This interviewing expert urges software engineers to ditch perfectionism, avoid these common mistakes, and try these tactics.
When Gayle Laakmann McDowell had her first interview for a software engineering position at Microsoft 11 years ago, she didn't know quite what she was getting herself into. "I was mostly naive about the interview process," she says. McDowell had just finished her freshman year at University of Pennsylvania and was applying for an internship. "Now, I would think: 'I should be studying for this like I would for a test,'" she says. Read More
At the right company, hiring committees can be incredibly valuable.
- Consistency: Hiring committees allow consistency in the process. Every candidates goes through the same decision making group and will hopefully get held to the same standard. (Even if the company is large enough to merit multiple hiring committees, it’s still much easier to standard a small group of hiring committees than a large group of interviewers.)
These committees have high standards, even in high-pressure times. Hiring committees avoid issues where teams might drop their standards because they're desperate to hire someone. That person might be a value-add in the short term but be detrimental in the long run. Read More
Like friendships, mentorships—the ones that actually exist, not the ones that exist in name only—rarely start from a formal request and certainly not from a near stranger. It doesn’t work for mostly the same reasons. It’s artificially trying to create a personal relationship. Doesn’t work. Read More
You don’t ask someone to be your friend. So why do you ask them to be your mentor?
Think about your closest friends—or even your less close friends. When you asked them to be your friend, what were your terms? How often would you hang out? What would you do? What would the expectations be on each side? Read More
If you want someone to be your mentor, don't ask them to be your mentor. Read More
Like friendships, mentorships rarely start from a formal request. Read More
Is it okay to mention my failed startup on my resume?
You should absolutely list it. Read More
Startups can fail for any number of reasons, which can be a mix of your fault and not your fault. While there might be some people who are ignorant of just how hard it is to be successful, most people in the industry are not. After all, if VCs aren't able to predict which startups are successful, why should it reflect that poorly on you that you weren't able to predict this?
As a pregnant woman in tech, I'm tired of people assuming that I won't go back to work right away
Marissa Mayer doesn’t and shouldn’t have to set a good example. But to the extent that she inadvertently does, she actually sets a wonderful example for women by choosing to take only limited leave. She sends a message that not all women are the same, and that babies aren’t just the women’s responsibility. Read More
An “unlimited” (within the first year) parental leave policy might not be as good as it sounds.
However, I’m deeply concerned about how it will actually play out. Read More
It’s understandable that people are excited about this. It seems like a good thing. It’s equal across mothers and fathers; that sends a nice message that babies are not just the woman’s responsibility. I think all parental leave should be equal. The flexibility offered through it is nice as well, since not every parent wants to leave full-time. Read More
From what I've heard, when companies offer "unlimited" vacation or sick leave, employees actually take less time off. The reasoning is that the time isn't considered yours, free to spend as you see fit. You also now have to worry about how you're perceived. Will taking X weeks off be considered excessive? Read More
First, let me explain what awesome careers look like.
They don't look like nice linear graphs, where you're moving up a little bit each month. (Heck, even so-so careers don't look like that. You don't move up every month. You get a bit better at your career every month, but you move up in big steps.) Read More
Recruiters complain college hires are leaving them in the lurch
In May, Michael Armstrong of Southern Co. called two students he’d recruited from a Southeasten public college to wish them a happy graduation and fix their start dates in the fall. The calls went to voice mail. Then the emails came in. Read More
Will you commit to telling everyone, from here on out, the honest reason why you're rejecting their invitation? (Everyone! No exceptions!)
Will you tell that one guy that you won't grab dinner with him because, to be honest, you found him a bit creepy and plus, he's unattractive? Will you tell your Facebook friend (who keeps inviting you to stuff, wtf) that, uh, you barely know her and the one time you met, you found her kind of annoying? Will you tell that friend of a friend you met that you aren't going to go grab a drink with him because he's just not that interesting?
Nah, you'll make up an excuse. "Oh, so sorry! Would love to but I'm busy that night. Next time!" Or maybe you just don't write back at all. So much for honest feedback. Read More
The Valley also offers finance geeks a less restrictive work culture. "From a Silicon Valley view, New York finance seems like a bunch of people in stuffy offices, dressed in suits, pushing numbers around late into the night," said Gayle Laakmann McDowell, CEO of CareerCup, a firm has advises Fortune 500 tech and finance firms through interviewing and talent acquisition.
"By contrast, Silicon Valley tech companies have casual dress codes, bright and fun office spaces, and they talk about the value of 'work/life balance,'" she said. "Also, they're actually building something new that the employees can show their friends and family." Read More
It will almost certainly have the intended effect of dramatically decreasing the pay difference between negotiators and non-negotiators (which has a gender correlation, and possibly culture/ethnic/race correlations too).
It won’t necessarily entirely remove it. For example, if I get slotted as a junior engineer and therefore my salary is $X, is it possible that I could argue to be considered something else and get a higher salary? Maybe.
However, just because these loop holes exist doesn’t mean that the policy isn’t having the intended effect. It’s not like it’s an all-or-nothing deal. Read More
It’s so easy to bash interview processes. You can look at *any* process and describe the types of (good) candidates it fails for.
This post just criticized existing process without offering an alternative. Well, sure, it has problems!
However, the problem the author describe are not entirely accurate.
The post seemed to be describing two different interview approaches, without really making the distinction clear. It described algorithm/problem-solving interviews, as well as knowledge-based interviews. The criticisms of one do not really apply to the other. Read More
No one really knows, but it's very reasonable to assume that there is a link. However, the link might not be as strong as many employers would like to believe.
Let's talk first about what the Google study says and what it doesn't.
What Google found was that interview scores had no correlation with performance of those who got hired. A few things to observe here: Read More
There are really three parts to this answer: getting the right experience, creating a good resume, and submitting it the right way. Read More