// Internet Duct Tape

Building a Better Job Search Site

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Technology by engtech on July 21, 2008


Job hunting is a massive industry, but unfortunately it’s one that that always leaves job hunters feeling unsatisfied. Monster and Dice are painful to use. The hierarchy trees of job categories are often incorrect and confusing to someone who is looking for a job. There are a few places that are doing something different:

LinkedIn – resume and networking tools to keep in contact with ex-coworkers. The best way to find a job is often through people who know you. You get a job, they often get a referral bonus — win/win.

Peter’s New Jobs – regional tech job searches in Ottawa and Toronto, worth the yearly subscription even if you have a job because it’s a great way to stay current with the job market and how companies are doing.

Standout Jobs – Montreal startup that is focused on humanizing the job search process and giving companies a chance to sell themselves.

Working With Rails – job listings based on people working with a common technology.

Site-based Job Boards – job listings for readers of blogs like 37signals, Joel on Software, and Tech Crunch.

There are a few things I’d like to see in a job search site.

LinkedIn Integration

LinkedIn has taken over as the business contacts networking tool and it has a robust resume feature, yet we’re still forced to manually enter our resume into most job sites.

No Job Categories

Job sites like Dice and Monster all suffer from bad usability with elements like the job category navigation that takes several minutes to fill out. It’s so much simpler to have saved search agents for keywords in resumes and job postings.

Google Maps

I’d really like to see all of the job locations on a Google Map centered around my home address with different colours based on how the fresh the listing is. Job decision is often based on locality and I’ve yet to see a job search site that lets me easily list.

Stock History

For publicly trade companies there is no reason not to integrate a stock ticker widget so that job applicants can quickly see how a company is performing.

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Is your web identity a help or a hindrance to your employability?

ComputerWorld has an article about how recruiters use web anonymity to find more information out about job applicants.

In a 2006 survey by executive search firm ExecuNet in Norwalk, Conn., 77 of 100 recruiters said they use search engines to check out job candidates. In a CareerBuilder.com survey of 1,150 hiring managers last year, one in four said they use Internet search engines to research potential employees. One in 10 said they also use social networking sites to screen candidates. In fact, according to Search Engine Watch, there are 25 million to 50 million proper-name searches performed each day.

They go on to list some tips like starting a blog, joining open source communities, building a web page, creating web profiles. Andy pads it out with some more helpful suggestions like getting a domain name, tips for getting the number one spot for your name and controlling what appears in search results for your name.

I’ve written about privacy, internet usage and real name searches a few times with my Facebook tips, guide to pseudonyms/identity hiding and tips on hiding your LinkedIn profile from searches outside of your LinkedIn network. When I started this blog a year ago it was with the idea that it could help with the job hunt, but then the slew of articles I read about people losing their jobs because of blogging convinced me otherwise.


How to screen candidates with phone interviews

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Technology by engtech on October 25, 2006

Joel has another great post on phone interviews. He focuses on asking questions on programming skills and office politics, with an emphasis on putting forth incorrect assertions and seeing if the interviewee pipes up. “Smart programmers have a certain affinity for the truth, and they’ll call you on it.” He also gives a list of good interview questions like design a program for playing Monopoly. This isn’t his first time talking about interviewing, he also gave some good tips for being on the other side of the chair in his Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing.

It happens all the time: we get a resume that everyone thinks is really exciting. Terrific grades. All kinds of powerful-sounding jobs. Lots of experience. Speaks seventeen languages. And saved over 10,000 kittens!

Look! kittens!

And then I call them up, and I can’t stand talking to them.

>> The Phone Screen – Joel on Software

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Building a Culture for Recruitment

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on September 06, 2006

Joel has another great article on the subject of hiring. He notes the conundrum that the people you want to have working for you are rarely the ones who are available on the job market. His major points are:


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CrunchBoard – Another Job Board for the Tech Industry

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Technology by engtech on August 04, 2006

TechCrunch, a notable blog about start-ups, has created a forum for high tech job postings. It’s targetted towards software / web2.0 start-ups, as you can see from the categories: Admin/Office, Design, Executive, Other, Product, Programming, Sales/Marketing, Venture Capital.

