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Canceling Your Interview

June 2nd, 2016

It happens: a family emergency, traffic, or an alarm that didn’t go off.  Even when you’ve meticulously prepared for it- sometimes it seems like the Job-Seeking Gods are against you.

If you have to cancel your interview, your best excuse is always an honest one.  Often, the most elaborate excuses raise red flags. We’ve heard them all. If you must cancel, consider (if possible) calling the interviewer or scheduler directly to convey your sincere regret for missing the scheduled time with them.  By letting the interviewer or recruiter know as soon as you are aware that you can’t arrive on-time (or at all), other arrangements can be made to salvage your chances at a second shot.

Talener asked its seasoned recruiters about some of the more interesting excuses they’ve heard over the years.


What excuses (real or not!) have you or someone else given when you needed to cancel an interview?

**The recruiter called Barnes & Noble to track down the wallet so he could interview— he got the job**


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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Resources for Common Job Search Questions

March 4th, 2016

Employee dilemma with question marks on blank paper

Everyone’s job hunting situation is different. Perhaps you’re coming off of a 3 month contract or have left your job after 20 years. In either situation, you may have questions about how to explain past work history, a background check, what to do about references or counter offers.

We’ve compiled some great resources that can help with the basic questions you may have.  And as always, asking a Talener team member is the best way to get tailored answer to your situation.

What does a sample tech resume look like?

Should I accept a counter offer?

I was fired, now what?

How do I explain short stints on my resume?

Are references important?

Background Check 101

What do I do if I’m asked about my salary expectations?

I’m converting from a consulting role to a full-time role. What is the raw conversion?

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

It’s Always an Interview

March 4th, 2016

Every day you are interviewing. Maybe not for a job, but you’re interviewing with every stranger that holds a door, sits down next to you on a train, or shares an elevator.  You never know who you will meet again. You never know if the receptionist at a company is the boss’s daughter.

What does this mean? It means you are interviewing before you even step foot into your meeting with your prospective manager.  From the moment you click send and your resume darts off into a company database, you have entered the interview process.

Your resume starts your story.  You’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.  Your resume is clean, concise, and has the perfect combination of experience and technology.  So why is it, that some highly qualified, and let’s say for the sake of argument, the best candidates on paper, can’t land a job?

It might be the interviews. While there is some debate about the merits of traditional coding interviews via white board, the fact of the matter is, many companies still use them as well as traditional interviews today.  So armed with a portfolio, references, and your resume- head into your interview confidently.

  1. You’re always interviewing. Treat the Admin like you would treat the CEO. We want to know if candidates coming into our offices are respectful of our admins. They see and hear everything and are great judges of character.
  2.  You’re late. Find your route to our offices or your prospective new employer. Then find another. It happens: traffic, accidents, delays. We understand, but when your livelihood is on the line – take it seriously. If you can’t arrive on time, let someone know. Part of interview preparation is having the contact information of the person that is interviewing you and assuring that you can reach them if needed.  Not showing up is a pretty solid guarantee that you won’t be putting in your 2 weeks notice.
  3. Know your audience. Are you going to a technical interview? Or is it with HR? Does it matter? YES! On paper, HR may be able to identify skills, but they are also looking for culture fit, how comfortable you are, and whether you can answer standard interview questions.  You should prepare to tailor your answers to someone who can/can’t understand technical lingo. If you aren’t able to explain technical jargon to HR, how could you do it in a client-facing position where they have no experience in web design or software development?
  4. Dress the part. There’s no harm in asking HR or your hiring manger what the atmosphere is like before you get on site. It’s insightful to want to be respectful by dressing and composing yourself at the appropriate standard. If they’ve told you it’s a jeans & t-shirts environment, a suit probably isn’t your best bet. But the opposite is true as well.
  5. Rehearse your answers. Know your resume inside and out. Make sure every last line can be explained or worked through and discuss how you’ve grown since that moment in your career. Be prepared to explain work gaps, short term contracts, and areas where you feel like you can improve. If you can’t (or don’t want to) improve your skills, you’re stagnant.
  6. Ask Questions. You’ve researched their backgrounds, scoured the company site, and even got in touch with someone who used to work there. Ask questions about current projects or shifts their seeing in their industry. Ask them why they left industry X to get into industry Y. Genuine interest goes a long way.
  7. Thank them. Thank them during the interview, send a quick email to thank them after, and make sure that you highlight anything about yourself that you may have missed.  Something short, sweet, and within 24 hours of the interview is suggested.
  8. Ask about follow up. Be clear about when they will follow up with you or with a recruiter. Or, ask when you can follow up directly. It’s OK to ask about a timeline as long as you aren’t pushy. Make sure that you send any projects or information that you promised during the interview.
  9. Check-in. If you are using Talener or any other staffing agency, check in to with your recruiter to discuss how it went and what your thoughts are post-interview. Are you still as interested? Did they mention something that sounded off to you? Is there something you’d like the recruiter to discuss with the manager? Discuss any potential issue so that your recruiter can get ahead of the situation.
  10. Understand why you did/didn’t get another interview.  You got a second round interview? Awesome! Why? Was it your personality? Willingness to grow & develop additional skills? Someone obviously thought it was important, so play up your strengths.  Didn’t get another interview? Find out why. Ask your recruiter to get specifics about the interview. Was it something you said? Culture fit? Or perhaps something you didn’t pick up on at all.

