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What makes you a desirable employee, in your opinion?

If you're currently employed, what do you think was the skillset or quality that got you hired *in your current job* instead of the next guy (or girl)?

Do you have a clear understanding of why you succeeded in getting the job, or did you employer just inform you that you were the succesful candidate?

We all like to think we're good at what we do but you could have been hired because:

* You were cheap
* Your timing was right
* You were good for their affirmative action programme
* Your personality clicked with the interviewer
* You're good looking :D

For me, I think the reason I got the job I'm in was because I spent a few months looking for the right position and I didn't feel pressured to grab the first McJob that came my way, so I treated the first 5 or so interviews as practice runs for the job I really wanted. Psychologically, that really gave me an edge in interviews.

I also had an excellent recruiter who could "read" me like a book and matched my personality with the right company. She was an ex-developer herself so it didn't feel like I was dealing with the usual brain-dead, acronym-reciting recruiter types you so often find.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Easy on the recruiter bashing Mr. Beard!  Some of us who read this forum do that for a living.
Monday, July 17, 2006
For my current job, the interviewer asked about non-deterministic finite state machines with the original intention of at least weeding out the bullshitting applicants. During the phone interview itself, I gave a vague two sentence answer that at best told the interviewer that I at least went to the class.

The cincher, or so I heard, was that after the interview, I researched it a bit more throughly and then emailed the interviewer the next day a follow up note wherein I discribed the main purpose/value/use of such state machines and gave examples (about a page's worth).

We didn't discuss it in detail but I think what got me in the door for the in-depth interviews was simply the willingness to follow up on things.

We're a corporate environment that does government work, and we quite often get last minute, vaguely defined requests in the sense of "Hey David, I just got a call. We've got to implement this in 60 days, what can we do?" So basically...

1) attention to detail

2) self motivated

3) willing to research and/or ask about what they don't know

...all make desirable traits in employees here.
Monday, July 17, 2006
The ability to effectively navigate through the bullshit of office politics.....plain and simple...
Brice Richard Send private email
Monday, July 17, 2006
I've gotten jobs based on dumb luck, being friends/alumni of the recruiter, personal recommendation of the company owner, and for sheer technical prowess.

All of them work and will get you in the door...  not all of them will keep you there.
KC Send private email
Monday, July 17, 2006
timing (luck) -- in the right place with the right Internet project post at the right time. I happen to be a superstar programmer, but that only enabled me to negotiate a big rate later, it didn't help me get the job.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Persistence.  Like TheDavid, I followed up with the company after my initial contact.  AFAIK, I was one of two (of 200+ applicants) that did so.

Curiosity.  I did some research about the company & was able to talk (a little) about their prior incarnations in my interview.  Apparently I was the only interviewee to do so.

Technical 'skill'. I diagrammed a simple concept from their application description in their(our) toolset & discussed potential implementation issues in 2 other languages.

When I'm interviewing, I'm primarily interested in some demonstrable understanding of programming (in our toolset is better but not necessary) and communication skills (not _accent_ but how well they _communicate_).  Doesn't matter how good they are technically if they can't work on a team.
a former big-fiver Send private email
Monday, July 17, 2006
>> What makes you a desirable employee, in your opinion?

Absolutely nothing. That's why I am a consultant.
Bored Bystander Send private email
Monday, July 17, 2006
They are not gay.
Ray Fulton
Monday, July 17, 2006
"I treated the first 5 or so interviews as practice runs for the job I really wanted. Psychologically, that really gave me an edge in interviews."

Hm... let's run that through the translatomatic:

"I didn't get offers from the first five interviews I went on. Not even an acknowledgement. Twice they ended the interview early. Once I heard the team laughing about me as a left. Psychologically, I was so worn out and despairing that I started going out on interviews for less desirable jobs accepted the first offer I received."
Art Wilkins
Monday, July 17, 2006
Fast coder, good understanding of SQL, better than my coworkers.

