Stop Lying on Your Résumé

October 8, 2012

A few years back, I interviewed a woman for a Java software engineering position, and noticed that she had “extensive experience with Hibernate” on her résumé. I remember thinking to myself, “well, what an odd thing to mention having ‘extensive experience’ with. This person must really adore Hibernate.” I mean, it’s not like she put “has extensive experience building applications using Test-Driven Development,” or “has extensive experience modeling transactional domains.” Nope, “extensive experience” with a very specific framework devoted to a very specific task. Great. Let’s talk about that, I guess.

So1 I said to her, “talk to me about ORM”. She stuttered a bit, and shook her head, signaling to me that she was in the dark. “Oh, um?… Object-Relational Mapping…?” Still nothing. “Wait. What? OK, wait. You have ‘extensive experience with Hibernate’ listed on your resume?” “Oh, yeah…” she said, as if she finally got the joke. “Hey, listen, can I tell you something?” My interest was piqued.

So2, look, my recruiter told me to put that on there. I’ve actually never used Hibernate, but [the shit-eating recruiter] said when people ask for ‘Hibernate experience’, they typically mean ‘Spring experience'”. So many things immediately went through my head, but I was too shocked and amused to be livid. I couldn’t help but laugh. “OK, interesting. (I’ve never heard someone ask for Hibernate experience, meaning Spring experience, but moving on…), but, OK so you have Spring experience then?” “Oh. Uh, no.” True story.

1. I don’t mind it here.
2. Fucking sucks here.

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John is a serial conversationalist who spends entirely too much time engulfed in problem domains he knows nothing about and has no earthly business trying to learn. He can occasionally be found at your local coffee shop writing algorithms and trying to think deep thoughts.