They’re charging companies $200 to post a job listing. It’ll be interesting to see if this takes off, as it is missing key features like sorting by location, search inside postings, etc. The $200 fee to post should guarantee quality posts. Being part of the “CrunchNetwork” should guarantee it enough page views to be worth the posting fee.

At the moment there is only one non-California job posted by a company in New Zealand.

I think perhaps they launched the announcement too soon. It is functional but it is missing many key features to even get listed with the competition, not to mention differentiate itself from them. As one of the commenters on the TechCrunch announcement said: “It’s 2006!”.

>> CrunchBoard – The Job Board for the Tech Industry

>> Techcrunch � Introducing the CrunchBoard Job Site

Emurse.com online resume builder

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Technology by engtech on August 01, 2006

It looks like there’s a pretty slick web app on the market at emurse.com.

The blog looks like it’s under active development and the feature list looks complete:

  • Create resumes using expert advice and an easy to use builder
  • Style your resumes and download in DOC, PDF, RTF, ODT, HTML or Text
  • Manage multiple resumes.
  • Make changes simply and easily.
  • Send your resume out via email, fax or ground.
  • Track where you’ve sent each resume, online or off.
  • Stay on top with reminders, updates and thank you notes.
  • Create a resume webpage, http://yourname.emurse.com
  • Create resume sharing groups with friends and co-workers

There’s no indication of a usage fee, so enjoy it while the enjoying is good. This is a market space where even a piss poor application seems to turn a buck.

>> emurse.com

>> screencast walkthrough of using the site

How to Interview a Programmer // The Curmudgeon Coder

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on June 21, 2006

Admittedly the author’s original title was “How to Interview a Java Programmer” but I thought it was applicable to any kind of programming job.

  • what is a bit and a byte
  • primative data types and their sizes
  • data structures (Map, Set, List, Array, Tree, Graph, Stack, Queue)
  • basic OO terminology (polymorphism, encapsulation, interface, inheiratance,
  • overloading, overriding, pass by referrence, object, class, abstract class)
  • database experience (relationships, common database problems, and joins)
  • software design (coupling, cohesion, design patterns, tiered architecture)
  • write code

This is a pretty good guideline for any programming job, even verification with modern HVLs using OO methodology.Note: he mentions using the “Reverse a string in place” question, which I already covered here.

>> The Curmudgeon Coder

>> Part 2

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The Art of Recruiting, Part II // Guy Kawasaki

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on June 17, 2006

Guy Kawasaki is hosting a really good article describing how to run handling interviewing for a tech company. The best point I tihnk it makes is find out how your best interviewers are and have them interview everyone. “Best” in this case is “measured by the retention rate and the eventual performance of the people we hired”.

I cannot stress this enough:

A curious thing about our interviews: We were VERY hard on the candidates (particularly the Tech interviews), but instead of resenting it, the candidates uniformly were impressed and wanted to work for us. They knew that if they joined, they’d be joining a top-notch R&D group.

Signum sine tinnitu–by Guy Kawasaki: The Art of Recruiting, Part II

How to Hire Talent // Life of a Software Program Manager

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on June 17, 2006

lifeofaprogrammanager talks about some of the issues involved with hiring talent. Here is my take on his suggestions from the interviewee's point of view:

