Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to frequently asked questions. Touch your mouse pointer to any question, or tap the question on a touchcreen, to see the answer.

Q. Can I phone call you about a job opportunity?

A. E-mail me your job opportunity to kathleen.elizabeth.west@gmail.com (on the resume). I generally do not respond or call back to cold sales calls and those job opportunities and recruiter calls pitched by a voice mail that are not screened by e-mail. After an opportunity is mutually pre-screened via e-mail communication, I will agree to schedule a phone call discussion.

Q. Why is your phone number not listed on your resume and profiles?

A. It was a bad experience for me to receive numerous calls every day (sometimes 3+ by the same person) from recruiters across the globe. I felt harassed and that the phone call discussions were a waste of my time and draining my energy from talking to unprofessional, aggressive, and rogue recruiters. I also found that in approximately 95% of the time, the recruiters did not take the time to review my resume and see that their opportunities were not a good fit to my target requirements which are on my resume.

Q. How do I contact you about a job opportunity?

A. E-mail me first (kathleen.elizabeth.west@gmail.com): I generally respond within 1-3 business days if I am available for hire.

Q. The client is moving fast, can I have you interview on-site this week?

A. If your opportunity is expected to close within the week you contact me, then it will not be in our best interests to continue the conversation. Please plan on 1-5 business days for an initial response (when I am on the market it will be closer to 1 business day for the response), a few days to pre-screen your opportunity via e-mail communication, a few days to write a cover letter, time for a recruiter phone screen (if necessary), and time for a client or hiring manager phone screen before an on-site interview. I would say 1-2 weeks process time before an on-site interview depending on your client's availability to phone screen.

Q. Are you open to relocation?

A. Yes, I am actively researching and applying to select companies. If you are a recruiter/HR contact that works directly for a company (not a third-party agent) that has long-term direct-hire opportunities available and would recommend I consider your company, please e-mail me a link to the career site, and main company *work location address(es)* so that I can research and put on my radar. I also have written a different resume.

At this time, I am researching potential companies and areas to relocate for direct-hire stable long term opportunities. If you would like me to consider your company, please post your website and city,state of the recommendation . Before I relocate, I need to sell my house and I am having some difficulty with selling in the fall market and may need to wait until spring market unless your company actually will buy my house (some do so I am asking) to help me relocate.

Please no surprise phone calls until we have communicated via e-mail and scheduled a call.

Will not relocate for contract or short-term roles.

Note to Third-Party Staffing Firms and Commissioned Recruiters: You may still hunt for me ..jobs in Indianapolis, Indiana area or paid contract or consulting roles that pay for travel expenses. Don't hunt for relocation roles for me at this time.

Q. Travel Availability?

A. I am open to 100% business travel either domestic or international that pays for all travel expenses, including airfare, lodging, food, etc. with periodic travel back to my home base. Example: I will not live near a client site for a six months contract without paid periodic travel back to my home on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. I am flexible to travel arrangements and the client or project needs. I also have a special clearance for quick travel domestic (Trusted Traveler) and international (Global Entry).

Q. Travel Expense Estimates?

A. Travel expenses must be paid for either at expense or at a per-diem that will cover all my expenses. I would estimate this to be $30-60/hr. depending on your project's travel frequency, lodging costs, ground transportation, etc. Also, I will not accept projects that offer sub-standard lodging arrangements (ex: road-side motels, low budget inns), restrict my lodging to government per diem rates, etc. that put me in sub-standard lodging. Research what lodging discounts your client and project can offer so that I can better estimate the travel costs and expenses with your job opportunity.

Q. What is your target compensation?

A. This information is listed on my resume. There are two separate resumes listed on my website. The target compensation will also be in my response e-mail to your job opportunity.

Q. Why do you need to write a cover letter and require me to read before our phone discussion?

A. Cover letters explain how skills, knowledge, and work experience would be relevant to your client's job posting specific requirements and qualifications. My custom experience letter also aids in the interview process and is mutually beneficial to the job applicant, the client hiring manager, and staffing firms conducting phone screens validating my fit for the role.

Q. What information do I need to e-mail you in regards to the job opportunity?

A. 1.) A copy of the job description (include company or client name), 2.) Location of job (include physical address), and 3.) Your contact information

Q. Can you come to our staffing firm to interview?

A. No, I will not physically walk into a staffing firm office to do any in-person interviews, assessment tests, etc. to be placed in the computer system or presented to a client. I will agree to only phone and video interviews by third-party recruiters, staffing firms, etc. to validate my fit for a role that we have mutually pre-screened by e-mail to be a good fit.

