So, you applied for your dream developer job, got an interview and thought it went well, but all you have to show for your effort is a rejection letter?
Here are a few reasons why:
1. We Googled your name
Everything was looking good until I did a quick search on your name and email address to see what was out there on the web about you.
Looks like you have a nice little blog that you haven’t updated in 4 years, but that isn’t what concerned me.
It turns out someone using your email address goes by the alias GolDieHoRE and sells World of Warcraft gold online. Even this wasn’t all that concerning except for the fact that your site had pornographic advertisement banners and anarchy manifestos on it in which you proclaimed that “dem fools can make me sit at my desk but they can’t make me work, suckas!”
2. You threw down your resume on my desk and proudly exclaimed “wa-bam, son!”
And, I do realize that you had just finished reading Engineering The Alpha: A Real World Guide To An Unreal Life (since your Facebook wall had a mention of it and how you were about to go show some fools what happens when you show a gorilla your teeth.)
But seriously, coming into my office with your hat on backward, throwing off your coat to reveal your dollar sign embossed “bling” and throwing down a cardstock printed copy of your resume on my desk while yelling “wa-bam son” and then telling me to “check it” was a little more brogrammerary than what we like to hire here.
3. You have 15 years of Angular.js experience
I know that you are awesome and that even though you are only 25 years old you have been working as a programmer for the last 20 years because you were “advanced” in school, but I’m just not comfortable with the implications your statements about the number of years experience in particular technologies implies.
I mean Angular.js has only been around for the last 3 or so years, so I either have to assume you are lying or that you have somehow found a way to circumvent the oppressive restrictions of linear time.
I mean it is quite conceivable you bought some kind of real Napolean Dynamite-like time machine, or acquired your extensive Angular.js experience through a Bill Murray Goundhog Day type of situation, but, to be perfectly honest with you, both of those possibilities make me feel like you would be sort of difficult to manage.
(BTW, if you haven’t noticed already, in exchange for my humor I will be bombarding you with Amazon affiliate links throughout this post. Think of this as a way of giving me a “tip”.)
4. You open carried
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any problem with you exercising your constitutional right to bear arms. I also admire your willingness to “put a cap in someone’s ass if they step out of line” as you so eloquently put it when I asked about the revolver crudely shoved into your belt.
But, I have to say it was mighty difficult for me to feel like I could ask you hard questions that you might not know that answer to when I could see that you were visibly disturbed and kept fingering the trigger area of your “constitutional defender” (I only assume that is what you call it, by the engraving on the handle and the series of ticks etched next to it.)
I suppose, for someone with a less angry demeanor, open carrying to a developer job interview might not be a problem, but I just couldn’t see myself asking you to hack out code and deal with our demanding customers while brandishing that revolver—I hope this doesn’t offend you.
5. You were just a little too honest
I’m the kind of guy that can appreciate honesty… really. I mean, I am being quite candid with you now, but I suppose I do expect that a person at a developer job interview would not simply spill out every thought that came into their depraved perverse mind.
I wasn’t even offended or taken off guard when you came into my office, pointed to my pants and said “nice package.” Even though I’m not inclined in that direction, I’m generally pretty self-confident so I didn’t find your comments to be offensive, but attributed them instead to your excellent powers of observation.
What I did not like though, if I may be so bold, is how you, without my slightest prodding, explained loudly and vibrantly why you were looking for a new developer job. It was not so much the offensive language in your description of your current boss’s demeanor and intelligence, but rather the way in which your described your working relationship with him that concerned me the most.
My assumptions seemed to be all but realized as when you got up the leave the interview you even told me quite honestly that you thought I was not the most intelligent person that had ever interviewed you and that if you got hired you would probably figure out how to get me fired so you could run the show.
6. You didn’t really seem to have anything to offer
Again, I don’t mean to sound offensive here, but it seemed to me that you had confused the soup kitchen line with my office building.
We aren’t really in the business of just handing out paychecks to the best beggar. So, I think you may have come into the interview with the completely wrong impression.
I can appreciate that you “need some dough cause Rent-A-Center is like a mad dog stripping your flesh while you sleep.”
But, as much as we’d like to help you, it is really hard to justify hiring you for the position of Technical Architect and Lead Software Developer when your only real related skill seems to be “building mind-blowing Excel spreadsheets that make angels weep.”
Even when I did, out of pure politeness, try to ask you about your “crazy mad Excel skillz”, you refused to talk about them and just kept repeating “look man, are you going to give me the job or not, cause I gots bills to pay man. I already told you I can code.”
Is this just a joke?
No, of course not. It is meant to be funny of course, but this is an exaggeration of some practical advice.
Here are the main points you can glean from this:
- Don’t post crap on the internet that you don’t want people seeing. Assume if you post it on the internet that everyone will be able to trace it back to you. I’ve seen tons of “professionals” that posted inappropriate things on even their Facebook or Twitter accounts that cost them the job.
- Confidence is good, arrogance is bad. Arrogance actually usually implies an extreme lack of confidence, because confident people don’t feel the need to overtly make a display of their skills or power.
- Don’t lie! It is so easy to get caught and when you do, you are done. If you say you know a technology, and then it turns out you can’t answer any questions about that technology or you try and make things up, you’ll be ignorant and a liar instead of just ignorant.
- Job interviews and workplaces are not the place to express your political opinions. Even if you have a lively spirit and aren’t afraid to express yourself, you are going to have much more success at making a first impression if you can tame that wild beast inside you for an hour or 2.
- Don’t say what you really think. It is tempting to be too honest, but you have to learn to keep your mouth shut instead of blurting out negative opinions or providing too much information. Don’t lie, but don’t volunteer up information that will hurt you or show your contempt for authority. Not a good way to impress an interviewer.
- Understand the value you bring to the table and demonstrate it. Too often I talk to developers that seem to think the job is all about them and their paycheck. The paycheck comes from the value you provide. I’d never hire someone and pay them more than the value they can produce for me, but so many job seekers seem to forget this and think only about what they want.
Real developer job career advice
In all seriousness, if you are interested in some real career advice and want to learn how to market yourself as a developer to boost your career you can take a look at my course “How to Market Yourself as a Software Developer” which will help you with job interviews and help you get the better job you’ve been after.