Home > .NET, Agile, General Software Development, ISV, Software Development > When you apply for a job, read the job posting!

When you apply for a job, read the job posting!

I am constantly amazed by the number of job candidates who apply for a position without reading the job posting. We are currently hiring for three positions:

  • Agile .NET Developer
  • Agile .NET Developer Internship
  • Graphics Designer

All three involve *doing* something in order to be considered for the position – for the developer positions it requires completing a code sample and sending it in with your resume. For the graphics designer position, it requires putting together a fun design and sending it in with resume.

image I have not kept accurate numbers (since we have run the postings for a while now with lots of applicants) but roughly 1 out 2 candidates for the developer positions and a whopping4 out of 5 candidates for the graphics designer position do not submit their design/code. If I receive 20 applications in two days and your application is canned and does not include the design/code – then guess what happens to yours? … it gets DELETED. Can you believe that there are many applicants who just send a resume without even a cover letter?

If you can’t bother to read a job posting, why do you expect someone else to bother reading your resume?

It is truly amazing that some people believe their resume alone will make them stand out – I imagine many companies don’t even open the resume if the applicant hasn’t met the requirements of the job posting – I know we don’t.

A job is an significant part of our lives and should be treated with importance.

When you next apply for a job:

  1. Read the job posting entirely.
  2. Submit any additional samples/code as required.
  3. Research the company, understand what they do and why you might want to work there.
  4. Write a good cover letter explaining what you find interesting about the company, team or position.

Take these simple steps and you will stand out.

We are hiring! Do you want to write beautiful code in a Test Driven, Refactored, Agile .NET software company in the heart of Washington DC and work on cool products? Take the code test and send your resume along with why you want to join Thycotic to tddjobs@thycotic.com. (don’t forget to read the job posting! :))

  1. http://
    April 8, 2008 at 4:07 am

    Unfortunately the way job seekers operate and job advertisers operate is entirely different. Job seekers will apply for every possible job on their search results list with only briefly skimming the advert text. Advertisers want them to read the text in detail and create a carefully written response. Some job sites, particularly seek.com.au in Australia, actively encourage job seekers to send as many possibly applications even for jobs they are barely qualified for. It frustrates employers.

  2. vcsjones
    April 8, 2008 at 5:22 am

    I had someone post a resume in a blog comment. I’m not even doing the hiring? What’s going on here?

  3. http://
    April 8, 2008 at 9:40 am

    It is ridiculous and unrealistic to expect applicants to complete some little exercise just to apply for a job. Unless maybe you are a pretty special company but in that case you wont be advertising positions, applicants will be coming to you.

    I have written code samples to get jobs before but only after the hirer has expressed serious interest by at least responding to my application, giving me an interview and putting me on the shortlist.

    Imagine if everyone had to complete some programming exercise for every job application! Heck 90% of job adverts are mostly dreamers/fishing/not serious anyway.

  4. thycotic
    April 8, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    An interesting thing to mention: We get many people who do the code challenge but are not actually interested in the position – they are usually overseas but just couldn’t resist the challenge. They send in their solution to find out how they did!

    We have had at least 10 people do this in the last few months. These people clearly have the enthusiasm and curiosity that we are looking for.

  5. rrobbins
    April 8, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    I have a more opportunistic approach to doing business and would scour resumes to determine what projects the applicant had worked on. This is valuable info on what sort of development work businesses are finding it worthwhile to pursue. Then I would hire someone to acquire their expertise. I call this the “industrial spy” management style; gather intelligence, turn agents, etc.

  6. cibrax
    April 8, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Jonathan, how can you determine that the code was actually written by that person ?. Someone can grab a piece of code from somewhere, an open source project for instance, and send it to you just to get an interview (As long as this person know what the code does of course).

    Regards,
    Pablo.

  7. http://
    April 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    This is a small company method of weeding out candidates and a good sign that the company is not worth your time as an applicant. Combined with constantly having the same generic job openings or repeatedly posting on job boards will definitely put the company into the low-ball, bad place to work category.

  8. http://
    April 8, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Ok, sounded like fun, so I figured out a solution. But I’m in the midwest and have no interest in moving to DC, so I am not sending you my solution, or resume, and certainly not a cover letter. πŸ˜‰

    Funny. Yesterday I had an interview, and the guy asked me to write a function on a white board, doing something similar to this except with fibbonacci. I thought about it for five minutes, and then wrote a 4 line function which used recursion. The guy doing the interview was like “Whoa, I’ve never seen it done that way before.”

