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During my previous employment, I noticed that I am a developer who needs at least some mentoring to be effective, namely in scheduling and project analysis. I found that I'm not that good in making a schedule for my projects or analysing the customer needs, but once I have that schedule and analysis, I can work based on that just fine. This is also the feedback that was given by my employer on my debriefing.

This mentoring might sound like it could be a challenge, but I did some research and I noticed that what I need is basically a company that uses Agile programming: daily morning meetings and a separate functional analyst. So I basically need a company that uses Agile development. I can also get a job coach from an outside company to clear out any issues between me and my employer.

I also don't have a driver's license and no urge to get one, because I have had too many accidents with my bike during my commute to be comfortable behind the wheel of a car.

Now that I'm back on the hunt for a job, I regularly get contacted by recruiting companies who are looking for people to place in other companies. I'm wondering when the best time is to discuss mentoring with the recruitment companies. I don't want to end up getting a job that would not work out in the end, either due to the commute being unmanageable or because the company does not use Agile programming. I usually explain my situation during the first real discussion with the recruiting company, since I feel it's the honest thing to do so noones time is wasted by interview that won't work out. I always clarify that this mentoring I need is basically Agile programming, so the recruiter isn't too put off by all of this.

Is the first interview indeed the best time to discuss this, or should I keep it for a later interview?

  • Agile teams don't typically have separate functional analysts, but tend to require well-rounded members to maintain flexibility. – user8365 Mar 20 '15 at 0:35
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During my previous employment, I noticed that I am a developer who needs at least some mentoring to be effective, namely in scheduling and project analysis. I found that I'm not that good in making a schedule for my projects or analysing the customer needs, but once I have that schedule and analysis, I can work based on that just fine. This is also the feedback that was given by my employer on my debriefing.

That's not mentoring - that's project/team management.

Mentoring would involve training you in the skills and knowledge required to be able to do those things - and it seems you're just asking for someone to do that part for you. This is not a bad thing - there are lots of excellent developers out there who need direction.

It seems like you should be looking for work in a larger organisation with a better defined team structure and development/project leaders to provide you with direction. This doesn't necessarily involve Agile or XP or any other specific methodology - simply having someone provide priorities and direction seems to be what you're looking for.

The answer to your question:

You should be asking questions about organisation and process at your interviews when the interviewer asks "do you have any questions about us?" - that way, you will be able to screen them as much as they can screen you, and you will save you and the interviewing company a lot of time.

If you actually do want to be mentored (as in trained) into becoming a project/development leader, then ask if there are opportunities for that during your interview, too.

  • My biggest issue with this answer is that usually recruitment is done by a HR specialist, not a tech specialist. When I ask questions about the technical side on the phone or during the first interview to HR specialists, they don't know the answer themselves. – Nzall Mar 26 '15 at 15:59
  • Still ask - even if they are just HR, they may know more than you think. If they don't know, you can ask the tech guy later - and you don't lose anything fir asking – HorusKol Mar 28 '15 at 3:03
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I expect that employers would rather "waste" time and money on interviews than waste time and money on hires that don't work out. Wasting money on bad hires is much more expensive.

You can ask about whether the prospective employer uses Agile at your first interview or thereabout and make your decision accordingly.

  • Ask for details about their agile process, not every company who says they do agile actually does agile. I would not ask this in terms of you needing a mentor either. You are interested in how they mange projects, well you should be no matter whether you want a specific outcome or not. I am, however, not quite grasping how doing agile relates to wanting a mentor. – HLGEM Mar 19 '15 at 18:40
  • @HLGEM The OP probably means the pair programming aspect of XP. Now that I think about it, it's possible to implement Agile without doing XP. On the other hand, there is a lot more interaction between developers in Agile through say SCRUM than through say SDLC. – Vietnhi Phuvan Mar 19 '15 at 18:45
  • @HLGEM It's not exactly pair programming that I need, I need the daily morning meetings to discuss what has been done yesterday and what will be done today. I tried that aspect for a few weeks with my previous employer and it worked fine. – Nzall Mar 19 '15 at 18:47
  • Review your definition of mentoring. Daily meetings are not mentoring. They may offer some guidance but not mentoring. – Vietnhi Phuvan Mar 19 '15 at 20:30

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