At a recent interview

Me: “So how would you rate your skills in Java on a scale of 1-10?”

Interviewee: “I would say that I am a 7/10”

Me: “So you understand Object Oriented programming pretty well”

Interviewee: “Yes, I know classes and objects. I know how to write methods. I can use them for automation. It’s pretty easy especially once you understand, you can use OOP for all languages. Blah, blah, blah, I’m great…”

Me: “So can you tell me what an interface is?”

Interviewee: “… Um…. Uh… How to explain it…. Well…. Uh…. It’s… It’s a collection of methods….. It’s for multiple inheritance…”

Do yourself a favor

Do you know how we got to this conversation? It’s pretty simple. The person claimed that they know Java, they are a seven out of 10 in profieciency. They understand Object Oriented programming. So I started asking reasonable questions based on their response. However, after this interaction, within the first 10 minutes of the interview, this person stood no chance of getting this job. They exaggerated their skills and I caught them in their lie. Why would I want to work with someone that lies to me during our first interaction? Why would I ever want this person to be part of my team?

This brings up another issue. I am seriously fed up with Automation Engineering candidates that send us over two pages of resume. This is really frustrating and is a huge waste of time for employers.

  • First, almost nobody is actually going to look at all six pages of your resume.
  • Second, you are going to make your interview harder because you open yourself up to more questions on more technologies. Which is exactly what happened in the example above.

In order to fully understand how long your resume should be, you need to place yourself in the shoes of the hiring employers. Imagine that you are a Test Automation Lead and a Test Director. Your days are filled with lots of activities and important meetings.

Are you really going to read six pages about a potential candidate when you have many other important tasks to handle? Do you really expect two or more people to review this huge resume, wasting even more time for the team? By the way, your resume should be no longer than 2 pages.

You are not going to be the only candidate unless you are superb. Usually, we interview a dozen candidates before we decide to hire one. Therefore, we simply don’t have the time to review more than a page or two of a resume. I personally look at two pages maximum…

If you give me a resume more than two pages, I automatically don’t like you

I know that it’s not fair for me to have a bias against someone I have not met. But based on previous experiences with huge resumes, it’s how I feel after many years of doing interviews. It’s subconscious now. Therefore, you will automatically start off in a disadvantage…

versus someone that gives me a page or two of their resume. I’m sure other hiring managers feel the same way.

Furthermore, with a huge resume, you open yourself up to many more questions. This is a huge disadvantage for you. Imagine that you put a technology on your resume from five or ten years ago and you have not used it since. Now imagine that we use that technology heavily at my employer and because it was on your resume, we decided to talk to you about a position.

What are the chances that you will be able to answer all of my questions when I start grilling you about that technology? How about any other technology that you haven’t used in the past few years? The end result is that you look foolish. You claim to have knowledge on your resume that you don’t actually have any longer. You may have possessed it at some point, but you don’t any more…

Now, you are wasting everyone’s time. First, the employer is seeking an individual with skills that you no longer possess. Hence, you shouldn’t be at the interview. Second, you are wasting your own time because you will never get the job without the required skills.

Therefore, do yourself a favor and just limit your resume to the skills that you only want to talk about. This will force you into one or two pages. As a result, you will only be interviewed by companies that are interested in your current skill set. Also, you will not look like an idiot when trying to answer questions about technologies that you no longer understand.


  3. Forbes