10
duckWit
78d

We recently held a flood of interviews back to back to back for several days looking for one candidate. I was reminded how much I loathe hearing "I haven't had the chance to get into that tech at my current and past jobs so I don't know it yet."

Do not blame that on your employers. It is not your employer's job to keep you up to date with the latest and greatest tech. If that tech interests you, do you not take the initiative on your own? You make no advancements outside of work? That's a giant tell that will immediately fail the interview if I'm the one interviewing you.

Instead say, "I haven't learned that yet."

You are a software engineer. Learn it on your own and make it happen. If you are plateaued that's nobody's fault but your own.

Comments
  • 2
    Well, let’s take my example.
    I like .Net core, I've been at build 3 times. I know what’s happening. But I did 1(!!) project with it (Azure functions). It does not make me an expert. SO I would’ve answered “Yes, I know this tech, but I didn’t have a chance to work with it closely”.
    I’m way past coding for fun. If I’m not paid, I’m not coding. (Ok, I still have around 2-3 pet projects were I write couple of lines of code every week/month, but it’s way less than before)
  • 2
    @NoToJavaScript Even still, saying "I did not have a chance to..." still communicates (to me) that you are waiting for the universe to give you a chance. Admittedly, it's not as bad as trying to blame an employer. Imo, say, "I am familiar with this tech to a degree but I haven't dedicated any real time to it." Wording it like this makes you take ownership of it without trying to pass blame. That's what my rant is about.
  • 1
    @duckWit I like your wording better too :)
  • 3
    Hahahahahahaha. "I have not had the opportunity to learn xyz at my current job" is a simple statement of fact. Every other thing you said was a negative inference that you made.
  • 3
    Hmmm.
    @duckWit Well... no. A dev has no need to learn every framework, platform, or new thing coming out every week. No one has the time for that. And if you expect a Dev to "take the initiative", and fault them for making the sane choice... the problem is not on the poor dev side.
    Talk to your HR, and teach them to filter better.
    I have said in the past: Dev skills are transfareble - If a dev knows one hard typed lang, one soft typed lang, and a scripting lang - and is able to learn, he can get a job.
  • 1
    @monkeyboy you missed the point.
  • 0
    @magicMirror you also missed the point.
  • 0
    Let's say the interview is about a react front-end position. During the interview, I ask if they also have any experience with angular. If they say "No, I don't", I have absolutely no problem with that. The interview continues. If they say, "No I don't because my employer hasn't given me any opportunities to learn angular" then I have a problem. Instead of just being honest that they haven't spent the time to learn it (again, I would have no issue with that), they try to save face by passing blame, as if it's their employer's fault they don't know it. What else can be inferred from a statement like that? They are stating a fact, sure, but they are using that fact as justification--as if there is no other way they could possibly learn it--and for me that speaks volumes.
  • 2
    @duckWit I know while interviewing you usually don't have time to investigate everything and statisticly your scenario is more likely. But to arrive to such a negative conclusion that you would fail them without asking the reason behind their statement is wrong in my opinion because just while reading this thread I came up with 3 scenarios that made sense.
    1. the candinates previous job had opportunities in angular but the boss didnt allow him/her to work on it but out of work doesnt have the time to learn it properly.
    2. the previous work was burning out the candinate physically and/or mentaly to the point that he/she couldnt work on pet projects to learn anything new.
    3. (doesnt work with the angular example) The tech you asked cannot be learned properly or wouldnt make sense to learn outside of work. DevOps tools are usually like this. Working with jenkins and docker can be done home but most of the time its overkill so you spend the time better if you try to learn it at work.
  • 0
    @duckWit I know these are less likely scenarios and your phrasing would still be much better in any of them. But the fact remains that they really might not had the opportonities to learn said tech.

    Also if you weren't telling them what you think about that sentence and that they should go learn and not wait for the employer than you aremt helping the situation and they just failed without knowing why...
  • 0
    @duckWit My point was:
    Tell your HR to filter candidates better.
  • 2
    I did not miss the point. Suffice it to say we both are better off not working with each other.
  • 1
    @soulevans07 thanks for your comments and communicating your ideas constructively.

    If they reach out to find out why they didn't get the job, then it will be explained.

