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"Fake it to make it for the job.. but not too much"

Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
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Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30586
    
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AmNY (the local free daily) had an article "Fake it to make it for the job.. but not too much". They listed three categories:
1) Fake working knowledge by googling a software program or application to get through interview. Or talk about a similar tool. Don't fake expertise.
2) Fake/exagerate soft skills. Don't fake your personality
3) Fake having done the job before (for longer in job title) . Dont' fake literally having done a job you haven't or for longer.

I thought this might be an interesting discussion - reactions to it and all. My take:
1) Talking about a similar tool isn't faking it because you are saying "I haven't used X, but let me tell you about Y." Googling knowledge is a huge risk. I'd rather someone tell me they haven't used a tool than BS me about it.
2) They didn't really mean fake here. They meant show how your experience shows you have those soft skills - even in small doses. Like people skills for working at a summer campp.
3) I didn't really understand the distinction here so I probably didn't paraphrase it well.


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vijay jamadade
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Joined: May 12, 2008
Posts: 241
My take will be like

1) Fake working knowledge by googling a software program or application to get through interview. Or talk about a similar tool. Don't fake expertise.
I will think it as a framework worked on. People/companies are expecting that one should know all struts,spring,hibernate frameworks but what if we dont get chance to work on it. I will say it is acceptable to study all, do POC apps and add in project details. because if we can work on one framework we can understand and work on others also.
Thing is i can manage !!!

2) Fake/exagerate soft skills. Don't fake your personality -
this can be easily identified

3) Fake having done the job before (for longer in job title) . Dont' fake literally having done a job you haven't or for longer.
dont agree faking this


Regards, Vijay Jamadade.
( Nothing is Impossible.)
Jan de Boer
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Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 394
    
    1
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:I thought this might be an interesting discussion.


There is one thing that will prevent an interesting discussion here: we are all obliged to log in to this forum with our full names. Hence you will never get an honest answer whether or not a rancher lied in his interview, his boss might read it. I will tell you though that I have exaggerated a tiny little bit on my CV, at times in the beginning of my career, but was always capable to learn that technical knowledge that fast, that it never got me into trouble. In the Netherlands you have got a month and a half notice to your present employer, and mostly a month to prove yourself at a new employer. In almost 3 months, you can do a lot of self study.
Ulf Dittmer
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Joined: Mar 22, 2005
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  64
Jan de Boer wrote:we are all obliged to log in to this forum with our full names.

Note that it doesn't need to be your real name, though. It just needs to sound like it could be. So if someone wants to discuss things udner an assumed identity, that's perfectly possible.


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Jayesh A Lalwani
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Joined: Jan 17, 2008
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  28

regarding the first one, if I knew a company is using a tool that is similar to the one I used, I would read through the tutorials before the interview. In the interview, I would say I haven't used tool X, but tool Y does is like this, and based on what I read about tool X, I guess tool X must be doing this. If I'm guessing, I am going to be honest and say I'm guessing.
chris webster
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Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1726
    
  14

I pretty much agree with Jeanne's take on this.

I try to put a positive gloss on my skills/experience, but I don't fake anything when applying for jobs, and I'm happy to acknowledge where I have limited experience e.g. with a particular tool that I've only used briefly or just for a training course. I've usually found that people are much happier to see evidence of your interest in/understanding of a particular product, even if you haven't used it, rather than listen to you talking BS about something you don't understand. Any decent developer can pick things up on the job if the client is prepared to let them do so, but it's not fair to either party to fake your way in and then start wasting your employer's time/money learning stuff you're supposed to know already or screwing things up because you don't even know how little you know (especially if there are plenty of people out there who could do the job better).

This straightforward approach has generally worked out pretty well for me in the past, although I've been out of work for several months now, so maybe I need to change my strategy and start faking some skills!

Also, I've met quite a few people who definitely did not have the skills for the roles they'd managed to secure, so I don't know if they were "faking it" in their interviews or if the recruitment process itself was ineffective at weeding out people without the right skills (probably both). A few of them got away with it by learning fast on the job, but most were not very popular with their colleagues/managers who ended up having to do their work for them, and one guy is now selling his skills as an "architect" despite having been the worst programmer I ever met.

Anyway, I once had an interview where the recruitment agency had somehow got my skills wrong on the CV they sent to the client. The interview went something like this:

"So, Chris, tell us about your COBOL experience."
"Uh, I haven't got any COBOL experience".
"Ah....."

They were OK about it once we'd worked out that the agency had screwed up and not me, but it's not an experience I'd want to repeat.

Oh yeah, and I don't fake my personality either. I'm a computer programmer: I don't have a personality.


No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
chris webster
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Joined: Mar 01, 2009
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  14

Ulf Dittmer wrote:
Jan de Boer wrote:we are all obliged to log in to this forum with our full names.

Note that it doesn't need to be your real name, though. It just needs to sound like it could be. So if someone wants to discuss things udner an assumed identity, that's perfectly possible.