    Which makes me think that perhaps as an interviewee, I should ask the interviewer to write out some code. πŸ™‚

  9. Denis Gobo
    April 8, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Wow, can you imagine applying for a job as a nurse and having to send in some written essay why you love being a nurse?
    This is why you do a phone interview first, after that you can ask the person to come in and bring code samples/design samples and you can interview him further

    Why do I need to mail code if I don’t know anything about the job, the phone interview gives me the chance to ask any questions I have and only if I am interested in the job after that will I submit any samples. Makes sense or not?

  10. Wim Hollebrandse
    April 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Interesting challenge, I sent the code along but am not applying for the job. πŸ˜‰

  11. thycotic
    April 9, 2008 at 3:24 am

    @rrobbins: This is an interesting approach. In my experience the developer seldom knows much about the business domain of the application, let alone the actual business justification for the application – maybe your experience is more with smaller businesses that are most accountable/focused? Many corporate IT projects often have little real value in my experience.

    @cibrax: The idea with the code challenge is to have something that they couldn’t just “google” for exactly. This is why we created alpha-end in the code challenge. If they find a generic solution but searching and then apply this to the specific problem then that is ok, in fact probably desirable as this if often how simple problems are solved in projects anyway. The skills to take a generic solution and apply it to a unique problem are part of what we are looking for.

    @Ted: Yes, Thycotic is a small company. We are also incredibly high talent (one of the smartest collections of developers I have ever worked with and I have consulted for some years in the industry). I believe we are desirable to work for since we take great pride in really good code and great development techniques (TDD, Pair Programming, CI). We are interview many people who are not a good fit. The challenge is to help us screen for people who:
    a) can code
    b) are enthusiastic about code
    This is the only first step in a fairly intensive interview process but the end result is worthwhile.
    I have seen several interview processes at “big” companies and they are usually very ineffective. What do you suggest instead?

    @The Other Steve: Ha! You are another one that couldn’t help but solve the problem. In our interview process, we do actually discuss the code – the first step is to review the submitted code and discuss the solution and the “approved” Thycotic solution. In step 3, you actually get to pair with the team and pose as many interesting questions back to the team members while you work with them. You should definitely treat interviews as a two way street!

    @Denis Gobo: What is wrong with asking a nurse to tell you why they love being a nurse? If you want great nurses on your team, then this would be a good start. If you want mediocrity, just ask for a resume. I don’t think you will get to a phone interview without standing out – a good job posting will tell you:
    a) the company name (then do your own research)
    b) what they value (read our job posting to see what I mean)
    c) what is required
    This is easily enough to either get excited about the position or decide it is probably not for you. The phone interview is to learn more but it will take some effort to get to this with a good opportunity.

    @Wim: Thanks for your code. We will review. You are another one who couldn’t resist the challenge! I love it. πŸ™‚

  12. ca8msm
    April 9, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Here’s another way to look at the situation…

    As a potential employee, I’d like to make sure that I first wanted to work for your company. Yes, I could research your company and find out what they do, but until I’ve talked to the people involved I couldn’t really get a feel for whether I wanted to work there or not. Until I decide that, what is the point of me spending time completing tests?

    What I’m trying to say is that it’s not all one way traffic, it’s not just your company who gets to pick a developer; it’s also about developers picking your company. What is your company doing to entice me? What makes your company stand out when I’m looking for a position? Why should I contemplate applying for the position? Making me spend time complete your test without making me interested in your company may simply put me off applying…

  13. Cracky
    April 10, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Your task is to implement the Converter.Convert method for this new number system to get all the unit tests passing.

    Well that’s funny, a simple switch statement would fullfill such spec.

    On a side note Home button of your home page does not work on Mozilla Firefox, if you go to forums you can’t get out (not even clicking on the image logo), you may want to fix that. Doesn’t work on Safari either.

  14. thycotic
    April 11, 2008 at 12:24 am

    @Cracky: Thanks – we are aware of the Firefox issue and we really should have fixed it already!!

    How many tests would you need before it would be easier to just implement the conversion instead of adding to the switch? πŸ™‚

  15. Cracky
    April 11, 2008 at 7:01 am

    … maybe I’ll code a parser for the test that will keep adding statements to the switch as you add test to the spec XD

  16. vcsjones
    April 14, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Better yet, how about a writing a CodeDom provider to write the switch statement for you?

  17. http://
    April 21, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Hi,

    I could not apply for the jobs since I’m located in Germany, but from my point of view there is no link to codetest.txt from your own job page athttp://thycotic.com/career_tdddeveloper.html. Please correct me if I’m wrong. The only sentence which states what to do is on the very end: “Please send your resume and a brief summary explaining your interest in TDD and Thycotic to tdd_me_now@thycotic.com.”
    This gives no hint that one have to send a coding test.

    So far
    Dominik

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