Willing to admit I've made a mistake. Don't spend 1/2 hour arguing with people before I admit I'm wrong.

Friendly, get along with people.

Pretty clear in written documents.
dot for this one
Monday, July 17, 2006
++ If you're currently employed, what do you think was the skillset or quality that got you hired *in your current job* instead of the next guy (or girl)?

I was able to answer the team-lead's interview questions about C++; and I was recommended by two of their employees, who had worked with me before at previous companies.
Monday, July 17, 2006
What got me my current position?

Enthusiasm about the group and its mission.

A good reputation.

Knowing (or at least knowing of) people I'd be working with.

My "been there, done that" attitude and the ability to back it up.
Chris Tavares Send private email
Monday, July 17, 2006
My boss know he can pay me with peanuts. you know those type of peanuts that they use to feed elephant!
Monday, July 17, 2006
+1 for Art Wilkins.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
"I didn't get offers from the first five interviews I went on. Not even an acknowledgement..."

Heh, cheap shot Art... I'd take the bait but I couldn't be arsed :D
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Actually, in the discussions about me leaving, I asked why they picked me.

The answer was that most of the people just didn't seem remotely competent. Out of the couple of us left after eliminating the hopeful but clueless, apparently I was the only one interested in the business as a whole. $BOSS said that he was quite sure any of us could have just "done the job"[1]. But the other two were competent nine-to-five developers. Whereas I turned up to the interview and started asking about how the software worked in the marketplace and how it compared to competitors and how the industry is structured and so on.

And so they wanted me because they hoped I'd be more than "just another developer" and in a small company that's important.

I'm actually quite sad to be leaving. I wouldn't be leaving if the company weren't having money issues.

This is the first job I've really ever left without being hacked off with it. Normally I'm SO glad to be out of the door, but this time I'm actually all torn up about it.

[1] Although the job they had in mind was just "write some C++" and not "refactor the app so it's easier to develop for" which is what it turned into.
Katie Lucas
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
"refactor the app so it's easier to develop for" no wonder they got into financial trouble -- took their eye off the ball.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
In answer to why I got hired I think it was because:

1. I was cheap. Was :).
2. I was very charming over the phone - I had been setting up meetings on my own with CEOs and CTOs for lunch and seeing if there were job opportunities. I was quite used to talking with big important people that my confidence was quite high.

2 was after reading and implementing "Josbsmarts for Twentysomethings" a book I would recommend to any age.
Anonymous Monkey Send private email
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
1) Funny cover letter.
2) The wodge of code I sent them
3) Everyone else that applied wasn't even close to competent.

Sadly, I probably could have skated by on just number 3.
a regular, anonymous
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Giving a test on Perl and SQL. Missed a few questions.

When the interviewer explained the correct answers, I caught on at once. That showed I could learn instead of fighting against new knowledge.
quick learner
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Without a doubt it's the oral sex I permit my boss to give me on a regular basis. Secondarily, job skills peripheral to this core requirement.
Paranoid Android Send private email
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
"took their eye off the ball."

The technical leadership of the company is fine -- although they weren't really doing brilliant C++, they'd developed something that worked. And when I turned up and gently suggested better techniques to improve the stability and development cycles, they took to it like fish to water. There's still work to be done in refactoring things, but they're aware there are avenues to improve on and they WANT to do those things. Kind of rare really.

The sales arm of the company was where things went a little ka-ka... They're hiring a kick-ass salesguy, which will, I think, in the long term save the company.

I think this is that "geeks don't make good businesspeople" thing again. Excellent product; no-one making calls to sell it.
Katie Lucas
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Katie is my hero.  ;)

On one of my customer sites - last of three doing custom work! - they've started listening to my suggestions on the sales/strategy side... mostly leveraging what they already have and expanding the business with current customers.

It's very satisfying to know that at the very least, they're considering what I've said and sometimes even act on it.
KC Send private email
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

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