About Lou Franco

Lou Franco is a software development and management consultant who has been leading teams and projects since 1992. Lou is an expert on mobile development and co-authored "Hello! iOS Development". You can learn more about Lou at http://loufranco.com/adecco.

Lessons from a Mock Interview: Job seeker Advice for Passing a Technical Screen

iStock_000017125510LargeA few weeks ago, I met an old friend for breakfast – he’s had his own company for a few years, building a web application, but has been considering going back to work full-time. Excited by the prospect of it, he still felt concerned about being able to pass a technical screen, so I gave him the advice you’ll see below. If you’re looking to return to the tech world – or are changing career paths – these tips will help to get you on the track to success. 

The more you know, the more you understand what you don’t know

At first I thought this was typical imposter’s syndrome. My friend has nearly ten years of experience with programming and has been an entrepreneur of one sort or another for more than thirty. For the last five years, he’s been working on his own product, which is a fairly complex J2EE site. But, like a lot of good developers, he thinks that what he does isn’t as impressive as what others are doing. When you work on something for a long time, you become intimately familiar all of its flaws, and then when you see something new that someone else is doing, you only see the positives and begin to compare yourself.

I told him he was definitely qualified for a programming job if he wanted one, but asked what was up with his project. It turns out that in the last year or so, he had been mainly working on the business side of his project, not the programming, which was largely finished. And, even the business side didn’t need his full-time attention. He wanted to find an agency that would allow him to take on some short-term contract work because he missed programming and had the available time. 
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Using Agile Programming Ideas in Your IT Recruiting

149134795I’ve led and been part of agile development teams for over a decade – and have been hiring developers for even longer.  Through both types of experiences I’ve been able to apply agile development ideas to IT recruiting, interviewing and screening high quality tech candidates. And now, I’d like to pass that experience along.

Let’s talk about agile programming

My introduction to agile programming was from Kent Beck’s eXtreme Programming books. If you haven’t read them, his core idea was that software development needs to embrace change, and he suggests that there are certain practices that are so helpful in the face of change, that they should be used in the extreme. Beck based his work on best practices, but many readers saw the ideas of pair-programming, unit-testing, simple designs, refactoring and continuous integration for the first time in his books.

Creating an agile IT recruiting process

Just like in programming, it’s important to be agile throughout the recruitment process. So, to follow Beck’s lead, I took a look at what was working in my personal recruiting process and tried to figure out how to increase its effectiveness by doing more of it.

In programming, the point of being agile is to react to change, but in recruiting, the point of being agile is to see more candidates. Rather than rushing towards filtering and only deeply interviewing a few candidates, I tried to figure out a quick way to get to know as many candidates as possible.
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