually have the hiring manager there -- he is the one you really want to talk with.

Find out their needs.  What are they looking for?  What skill sets are valuable?  Yes, it can be depressing, as you talk to 25 people who probably won't hire you.  But you learn an awful lot about what they consider important.  And one out of ten DO want to hire you, if only they know who you are and what you can do.

Then you can take a few classes at a community college in the latest buzz-word, do a project or two, and suddenly you have the skill they are looking for.  That's in addition to the 4-year degree and perspective you already have.  Plus THIS time you are highly motivated and focussed.

2.  Join the Navy.  They'll train the heck out of you.  You'll get management training and experience.  In 4 years, you'll know for sure you never want to do THAT again, but you'll have lessons and experience for a lifetime.  Or, in 20 years you can retire with half-pay, and then apply all that mangement expertise in a second career.

Plus, in the Navy, even if we do go to war, they shoot at your boat, not at you.

AllanL5
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Oh, yes, and 'Smart but doesn't get things done' is the kiss of death.  You must learn to get things done.  Maybe you couldn't do this in college (lack of motivation, focus, goals, whatever).

In this world, people pay for completed work.  Maybe not perfect work, maybe work done too slowly, but completed.

AllanL5
Thursday, June 24, 2004

This person needs an advice or what!
It seems you have attitude problem, my friend.

Anon.
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Keep in mind that when I say lie, I mean lie well.

All of these people who are so convinced they can "smell your bullshit" make me laugh because in many cases they can't. 

Of course, there must be some core of truth in your lies.  For example, don't say you're a C++ expert if you can't answer intermediate C++ questions.  That's just STUPID. 

But *do* lie and say you have professional experience in x, y and z if really you've just played around with it in your spare time.  That's a good lie because people like to hear about "pro experience", not hobby stuff, but of course you want to make sure you know what you're talking about and can answer their tech questions on the subject.

Ditto with GPAs. I actually had a really good GPA out of school but I know plenty of people whose GPA didn't accurately reflect their knowledge or abilities.  If that is the case with you, lie like a motherfucker. 

Lying is your friend.

Mr. Fancypants
Thursday, June 24, 2004

These days, the biggest risk in the Navy is spilling scalding coffee when the ship heels over, and even that's not a problem in a big ship. (Aviators excepted; they do risk drowning or burning in crashes.)


Thursday, June 24, 2004

After years of frustration and disappointment in this industry while providing unappreciated superior results, I got a contractors license and now I do kitchen and bathroom remodellings. I'm pulling in $250k and I have other people do all the hard work. Why I wasted time in the industry is beyond me.

Plumbing and electricity are similar concepts anyway and putting together innovative cutting edge kitchens and bathrooms is a blash from a user-interface design perspective.

Also, the customers are always thrilled. They especially love things like auto-flushing toilets and automatic sink valves. You'd think I was thomas edison or something the way they go crazy over this 'futuristic' hardware.

Get out of tech is my advice. You'll be happier, work less hours and make a lot more money.

Happy Contractor
Thursday, June 24, 2004

I'd love to pull something off like that but I have all the business sense of a potato.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Thursday, June 24, 2004

I have good business sense, but I can barely hammer a nail in straight. Love working with my hands though. I mean... I ROCK I'M THE BEST CARPENTER THAT EVER LIVED. HIRE ME NOW OR YOU'LL REGRET IT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. I'M GOING TO THE CARPENTER HALL OF FAME. HECK, I'LL BUILD THE DAMNED THING TOO.

ok just kidding.

www.MarkTAW.com
Thursday, June 24, 2004

Don't lie.  Maybe a big company won't catch you, and for what they're looking for that may be ok.  I, and most of the other small businesses owners I know, WILL catch you.  We'll tell our friends and not keep you "on my list" for when we do have a position that you might fit ...

BTW, at the last large company I worked for you might have made it past screeners, but you still had to go through me to work on my team. 

I might also add that, in the event that you do get a position by lying and are later discovered, that is grounds for immediate (I mean goose step to the door) termination.  Try to get hired after that.

<sigh/>
Friday, June 25, 2004

On lying:
Every company I've ever worked for (in 12+ years) has lied to me at interview.
eg. My last 2 jobs, I've been interviewed as, and hired as a C++/C# programmer, but have been assigned to purely VB6 projects.

Other common lies include training promises that never materialise. Statements that 'we won't expect you to travel' followed by being sent to Timbuktu for 6 months. 'We offer a technical career path' that doesn't  actuality exist at all.

Also, I'd love to know exactly how 'they' will find out your lack of genuine experience. Most managers are totally clueless as to what it is that developers actualy do. Nod your head and smile at the correct times, accept the ineptness of those above you and I guarantee that in 90% of companies, nobody will notice a thing.

Mantissa
Friday, June 25, 2004

So, because the company lied to you, it's ok for you to lie to next employer?  I find that argument lacking.  I am, frankly, dismayed that the industry sampling represented here is so ethically bankrupt.

<sigh/>
Friday, June 25, 2004

99.9% of companies are ethically bankrupt.  It's what happens when a company answers to shareholders before customers.

That said, I never really lie to anybody to get a job.  Sometimes I claim more professional experience than I have, in order to be taken seriously.  Most employers don't give much credence to self-trained programmers.  Just because I learned largely at home from texts doesn't mean I'm incompetent or that I don't understand proper development life cycle practices.

muppet from forums.madebymonkeys.net
Friday, June 25, 2004

Thanks for your tips, everyone.  For the record: though it may or may not be a good idea I intend to do as little lying and deceiving as possible in this process.  I'm a terrible liar, and the above-average people skills I mentioned don't include appearing calm and confident when I'm confronted on a mistruth.  Plus, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to do it.

Happy Contractor: Good advice.  I'll probably be sticking with tech for at least the near future, but I might end up abandoning it in a fit of angsty disillusionment a few years down the line.  Maybe I'll take that anonymous tip and see what I can earn with this booty.

Muppet: I have trouble sympathizing with your cynicism, but you made (among others) a good point: my last job was a miserable mess because they told me I'd be doing one thing and I ended up a billion miles from anything resembling that one thing.  Maybe I'll post a followup JoS question on how to filter for jobs that are accurately presented on the job description or during the interview.

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Friday, June 25, 2004

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