You Have to Stop Saying Your Experience is Under NDA in Interviews

Back | hiring, people | 4/16/2012 |

I talked to a developer recently. He said:

“I cannot talk about this project, because it’s under NDA.” … followed by silence

First, you’re confusing “NDA” and “Classified” or “Top Secret”. I worked on Classified projects. Or have I? You’ll never know. But I have a t-shirt that says: “my project is so secret, I don’t even know what I am doing”. And that’s precisely how you sound.

Conspiracy Keanu - my project is so secret I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I'M DOING

Can you please tell me something useful?

Start by describing your project in abstract terms without violating any of these commitments. For example, my uncle worked in a classified nuclear facility near Petyagorsk in former Soviet Union. At least I think he has. He was smuggled to Israel where all that classified stuff was quickly declassified and translated to Hebrew. I am guessing that he worked on some weapons systems that could destroy half of the planet or a small satellite. I know he could talk about his work in very abstract terms. And more specifically, he could definitely explain general issues with building explosives from small to nuclear, without revealing anything classified. So can you.

“Our project was in the daily deals space. I cannot describe the exact purpose of the project, but it involved deals … daily ones. One of the interesting problems I worked consisted of moving a million instances of data between 3 and 5Kb each from a node located in South America to a node in the U.S. I used MongoDB to store the data and a Redis queue for processing.”

Now we’re talking.