Taking Cues…

When I was taking somebody’s interview for the first time on my own at Google, it turned out that the candidate used to follow my blog and I was totally nervous. It was the first time I was on the other side of the table, and was fully conscious of what all I hated about interviewers and was going to do myself. “Why do you want to join Google?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” I thought that most of such questions were so well rehearsed that if you were picking people up based on the answers to those, you might as well pick people up randomly. The answers show nothing about the individual.

Since then, I have gone even further on the other side of the table. Then, I at least had the excuse that I was merely following the procedures of the organization. Now, I am on my own and randomly picking people up is not an option! So, consciously or unconsciously, I am developing cues on my own. They are of course not going to be correct all the time. It would be interesting to hear people’s views on some of these things. [But please don’t take anything written here personally].

  • When I see everything from C, C++, Java, php, perl, html, ajax, asp .Net, Database etc. etc. in skill sets, I generally leave such profiles out. Unless there is a very strong looking project, or exceptional academic performance in the profile. If one claims expertise in everything, I am absolutely not sure which ones can he/she actually do.
  • If there are projects with fancy sounding names, but no description, I am generally skeptical about the profile.
  • Cover letter/e-mail does not matter, except if it is written in a bad language, in which case it is a negative. Flamboyant cover letter is not a positive.
  • Something that sounds like an attempt to glorify things unnecessarily is a put off. Not just in resumes, but elsewhere too. Scanning social networks is a common practice. Somebody’s profile somewhere said that they work for a “leading software company” in a field where they were supposed to put the name of the company. It just made me skeptical. Heck! Working for a small company is not at all a negative for me. If anything, it is a positive. But not being comfortable about it tells me that you are doing it out of compulsion. I think even if I were a big company, I won’t feel good about it. As a small company, it makes the person a no-no.

One practice with resume, that is very useful (which I always practiced, but never thought consciously about) is to ensure that the contact number and e-mail id are on the top. Leave all the personal information for the end of the resume. But not these. Believe it or not, it is indeed painful, when you are trying to schedule an interview, to scroll down just to find that phone number.

And one thing that I strongly believed in earlier and continue to believe in is that length of the resume does not matter. Content is the king, with some intelligent placement of the things, of course. If you have content worth 3 pages, write a 3-page resume. If you have content worth only one page, do not strive to get into a second page. If you do have a 3-page resume, just ensure that the most important and eye-catching things are on the first page. You won’t be penalized because you exceeded the golden limit of 2 pages!

By the way, if you have been wondering about recessions and jobs and start-ups, my guess is that it is a good time to join or do a start-up. There is sufficient risk in the economy anyway, why not take a little more and be in a start-up!

This entry was posted in Business & Entrepreneurship by Jaya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started Pothi.com, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe (http://instascribe.com) with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: https://jayajha.wordpress.com Twitter: @jayajha Facebook: http://facebook.com/MovingOnTheBook

9 thoughts on “Taking Cues…

  1. hello jaya,

    although i have been closely following your blog, i do not intend to put u to any discomfort by appearing for an interview at your company.

    instead wud appreciate if you can do a link exchange with my blog. i have already linked u in the Blogs I Read. Go thru my blog and if u feel worthy, exchange links. btw, lemme tell u that i too am a maithil.

    u can write to me at ujjual.aditya@gmail.com

  2. The realization that it is a financial crisis came later but I too have taken the call of joining a startup. Know not how good would it turn out to be. But yes I agree it might be a good time to join a startup (no. of people are telling me absolutely otherwise).

  3. There are a few things you have mentioned as turn-offs but, my take on all this is that “it depends”. We are living in digital age with almost everything and anything at one’s fingertips. So, are CVs! So, my feeling is that I won’t judge or build an impression of a person based on contents of the CV. Some of your observations (Small company vs Big company) reflects YOUR perception(which I agree to by the way) but does not necessarily merits disqualification. Probably the route to take will be to believe what you read. If the content of the CV has skills (technical or soft skills), personality and behaviour can be left for the interview. Interview helps you verify what he has on his/her CV and to get the feel whether he/she will be right fit for the company.

    As far as grammatical/spelling mistakes are concerned, that obviously is a strict no.

  4. By all means, all of this is indeed MY perception🙂 Problem is “it depends” is hardly a solution when you have to make decisions and do not have infinite time to follow through every potential candidate. So, developing perceptions and cues ends up happening. How I wish it was not required🙂

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