Understanding Rejection in the Job Market

Any time interviews are involved, there’s always a chance of rejection.  Interviews are two-way streets – while the company is interviewing candidates, the candidate should also be interviewing the company.  There are many grounds for why a candidate or a company may be rejected.  Let’s explore some of them.

Personality / Team Chemistry

As a hiring manager, this is one of the factors that I look at in my candidates.  I know my team and their personalities – personally and business-wise.  I know what personalities work well together, and I know which ones will cause turbulence for my team.  As a manager, I need to make sure my team’s chemistry is in balance so that they work together to meet the common end goal of delivering a project that satisfies our client.

Not the Right Time

Sometimes, it isn’t the right time to go for a position.  Especially in the world of consulting, we need to make sure that work is there so that our consultants are working and not getting paid to sit around on the bench.  If the business pipeline isn’t strong enough for another employee, then it’s wise to hold off on hiring employees.

Not the Right Skill Level

Sometimes, it’s easy to team up a junior with a senior to fill a mid-level position temporarily.  But sometimes, your resources are tied up and you really need a mid-level.  This happens.

More often than not, job descriptions are tailored specifically for a range of skills with clear intentions.  This means that, as candidates, you are guessing how much of that job description is solid and how much has wiggle room.  While it doesn’t necessarily hurt to go for a position that may be 6 months – 1 year out, it’s definitely a gamble as to where there may be wiggle room in the job description.

Not the Right Environment

A job interview onsite makes it easy to identify if a company’s culture is the right fit for a candidate.  Face it – a website and words can tell one story, but the company’s culture needs to be experienced in person to be truly understood.  This rejection reason is more of why a candidate may reject a company.  Sometimes, while a job description sounds appealing, the company atmosphere itself is unpleasant and not the right place.

The Better Candidate

With as many openings as there are out there, there are also many job seekers.  Some people are better than others on selling their skills and their employability.  Sometimes, there’s one candidate that’s better qualified.  Sometimes, there’s one that’s a better fit for a team.  It’s up to the hiring manager and the company to make that decision of who is the better candidate for their position.  If you get this rejection, make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward.  You need to make a great impression on all that you meet – from the receptionist to HR to hiring managers to everyone in between.  You never know who is commiserating with whom.  As long as you are putting the best you out there, then there’s nothing else you can really do (unless you know the other candidate and know how to sell yourself positively to stand out better than them).

Where do we go from here?

Try not to take the rejection too personally.  More often than not, the rejection boils down to the point in time.  It typically isn’t a “You can never work here” type of rejection – unless you’ve done something extremely wrong, this is rare.  If you really want to work somewhere and get rejected, try again later, when your skills are sharper or when the right opportunity appears.

 

For my apprentices… Why Twitter

I have to admit… the very first time I saw Twitter (back in 2007), I had to wonder why my friend Nivex sent me a link to it.  I think my thought best summed it up…

This site is stupid. It’s going nowhere. It’s definitely not for me.

Later in 2007, I met my dear friend Jeff Blankenburg, who mentioned Twitter in his presentation at a user group meeting.  I thought…

Wait… isn’t that the site that Nivex sent me? I swear… this is stupid.

Jeff made a compelling case for Twitter, and I’m going to share some of his tips.

Check out the person who told you about it.  Check out their friends and followers.

The person who told you about Twitter probably has found it to be a useful tool.  So hear them out and see what they’re talking about. (Follow me over there – @sadukie!)

I checked out Jeff’s profile to see what he was about as well as who he was talking to.  I then popped back to Nivex’s profile and did the same thing.  As I found interesting conversations and people, I started following more.

#HashtagsCanBeHelpful or #OverusingHashtagsIsAnnoying

Use hashtags to make it easier to seek help or find related Tweets.  So if you’re looking for help with a C# problem,   you could use Twitter’s search feature to find Tweets tagged with the #csharp hashtag.  Same thing goes for the Java crew – you could find some help with the #java hashtag.  But for the love of all that’s good, I better not see any tweets with #SpamSadukieWithSuperAwesomeHashtags. Got it? 🙂

There’s also a #Discover link on Twitter – use this to see trending hashtags.

It’s okay to be quiet. (This is my advice, not Jeff’s.  I’m the introverted one.)

There are some people who are just lurking and getting the feel of Twitter.  They are following people who they trust and possibly more, understanding the ecosphere.  If you don’t feel comfortable talking on Twitter, don’t panic – it’s okay to lurk.