    Your burnout point is interesting. I (and everyone reading this) can relate very well I'm sure. It is very real that someone can be all consumed by their job, morning and night, getting calls at 3am that things are broken and after fixing it they still have to get work done in time for an important demo to a prospective client by 9am (I'm literally describing my life here). This can make it impossible to want to take the extra time to push yourself to expand your knowledge and experience in something that isn't utilized by that ever so demanding job. I've been there, it's directly the reason why my front end skills are dated and why the only version of angular I know is Angularjs 1.5. I've felt like I've been drowning and the thought of taking up something new is ridiculous when all I'm focused on is taking the next breath.

    I completely get that. I'm completely ok with someone having worked in those extreme conditions and not having worked on new tech. A lot of what that person went through makes them all the more refined and someone who can bring a lot to the table.

    My point is very specific. I ask about other tech they might know. It's not a deal breaker if they don't know them, of course not, because said tech isn't in the job listing. It's me trying to get to know them more, to have a more defined picture of them. There's no reason why any candidate should become defensive by it. That's a character quality I look for.

    Tell me about that demanding job. Tell me about that burnout. Be open and honest about what you don't know. Don't give me any reason to suspect that you're a defensive, finger-pointing kind of person but one who can have a constructive conversation even if it's in a heated moment and we're good. Then you're likely somebody I can work with, especially when times get tough.
  • 1
    @soulevans07 to your 1 and 3 points, they could word it like this:

    Out of curiosity, do you happen to know Angular?

    "I'm familiar with it. I've read some articles about it, I've made some simple SPAs with it, but I have not had experience with it in a real world production environment. There's a lot more about it I could learn."

    Do you have experience with DevOps?

    "I'm familiar with it. I've read some articles about it, but I have not practiced it yet in a real world production environment. There's a lot more about it I could learn."

    ----

    Both of those responses reveal they don't know it or much about it in a way that is constructive and not defensive.
  • 2
    @duckWit and your last point is why I said that you should investigate more if you hear something like this.

    In my opinion it's the interviewer's job to ask followup questions so the candinate can talk about the circumstances aka "that burnout".

    When I go to interviews I know I shouldnt let them assume anything negative so I explain and give context to everything I tell about myself but I know that to some this would seem as over explaining or irritating so it would be helpfull if the interviewer would dig as deep as he/she wants until he/she has concerns or interested.
  • 1
    @duckWit yeah those would better convey what they meant but communication between people is hard even more so under the stress of an interview. They just might not have found the best words at that time.

    I know that one could better interpret the meaning behind the words by hearing the tone, the delivery or watching for non-verbal signals but just by the words these sentences are not as clear cut as you can see.

    and this is why I love and hate human interactions :D
  • 1
    @soulevans07 awesome, thanks for your added points and clarification.

    It took me a bit, you are directing your comments in response to this piece of the original rant, "That's a giant tell that will immediately fail the interview if I'm the one interviewing you."

    I am coming from the perspective where I have asked follow up questions, and I am left with "I wasn't allowed to" as the takeaway, not "I'm doing everything I can and I know there's a lot more I can learn."

    You are right, follow up questions are important.
  • 1
    @duckWit yep! And because the "immedietly" meant to me that there were no followup questions to that point is why i suggested that you should do that but it seems that you too havent found the right words this time...

    Words are hard! :D
  • 1
    @soulevans07 haha! Touché.
  • 0
    @monkeyboy I’m on your side. @duckwit differentiation here is super pedantic and petty.
  • 0
    @jeeper I disagree, but such is life.
  • 0
    @soulevans07

    Thats because from what I can see DevOps is an entirely different job from Software Engineering.

    If you go to an interview and your interviewer doesn't know the difference, excuse yourself and then leave.
  • 1
    @duckWit A lot of companies do not give allocated time to engage in self growth or community participation. By shifting the onus to the devs to learn it by themselves, you are trying to dictate their non working lives.

    Having allocated time for devs to self study or engage in communities is a great way to influence that to build stronger devs. The way what you are saying is coming out, you sound like you demand your devs be involved in non work related and unpaid study and community involvement.
  • 0
    @jeeper wholeheartedly and with all sincerity, my comments and exchanges above add clarification to the original post. I don't have anything else to say about it.
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