Jobs and the Future of Work

The most common mistake made during tech job interviews

Lisa Eadicicco
Technology Reporter, Business Insider
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We’re all guilty of it — exaggerating some of the skills on your resume to catch the eye of a potential employer. But some developers may be amplifying their skill sets a little too much, according to one recruiter.

Developers and engineers will often list skills on their resume that they can’t really back up with solid experience, Tyler Mikkelson, a team lead for recruiting firm Mondo, told Business Insider.

So, for example, a candidate may list a particular skill or type of technology that he or she has worked with 10 years ago, or has maybe been exposed to but hasn’t really worked with in-depth.

“If that technology does appear on a job description that you’re applying for, you have to be willing to discuss it,” Mikkelson said. “Even if it’s not maybe in your bread and butter tools that you’re using now, it’s still something that you should brush up on prior to interviewing.”

It’s not a tactic that applies to the tech industry specifically, but Mikkelson says it’s prominent in tech because candidates know that recruiters are looking for hot buzzwords pertaining to specific programming languages or skills.

“If they put certain trendy technologies on there, they’re more likely to get interviewed,” he said. “They’ll maybe include it in the technologies used section or technology skills section, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve used it in depth.”

There’s another red flag Mikkelson notices among tech job candidates that isn’t quite as common, but still noteworthy.

“You’d be surprised at how many candidates don’t brush up and do a lot of research on the company at which they’re interviewing,” Mikkelson said.

This is largely because engineers and developers are in such high demand that they often feel like they’re a shoe-in.

“At times, a client may pass on a candidate because they didn’t come off as overly interested in the interview,” he said.

Programmers and developers are certainly in high demand — in November, the average base salary for a developer in the United States hit an all-time high. A study from The Brookings Institute that was published last summer provided some insight as to which programming languages are in the highest demand.

This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

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Author: Lisa Eadicicco covers technology for Business Insider.

Image: Unemployed Belgian Mohamed Sammar (R) answers questions during a simulated job interview, which is recorded to help him get feedback afterwards in Brussels July 2, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir.

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Related topics:
Jobs and the Future of WorkFourth Industrial RevolutionEmerging Technologies
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