How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 8: PHONE INTERVIEW

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice. It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet. It will contain many grammar mistakes. Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.

It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as a software developer”.

PHONE INTERVIEW

I hate talk over the phone. It is a most annoying way of communication for me. This is a reason, why it is always a big challenge for me to have a phone interview. Phone interview usually takes 20-75 minutes, so plan each for 90 minutes.

What is worth to remember:
  1. The company has a very limited amount of time to read your CV, so don’t feel offended, if they ask a question about things that you wrote in your CV. Actually, it is a good thing as you can add useful information about your experience that is relevant to a position that You are applying for, but you omitted in your CV.
  2. If an interview is not in your native language then I suggest … a bit of practice with answering typical questions and practice name of common technologies.
  3. Practice pronunciation (I still remember my embarrassment during the interview with the developer, who didn’t disconnect after my few attempts to pronounce “Atlassian” :).
  4. FIND a very QUIET place to talk. I actually have done one interview in noisy Costa coffee and my interview ended in 2 minutes! I guess you must be shocked to read that I haven’t been invited to next stage.
  5. FIND s place, where is a good range coverage.
  6. Don’t do a few phone interview one after another.  Ensure you have at least 45 minutes break between interviews. It is very stressful when during the phone interview to get a call from another company. It will increase the chance to messed up both phone interviews.
In my opinion phone interview helps you to figure out chemistry with people from the company. It helps the company to find are you the right fit for them before they invest time in other stages of the interview that are time-consuming.
For example, Travel Corp. rejected me as I didn’t have experience with working in the corporation. Some phone interviews gave me enough information that company didn’t suit me due for example during long working hours or using waterfall methodology. It can save your and company time. I believe doing the technical interview over the phone is a waste of time.

SUMMARY

  • Find a QUIET place to talk.
  • It must in place when you have GOOD phone range!
  • Practice PRONUNCIATION… before the interview (to avoid embarrassment).
  • THINK, before you answer! After a question, think about the question and then answer.
  • When you talk about skills REMEMBER to match with experience and vice versa.
  • Do not laugh, if somebody has a funny accent or behave weirdly.
  • It is a great opportunity for a phone interview to link skills in bullet points in your CV with experience.
  • Have a bottle of still spring water with you.
  • Don’t do phones interview marathon
Phone screening (optional)
If you have a limited amount of time for face to face interviews or you live far away from company location, then I suggest asking for a phone screening if they don’t have phone interview as the first stage. What is it? It is like an informal phone interview where you can find information about a role (and place) is suitable for you or not. What question for ask? Everything that u want and to know what company (In my cases, it was asking a question from COMPANY’S JOB SPECIFICATION section, plus I asked details about the role and required skills in details.
Phone Screening is a good technique to ensure that job is worth to apply and a great way to figure out is company for you and is it worth investing your time in the interview.
A little warning. Some companies refuse phone screening due to various reasons. If they said that they have strict recruitment process and they cannot change (typical for corporations), then it sounds reasonable, but if they don’t want because .. they don’t want, then it may indicate bad ‘company culture’.  I actually went for one interview to confirm my theory I and .. I was right :). It works quite well for me but it can be few exceptions to this rule.

 

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 7: Recruiters

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice.It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes.Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.

 

It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as software developer”.

RECRUITERS

In last 4 years, I had a privilege to chat with more than 200 recruiters and my conclusion is one. The overwhelming majority of recruiters are useless and they nightmare to deal with in and make finding the right job for you much harder.


They make looking for a job much more difficult.
  • 5% of them are useful.
  • 10% OK’ish.
  • Rest of them ( just 85% ) is a pain in the ass.

