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Tips from a Former Microsoft, Apple, & Google Software Engineer
Technical Interviews: They’re not about what you say, but how you get there!
Who better to take advice regarding technical interviews and hiring procedures from than Gayle Laakmann McDowell, who:
Attitude > Aptitude
It only takes one employee with a bad attitude to negatively affect the rest.
With the recent influx of entry-level candidates (Congratulations to the Class of 2013!) eager to enter the workforce, it’s no surprise that the “attitude versus aptitude” debate has been trending recently in the staffing / recruitment and human resources sectors. The consensus? Attitude trumps aptitude.
In a survey conducted by U.K. staffing consultant group Reed, 99 percent of the 1,000 employers polled stated they’d hire a candidate who lacked experience but displayed a positive attitude over one with the ideal skill set but a negative mindset. In addition, two-thirds of those surveyed revealed that if they had to reduce their workforce, they’d rather lay-off the latter. Why?
It’s easier to teach someone new technologies than a new attitude.
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Quality over Quantity
What an unfocused job search looks like. When you apply to everything, you won’t really get anything.
Some job seekers believe that the more applications they send out, the more results they’ll receive. Then, they’re disillusioned when they don’t get any calls to schedule an interview. “What did I do wrong,” they ask, “I should have heard back from someone.”
Such job seekers unfortunately learned the hard way, at the expense of time and money (Hey, nice resume paper ain’t cheap!), that quantity often comes at the expense of quality.
(In a Workplace & From Their Employers)
Seven years ago, Joel Spolsky, former Microsoft program manager (on the Excel team) and co-founder of Fog Creek Software and Stack Exchange, published “A Field Guide to Developers” on his weblog Joel on Software.
Have workplace expectations changed in the past seven years? I am interested to hear your thoughts regarding his opinions, some of which contradict aspects of today’s software development culture. I’ve summarized Spolsky’s perspective on what attracts the best technical talent below:
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How to Rock the Phone Interview
Properly prepare for your phone interview, and you’ll hang up smiling!
Unfortunately, that perfect resume of yours only gets your foot in the door. You have to first push past the phone interview if you hope to get to that dream job on the other side.
Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle.
The interviewer’s goal during the initial phone screen is to determine whether or not you could be whom the company is looking for. Usually, it’s a human resources representative or a recruiter, armed with a basic profile of the ideal candidate for the position (constructed from what the hiring manager has told him or her about the company culture and the job requirements), who conducts this interview.
Cultural Fit Comes Out on Top
When culture and experience clash, the employee and the company may both lose.
When researchers Dokko, Wilk, and Rothbard examined how prior work experience predicts and affects future job performance, a senior human resource manager told them, “We tried to hire from our competitors and paid a premium for the experience but [those hires] were the least successful.”
Dokko et. al observed that culture varied so vastly across companies and that some of the most experienced hires seemed to require retraining to complete previously mastered tasks. In fact, poor cultural fit appeared to completely eliminate all the good that came from having the ideal skill set to fulfill the job requirements. It seems then, that no matter how technically capable you are, if you’re not comfortable in your work environment, you won’t thrive.
(And Get That Storybook Ending)
Picture this. You decide to embark on a mission to find your next job opportunity. Uncertain of where to begin, you search online for help.
However, you soon realize that with the plethora of information readily available at your fingertips comes an abundance of contradicting, and sometimes outdated, opinions (Google “two page resume” and you’ll see what I mean!).
Confused as to whom to listen to, you turn to your trusty job-search sidekick, CareerJuice (That’s me!), for suggestions.
Recent headlines from the human resources and the health, wellness, & fitness sectors reflect a renewed focus on the connection between employee health and workplace productivity, absenteeism (i.e., unscheduled and habitual or excessive absence from work), and presenteeism (i.e., the act of coming to work despite illness, injury, or anxiety, and not performing optimally).
Specifically, in the face of rapidly escalating health insurance premiums and healthcare expenditures, employers are reevaluating health benefits coverage as a worthwhile cost-reduction opportunity.
Details can make the Difference on Your Resume & Cover Letter
You could be everything a hiring manager is looking for, but if you neglect to review and revise your resume and cover letter before you submit it, you may be giving your potential employer a reason to take you out of their candidate pool.
Hiring managers base their initial impression of who you are and would be as an employee on your resume and cover letter. An application laden with typographical and grammatical errors suggests that you lack attention to detail and professionalism, which consequently increases the likelihood that you won’t be considered a viable candidate for the position. The following is a list of the five most common, non-content mistakes that I’ve come across on technical resumes and cover letters:
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A Rebus puzzle. Solution: Product over Revenue.
Those of you who know that Fast Company released its annual list of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (MICs)” in March may be questioning why I’m writing about it now, two months later. However, I believe that reflecting on what this year’s MICs had in common, in the midst of Q2, may help some business owners see improvement in the second half of the fiscal year.