I've had some difficulty with recruiters who don't really know the technology used in the position they are recruiting for. I had an interview, now the recruiter has set up a technical interview. She just sent an email telling me to study the following from tutorialspoint.com

Python           Javascript      C#           XML          SQL 
CSS              MVC             JQUERY       HTML         JSON
Design Patterns  Singleton       SOAP         Web API      Polymorphism
RESTFUL API      Abstraction     Arrays

Some of this I never touched and never claimed to know. I guess I should focus on more of what was actually on the original posting? Should I remind the recruiter that I don't know e.g. C# or should I just go into the interview and hope for the best? I see no point in trying to cram for all this. Is this just junk, I mean what is meant by "abstraction"?

Also it's an entry level position that claims to include training.

  • 4
    They sent you that list to brush up on for an entry level position??
    – dfundako
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 3:07
  • 30
    Your recruiter obviously doesn't know what they're talking about. Brush up on the things that appear on your resume.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 3:16
  • 5
    More often than not recruitment doesn't know what any of those words mean. So things can get lost in translation. This isn't a red flag for the position.
    – MadMike
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 3:31
  • 3
    @MadMike, agreed, but it may be a red flag on the recruiter. I'd be very leery of working with someone that handed me such an absurd laundry list of technologies. Commented May 11, 2017 at 5:28
  • 2
    Abstraction is a key term in object oriented programming . OOP in turn, could be important for use coding in C# or Python as object oriented languages (though they are not exclusively so). Polymorphism and design patterns (most of the time), of which singleton is an example, are also terms relating to object oriented programming. If they really want a programmer who knows object oriented programming, and you don't have it, it's not obtainable between now and your interview. The top answer here explains abstraction well: bit.ly/2q5eR0g. Make recruiter provide/ confirm real reqs. Commented May 11, 2017 at 5:50

6 Answers 6


Recruiters just want to make money, keep this in mind. They make money by having you hired. To many of them it's all about statistics and trial-and-error. Many recruiters will even elect you for a job that doesn't suite you. I had that funny experience once, and I went to the interview to see whether my doubts about recruiters are true, and they were, and it was the most embarrassing interview of my life. Some recruiters will just find anything and put you there. Honestly, the best skill you learn when dealing with recruiters, is telling them NO when you don't want that job. It's their job to find something that suits you, not your job to follow their orders and suggestions.

Now, my recommendation:

  1. Examine the job description, and check whether it fits you
  2. Don't learn new languages that you never worked with
  3. Revise the languages and techniques you already know, and spend some time recapping basic things that you may forget because you don't use them that often.
  4. Realize that recruiters don't know anything in programming, otherwise they'd be interviewed for the job. Don't take their technical (programming-related) instructions seriously, but learn from them the diplomacy part, as they're good at it.

Good luck!


Chances are the recruiter just copy-pasted a list of skills someone else gave her.

The important thing is to know what are the requirements for the job you're gonna interview for, and brush up on the core concepts.

That list only tells you one thing: they're asking for a web developer that is probably going to write both server-side and client-side code, and this should be your main focus of study.

They also seem to care about clean code, so try to at least be familiar with SOLID principles and designing a modular system.

Don't try to focus too much on the single points of the list and you will be ok.


OOP concepts such as abstraction are important because in school there is no such requirement such as code maintainability and scalability.

In work however you may find a bug in prod and task to fix it, and good code makes it easier to debug and fix.

Your business team wants a change in functionality or a new feature, good code makes it easier to implement without causing the old code issue in other parts of the project.

There are many good concepts, I.E. SOLID OOP principles. Unfortunately to really appreciate and learn these concepts require real experiences. But nevertheless it is good to make it a habit and drill oneself to master these concepts and put them into practice. Knowing these concepts and understanding them is the first step.

These concepts are tedious to most undergrads because of the "I don't know why my code works but it works. I don't know why this fix this bug, but it just worked" attitude. This is cancer.

  • As someone who recently graduated and just started working, I can try to explain your last paragraph. This sounds so darn familiar to me. We had classes in Java EE, also using SOLID etc but most subjects were only covered for 1 assignment (you had 1 week to complete the assignment). After that, you wouldn't need it anymore at school, for anything. Often wondering why the code works is because the subject is rather complex, but only used superficially and never again after. That way, you get experience with a lot of subjects but don't really know how it actually works. Commented May 11, 2017 at 8:31

A lot of things in that list are quite basics things when you're a developper but need practice to realy master. If you don't master OOP yet , and have never done some serious web developpement you will not be able to learn enough from this list until your interview.

As suggested , work on what can be seen on your resume , and if you don't get the job keep that list and include what's on it to your tolearn list.


If you don't think that a recruiter has a good technical understanding of the job she's hiring for, it follows that she may not have screened the candidates correctly. This has happened to me before, and it cost me a day off from an existing job, some heat from my existing bosses at the time (I had to take a day off at an inconvenient time for them) and an irritating amount of travel costs.

Others have noted that this is a list of fairly normal concepts, so definitely not junk, and worth knowing if you're going to continue in the area. If you know Python not C#, a better way than tutorialspoint to get that knowledge is to get a book on Python with a decent section on object oriented programming and work through it. Maybe Steve Lott's 'Building Skills in Python', which is free from his site, even if it is based on 2.6. (http://buildingskills.itmaybeahack.com/python.html). There was also a bunch of web terminology, which I don't know anything about, except to say it will work better to work through a book/ course on web development rather than looking up an arbitrary selection of terminology (google 'web development with python or other preferred language' to get a start perhaps).

But that isn't practical before the interview - it's just for if you decide that you really want a job in this field.

In the mean time, I would call back the recruiter and press for more details of what kind of work the employer is expecting the successful candidate to do. I'd suggest that sounding interested in the specifics will make you seem more knowledgeable, not less, if you ask in a confident way.

The inappropriate interview I had was a full day affair, and I was already a full time worker. If I had realised how far from my skill set it was, I wouldn't have gone. If your interview is less time commitment you may still think it's worthwhile to go, especially if you don't already have another job, but I think it is useful to get the clearest view possible of whether the employer is really going to be interested in your current skill set.

Preparing for, and attending, interviews is time consuming, and there is an opportunity cost involved. In your case, if you haven't had many interviews, you might decide it's worth the cost just to find out more about jobs in this area, but my advice is to have a clear idea of what you are getting out of attending.


In her quest to obfuscate the exact wording of the job posting, this recruiter gave you a completely unhelpful list of keywords.

That is unacceptable. She needs to trust you and send you the full unedited unfiltered job description (that you will hopefully be able to receive before the interview).

For instance, I can pretty much guarantee you that the job posting in question didn't list the knowledge of "JSON" as a requirement, nor did it list it as something that you should study up for, but more as something that you will be expected to work with.

A good full job description will be nuanced (assuming that it wasn't written by HR, but by the original hiring manager). And even then, it doesn't need to be a perfect match to your experience.

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