Yes, you can judge a book it’s cover

A job rejection has gone viral over the last few days.  A college senior has complained that she was turned down for a job because of her attire.  Elizabeth Bentivegna is graduating from Oberlin College later this year with a degree in Computer Science.  She had contacted by a recruiter to apply for a position at OnShift.

By Bentivegna’s account, the interview went well and she expected to receive a job offer from OnShift. Instead the recruiter told her that she was rejected because she didn’t look “put together and professional” enough. Bentivegna had worn a black t-shirt, red skirt, black tights, and a black cardigan.

Bentivegna then vented about not getting the job on her Facebook account. Her opinion is that OnShift had made a mistake and she was being held to a different standard because she is female. She has a friend that works for Buzzfeed, Alanna Bennett, who tweeted a picture of Bentivegna’s Facebook post with the text “So my friend got rejected from a programming job today because she was wearing too much makeup.”

So my friend got rejected from a programming job today because she was wearing too much makeup.

So my friend got rejected from a programming job today because she was wearing too much makeup.


First, the recruiter never said anything about the makeup, just a comment about not looking professional enough.  There was probably more to this than just the clothing, but that was the information that the recruiter shared with Bentivegna.  While the developers may wear t-shirts and jeans at work, I doubt that’s what they wore to to their interview.

Let’s take a look at prospective employer.  OnShift offers workforce management software targeted for the health care industry. Their customers are retirement communities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health agencies. They are doing line of business (LOB) apps for a conservative market.  if Bentivegna had done a little research, she would have looked at the OnShift Management Team page.

A third of the management team is female.  Each person on the team has a corporate head shot.  And they all dressed in professional business attire.  That should have been Bentivegna’s styling cue for her interview.

They say that you can’t judge a  book by it’s cover.  Wrong, you do judge a book by it’s cover.  That’s why they have covers in the first place.  For a job interview, you are selling your self. You want to use every tool at your disposal and that includes your attire.

If you are in the video game industry, then it’s appropriate or even expected to show up in jeans and t-shirt.  Just about everywhere else, it’s professional business attire.  It doesn’t matter if you like those rules or not, it’s how the game works.

Without knowing any of the details, but having been on both sides of the interview, I have a pretty good guess of what could of happened.  Bentivegna may have had a good technical interview.  But perhaps she didn’t click with the development or management teams on a personal level.  That is actually much more important that the technical skills.  A company can train a new developer on their tool stack, that’s easy.  Bu they can’t fix a personality that doesn’t mesh with the team.

It’s also possible that that company had interviewed multiple candidates and found someone that was a better fit.  Which is actually the official statement from OnShift.

Interviewing is a learned skill and Bentivegna was new at this.  In all fairness to Elizabeth Bentivegna, the recruiter should have prepared her for the interview and that includes discussing her choice of clothing.  When you make a mistake, you try to learn from that mistake and move on.  She was lucky to get some feedback for not getting the job.  Usually, you just hear that the employer went with another candidate.  Afterwards, the recruiter did suggest that Bentivegna purchase clothes for future interviews.

Michael K. McIntyre’s article on has an interesting quote from Bentivegna:

“I don’t see how my outfit could have been judged unprofessional, but I also think it’s silly that someone who is perfectly qualified and skilled and wants the job still can’t do it based on some arbitrary criteria,” she said. “Everyone has a different definition of what it means to look professional. I don’t think a male person would have had the same problem getting a job as I would.”

Elizabeth Bentivegna completely missed the lesson.  What a 21 year senior viewed as appropriate is not going to be the same as what the person with 30+ years of experience who interviewed her would viewed as appropriate.

You dress up for interviews.  You want the employer to know that you are taking the interview seriously.  It shows that you have attention to detail and that you are showing respect to people conducting the interview process.  Once you are on-board, you can follow the accepted dress code for the office, but until then you dress for success.