But it’s okay to interrupt too!

If you see a conversation that’s really interesting you, don’t be afraid to engage.  You never know where that will lead.

Don’t take Twitter’s “What’s happening?” literally.

Nobody cares if you’re eating a bagel. Seriously, though, you don’t have to say what you’re doing.  You can ask for suggestions and recommendations and see who responds.  You can just post random thoughts.

Twitter is a multi-functional tool.  Make it work for your needs.

For me, Twitter led me to new relationships, new friendships, and new avenues in my career.  I’ve used it to…

  • Find my apprentices job leads outside of the Cleveland/Akron area
  • Find resources related to a work problem
  • Help others find solutions to their problems
  • Promote my book
  • Promote my speaking engagements
  • Find and promote conferences
  • Find my place in the tech community
  • Find other parents in the tech community

Conclusion

As I write this post, I’m up to 17k+ Tweets, following about 2000 people, and being followed by about 2700 people.  My first impressions were totally off, and I’m glad I gave it another chance.

There are people I talk with on Twitter that I have awesome conversations with… that I don’t know in person.  I’m okay with that.  When I meet them in person, it’s cool because we have already talked, so that awkward first time meeting someone is gone.

There are many friends I’ve met through various events that I keep in touch with on Twitter, and when we reconnect, it’s like that time apart physically wasn’t as distant.

For me, Twitter is a great way of keeping in touch with the community and with life in general.

 

 

More waxing nostalgic… old school HTML (LOL!)

My work with the apprentices this time is triggering a lot of waxing nostalgic.  I’m still uncertain as to why.  However, I am laughing up a storm here at the examples I came up with in my HTML (with frames, tables, Perl CGI Scripts, Macromedia Flash, and Macromedia Director work) and JavaScript/VBScript/Java courses back in college – yes… long ago.  You’ll notice that one of the last updated dates is 2001.

All of these screenshots remind me of why I am not a designer – DodgerBlue and LemonChiffon really look hideous together.  Add to it that I did things I shouldn’t do, but I was bored out of my mind and needed to stretch my engineering creativity as much as I could.  If you click on the smaller images, you’ll be able to see the full image.  Enjoy!


 

cset3100-ohgodframes

 

cset3100-ohgodframes2

Oh god! Check out those frames.  But wait… this train wreck is far from over.

Yes, I was that bored.  No, this is just an image – you can’t view the source of that.

This was an imagemap.  I loved watching these guys when I was growing up, so I couldn’t resist them for my project.

Forms! No CAPTCHA back then… but check out that AWESOME Submit button! *facepalm*

And my final project… apparently I thought a pizza shop was a great way to showcase all of my HTML, JavaScript, and Java knowledge.  Check out that last updated date!

 

Like I tell people even to this day, I am definitely not a designer.  When you leave the design up to me, I can’t guarantee anything visually pleasing.  Thankfully, though, if a designer gives me a layout, I can splice my images and create CSS from an image very easily.  I was given those chops, just not the ability to come up with designs from scratch.

Hope you guys got good laughs from this!

 

 

Microsoft Virtual Academy – from a Developer’s Perspective

Ever find yourself wanting to learn new technology but not sure where to start?  Not familiar with Azure but wondering what it has to offer to developers? Want to know what’s coming up in SQL Server 2014?  Have no fear – the Microsoft Virtual Academy is here!

FREE eBooks

There are many Microsoft eBooks that are available for FREE!  Some of the titles available include:

  • Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure
  • Introducing Microsoft Azure HDInsight
  • Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure

These are just some of the titles available.  These eBooks are available in various formats – including PDF, EPUB, and Mobi for Kindle.  Did we mention that they’re FREE? You can find these books at: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/ebooks

Online Courses

Regardless of whether you’re at home, in the office, in a hotel on the road, in a coffee shop, or anywhere else with Internet access, you can brush up your skills by taking online courses through the Microsoft Virtual Academy.  So many courses to choose from!  Some topics that are covered include:

  • Practical Performance Tips to Make Your HTML/JavaScript Fast
  • MEAN Stack Jump Start
  • Introduction to AngularJS
  • Introduction to Programming with Python
  • Cross-Platform Development with Visual Studio
They even have these Quick Start Challenges that are short explanations (less than an hour) on how to do some things including:
  • HTML5 Portability
  • Touch Support Using openFrameworks
  • Creating Your First Marmalade Game
  • Python and MongoLab

You can find all of these courses over at the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Live Events