  • Evaluate Problem Solving. Given a problem where you don't know a solution, how do you go about solving it? When you're in the interview chair this can throw you for a loop (oh no! I don't know the answer!), but what is key is to recognize they're questioning your thought process. Start asking THEM questions.
  • Hire Smart People. All other things being equal, they are going to hire the smartest person who meets the minimum criteria.
  • Admitting Ignorance. If you don't know the answer to something, then admit it rather than try to spin wildly.
  • Communication Counts. You will probably be asked questions based on projects you have worked on in your previous jobs. The interviews may not have the same background, so one thing you can practice before an interview is brushing up on how you would explain these projects to someone who is not familiar with them. It is always a good idea to keep a library of the publically available technical briefs / product documents associated with things you have worked on.
  • Career Goals are Good. Knowing what you want and having an idea of how you are going to get to where you want to be gives a clear picture to the interviews that you are serious about your profession.
  • Another tactic that I recommend is differentiating yourself from the other candidates with the questions you ask the interviewer. Someone who asks a lot of interesting questions is going to stand out more than someone who asks nothing.

 Life of a Software Program Manager: How to Hire Talent

Hiring: The Lake Wobegon Strategy // Official Google Research Blog

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on June 11, 2006

This is on the flip side of what I usually cover on the Career Search side of things, but it talks a little bit about Google's philosophy when hiring new employees.

  • New hires have to be better than the mean of the existing employees (so that the mean is always increasing or at least staying level, this is hard to do if you don't have a good means of generating statistical data on existing employees and candidates)
    • An interesting aside, good people want to work with good people and bringing in someone who isn't at par can effect the existing workforce.
  • Hiring manager shouldn't be responsible for choosing the candidate because they will almost always rather have someone than no one. Google takes the approach of finding good people first then finding projects they will fit in to once they have been hired.

Official Google Research Blog: Hiring: The Lake Wobegon Strategy

Bloggers Need Not Apply — why you’ll fail the job interview because of your blog

This is an interesting article on blogs from the point of view of people who are interviewing candidates. They talk about how blogs can be easily found by doing a search on the candidates name and how some candidates clearly mention their blog in their resume.

While the article doesn’t go into any true detail, it does cover some salient points like:

  • how blogging gives interviewers more information of a personal nature then they would normally have during a job interview
  • how the focus of the blog may skew their opinion of the candidates’ experience and/or interests
  • how even if the blog is sanitary when talking about previous workplaces, co-workers and dirty laundry that there is the implied risk that may not always be the case
  • how there is an underlying suspicion that time will be wasted maintaining their blog instead of working

The overall gist is that interviewers feel that having a blog at all is a negative on a candidate’s application.
Chronicle Careers: 7/8/2005: Bloggers Need Not Apply

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Be prepared for interview questions

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Technology by engtech on May 02, 2006

When going on job interviews, keep in mind that if it is on your resume, then they will ask you questions about it. Have a friend with a similar technical background take a superficial glance at your resume and say what stands out. During the interview process you will most likely have someone who is only glancing at it and will only ask the questions that most readily jump out.

The corollary to this is that if you are listing your achievements based on perceived importance rather than chronological order, then they you will get asked questions about something that was not fresh in your mind. Either be prepared by reviewing these older achievements, or by gracefully redirecting the question to a more recent projects (which might be unlikely to happen in a nervous situation).

Another common theme is that they are going to ask you questions from 10,000 feet. On large projects where you may know the specifics of one area very well, they will ask you overall questions where you had better be prepared to say something to explain the general and work the way down to the narrow features you are comfortable with. Keep in mind that when you are being interviewed by someone, the focus of their interview will most likely be on the areas THEY are comfortable with, not the areas that you are comfortable with.

If you are going through a cyclical interview process you may start with a technical interview with someone in a similar position and then work your way up the hierarchy of command. As you move up each level, the questions will be more general and you have to be prepared to discuss things at a higher level than what may be specifically required for your job position.
Some questions for ASIC Verification positions that have thrown me for a loop because I wasn't prepared:

  • Describe the interfaces on project X? Have to explain it from a systems point of view.
  • What process geometry did you use with your last project? Have to understand the big picture and the general flow of semiconductor manufacturing.
  • What fab did your company use with your last project?
  • If the company is a start up, be prepared to answer some questions about why you want to work for them.

