By Matt Jones | February 20, 2016 | 4 Comment
Hiring average engineers is easy. Hiring excellent software engineers is hard. So far this year, the hiring managers that I work with and I have seen 50+ resumes for 4 positions and made 2 job offers. The math here is not really in the favor of the candidates or our hiring managers. Every stage of the process is meant to weed some candidates out, and we’ve gotten pretty good at that. But, I need good people to make it through the process, so here’s a candid guide on the various steps in the process and what candidates can do to improve their chances.
This will be a several part series, with the first section on applying for the right job, and some resume tips.
To be honest, this is where most of the wasted time occurs. The biggest tip here is to apply for jobs that you genuinely think you’d be successful at. Applying for the wrong job, or submitting your resume for every job opening on our site just confuses things, and frankly, makes a candidate look like they don’t understand what the role is. Read the job description. A good job description will list the technologies you’d be working with and your role within the team. Of course there will be follow-up questions, but at least make sure there is some synergy with what the company is trying to do.
If you are working with a recruiter, they will typically earn around 20% of your first year’s salary if you accept an offer. Companies pay them well to get your questions answered promptly and to represent you in the process. In my previous job searches, I’ve tried the “go it alone” approach submitting myself blindly to companies, and the experience when you partner with an excellent recruiter is much more streamlined. They typically know details that aren’t on the job description and the areas where a hiring manager has listed a requirement, but is willing to budge a bit.
Now that you’ve figured out which job to apply for, it’s time to take a close look at your resume. Ask yourself if your resume demonstrates your abilities to do the job. I understand that before the resume gets to me, it is typically read by a computer to determine a potential match, but by the time it gets to a hiring manager who has a million other things to do, you really have about six seconds to make an impression. I have a very short amount of time to evaluate whether I think you’d be a good fit. Here are some red flags for me:
Assuming you’ve made it past the red flags above, here are some extras that will give you more time on the review:
Finally, on resumes, it’s important to know the not-so-buzzword-things that hiring managers are looking for. Your resume has to answer these questions:
I hope this was helpful. Please comment with feedback. In the next installment, I’ll share some candid thoughts on phone screens.