June - 2007 - issue > Tech Recruiters
Priya Pradeep
Monday, June 4, 2007
So you are fascinated by .NET, and you want the perfect .NET job. You assume your killer resume will do the job. Wrong! The job interview is the key to get recruited. Read on and you just might ace the big .NET interview.

After the Résumé
Recruiters generally feel that if a posting is announced, hundreds of resumes are received however through screening only those candidates whose technical and soft skills match are recruited. This is essential because ultimately everyone has to work as a team. “We take in candidates coming from mid-tier institutes or companies provided they have a passion to learn,” voices Jerry Rajamoney, Senior Manager–Development, Ness Technologies India. Interviews basically consist of technical rounds, an interaction with the project manager and finally the HR one-on-one.

When interviewing entry-level candidates Rajamoney asks them questions pertaining to “‘why’ and ‘when’ should you use ‘what’?” The choices they make reveal their capability. Take the question: “While getting data from Database or Web service, which would you rather choose—DataSet or DataReader?” It has no right answer; rather a candidate’s reasoning as to why he would choose a particular application over the other could turn the scale in his favor. Questions such as this and other logical teasers are asked so that the candidate can clearly know his or her shortcomings. Upon rejection they can improve upon their knowledge or application lacuna for future interviews.

Entry level candidates are generally questioned about functional level projects – the areas where they worked and most importantly their unique contribution. On the other hand interviews for a professional with two years experience who has done five to six multiple projects generally don’t last more than 45 minutes. The latest projects of the candidate is discussed in detail especially the last five or six projects. Rajamoney reveals that, “The two most important questions to glean more about the candidate are ‘How’ and ‘Why’ he has done the project?” Generally the candidates are not aware of what the interviewer particularly wants and the interviewer takes his time enquiring what the candidates know so that he can assess how much they lag behind. A leeway is usually given to those with a year’s experience and they should be at least expected to know why certain aspects of the projects they were involved in were implemented.

A person with five years of experience is required to know the basics thoroughly. Professionals with such experience are required to have learnt many essentials on their own. They can’t excuse themselves by stating that their project’s ambit did not cover the happening (the ones which bring forth ready employment) languages in the software industry. “The Internet certainly helps here,” says Rajamoney. “This is one industry where the Joneses have to keep running always to keep up with trends.”
The areas in which expertise is required in .NET ranges from Web based application (ASP.NET), Windows Application, Remoting, Web Services, Microsoft Application Blocks, design patterns and much more. The complexity of skill sets required is different in each area.

Are you Certificate Perfect?
On certifications Rajamoney reveals, “I have great respect for those who are certified (a Microsoft Certified Professional in .NET, for example) but only if they deserve it. Automatically those who possess certifications must be more conversant with technology than the average candidate. Hence I question them in detail, even if the certified candidate has lesser experience, to assess their true capability.” He notes that many candidates who have three to four certifications come prepared to answer questions from a question bank. Such surface preparation provides them no cover when probing questions are put forth. Only one out of every ten certified candidates possesses the depth which Rajamoney seeks. Moreover theory can never be a substitute for practical experience. “A Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) can understand why certain questions are put forth only if they have gone through the grind of actual application of what they have learnt. Hence experience actually tempers certification,” he propounds.

The Dilemma
Freshers usually ask the question: “Which is the better technology– .NET or Java? And what is going to rule the software world in the future?” Recruiters boomerang the question back to the candidates in order to determine their passion. It is generally seen that freshers seem to be more proficient in Java. Because colleges tutor candidates more in Java than .NET. However, candidates with the attitude to learn and having sufficient motley of skills are hired. They are given training internally in OOPS concept, UNIX and Oracle which is common for those who have been trained in .NET or Java but not both. Later training is given in C++. The candidates are then trained separately for either JAVA or .NET, depending on the proficiency they lack.

Giving attitude begets attitude
There are lots of trained .NET professionals in major IT hubs like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune. However getting the right mix of professionals with the correct attitude is tough for employers. There are people who say that they don’t want to get involved in support and can work only in development. It will be hara-kiri for the manager to put them in any sustaining module because they will not have the right attitude for 360° learning. Wrong attitude means an invite to walk out through the exit door. You are just out of the net.

To Grab your .NET Interviewer’s Attention:
Attitude: Ability to comprehend the business needs of the employer clubbed with technical skills is a winning combination.

Question: Ask Why & How, before implementing a solution to get a macro level understanding.

Technical Certification: Certification without appropriate experience is not an appropriate fit.

Basics: understanding of basics is key, immaterial of the experience accrued.

Skill sets required at various levels for .NET personnel are

Entry level – Good academic record, Good knowledge of data structure, Knowledge of C/C++ (the common curriculum programming language), Database, Communication skills and Ability to work in teams.

Middle level – Relevant experience, Knowledge of data structure, DBMS,
.Net, Logic, Exposure to design patterns, Design ability and Ability to handle
multiple projects.

Senior level – Relevant experience, Technical knowledge, Good understanding of design pattern, Strong design skills and Ability to lead multiple projects.
Source: Vachan Rai, Senior Executive, Corporate HR and Organisational Development, Tally Solutions.

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