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How not to get hired

The technology field is a very demanding one. Here are some ways to keep yourself from getting hired.

Note: this article is written in a sarcastic tone to illustrate a point. If you don't understand the sarcasm, then perhaps this article (and technology in general) is not for you.

Miss the Interview

You have a busy schedule. You have a phone interview scheduled for later today but you probably can't make it. You decide to wait and see. As the time approaches, something needs your attention and you can't attend the interview. But don't worry about it…people miss interviews all the time. The HR person will probably call you tomorrow and reschedule it.

Overstate your Experience

Lots of people have more experience than you, and you REALLY want to get a better paying job. You need a quick way to make yourself look better in relation to other job applicants (at least on paper). You don't have two, three, or four years to gain the experience that looks good. You need experience NOW so you can get that better paying job. You'll worry about getting experience after that. Besides, there's not much difference between 3 months and 3 years of experience right? So go ahead and “round up” the experience numbers. Nobody will notice.

Overuse "we"

Assuming you get an interview, you need a way to hide your lack of experience. There are lots of technologies used on the project you support, but you didn't actually work with them. But hey…the interviewer doesn't have to know that. How do you disguise the facts and sound more knowledgeable than you are? Talk about what the team did instead of what you did. It goes like this:

Interviewer:  "Do you have any experience with Hibernate?"
You:  "..We use that on our project right now.  It handles persistence of..."
Interviewer:  "And what about databases?"
You:  "Yes, we use Oracle to store..."

See how easy that is? You used “we” instead of “I”. Don't worry, nobody will ever notice that you didn't do the work yourself.

Google during the interview

During a phone interview, you can't possibly be expected to recite random bits of knowledge from a wide variety of topics. Yet thats exactly how the technical phone screens work. Its designed to make people fail, right? They don't really want to hire anyone. The only way to get past these obstacles is to use Google during the interview.

Before the interview, get all your things ready. Open your browser, make sure your keyboard and mouse are quiet, and learn how to use the mute button on your phone. Then, when the interviewer asks a deep question, you can say something like “wow, that's a good question” while you're doing a google search. If you time it just right, it will sound completely natural and you'll be able to answer the question just in time.

Answer open-ended questions with a single sentence

Interviewers are busy people. They talk with dozens of job candidates every day. You can actually help them by saying less. Instead of giving them long and full-featured answers, give them short ones instead. Here's an example:

Interviewer: "So, tell me about yourself."
You:         "I work at XYZ Company"
Interviewer: "What do you like most about your job"
You:  "I get to code, and the money is pretty good"
Interviewer:  "What can you tell me about Java"
You:  "Its a cool language...you can do a lot of stuff with it"
Interviewer:  "Do you have any questions for me?"
You:  "No, not really"
Interviewer"  "Thank you...we'll be in touch"

See how easy that was? Your interview was less than 60 seconds. It takes other people nearly an hour to complete an interview. Think of all the time you saved the interviewer. I'd call that a huge success!

Dont be passionate about anything

Supposed you go into an interview and an interviewer asks:

Interviewer:  "So..what technologies are you passionate about?"

What? Who cares about that…its just a bunch of 1's and 0's floating around inside a computer. The important thing is how much will they pay you to work there. Besides, if you say you're passionate about one thing but the interviewer likes a different thing, you'll be less likely to get the job.

So to keep your prospects open, don't sound too interested or passionate about anything. Be as matter-of-fact as you can be. Focus on the essentials, not the fluffy stuff. The interviewer needs skills A, B, and C, and you have those, with lots of year experience in each. The interviewer should have seen that from your resume…its right there in front of them in black and white. Try to refocus the conversation on salary and find out when you start.

Don't stand out

Every interviewer wants to see something unique about you: some code you wrote; a project that you saved from failure; an algorithm you created; etc. But lets face it: most people aren't in the “hero” or “genius” category. And remember the previous point…that standing out causes you to express your opinions, and that will cause certain interviewers to dislike you. Its only natural that people disagree on what technologies they consider “best”.

So how do you avoid the whole problem? Just lay low and keep your feelings to yourself. You know that you can work anywhere, with any technology. All you need is to get your foot in the door, and then you'll study up on the necessary tools.

Ignore social media

Every interviewer wants you to have a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account, etc. Creating those take a lot of time, and keeping them up-to-date requires an ongoing commitment. Since there isn't a direct benefit when looking for a job, it hardly seems worth the effort.

And remember all those news articles about people being fired (or not hired in the first place) because of information that was found in their social profiles? Being “politically correct” takes all the fun out of it. You're better off using Facebook for fun stuff and keeping it a secret from interviewers.

/home/cfreyer/public_html/data/pages/technology/opinions/hownottogethired.txt · Last modified: 2012/03/08 12:35 by Chris Freyer