MY EXPECTATION ABOUT RECRUITERS:

  • I told them, what I want and what I don’t want. They will contact me when an opportunity appears.
  • They will guide me through the process.
  • Helps me improve my CV and other forms.
  • Gives me useful tips and resources about the company before the interview.
  • Be friendly and professional.
  • Always respond in a timely manner.
  • Let me know the result as soon as possible with honest feedback.
  • Be personal. don’t use the shitty template we ‘crap recruiter’ keywords.
    I knew, that I was a bit ambitious about my expectations, but holy crap, I didn’t expect that dealing with recruiters will be like swimming in the septic tank.

Why? In most cases talking to them, It is like talking about colours with a blind person. They helpfulness to find job looks like finding a needle in the haystack at night without light when you are completely drunk.In reality :

  • I told them, what I want and what I don’t want and they will contact me when an opportunity appears.
    • Most of them just spam you with the job opportunity that matches a few keywords. For example,  if you are Java Developer in London but you mentioned that you got experience with Angular. They will send you to offer for Senior Front-End Developer in Glasgow.
    • They are using e shitty template we ‘crap recruiter’ keywords and marketing bullshit a lot.
  • They will guide me through the process.
    • Some of them actually are quite helpful.
  • Helps me improve my CV and other forms.
    • They modify CV but results can be catastrophic.
  • Gives me useful tips and resources about the company before the interview.
    • Some of them give and some of them do not give an xxx about it.
  • Be friendly and professional.
    • They sound ‘ fake friendly’. They talking using recruiter dialect that does not say anything useful.
  • Always respond in a timely manner and let me know the result as soon as possible with honest feedback
    • If you get rejected then the majority will not tell you about it until you call them and some of them like about reason why you failed. Ask the company for feedback.
    • If you get an offer, they will ask you accept ASAP and they will call you all the time say that you need give an answer NOW NOW NOW. 
  • Be personal. don’t use the shitty template we ‘crap recruiter’ keywords.
    • It looks like people who want be recruiter need be great in copy and paste templates and great at lying to sell the product.
  • They will manipulate you using mind tricks and they will lie a lot.
    • Always give yourself up 72 hours to make a decision. If they push you, then warn them that this behaviour will be not tolerated and you will say to company and recruiter’s manager that you will withdraw (they will stop 🙂 )

HOW TO DEALT WITH RECRUITERS:

If you decide to use ‘recruiters’ as a way to find a job, then:

  1. Start from learning how to detect is recruiters have a brain or it is just another shithead:
Shithead is “A complete dumbass; a genuine moron. Someone who has committed an act in which causes harm or temporary discomfort to another.”  .  Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shithead).
2. It always starts with ‘generic ‘ conversation. Try to be friendly with them at first. The positive first impression will increase your chance to have a good bond with a recruiter (if useful). Shows your strong interest. Usually, good recruiters will tell you about role ask additional information based on information in CV, where Shitheads usually ask questions about your experience that you have in CV to fill the form like they never seen CV, but not always.
Remember as well, that you can’t blame a screwdriver for not being a hammer. They are recruiters, not software developers, so they will do not know details, but they must know basics about technology and what they are for. 

3.  Always asked them to send a ‘role opportunity’ to your e-mail, where you can scan job’s specification.

If job specification does not answer all question you have, then ask the recruiter to answer these question. If recruiter’s answer is “I don’t know” (or they answer means “I don’t know” but they using nice wording ), then ask for clarification (or ask them to ask the company to answer these questions). If recruiters don’t want to do that (by answering that he is busy or it doesn’t have time as the deadline is coming very very soon and he need act fast, then …Well done!
You found a Shithead recruiter.
From my experience, I have a simple advice.
Say thank you, withdraw from representation and delete him on your phone and e-mail. You can’t imagine how much time you will save.
.

4.  While you are dealing various stages of the interview.

Recruiters should help you with preparations providing resources for the company or how looks each stage and provide tips and hints. If not then you dealing with crap recruiter.

However! It is not always recruiter fault. It may indicate a crap company.