Q. Can you show me your references?

A. Yes. I will present my references and recommendations document to your firm only after we have mutually agreed to present my resume and cover letter to the client. With some exception, I do not allow checking of references unless there is serious interest for an on-site or final phone interview with the client after I have had a phone screen with the client and there is mutual interest in proceeding further. I kindly request the staffing firm and client not contact my references until the client and I have phone screened and are interested in progressing.

Q. Can I contact your current supervisor?

A. If I am currently engaged with a client, consulting firm, or as a direct-hire employee you may not contact my supervisor or any other team member for references. Contacting a current supervisor while employed could damage my standing with that employer. I have many supervisor, client, and colleague references and recommendations from previous employers that are listed on my references document.

Q. Do you have consulting client references?

A. Yes. See also my LinkedIN profile for the public recommendations.

Q. Will you be able to pass a background check?

A. Yes, I have no criminal records, exceptional credit, and a residential history. I have worked in control centers that manage the electric grid and have had to pass scrutinous background checks for my previous employers and clients.

Q. Do you have a security clearance?

A. Not currently, but I would be able to get one if we applied because I am a United States citizen and can pass a background check.

Q. Will you submit to a pre-employment and employment drug and alcohol screen?

A. Yes. Standard urine, breath, etc. sample drug testing only

Q. Will you submit to "hair follicle" pre-employment and employment drug screening?

A. Recently, I have become aware that some employers are now requiring something called “hair follicle drug screening” for pre-employment and employment drug/ alcohol screen. After much research and considering the promotion videos, procedure videos, user complaints, medical lawsuits, and cosmetic consequences of 3+ bald spots (example here example here), I have decided not to submit to hair follicle testing.

Also, it is a lifestyle choice that I choose to cosmetically dye/bleach my hair and a testing center would turn me away because their tests can be invalidated by the cosmetically treated hair. FYI, They also turn away a bald men, women/men with buzzcuts, and other issues.

If your company or client requires hair follicle testing, please verify that the standard urine, etc. tests can be substituted as a condition of pre-employment and continued employment.

Proudly drug free.

Q. Do you have samples of your writing and coding abilities?

A. Yes. In addition to my public portfolio on my website (see resume and projects) and on my GitHub, I have numerous code projects (C#, .NET, VB, XML, Matlab, CSS3, HTML5, etc.) that are available on my private DropBox by request. They are available privately as a courteousy to my professors as to not publish their assignments, etc. Writing samples from my undergraduate and graduate studies are available on my private DropBox account. To request access to view my samples on DropBox you should 1.) be in a job opportunity discussion with me and 2.) e-mail me.

Q. Do you have samples of your writing and coding abilities from your "professional" experience?

A. Would you want me sharing your company's code with prospective employers? I have signed and agreed to numerous non-disclousure agreements that prevents me with retaining, sharing, exhibiting, and otherwise showing any work I have done for my previous clients and employers. Code written for previous employers and clients are confidential and will not be shared (would you want me saving and publicly sharing your project code?). You may contact my many employer, client, and coworker references to validate their satisfaction with my technical abilities.

Q. Please take our Personality Tests for the application process

A. Begrudgingly Yes on 1 Condition: You treat and respect my application as a person and allow me to first speak with the direct report(s) to determine if we are a mutually good fit and if I should invest my time on these tests.

1.) a "personality test" should not be used to "weed someone out" 2.) these tests are pseudo-science and companies market and sell you the pseudo-science to make money off you 3.) people can and often do fake answers to get the results they think you want to see 4.) studies have shown that the algorithms/tests do not take in account how a person’s national heritage, gender, religious views, race, and other factors can skew results and lead to unintended discrimination 5.) it creates a homogenous and boring workforce of similar like and minded people (good article here).

I would not necessarily mind taking the personality surveys AFTER being hired with the caveat I get to sit down with the future boss and explain these tests are pseudo-science, and who I am and how I behave and perform cannot be quantified by a 10-30 minute survey and would rather do one-on-one coaching to get to know and work with HIS/HER and the other team members work styles to fit in. That's how I roll.

Q. Please "Write Custom Code Per Our Spec" for the application process

A. Maybe.

Custom Code Requests: If you are looking for samples of my coding style and technique, I will redirect you to look at my sample projects on my website portfolio and GitHub. If you are looking for free work, NO. If none of these online projects meets your expectations, I do take requests for custom project or code examples.

I may approve of your "write custom code per our spec" request IF:

1.) It is reasonable request and will take only a few hours of my time as a developer
2.) Have no special costs to me (should be obvious: example cloud hosting costs, third party APIs that are not free)
3.) I retain ownership, can post to my website portfolio, GitHub, and utilize as I wish
4.) Unique. Not already related or available on my website portfolio and GitHub
5.) Demonstrates knowledge, skill, value, etc. that I otherwise do not have available in my portfolio
6.) Company or client is not allowed to retain code, utilize for profit, etc.
7.) Will be reviewed and judged by a technical SME who can understand and run the solution, program, etc.
8.) Also, I do not take kindly to "time requirements" such as, this code test is due in 24 hours. Well just think that maybe I have a LIFE and other stuff to do than your code test request. A reasonable request would be 3 days.

