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I'm currently hunting for a new job. I'm a c# / SQL server developer, but have never worked in an agile environment.

I'm in the UK, where very few (IT) employers advertise directly, but instead use recruitment agencies. The problem I'm having is that many agents have little or no understanding of the skills they're trying to recruit for. Agile, being the latest buzzword, appears as an "absolute requirement" on many job postings. I've already spoken to couple of agents today who believe that it's some kind of programming language, rather than a development methodology.

It looks like I'm going to have to tell a few white lies to get my CV into the hands of potential employers. Can someone suggest a resource for the basics of Agile so I can at least sound convincing to an agent.

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What do I need to know about Agile to blag my way past a recruitment agent? blag? It sounds painful. –  Yannis Jan 5 '12 at 13:39
@ThomasOwens World is not so simple. A company with a great development team may be mired in an exclusive contract with a sub-par recruitment agency. Or the stupid agent may be a one-off case. Your attitude is a bit like rejecting the company because you didn't like their choice of toilet paper. –  quant_dev Jan 5 '12 at 13:43
@Peregrine Things might be different in the UK, but in the US, even companies that use recruitment agencies are sometimes open to being approached - check their website for a generic HR contact and write a nice email and attach your resume. That's how I got 3 out of the 5 interviews around the time I graduated. There's also Stack Overflow Careers. –  Thomas Owens Jan 5 '12 at 13:54
@quant_dev, splinters would be a no-hire for me. –  user1249 Jan 5 '12 at 16:02
@quant_dev in the toilet paper... –  user1249 Jan 5 '12 at 18:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Honestly, if you read (and absorb) Uncle Bob's Agile Principles, Patterns and Practices, you'll easily convince an agent. But don't say that you have experience, or that will blow up at the interview. Say that you have a strong interest in moving to a company with an Agile mentality.

In fact, learn to be tough with agents and say "I am good enough to get a job at one of these companies. Are you good enough to get me in for an interview? Because, if not, someone else will be."

Most companies who have an Agile mentality also recognise that a lot of the industry still doesn't. As long as you know enough in the interview to show that you actually know what that sentence means, and particularly if you can point out where your current processes aren't Agile (without looking like a whiner), most will be happy to offer you a chance.

Cause waiting for someone who has genuine Agile experience can take a long time, unless you're Thoughtworks.

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+1, agents need you more than you need them . . . –  Wyatt Barnett Jan 5 '12 at 17:07

Mention that you are looking for a move into an agile environment in the aspirations section of your CV. This will pass most recruiters' Contains the word agile filter.

Also, if you are still working at the moment, start using Test-driven development techniques for your final work there, that way you can legitimately add TDD to your CV. You can even use the excuse that you are trying to leave the code in a better state for your successor - which you are.

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+1 Simple, effective and truthful. Best way to go. –  sevenseacat Jan 6 '12 at 4:43

Just make stuff up - that's the great thing about management fads.

If they don't understand any of your answers it's because they aren't familiar with the new non-linear exo-methodologies introduced by you at Weyland-Yutani.

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While funny this is something you most certainly should NOT do. If you 'just make stuff up' and you get someone with even an elementary understanding of Agile you are going to kill your chances for the job. Not only that, but some people are just really good at detecting bullshit, so you may lose the job even if the interviewer doesn't know Agile. –  Justin Hamilton Jan 5 '12 at 17:11
Agiel isn't an ISO standard or SEI level - it's a cloud of management buzzwords around avoiding any traditional engineering project management. So you should feel just as free to invent your own philosophy of it as they do. Alternatively you coudl ask them exactly what they mean by Agile and how they back up those claims. –  Martin Beckett Jan 5 '12 at 17:38
I made a similar comment on the question itself, but - many companies claiming to do Agile actually do little or none of it. And many recruiters won't understand any of that, so asking them what agile the employer actually does might get translated into "candidate has problems with agile". –  psr Jan 5 '12 at 19:40
@psr - yes the famous we do agile == we don't do pair programming or unit testing but we do skip the planning and documentation! –  Martin Beckett Jan 5 '12 at 20:00

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