I must ‘honestly’ admit, I had one case, where I suspect that recruiter is a crap but troubles were caused by company (the company didn’t want phone screening that I requested to avoid unnecessary travelling if role is not what I want or I am not  right. They just wanted to go to directly an interview). It turns out that interview date matches time when I suppose to do other interviews so I use this opportunity to check company. 

I went for an interview and it was the first time when I wanted to run away. It was a most gloomy interview in my life. I felt in this place like I was in a Psychiatric hospital where they conduct some odd experiments on me. 

I spoke to few people about my results and we agreed that weird problems before the interview like lack of interest in pre-interview communication usually indicate a bad place to work but sometimes some company are very strict about interview methodology.

5.  When you about making a decision, do not allow the recruiter to mess up with your brain.

As I wrote before. Always give yourself up 72 hours to make a decision. If they push you, then warn them that this behaviour will be not tolerated and you will say to company and recruiter’s manager that you will withdraw (they will stop 🙂 ). More about making a decision in future part of How looks process of finding the job as software developer.

MY APPROACH TO UNKNOWN/PRIVATE CALLS

In the past, I usually avoid pick-up calls from unknown/private calls. It does not rule, but many rude/annoying recruiters. Another problem is No numbers mean I cannot call back (i cannot add to useful contact or banned), so I prefer to ignore it. I had quite a few rude conversation and all of them were from the unknown call. This is one of the examples (worst one):

Recruiter: I saw your CV on (website)  and I have an exciting new role in the company who uses agile and cutting-edge technologies to develop software based in Manchester.Are you interested?

Me: I am sorry, but  I wrote that I looked for a job in London ONLY.

recruiter (with irritated and angry voice:  Why London? Manchester is a fantastic city. FUCK YOU. (And he disconnected).

It is not a rule! It is just my preferences. You will find good recruiters use unknown numbers too (landline in office).

If you are happy with job’s spec and recruiter then you can agree to be represented by

 SUMMARY

I just repeat to be clear. Most of the recruiters are crap, but they are quite a few a good one. Quicker you learn, how to distinguish good from bad, then more efficient looking for a job will be. Unfortunately, the majority are shitheads, so I am not surprise to see this kind of things on company’s websites: http://uk.moo.com/about/recruiters.html
  • Remember, recruiters, do not care about your career as they don’t provide service to help you find the best job. They want you to get a job so they will earn money from commissions. As result IF YOU CAN AVOID FINDING JOB THROUGH RECRUITERS .. DON’T USE THEM.  With exception of internal recruiters or if the company using specific recruitment agency exclusively for recruitment).
  • DO NOT ALLOW RECRUITERS MAKE ANY DECISION. ALWAYS TAKE SOME TIME TO MAKE IMPORTANT AND  DECISION.
  • Do NOT add recruiters to LinkedIn. Many of them are just lazy spammers will flood you with jobs that in most cases are not relevant to your target.
  • Don’t forget to be nice and friendly to them in the first contact as they are human! The first impression is also important to create a good bond with a recruiter.
  • Many recruiters will use lots of psychological tricks against you. Most of them based on build pressure around you into force you to make a decision. Always gives yourself up to 72 hours to makes decision.
  • If they give any material about company or tips. Check it out!
  • Verify what recruiter said. ALWAYS. Especially about of location/public transport.
  • Do not give any information about other jobs. NEVER.
  • If you are happy with job’s spec and recruiter then you can agree to be represented by them.
  • If you are unhappy with a recruiter to remember to write an email that you withdraw from being represented by specific. Be assertive.
  • If you find recruiter understand your needs then keep contact with him/her.

Doms learn Chinese: Word Game v18.0 released!

Doms learn Chinese: Word Game
v18.0

 You can download from here:
It contains major improvements but it does not have new major feature. However bigger changes coming soon.
CHANGE LOG
  1. Add bonus points for guess word Wrocław
  2. Add some words.
  3. Correct some mistakes in Words, Questions and Sentences.
  4. Lots of little improvements and code clean up
LINKS

How looks process of finding a job as software developer part 6: Company’s job specification

WARNINGS:

This is a NOT a professional advice. It based on my personal experience only and resources that I read on the internet.It will contain many grammar mistakes. Please drink double espresso and energy drink as an article is long and boring.
It is part of series “How looks process of finding a job as software developer”.