Check out the great interview advice links below from some companies that we have worked with:

Tech Interview Tips-

How to Nail an Interview in Software Engineering- Business Insider

Tech Job Interview Questions- Forbes

10 Tech Interview Errors- Monster

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

The Art of the Technical Resume

March 4th, 2016

Businessman Reading Resume

This article includes sections from a Talener article originally posted on DC InnoClick here to view the original article in its entirety.

There is an art to resume writing.  There is an even finer art to writing a technical resume that highlights your skills as a developer, without overwhelming a hiring manager with tech stacks that crowd the page.  So how do you master the skill of resume writing and avoid some big pitfalls along the way?

It often takes hiring managers less than one minute to scan through a resume and decide whether you move to the short list of resumes or not.  One minute. It might seem unfair or downright crazy that your job search is based on less than 60 ticking seconds.  Jobs can have hundreds of applicants; especially if you live in a thriving metro area.

So barring any major spelling mistakes, formatting issues, or illegible fonts – we’ve highlighted some of the biggest offenders we see on tech resumes as well as included links to some great overall resume advice.

It’s too long.

We’ve seen resumes 10-15 pages long (seriously). The resume is filled with projects, every last detail about the tech stack you know and have seen once in your life.  Longer is not always better. This is where the age old, quality over quantity is imperative.  If your best qualifications aren’t on the first two pages, you’re selling yourself short.

Rule of thumb: no more than three pages for a general resume.  And this is generous according to the Talener NYC Director, Kim Siembieda. Junior candidates shouldn’t exceed 1-2 pages, and mid-level should stick to two pages. Your resume should introduce your skills; you are there to tell your story.

It lists every technology you’ve ever seen.

And you can’t explain how you have used them. Rule of thumb: If a hiring manager closed their eyes, moved their index finger around and pointed to a technology on your resume, would you feel comfortable answering in depth technical questions about it?  Sound crazy? It happens more than you think.  Be prepared to explain the smallest line on your resume, not your biggest project.

If you really want to illustrate the scope of your abilities without overselling yourself, add in a section that lists technologies that you are familiar with or have seen in action before.

Education: Check. Experience: Check. Motivation…

It’s great that you went to a top school for your CS degree and have three internships under your belt.  But if you haven’t gotten a job right out of school and need to go through the interviewing gauntlet, then you need to show your motivation for finding a job and continuing your learning. This is critical for bootcamp grads as well. Include associations, tech groups, meetups, hack-at-thons & trainings outside of work. Show your motivation!

Looking for more information about technical resumes? You can always reach out to a Talener team member, contact us, or check out some resources from some of the companies we have worked with, below:

Technical Resume Templates –

Technical Resume Templates-

How To Write A Developer Resume That Will Get You Hired – Business Insider


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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Interviewing

February 26th, 2016

There are some obvious faux pas that we are all guilty of when searching for a job. Luckily, in addition to connecting you with companies, Talener offers resume review services, interview prep, and coaching to get you through one of the most stressful times of your life.

While some of these may seem obvious, these mistakes are made every day as re-writing a resume or interviewing cause nerves run rampant. So before you click apply or handover your resume to us, or another resource, ask yourself these questions:

When is the last time you read your resume? I mean, really took the time to review your entire resume to refresh your memory about projects or skills that you’ve listed. It happens more often than you think, a hiring manager asks about at technology you have listed, but haven’t touched in 5 years.

Did you do your research? Did you check out the company site, including the “About Us” Section? What about the manager’s LinkedIn profile? Do you have talking points or questions to bring up to further your engagement?

If you are given an interview, how will you arrive on time to your interview? Do you have alternative transportation methods if the trains are running late or traffic is at a standstill? Plan your arrival wisely.

Are you prepared to tackle a technical interview and/or an HR interview? Preparation for these interviews should be approached differently, including understanding their title and role within the organization.

If asked, can you talk about what you are doing to keep up in your tech stack? Experience is great. Talent is irreplaceable. But what about motivation and growth? What are you doing to maintain your edge outside of work? Do you have personal projects? Are you involved in tech community projects or meetups?

You should begin your job search with these five questions. Once you can clearly answer the above questions, begin your serious job search. If you need to make changes to your resume, do it. If you need to take a trip across town to clock the time it takes for an interview (or future commute), do it.

But don’t give up. After a few weeks, candidates that we meet will lose contact because they are frustrated that interviews don’t pile up. In certain tech stacks, the market is candidate friendly, where as in others, it’s saturated with highly qualified applicants. We will continue to reach out to you with opportunities, but we also want you to come back to us for feedback, new leads, or ideas. You never know, we may have an ongoing relationship or insight about a company that you’re interested in.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

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