"Jan de Boer"? That's Dutch for "Farmer John", right? Sounds like a fake identity to me....!
Campbell Ritchie
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 39079
    
  23
It’s “Farmer George” that would be the real fake.
Sachin rakesh
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 04, 2012
Posts: 14
Thanks Jeanne Boyarsky for starting this thread.I completely agree with vijay jamadade for his first point.Everyone do not get a chance to work in startups to work on everything.Many highly capable people work in service based IT companies also.Services sector mainly depends upon outsourcing.Why would client outsource challenging applications to these companies..Rather the work would be of medium to low standards..So many capable people are deprived of such opportunities to work on multiple things.I genuinely feel that,one has to learn and practice and update these skills in CV and search for the jobs..I dont want to use the word fake because its not..You have the ability to work on tool x means,you defnitely have the capability to work on tool y.

According to me faking means:
1.Showing false educational certificates.
2.Getting the experience letter from some consultancy by paying them money and showing it to future employer.
Jan de Boer
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Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 394
    
    1
But, what about the employer? Doesn't he fake about how interesting the job is? I once had an interview, we talked about Java en C#.NET. The job advertisement was for someone knowing both. I wanted to go in either of the two technical directions. Somewhere far far hidden on my CV, there was a line that I had programmed some Delphi code. I accept the offer, I am two days at that office, the same manager comes to me and puts me on a Delphi project. I spend about a year getting in the technical direction I was promised. That whole years I switched projects from Java, to VB.NET, some C#, but more than half Delphi stuff. When he then complained I was not fast enough in programming in Delphi, for which I had little experience and less motivation, I started to look for another job, and 3 months later I was gone. Half of the stuff presented as job content is fake to get the programmer.
chris webster
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Joined: Mar 01, 2009
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  14

Jan de Boer wrote:But, what about the employer? Doesn't he fake about how interesting the job is?

Yeah, but it's a job, Jan. If it was fun and interesting and exciting all the time, they wouldn't have to pay you to do it!
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
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Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30586
    
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Interesting thoughts. I'm not worried about the real name thing here because my goal wasn't for someone to say "I lied at an interview." Although on that note - funny story. I ACCIDENTALLY lied at the interview for my first full time job out of college. I had read about java beans in a book. When I got asked if I knew Enterprise Java Beans, I said yes thinking they were similar. Luckily there were no follow up questions on that. Then I went home and read what they were. Oops.

I think the Struts and Hibernate examples are good ones. If someone says they worked with Struts, I expect to be able to discuss Struts as an interviewer. If we use Struts and you've worked with JSF, that's fine. However, I expect you to be able to talk about JSF. And if you tell me you read a book on Hibernate, we can discuss that. it doesn't have to be a perfect match with the job. It's to tell how well the candidate understands the technologies he/she allegedly worked with.
Vinod Tiwari
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Joined: Feb 06, 2008
Posts: 459
    
    1
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
Interesting thoughts. I'm not worried about the real name thing here because my goal wasn't for someone to say "I lied at an interview." Although on that note - funny story. I ACCIDENTALLY lied at the interview for my first full time job out of college. I had read about java beans in a book. When I got asked if I knew Enterprise Java Beans, I said yes thinking they were similar. Luckily there were no follow up questions on that. Then I went home and read what they were. Oops.


Usually the questions which we lie and whose answers you later see are not forgotten easily. I'm sure you would not have forgotten that EJB question for long time post that interview


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chris webster
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  14

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:...it doesn't have to be a perfect match with the job...

From what I've seen in the current job market (here in the UK at least), that's the problem: if you can get as far as an interview with the people who actually know what they're looking for, then you can discuss these things honestly and positively because they know that a good candidate can learn the extra stuff on the job if necessary. But in many cases the good candidates can't get through the dumb "buzzword bingo" filters applied by HR or recruitment agencies, which creates a lot of pressure on applicants to "optimise" their CVs with stuff they may not really know, because if you can't tick all the boxes on the recruiter's shopping list of skills, you won't get as far as an interview anyway.

I've seen cases where employers end up having to interview people who don't really have any of the skills they're looking for, while applicants who have most but not all those skills are filtered out of the process early on. Employers and recruiters (HR, agencies) then complain about a "skills shortage" (while skilled people can't find jobs), or they are swamped with unsuitable candidates claiming to have these skills, so they apply yet more buzzword filters to try and narrow down the search, which creates a vicious circle.

In my experience, common recruitment practices seem to be making any genuine "skills shortage" worse, and increasing the pressure on people to lie about their skills. No idea how you fix this.
vijay jamadade
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Joined: May 12, 2008
Posts: 241
In my experience, common recruitment practices seem to be making any genuine "skills shortage" worse, and increasing the pressure on people to lie about their skills. No idea how you fix this.


True, thats a serious problem within IT industry and nobody have taken it seriously. There should be more analysis on this and HR people should highlight this to tech interviewers to concentrate and find out more capable persons rather than taking people who are just showing off or pretending to have all the required skills. My personal experience is whenever i have added struts+spring+hibernate in resume i have received tons of calls as compared to when i just added struts+spring (beginner).

Tech interviewers take beginner as dont know at all.

Interviers are forcing to lie then.
Jan de Boer
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chris webster wrote:
Jan de Boer wrote:But, what about the employer? Doesn't he fake about how interesting the job is?

Yeah, but it's a job, Jan. If it was fun and interesting and exciting all the time, they wouldn't have to pay you to do it!


I fully agree but this boss actually thought we all had to smile all day, that his office was the eldorado for programmers, and he kept lists of my presence at company outings. Working == FUN was his motto.


(I wanted to kill him.)
 
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subject: "Fake it to make it for the job.. but not too much"