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Peter’s New Jobs and BrainHunter — Finding Work in Ottawa

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on April 26, 2006

 I've been trying out Peter's New Jobs for a week and I'm very impressed with the service.

A tool designed for job searchers

Currently monitoring over 8,000 web sites, we scan each site, identify the NEW jobs that have been just posted since the previous day, record the link and job title and package them into a clean, easy to read email and send it to you each day, Monday to Saturday. It's that simple.

Don't waste your time

Just think about trying to track 100 of your favourite companies. Spending only 3 minutes per site means almost 5 hours/day just checking for jobs. PNJ tracks over 8,000 sites, the equivalent of over 350 hours of searching and packages it all up into a neat summary that you can review in less than 30 minutes each day.

The "hidden" job market

Many of the jobs captured by PNJ never appear on the public jobs boards like Monster or Workopolis since companies must pay to post on them. In today's market many companies simply rely on word of mouth. PNJ gives you the double advantage of tracking this hidden job market and knowing about them as soon as they are posted.

Only new jobs make the list

There's nothing more frustrating than wasting your time pursuing old job postings that you mistake for new jobs. That's something we all understand and hate. Our daily list includes only new jobs posted since the previous day! If the job is on our list, you can be certain that it's a new posting for the company, there's a job description and that it's less than a day old.

One thing I've noticed is they get a lot of jobs from BrainHunter.

Brainhunter is dedicated to helping employers and job seekers make best-fit connections. We are a one-stop shop specializing in providing high-growth sectors with pre-screened, top-tier contract and permanent hires.


Brainhunter.com list of engineering job skills

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on April 26, 2006

When you set up an account on BrainHunter.com, this is the list of "engineering skills" you can choose from.

  • APQP
  • ASIC
  • ASIC Design
  • ASIC Verification
  • ATM
  • ActiveX
  • Aerospace Industry
  • Air Photo Interpretation
  • Airborne Geophysics
  • AutoCAD
  • Automation / Controls
  • Automotive Industry
  • BiCMOS
  • Bidding / Quoting / Estimating
  • Budgeting / Finance
  • Building / Construction / Commissioning
  • C/C++
  • CMOS
  • Cadence Design Tools
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil / Structural Engineering
  • Computer Automated Design / Drafting
  • Contract Experience
  • Core Logging / Field Mapping
  • DSP
  • Datamine/Arcview/Geolog/Geosoft
  • Design Engineering
  • Documentation / Reports / Procedures
  • EMI
  • Electrical / Electronics Engineering
  • Environment, Health & Safety
  • FEA
  • FMEA
  • GIS Mapping
  • Geology/Industrial Minerals
  • Geology/Petroleum/Tar Sands
  • Geophysics
  • Geophysics/Electromagnetics (EM)
  • Geophysics/Gravity/Radiometrics
  • Geophysics/Induced Polarization (IP)
  • Geophysics/Magnetics(MAG)
  • Geophysics/Well Logging
  • Gold / Diamonds / Base Metals
  • Gold / Diamonds / Rear Earth Minerals
  • HDL Design Tools
  • HTML
  • Hardware Engineering
  • Hydroprocessing
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Java
  • Jedec Standards
  • MEMS
  • MS Projectintranet
  • Maintenance Engineering
  • Management / Supervision
  • Manufacturing / Fabrication
  • Material Handling
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mentor IC Design Tools
  • Mining / Geological Engineering
  • Mining / Mineral Processing Engineering
  • NC
  • Network Engineering
  • OOD
  • Oracle
  • PCB
  • PERL
  • PLC
  • PPAP
  • PRO – E
  • Packaging
  • Petrochemical Industry
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Planning / Scheduling
  • Plant Experience
  • Plastics Industry
  • Process Control / Improvement
  • Procurement / Purchasing / Logistics
  • Project Management
  • Quality Control / Quality Assurance
  • RF Design
  • RF Test
  • Remote Sensing
  • Research & Development
  • SQL
  • Sales / Marketing / Technical Assistance
  • Scripting
  • Simulation
  • Site / Field Experience
  • Software Engineering
  • Specification
  • Standards / ISO / QS
  • Steel Industry
  • Stress Analysis
  • Structural failure analysis
  • Surpac / MapInfo / Gemcom / Discovery
  • Synopsys Design Tools
  • Systems Engineering
  • Teaming Concepts
  • Telecommunications
  • Testing / Evaluation / Analysis
  • Training / Development
  • Trouble-Shooting  / Problem Solving
  • UNIX
  • VHDL
  • VLSI
  • Verilog
  • Visual Basic
  • Visual C++

