We've All Been There

This awkward picture of me was taken more than 15 years ago - 1 day after my last college final, and 1 day before my first professional interview. I spent the last of my student loans at Sears to buy a poorly fitted shirt, flowy dress pants and tie that the salesman had to tie it for me. I was nervous because I was graduating with a Physics degree but ultimately just wanted to code, code, code. These were the days before bootcamps, when almost all coding jobs expected you to have a CompSci degree.

I was thrilled when I got the offer. The 3 people who interviewed me will always hold a special spot in my heart. They saw past a lot: the lack of experience, the wrinkled shirt, the general naivete, the lack of a CS degree. They got to know me and what I was hoping to do. They knew I was begging for a chance, and they were willing to give it. As a result, I never wanted to let them down (and still don't to this day.)

They forever influenced my own approach to hiring because they showed me that it's not just about what's on paper, or how polished a candidate presents. It's about getting to know who they are - and you never get there with an impersonal approach.

There's two morals to this story:

  1. Never buy a one-size-fits-all shirt.
  2. Never take a one-size-fits-all approach to interviewing.


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