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Top 10 Job Interview Tips for Software Developers

This post maybe a little off the usual thread of my usual Technical posts but I feel it has to be said.

Since moving to Singapore and trying to build a development team I have found myself inundated with resumes, in the last 6 months alone I have probably read in excess of 500 resumes and interviewed less than 5% of that number and thought I would share some tips for any hopeful developers.

Most of this should be common sense, but the funny thing about common sense is that it’s not so common.

1. Prepare
Research the company before going for an interview. If you know who’s interviewing you then Google them and see what they’re about. This can help give you an idea of the types of questions you will get in the interview.

There’s no excuse for not even having a basic idea of what the companies core business is.

2. Acronyms != Interesting Resume
There are no prizes for the most acronyms you list. As a rule only list those that you are able to discuss in detail for two minutes or more.

3. Relevance
Customize your resume for the specific role you are applying for.

If it’s a C# role, then a full page dedicated to a project you did using COBOL back in the 80’s is not going to win you any points.

4. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)
Keep your resume to four pages or less. Write it so that all the important information can be viewed in 10 seconds or less.
Bullet points are as always a great way of conveying concise information.

I usually read resumes on my iPhone whilst on the daily commute so less is best.

5. Be Honest
Don’t exaggerate your years of experience. The fact you did a one month internship in your final year of study does not equate to one years work experience.

6. Read the Ad
Read the job ad carefully and follow any instructions. If the ad says “Please apply via our Job Portal” then actually apply via their job portal and not via the website the ad is on. 

Attention to detail and the ability to follow instructions are paramount to the success of a developer.

7. Not too Early, Not too Late
There is a fine line between arriving too early and arriving too late, for me that line is 15 minutes either side of the interview time.

Even though it is annoying I am less concerned with candidates who arrive more than 15 minutes early. But if you’re more than 15 minutes late and don’t call then to let me know you’ll be late then you shouldn’t bother coming in at all.

8. Communication
Communication is key to the success of any development team & it’s important to demonstrate this in the interview.  
Listen to the questions and take the time to formulate answers before speaking, avoid mono-syllabic answers but also be careful not to hijack the interview. An interview is not the time for you to rant incessantly about the latest “X” technology.

9. Ask Questions
Asking questions shows that you are inquisitive mind and able to communicate effectively, again both skills that are important for an aspiring Developer.

10. Keep your Web Presence Clean
The first thing I do and many recruiters do is type the name of a candidate into Google and see what results it brings up.

No presence at all can show that you’re not engaged with the community. On the flipside those photos of you wasted at the weekend do nothing to help your cause.

My usual process is to search Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Well that’s my list.

If you’re a C# Developer or JavaScript whizz and fancy working in Singapore then check out some of our job openings or drop me a line on will@willbeattie.net

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