Then Begrudgingly Yes on Conditions:

You treat and respect my application as a person and allow me to first speak with the direct report(s) to determine if we are a mutually good fit and if I should invest my time on these requests.

I recommend reading a good article here. Here are some really good points from this article:

"Asking a developer to write an application for you before you’ve made a formal offer of employment is also disingenuous, and disrespectful."
"I’m sending out resumes to each one that I can find. I simply do not have the time to write fifteen code samples a day, just because you want to evaluate me against your coding test."


Also, a good number of experienced programmers are now refusing the exams because they are also being asked to work for free

I have established an online portfolio of example coding projects and samples. You can request access to see my class projects, online certificates, and even college degrees if you are so worried. I also take suggestions on special requests to add to my online portfolio (see above).

And finally, a kind reminder that employment is an at-will relationship, and most employers can tell within the first 30-60 days if an applicant is a good fit for their team. I would suggest you try me out and see what I can do.

Q. Please take our "Online or On-Site Coding Tests" for the application process

A. Maybe.

As an engineer, developer, analyst, communicator, whatever role or hat I wear when I work, it is a combination of many different skills, knowledge, and I utilize to get the job done. To get the job done in the fastest time, I do not re-invent the wheel and I utilize tools, documentation, my code/knowledge library including previous project work, the Internet's code solutions or hints, and an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) Visual Studio that is custom to my needs to get the job done. When I work, I work on my own pace which is like a curve, there are times when your brain is in genius mode, and then there are times when you need to take a walk to get the blood flowing, or maybe get a cup of coffee.

I may approve of your "online or on-site coding tests" request IF:

1.) It is reasonable request and respectful of my time as a job applicant (ideally 30 minutes or less)
2.) Require no special costs to me (should be obvious)
3.) Allow me to use an up-to-date IDE (Visual Studio) with all the necessary plugins, packages, etc.. already installed
4.) Allow me use of the Internet to google syntax, methods, MSDN, and solutions already invented
5.) Test, code, compile, etc.. in only my areas of expertise.
6.) Applied and Real-World ONLY (example: does not test on obscure PH.D level algorithms and design patterns)
7.) Will be reviewed, used, judged by a technical SME who can understand and run the solution, program, etc.
8.) Allow me to reference my previous project work on my DropBox or Internet where I already solved the problem before
9.) Tests knowledge, skills, of the real-world examples and not make you solve/program a Mensa style problem during the time limit


Begrudgingly Yes on Conditions:

You treat and respect my application as a person and allow me to first speak with the direct report(s) to determine if we are a mutually good fit and if I should invest my time on these tests.

Many of these online tests are mass marketed, rude, full of software bugs themselves, and not an accurate reflection of how an engineer will actually perform in the work place, solving a problem over time, and even if they work well with clients and other people, etc. Plus Hello? Test Anxiety!!! How about we test YOU! It is my opinion that online or live coding tests are very disrespectful to job applicants.

I'd like to quote this guy when he said " Asking someone to do a live coding test in front of you is asking for failure. Are you going to be standing over them watching their every keystroke when they are working for you? no? Then why would you test them in that environment? It doesn’t give a good indication at all as to how well they code (and the style in which they code) when given the freedom to do so."

I have established an online portfolio of example coding projects and samples. You can request access to see my class projects, online certificates, and even college degrees if you are so worried. I also take suggestions on special requests to add to my online portfolio.

If you would like to gauge how well I can work to solve a problem, during our on-site interview - you can ask me to perform in front of a white board to write PSEUDO code to tackle/solve a problem that a.) won’t take more than 5 minutes and b.) LOL cause test anxiety. I use the Visual Studio IDE like a PRO and would feel embarrassed if I misspell a routine or method that the IDE intellisense can do for me, so don't pressure me to get the code spelled right on a white board!

And finally, a kind reminder that employment is an at-will relationship, and most employers can tell within the first 30-60 days if an applicant is a good fit for their team. I would suggest you try me out and see what I can do.

Q. Please take our Aptitude Test for the application process

A. NO. LOL are you kidding me? Seriously? You are asking professionals to go through aptitude testing? How about NO.

How does someone become class valedictorian, get a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, and oh yes .. AND a master's degree in electrical and computer engineering without having the aptitude? And Hello? Test Anxiety? How about we test YOU! Go test yourself!