Interview Planner – Job Interview Advice from Monster.com

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on April 25, 2006


  • Keep supplies on hand for delivering your resume to employers.
  • Have the following with you for an interview:
    • contact information for the people you will be meeting
    • directions on how to get there
    • copies of resume
    • list of references
    • questions to ask the employer
    • paper for notes and a pen
    • comb, breath mints, tissues
  • Have two basic interview wardrobes and keep them in tip-top shape (know your local 1 hr dry cleaner).
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get there (I like to scope out the location in advance to find out in advance about construction closures and where parking is available).
  • Follow up afterwards and make sure you can be reached.

Interview Planner – Job Interview Advice from Monster.com

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Don’t Talk Too Much – Job Interview Advice from Monster.com

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on April 25, 2006

One of the most interesting points they made is that they way you really make an impact on the interviewer is with the questions YOU ask THEM. 

Don't Talk Too Much – Job Interview Advice from Monster.com

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The 10 Commandments Of Salary Negotiations

Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on April 25, 2006
  • Research your profession's salary range.
  • Select a target salary or total pay.
  • Don't initiate salary discussions.
  • When asked for your salary requirements, say that they're "negotiable."
  • When asked for your salary requirements, reply by asking the interviewer to share the position's salary range.
  • Discuss benefits separately from salary.
  • Analyze all benefit packages with a family member or friend, or with an insurance, investment or bank professional.
  • Consider the cost of living if you're moving to a new area.
  • In discussing why you deserve a substantial increase, use examples of your accomplishments that prove your value, not merely your experience. Comparisons to your current salary are irrelevant and should be avoided.
  • Always assume a firm's first offer is negotiable and never accept an offer at the interview. Express your strong interest, but state you always discuss decisions of this magnitude with advisers whose judgment you have relied upon for years.
  • :: Salary Advice ::

    Writing code in interviews – The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing – Joel on Software

    Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on April 24, 2006

    Some signs of a good programmer: good programmers have a habit of writing their { and then skipping down to the bottom of the page and writing their }s right away, then filling in the blank later. They also tend to have some kind of a variable naming convention, primitive though it may be… Good programmers tend to use really short variable names for loop indices. If they name their loop index CurrentPagePositionLoopCounter it is sure sign that they have not written a lot of code in their life. Occasionally, you will see a C programmer write something like if (0==strlen(x)), putting the constant on the left hand side of the == . This is a really good sign. It means that they were stung once too many times by confusing = and == and have forced themselves to learn a new habit to avoid that trap.

    >> The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing – Joel on Software

    >> The Guerrilla Guide to Interviewing 3.0

    List Of References – Boston College

    Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on April 24, 2006

    Tips for creating a list of references. 

    List Of References – Boston College

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    techInterview – puzzles and interview questions

    Posted in Hiring, Job Interviews and Resume Resources, Links, Technology by engtech on April 18, 2006

    techInterview – puzzles and interview questions

    this site is about challenging yourself to new puzzles and problems. do not be afraid that if a question you use appears here then it won't be worth asking anymore. first, people who come to this site to read the problems are the type of people you want to hire. they are the people who get excited about solving problems, and actively search out new problems to ask themselves.