A Few Tips for Hunting Developer Roles

From a Hiring Manager's Point of View

Background

I’ve worked in service creation agencies, big corporations, startups as well as an accelerator. I’ve been hiring for different roles of cross-functional delivery teams for the last years. I am closing in on a hundred hires for development (backend, frontend, mobile), UX, UI, Product Owner, Scrum Master and QA people during these last years. I’ve seen tons and tons of CVs and applications in the Finnish, German and UK markets from all over the world. Here are a few tips based on my experience as a hiring manager. Tips for applying for a role in a software delivery team.

Tip 1 - Concise CV

Short and sweet. Keep it under 2 pages. As a hiring manager receiving tons and tons of CVs I don’t have time or the inclination to read your whole life story from the CV. To me as a hiring manager the most important things are your contact info and the relevant experience for this role. It’s ok to have some background on education and relevant courses but I don’t need to know about every single role and project you’ve worked on, especially if they have no relevance for the role you are applying for.

Tip 2 - Application

Same applies here. If you write a cover letter make sure to mention in the first few paragrapsh why you would be the best choice for this role. Then if you managed to peak my interest, I can go on and read more about your background and your current situation.

Tip 3 - Punctuality

Be on time. A lot of the time I bunch up interviews to a few days of the week and if you are late, it has a cumulative effect on all the other interviews and will reflect badly on you.

Tip 4 - Interview behaviour

Be honest. There is no point in lying about your experience or skills, they will come out during the job anyway and we usually have probation periods to establish if you actually are right for the role. If you are lying about your competence, it’s just wasting everyone’s time. A little exaggeration is normal in CVs and interviews but you need to be able to back it up by quickly picking up things if you’ve boasted that you know about them.

Tip 5 - Interview behaviour

Ask questions. Show that you’ve looked into the role and are interested in it by preparing and asking questions. My interviews are quite informal and there’s a lot of discussion. That’s a good way for me to dive into your personality as well so I can see how you would fit in the team personality-wise.

Tip 6 - Interview tasks

Talk thru your thought process. If you are asked to do an exercise in the interview, talk thru it. As a hiring manager I need to know how you approach and think about the problem so you need to articulate your thought process when solving it. If you spend 20 minutes on the whiteboard silently that doesn’t give me a lot. If you are asked to do an exercise offline before the interview, spend some time on it and explain your decisions. It’s not about producing perfect code but rather demonstrate your problem solving skills. There usually is no right answer.