Episode 87 – Getting an interview with Dino Sarma

This week we’re not doing the usual thing – instead we’re going to listen to the talk Kevin and returning guest Dino Sarma had about getting an interview, what hiring managers often look for, and how to tailor your resume to suit the job and focus on your skills. We even talk about the dreaded cover letter! It’s a long one, so I hope you enjoy it!


5 Replies to “Episode 87 – Getting an interview with Dino Sarma”

  1. Rix Scaedu

    Where I live the unemployment benefit requirement is twenty (20) job applications per month plus other required activities that are supposed to get the recipient work ready.

    Actual help finding a job would be useful….

  2. Patricia

    This episode was such a hoot to listen to and I was roaring when Dino said he even spread-sheet’ed his resume (that should be a verb by now).

    I just wanted to point out that most jobs should have an on-the-spot or takehome exam to showcase technical skills – I’m actually pretty wary of places where they don’t, because it gives me the feeling they don’t really know what they want (exceptions of course for places where they’re just setting up the team, but even in those cases…)

    My day job is copywriting, so not only are writing samples essential, they’re usually also followed up by a short test of some sort. I’ve been in quite a few places where the copywriter can’t even string a decent sentence in their hired language and in some cases simply flat out copy-pasted their samples from the web.

    On the flipside, there ARE places whose “writing tests” are nothing more than them getting free content, and yes, there are companies where I come from where that is an actual thing because it’s cheaper to edit in house than it is to hire an actual writer to work full time (a certain local bubble tea company is famous for this).

    Sorry just had to rant a bit. I’m still listening to the episode haha!

    • dino

      Rant away! It’s cool. 🙂

      There’s some jobs where a field test would work, but in others, you need to figure out if the person you’re hiring can talk the talk. If you’re hiring a payroll manager, and you tell them, “OK, do you have a W-9 handy for the enrolment process” and they give you a blank stare? That’s a problem. You hire an imports manager, and you ask, “So who usually filed your ISFs at your previous jobs” and they look lost? That’s a SERIOUS problem.

  3. Claire

    I’ve been catching up on episodes, and this one was particularly timely for me, as I applied to a new job for the first time in six years. This was… not fun. But Dino’s functionalist approach let me edit my CV (I’m in academia) down to a lean and functional 5 pages (it’s a CV! It’s hard to get shorter!).

    I also edited my cover letter draft based on some of what he suggested, including focusing on what the job would actually involve and WHY I want to do that work. I’m hoping to get to apply the interview advice too… but no word yet.

  4. Sharon Gochenour

    [the Great Binge Listen] I think this might be my favorite chat with Dino? Writing cover letters and resumes all seems really easy and straightforward when he explains it! I definitely plan to implement the master resume spreadsheet — I refuse to detail my exact system, but let us say it involves harvesting pieces of information from multiple resume drafts produced during the past ten years saved in multiple places on my hard drive (BLECH.)

    One thing — I think it can be very challenging to be straightforward in a cover letter or interview when neurodivergence/mental illness has had noticeable and long-lasting impacts on your job history. From 2010 to 2018, I did 10+ internships, short-term jobs, attempts at self-employment, full-time volunteer gigs (not to mention grad school). In retrospect, I can sum that up with “undiagnosed ADHD and the resulting depression,” but it’s hard to spin that as a “there wasn’t enough room for growth” situation. (It’s more like the John Mulaney bit — “I also don’t want me to be doing what I’m doing. I don’t like that I’m in that lane either.”)

    Thankfully I’m now in a job where I think I can hang out for 5+ years! It only took me eight years, lots of therapy, and a couple attempts at medication. Welp.

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