So... You think you're a web dev?

I've been spending the past couple of months trying very hard to hire some temporary (i.e.; contract) web development resources - it's been difficult and eye-opening. There is a huge disconnect between what a resume says and what a candidate is really capable of.

Now, I knew from the start not to place too much trust in resumes, so I begin all candidates with an email based screening process; just a few simple questions that they need to complete and send back. If they do well there, they can get a live interview (and sometimes "live" equates to a LiveMeeting session).

Either way, apparently 80% of candidates are experts in ASP.NET application development, and yet somehow cannot:

  • Write code to call a stored procedure and populate a dataset (and I'm not picky about syntax).
  • Come up with a simple search UI that can search on multiple fields.

I don’t yet have an explanation of how this happens. If you do, please share :)

Interestingly, even using very simple questions one can usually get a quick gut feel for the overall ability of a candidate. This was demonstrated by an interview I did recently, where in 20 minutes the candidate completed what takes the average candidate 60 minutes. Needless to say, that guy got an offer immediately.

Now, the interesting part... I will soon have an open permanent position to fill. I dread going through this process again - and to make it more difficult, I won't have the immense help of multiple vendor companies sourcing resumes for me. I'm going to have to find them myself.

So... You think you're a web dev? Seriously - not just on paper? Want to work at Microsoft?
Mail me: Avi.Pilosof at


P.S: The resume writing process should not be an exercise in listing every technology you've ever read about. Maybe a post on writing resumes is in order?