Publicly slamming the prospective employer was a dumb move. There is an expression that I heard once from a HR manager, “Sour Grapes equals Bad Apples”.    Her friend Bennett didn’t help her by sharing it with the world.  Bentivegna has demonstrated that she does not yet have the skills to handle rejection.  When she applies elsewhere, this incident is going to be the first thing that an employer is going to see.  That’s unfortunate, on paper she seems like a bright and capable candidate for an entry level web developer position.

Trying to get Apple Testflight to send new build notifications

I used TestFlight 18 months ago when I finished our first iOS app.  It worked great.  It was a stand alone service that allowed you to beta test your apps before submitting them to the Apple App Store.

Then Apple bought the Testflight company and it works not so great.

The latest hitch is that it doesn’t generate update notices to testers when a new build is uploaded to iTunes Connect.  As near as I can tell, you have edit the “What to Test” field in the app record in iTunes Connect and then save those changes.

Once you do that, the email invitations go right out.  This is not documented by Apple.  I did it mentioned on Stack Overflow,  If this is a required field for the workflow, it should be documented as such.  It’s just common sense.

Apple violated some basic rules when they acquired Testflight:

  • If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
  • Don’t make me think.

Registration is now open for the 2015 Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference.

2015 Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference

2015 Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference

I’ll presenting at the 2015 Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference.  The MVP V-Conf is a new 2-day event presented by MVPs from the Americas’ region.  It’s a virtual conference and it’s free.

The theme of the inaugural conference is “The Power of Community” where we MVPs will share our technical skills with our technical community.  Our sessions will be interactive, you will get to ask questions or offer comments via a moderated live chat.

There will IT Pro, Developer, and Consumer tracks, with sessions available in Spanish (Latin America MVPs) and Portuguese (Brazilian MVPs).  The keynot address will be delivered by Steven Guggenheimer,  Corporate Vice President of the Developer eXperience (DX) group at Microsoft.

Registration is open now and please visit the V-Conf site for more information and registration information.

The first US MVP Open Days was a success

Last week I attended the first US MVP Open Days.  It was held at the Microsoft Technology Center in Malvern, PA.  It was a 2+ day conference for US Microsoft MVPs.  Other countries have been holding their own MVP Days, it was time for us to have one.

People finding their seats, just before the start of the opening session

It was two days of networking and attending presentations.  Some presentations were by MVPs, the other were by Microsoft staff.  A few of the topics were NDA, but many of the topics were about improving the experience of being an MVP and how to best leverage Microsoft resources.

Doug Ware with a session on Office365

I came to this session knowing almost no one, I left with many new friends and colleagues.   I’ve now attended two of the Microsoft MVP Summits, where you are with MVPs from all over the world.   The Summit is great, but you end up spending most of your time with MVPs that are in your same group.

This is was nice and cozy and I was able to interact with other MVPs from different groups.  People who I usually do not get to interact with.  That was very nice, worth the trip down to PA just for that experience.

We got to celebrate Steven Murawski’s (Powershell MVP) in suitable style:

You either get it or you don’t.

In addition to full group sessions, we broke up into smaller focus groups.  I attended one on running user groups and code camps that was led by Bill Wolff.  Bill runs the very successful Philly .NET user group and he shared his tips on how to run a user group and the growing pains his group went through with camp camps

Bill Wolff showing us the secret magic for getting big sponsors

I was in Windows Insiders session that was run by Jeremiah Marble (Windows Marketing) and Tyler Ahn,   We talked about what could help the MVPs could participate in the Windows 10 experience.

The Windows Insiders planning sessions.  Random arm courtesy of Ken Tucker.

We also had time to do some group photos…

MVPs and Staff

We ended the conference with plans to continue the conversations and to make plans for future Open Days.  I want to thank Rowina Branch, Esther Lee, and Fernanda Saraiva, their staff, and the MVPs that helped put this conference together.

As an added bonus, Brian Prince gave a sticker to fix my Macbook…

It’s a ninja cat riding a firebreathing unicorn. This should be the new logo for Microsoft. Click on the image to order one.