COMPANY’S JOB SPECIFICATION

        When you know what you want to do and you wrote your CV and create website/ account on LinkedIn / portfolio then it is the right time to look for a job.

        One of the most important is to clear understanding of Job specification. It is very important because you need to understand your role, so during the process, you can show your skills that match required criteria. The bad news is that many Job specification is very blurry or they are ‘censored’ by recruiters.

If you have any doubt ask few questions to clarify job specification before you apply. Internal recruiters are usually happy to answer but with others recruiters

This is my selection of question, which I usually ask :

  • What has required a certain level of experience for these skills? It is good to know what skills are essential, optional or nice to have.
  • What is proper job title and what is about? The title is not important, but it can give you more-less clue about the role. It is a bit tricky as for example I looked for Junior Java Developer role and for me there are differences between software developer, engineer and architect, while for many people is blurry or synonym.
  • How looks recruitment process? How many stages? What types (phone interview?test? etc. ? )  It is important to ask as it will help you prepare correctly to interview and avoid after-interview depression and crying to friends “I didn’t expect that it will be tested on interview”.
  • Is for Graduate/Junior/Medium/Senior Role? It is a very important question to ask, but you must know your skills first. How to determine  0-1 Graduate, 1-4 Junior 5-9 Mid, 10+ senior. Many recruiters said  ” If you see Senior role but recruiter said, that you should apply. In all cases, recruiters lie.
  • Do they have specific certification, education and any other requirements before I am even considered? It is good to know or you will waste your time.
  •  How looks specific responsibilities expected of my role?
    • I would like to know more details to evaluate its role is interesting to me or not.
  • How flexible is this role (can I do various position over time) and how the role could develop?
  • What methodology are they using?
    • Everybody said these days that they are … AGILE, but … what they mean by that can be completely different things, so if you see agile, then ask for details (especially recruiters).
  • How big team is?
  • Is it work in a team, alone, mixed?
  • What about the company itself?
  • How big it is?
    • How looks company culture and working style? It is important to question if you care about work.
  • Is work is only on company’s premises? Is it required travelling?
    • It depends on your preferences but some people like me do not like work on various premises.
  • Might they even be able to work from home when possible?
  • What personality they look for?
    • It depends on your preferences but working with right people and have compatibility with them is usually a most important aspect of work.
  • When they expect a successful candidate start to work?
    • If a company looks for somebody NOW and don’t want wait 1 month, then usually indicate poor management, HR or job itself. I, by default, ignore all jobs.

 

Companies usually respond very well and provide all necessary information. Answers from recruiters vary. Some of them give you what you want but don’t be surprised if the answer has no f…ing clue what they talking about. If this happens, then ask again or give up. Believe me, you will save a lot of time.

For example :

What methodology are they using? – Agile

Problem is that everybody is Agile except everybody defines Agile … in a different way as … 

How big team is? – Very big, but I don’t know numbers.

In fact, it was only 10 people … 

Ask these question and request answer on email (this information is good to remember during the recruitment process and for other purposes). If recruiters wrote stuff like ” I’m extremely busy at the moment also so I understand, but I’ll be able to answer these questions after 6. ” it usually means “fuck off, I don’t bother to answer these question  or because I don’t know answers and cannot makes answer blurry like over phone”.In 4/5 cases I didn’t get any answer.
Conclusion:
  • Clarify job spec to ensure that you apply what you are looking for.
  • If you apply through recruiters who don’t give you enough information about the role or don’t bother to find details. Simply reject role and if you gave permission to be represented then cancelled it. You will save you a lot of time and help you focus on better roles.