Sell Yourself Better (What we learned in 12 months of recruitment)


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We've been recruiting to hire web application developers for over 12 months - and only hired two. What we learned from the candidates.

Presented at Bar Camp Bradford #bcbradford November 2009

Awesome Verlag font of win has been replaced due to failure embedding that beautiful typeface *kiss*

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Sell Yourself Better (What we learned in 12 months of recruitment)

  1. 1. Sell Yourself Better! Adam Hepton November 2009
  2. 2. Who the hell are you? <ul><li>Adam Hepton (@proxymoron) </li></ul><ul><li>29 years and two days old </li></ul><ul><li>Husband and Father </li></ul><ul><li>Senior Developer at Frogtrade </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A growing company of 60-70 in Halifax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>9 Developers (Mainly LAMP / Javascript) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hosted solutions primarily sold to education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They’s the ones paying for the beer. Yee ha! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Massive in the figurative sense, although I have piled on a bit of weight lately Geek </li></ul>
  3. 3. So why are you here? <ul><li>120+ applicants for “Web Applications Developer” in last 12 months </li></ul><ul><li>~60 interviews in same period </li></ul><ul><li>Two hired </li></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We’re too picky </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The applicants aren’t good enough </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recession means even happy people might be looking for work soon </li></ul>
  4. 4. Too Picky? WHAT DO YOU WANT? <ul><li>Highly Experienced with PHP and SQL </li></ul><ul><li>Some experience with Javascript and CSS </li></ul><ul><li>Problem solving skills </li></ul><ul><li>A good attitude </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to communicate </li></ul><ul><li>Anything else we might find interesting </li></ul>
  5. 5. So why the low numbers?
  8. 8. CV No-Nos <ul><li>If the earliest mentioned project on your CV is 3 years ago, it is not right to put 8 years’ experience on your CV </li></ul><ul><li>A six-page CV when the most advanced thing you have done is plot some points with Google Maps API is overkill </li></ul><ul><li>Brochure sites (no matter how many) do not accurately display the skills required to develop web applications </li></ul>
  9. 9. Making your CV better <ul><li>Get past the recruitment consultants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key Skills: DOM / CSS === HTML? If it’s not written down, the recruitment consultant won’t tick it off their list. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Only put relevant stuff on there </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Going for a job in PHP? Got an MCSE? So? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gauge the position you’re after </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’re after a senior role, you need to have done something to warrant it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This means something people have used </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who aren’t related to you </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. I get nervous at interviews! <ul><li>We know. We take it into account. Especially for programmers </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes, though, we’re a bit naughty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’re asked a question that gets you worked up, we’re trying to see if you’re going to blow your top under stress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If we ask you something ridiculously easy, it’s not because we’re stupid – we’re trying to see how you explain things </li></ul></ul>Why bother with Accessibility if you don’t have any disabled users? No, I’ve never heard of Smarty. What is it?
  11. 11. So, what SHOULD I do/say? <ul><li>Know your stuff, and let us know you know your stuff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Answer honestly </li></ul><ul><li>Show your passion! </li></ul>
  12. 12. And what not to do/say? <ul><li>Don’t feel challenged by us asking you questions. It’s why you’re here </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t present yourself as something you’re not. You’ll be caught out sooner or later </li></ul><ul><li>“ I use Dreamweaver&quot; </li></ul>
  13. 13. This is really unprofessional, isn’t it? <ul><li>Specifically, which technical area do you feel you’re best at? Web Development </li></ul><ul><li>Of all the new things coming to the web, which excites you the most? REST, and AJAX </li></ul><ul><li>Can you explain this section of code? Hmmm. I’m not sure what “function” means </li></ul>These are real answers given by applicants for Senior Development roles in 2009
  14. 14. We’re still hiring! <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Adam Hepton </li></ul><ul><li>@proxymoron </li></ul>