Given the uptick in people looking for roles right now, I thought I’d share some tips for getting hired as a developer. These tips are things I look for when hiring developers, honed over many years and countless interviews. My aim is to shed some light on what people over the other side of the desk are thinking. Perhaps armed with this perspective, you will think differently about your own approach.
It started with a glance
Before jumping into the interview itself, it’s first important to talk about how to get one. When making decisions on who to interview, I spend time looking through a candidates background and portfolio. The main two aspects I look at are as follows:
Your resume encompasses a range of mediums which should clearly and concisely demonstrate why I should bring you in for interview. These mediums include your LinkedIn profile, personal website and 2-page resume, but to name a few. Think about these as telling a story about how you got to where you are, what skills you have developed and the achievements you had along the way. It should stoke their imagination and encourage them to want to dig deeper.
Hiring managers will look at plenty of resumes each day, so you should aim to make their life as easy as possible. There is nothing more frustrating than having to sift through 6 pages of terse text, not least because it contradicts the oft stated ‘good communicator’. There are some quick wins here:
- Keeping your resume to two, well-formatted, pages
- Strip back information which is not directly relevant such as part-time work or whether you have a driving licence
- Bring to the top specific points mentioned in the job spec. By this I mean if a hiring manager is looking for a Python developer with AWS experience, make sure this is clearly stated at the top of your resume.
- Highlight results and achievements where possible. Rather than “Upgraded website from .NET to .NET Core”, try “Scaled website from handling 500k to 2 million customers a week, resulting in 50% increase in sales”
I also like to see some personality injected where possible. Could you add a little about your hobbies? Or an interesting social enterprise you’re passionate about? This starts to build a picture in my head about who you are and whether you would make a good fit for the team.
Your portfolio is another cache of evidence around the statements in your resume. For me, it’s a really important part of initial candidate vetting and gives me insight into what you have built, how you write code and what methodologies you follow.
Portfolios can include personal websites, GitHub accounts, Stackoverflow pages or other relevant links. I would encourage everyone to throw up some sample projects and if you don’t have one, try and make a couple. It could be anything as simple as a todo list through to a clone of a social media site. The important part is demonstrating concepts such as clean code, testing methods, documentation and even devops process. Personally, I’m not looking at the result of the project necessarily, rather how it was built.
And now, we tango
It’s really important that you are passionate about what you do and the vision the company is driving towards. Passion fuels motivation and is good indicator of how you will perform in a role. Are you doing the job because you genuinely care about solving the mission statement, or because tech pays well?
Being adaptable and able to cope with change is a crucial trait and something I value when hiring. An example of why this is important. The technical shopping list is a snapshot of today and borne out of current requirements. It will almost definitely change over time as these requirements evolve. Hiring for this specific skill set will solve a problem now, but if you can’t adapt then the whole process will repeat down the line. I would much prefer someone intelligent, willing to learn and able to adapt than a marginally better coder of a specific tech stack.
Get things done
Businesses survive by getting results. Results require you to get things done and add value. It may be great that you can architect the perfect, fault tolerant and performant system. But can you actually write it? Can you ship it in a timely manner? Can you get something out that will move the needle now rather than in two years time?
When can you start?
Well, if you made it this far congratulations – you got the job. To summarise my tips for getting hired as a developer, the first step is getting your foot in the door. Do this by telling your story and showing the hiring manager you can meet the role requirements. Once at interview, demonstrate your personality traits and qualities. Show that you can learn and adapt and will grow with the business. That they can trust you to do the job.
If you’re interested in what else a manager does, check out my other posts here.