How Developers Should Prep for a Phone Interview - Part 2 of 2

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 · 0 comments

big red phone This is a follow-up post to How Developers Should Prep For A Phone Interview - Passion and Energy.

Today I’ll talk about:

# 2 Experiences and Qualifications - requires more thought

Recruiters can’t comprehend all your experiences by reading your resume. We need to interact with you directly.  Here are my thoughts on what you need to know to have a good initial phone screen.

Project experience - (be ready to talk about the following)

  • How many projects and the size of the projects (Time and Complexity)
  • What does that App / Solution do – what is it for
  • What is the (are the) business case(s) for the Apps you worked on
  • Size of typical team(s) you have worked with (could be team of 1 or 20)
  • What was your responsibility
  • What you competed, maintained, build from scratch…
  • How many “full lifecycle” projects have you worked through – in Total (This is really important to most hiring managers)


1. Ask some questions about the opportunity – show you are interested.

  • What is the business – What do they provide?
  • What is the position – What level?
  • What type of development – Web (Product Info site, interactive), Games, Scientific, business (Example – Financial), eCommerce, Service Solutions (Example Health Services), Web 2.0, Interactive Media, Social Media, Embedded, Cloud….
  • What is the growth opportunity – “Where can I be in 2 to 5 years?”
  • What is the back round of the management?

2. Remember who you applied with. You should have any or all of the following - recruiter name, or agency, or HR personnel name, or Company info


3. Remember to follow up with your initial contact.

  • You should have the phone or email (for sure) of your initial contact.
  • Ask when you can follow up with them
  • If you commit to sending your resume (or updated resume) Send it! – Don’t forget.
  • If you are asked for a follow up interview and you commit to it – Show up.

If any of you have questions about first interviews and phone screens please remember to connect with me at

Photo Credit - Phillie Casablanca

How Developers Should Prep For A Phone Interview – Part 1 of 2

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 · 0 comments

Red Phone This came to me in a call a few days ago. Many developers I talk with are not prepared (haven’t even put any thought into it) for the initial phone screen with a recruiter or Human Resources representative. See my tweet here. The typical recruiter and HR representative have one goal – to see if you fit a “basic profile” given to them by the hiring manager. If you fit, then you can move one step up the latter.

Your duty is two fold: 1. To ignite the spark and get them interested in you and, 2. To describe your experiences and qualifications.

#1 Energy and Passion

Any decent screener can tell in the first minute if the candidate has passion / energy, “The Spark”.  For “The Spark” you’ve got to really Want it. You can’t be complacent. The first call is very important. The person on the other end of the phone will go the extra mile for an energetic candidate with great passionate even if they don’t have all the experience needed. Most hiring managers will do the same.

Here are a few things you can talk about and help show your interest.

  • Why are you excited about Software Development?
  • When did you realize you wanted to be a Developer?
  • Why did you choose your Degree?
  • What type of development are you interested in? Example – Web Dev, Games, Scientific, Business, eCommerce, Service Solutions, Web 2.0, Interactive Media, Social Media, Embedded, Cloud…
  • What type of Solutions to you like to work on? – Solving what problems?
  • What Technologies are you passionate about- .NET, Java, Ruby, PHP, C++, Flash, Silverlight…
  • Why did you respond to this position

You need to have these types of questions drilled into your brain. See my post on Know Thyself.  You can’t be thinking this stuff up on the spot and just winging it. If you fake it your interviewer will know. Take the time and be prepared.

I’ll post Part Two How to explain Experiences and Qualifications later this week…

Top Forums for Software Developers

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 · 0 comments

Q&A In doing my interviews I notice “some” of you will visit a few Developer forums from time to time, but most of you don’t. Why Not! There is so much great information you can learn from the Q&A in software developer community. I’d say it’s the best place to hang out if you’re a developer. I know many of you will just go to Google, but where is the consistency. I’ve heard from some of the “better developers” that having an account on a forum, and being a part of that community, not only helps sharpen your technical abilities, but also your soft skills. Use the forum to not only to answer your questions, and to sharpen your tech and soft skills, but to establish yourself in the community.

Dare I say you could even build a brand around yourself. I know that is off topic, but if you really worked at it you could. Example: Jon Skeet It’s good to have a goal.

So in an effort to give you more resources to help you along the way. Here is a list of forums that may interest you. Some great and some Not so great. You decide. Note: There are many forums out there that are nothing more than a place to hang web ads.  The Questions and Answers aren’t that great. They don’t get much action…BEWARE!

1. StackOverlfow: Ok I know I’ve talked a lot about StackOverflow lately, but I like to stick with a good thing when I see it. They have a great interface. Vibrant community and have been getting really good reviews. I really like the way they encourage the user through use of Badges and Reputation Points. Also, they are coming out with a IT forum soon.

If you want to learn more about issues relating to forums; design, search, security, wrong answers, price and so on - here is a Google Tech Talks excerpt from the folks at StackOverflow.


2. Experts-Exchange: Experts-Exchange is one of the larger and more common Dev forums out there. They cover almost everything from Dev to ITPro, from Microsoft to Apple. They have more users than most all sites put together. And the “patented knowledge-sharing platform” is great. The issue I have is the interface. It’s hard to wade through all the stuff to get to what you need and they try to get you to pay even though you can scroll down to look at the answer. They have a fair amount of ads, but hey they need to make some $$$$. Also they cater some to the corporate world. Which does have benefits. Overall if you can weed through it, and pay for it, use it.

3. ASP.NET: If you are the Microsoft type and like to get your answers from the source, ASP.NET may be a great fit for you. It is ranging from very basic to advanced and cross topic/language posts. The overall site does have an above average number of ads, but also boasts a ton of training and resource materials. Nice to have all that in one location. Of course Microsoft has forums for most all of their tools. I’m picking ASP.NET as an example and one commonly referenced.

4. MSDN – Social: Well since we were talking about Microsoft, I’d better point out MSDN. Not really much different that ASP.NET, but the MSDN site has a different interface and a social bend to it. Also you can access multiple topics and a wide range of training and resource materials. I found it easy to search (by tag, lookup, and sort). There are a lot of talented developers on the forums.

5.  CodeProject: CodeProject is a little different. Their goal is “to learn, to teach and to have fun programming.” For those of you that want to stretch your tech skills this is a great place to spend some time and get involved. If you have been chomping at the bit or “Byte” to hack away at something new or you have a cool app you want create. It’s a great place to submit your work and review work. Like most forums, this site does have a fare number of ads.

6. Dice Forums: Did you know Dice had forums? I put this in because it was a little different. A lot of great info on Resumes, Salaries, Training, Contract VS Direct hire and Changing Careers. Great info resource for getting you ready for your next job.

Here are a few other forums that are worth mentioning.

SQL Server Central

VB Dot Net Forums




Web Developer


C# Corner
Like I said above - Note: There are many forums out there that are nothing more than a place to hang web ads.  The Questions and Answers aren’t that great. They don’t get much action…BEWARE, but have fun and learn a lot.

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About this blog

I'm not a blogger. So consume at your own risk.
Since 1995 I've been working with software developers helping them increase their value through technical training and connecting them to great employers. This blog is dedicated to those technical professionals that want to get the most of out their career. I'll answer questions I get daily, common misconceptions and provide direction, but it's up to you to take action.
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