If you happen to be able to get away from work to sharpen your skills, there are also Live Events offered by the Microsoft Virtual Academy. Don’t be fooled by the name – these aren’t in-person events.  The Microsoft Virtual Academy is keeping it virtual, but these online sessions are at a scheduled time, with live presenters.  They also have recorded sessions from past events.  Interesting topics include:

  • Java on Microsoft Azure
  • Creating 2D Games with GameMaker: Advanced Techniques
  • Data on Azure: A Technology Overview
  • Fundamentals of Application Lifecycle Management

You can find these and more at: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/Live-Training-Events

Conclusion

Microsoft has provided a resource for techies to get up to speed on their various technologies – take advantage of this resource to help stay up on where technology is and where it is going!  Check out the Microsoft Virtual Academy at: http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/

Data Collations

I love being married to an IT guy who focuses on “the other stuff”.  He’s truly awesome when it comes to system admin stuff, network admin stuff, and anything related to the hardware.  When it comes to writing code and some database stuff, though, he relies on me for a little guidance sometimes.

Tonight, he was looking at phpMyAdmin and wondering why he had “100s of options” in there.  When I asked him to elaborate, he mentioned “latin… utf…”.  Ahh… collations…

The Anatomy of a Collation

A collation explains the patterns in a data set.  This includes some behavioral rules.  Some of the key parts to note include:

  • Code Page – controls how to store the non-Unicode data
  • Options – determines how data is treated

Options

  • _CS / _CI : case sensitive / case insensitive – determines whether the letters’ case makes a difference in sorting.
  • _AS/ _AI: accent sensitive / accent insensitive – determines whether the letters’ accenting makes a difference in sorting.  For example in an _AI setup, é would be the same as e.  However, in an _AS setup, that would not be true.
  • _KS / (omitted): Kana-sensitive – determines how Hiragana and Katakana are handled.  This applies to Japanese kana characters. If _KS is not present, it is Kana-insensitive.
  • _WS / (omitted) : width-sensitive – determines full-width and half-width characters sorting.  If _WS is not present, it is width-insensitive.

 

Additional Resources

Shutterfly Promo Warning…

There’s something about Shutterfly – I am addicted to it.  I did photo books for my older son’s first year of life, and I’m currently working on the same for my younger son, as he’ll be a year here in about a month.

However, tonight, as I was checking out with my photo book, I was a bit irked.  There was something that triggered me to look at the available promos to make sure it was applying the correct promo, and sure enough, it wasn’t!  Rather than using my code for my photo book that was expiring at the end of the month, it decided it wanted to use my photo book that expires in 2016.  Seriously?!?

So let this be a warning to those of you who use Shutterfly.  Be sure to check which promo codes are being applied at checkout before checking out.  You can manually override those, as I did.  But you have to know to double check rather than just trust it.

Reflecting back on my intro to Java…

In working with the January cohorts, I’m finding myself waxing nostalgic.  Today, I saw how some of my apprentices were working on a problem involving a vending machine, and just seeing vending machines implemented in Java made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Those of you who’ve been around me a long time know that I’ve hated Java for how slow it ran back in the day.  But one of my most fun times programming involved learning Java.

I knew Jason and Emilie from ACM.  I knew of both of them through talking with friends, and I knew they both were super smart.  So I was terrified of slowing the team down at OOPSLA, being the inexperienced one on the team.  However, I did have two semesters of C++ under my belt, which made it that much easier for me to pick up Java, syntactically.

Jason and Emilie were both very patient and also great at explaining things.  While I felt unnerved writing in a language totally new to me, I eventually got the Swing of it. (What?!? I couldn’t resist!)

There were 2 things that stand out about that experience that still hold true today…

  • Programming languages are tools in my problem-solving tool belt.  I like having a bunch of them in my tool belt, ready to wield for the appropriate problem.
  • Crash-learning a language can be a lot of fun! “Crash-learn” is my term for learning a language as you’re solving a problem that is demanding that language.  With OOPSLA 99, that was my second time crashing on a language like that in 1999; for my Y2K Programmer position that summer, I had to crash-learn FoxPro.  I have since crash-learned C# as well.

I used to hate Java for running slowly.  Nowadays, though, it isn’t so bad.  I’m glad that I had a positive introduction to it to reflect back on.  I’m also glad that I get to work with the Java cohort at the Software Craftsmanship Guild, as it’s what has convinced me that Java has matured a bit since I had last seen it.