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Job Searching in 2022

Job Searching in 2022

2023-01-20 11:24:13

After leaving Meta recently, I made a decision it was lastly time to start out in search of a job once more. It has been fairly an expertise doing it amid a recession and layoffs (I’ve fortunately been fairly fortunate). I believed I might share how I approached the job hunt as just a few folks had requested for recommendation.

When I told people about leaving a job without anything lined up.

Notice: As all the time, this is only one individual’s expertise. I am sharing this within the hopes that this proves useful for another person in the same state of affairs. I’ve tried to maintain the recommendation typically relevant, nevertheless it’s most suited in the direction of senior-ish software program engineers with business expertise and a pre-existing community and fewer more likely to apply to new grads. I used to be additionally not in an enormous rush and had the luxurious to be choosy within the search (and was very fortunate on account of many different elements). In case you want a job urgently, this may not be the very best recommendation.

The way it went down

I began trying in mid/late September and wrapped issues up by mid-December. This is a tough timeline:

  • September: Fascinated about making use of (and letting my community know I am trying), developing with a plan, some preliminary exploratory calls, and interview prep
  • October: Extra exploratory calls, some telephone screens/preliminary rounds, interview prep, and a break for a trip earlier than the precise interviews
  • November: Interviews all day erryday (for the primary 3 weeks), then a break + follow-up calls/receiving affords
  • December: Receiving affords, comply with up-calls, negotiating, and deciding.

My objective via the method was to discover a place I might be completely satisfied studying and rising for not less than 4-5 years, and uncover what sort of labor I wished to do subsequent (e.g. nonprofit, huge firm, small firm, totally different industries, administration vs engineering, and so on). So, all through this course of, I utilized to much more locations than I might have executed. However, hey, as a candidate, we get to interview firms simply as a lot as they interview us, so I made a decision to make use of this chance accordingly. When it comes to firms. A tough rely of the numbers beneath:

  • There have been ~35 firms I tracked on my record, of which I utilized to 27:
    • I utilized on-line to 14 locations, of these I solely heard again from 6.
    • I used referrals to get assist making use of at 9 firms. I heard again from all of those. Referrals actually mattered by way of getting a response!
    • I typically get quite a lot of recruiter spam – however I began paying consideration now. I accepted 4 of the attain outs, 2 of which went fairly far.
  • I dropped out of the method at 4 firms through the exploratory stage, 3 had no roles open/fille their openings early on within the course of, and I dropped out of the method at 3 locations after deciding it wasn’t a superb match after just a few interviews.
  • I accomplished full interview loops at 13 firms and obtained 11 affords. I am glad I bought the rejections I did – it was clear there wasn’t a mutual match.

Sooner or later, I probably will not apply as a lot. Relying in your wants you might need to use to the same quantity of firms however I do not suggest going via interview loops at this many firms until you are actively exploring. On the identical time, since nerves actually get to me, calming myself down by decreasing the stakes (if I tousled with one firm, it is okay, I’m making use of to quite a lot of others) actually helps since you’re feeling much less pressured in every interview.


Earlier than beginning a job hunt, take into consideration what you wish to get out of the method. All needs are legitimate – it is simply that optimizing for “I wish to discover the very best job and I am keen to attend” could be very totally different from “I would like a job ASAP to pay the payments, something that pays greater than $X works”. So take into consideration that and be sincere with your self so that you simply get what you are in search of.

I did not know what I wished from my subsequent job (simply that I wished to remain there some time and develop myself), so I explicitly set a objective to discover and be taught. And put aside a bunch of time to suppose via my standards and what I wished. This additionally meant extra aggressive looking and sourcing of firms to use to (by way of my community, and on-line), relatively than making use of to each potential opening.

I additionally felt fairly underprepared so I budgeted a bunch of time to follow and ensure I used to be interview prepared – this included planning out which weeks I might do what, so I might ebook interviews accordingly – and particularly, schedule my highest precedence / riskiest interviews roughly within the center so I might go in with some follow however not be tremendous worn out.

Acceptance Standards

These are deeply private – there isn’t any one proper reply to “is that this the suitable alternative for me?”. However it’s essential to have your standards recognized beforehand (be happy to refine them through the course of) so that you could consider every alternative pretty. Take into consideration what you need in your life and your profession.

For me, the factors have been a mixture of the next (significance elements ignored for brevity):

  • Firm/function: what the corporate does (and what’s its development trajectory), what the org does, the function I am interviewing for, and the way my work ties to the mission, and so on
  • Group/Tradition/Individuals: how the corporate tradition is, how my (future) co-workers are, variety, and so on
  • Private: development alternatives for me, work-life stability/PTO, distant vs hybrid, compensation, how excited I’m for the function, and so on

As soon as I had these written down, I stored a spreadsheet for every firm I utilized to in order that I might ensure to get sufficient knowledge for every of my questions/standards all through the method.

Discovering firms to use to

This is not simple when beginning out within the business, sadly. However when you’ve been working for just a few years, you probably have a community you may lean on. Ask your coworkers/pals what they like about their present roles and which locations they’d suggest. I used to be fortunate to have labored with some glorious folks in my previous function so firms with folks I knew and preferred working with instantly shot to the highest of the record.

Since that suffers from choice bias, although, I did scour LinkedIn and Twitter (when you’re working in safety, infosec twitter – now migrated to Mastodon principally – has quite a lot of nice leads) for open roles. Hacker Information does nice whoishiring threads each month (like this one from this week) that I scoured to get an thought of what is on the market.

Resume prep

Prefer it or not, making ready your resume is a vital a part of the method. There are just a few important issues right here:

  • Getting previous the preliminary filters – you might want to guarantee there’s sufficient information for the hiring workforce to know you are value having an preliminary dialog with
  • Showcasing your strengths – if you wish to get a greater function than your present one, it’s a must to play up your strengths and spotlight your greatest work.

That is an artwork, not a science. Specifically, it helps to customise your resume for every function you are making use of to, relying on what the job posting is in search of. Some common suggestions (from errors I’ve seen and made):

  • Focus much less on what you probably did. Numerous resumes are stuffed with “I constructed X utilizing Y know-how”. As a substitute, deal with the influence of your work: how a lot income did it usher in? how did it assist the corporate/org obtain its objectives? You wish to present that you could deliver worth to the place you are making use of to and function at a better degree
  • Speak about your function: Numerous folks can write code to construct a characteristic. Are you able to go above and past and lead a undertaking? Mentor others? Drive collaborations? Make that clear in your resume, and spotlight what you probably did.
  • Promote your self: Spotlight the tasks you are most happy with. Give attention to the best scope tasks (largest influence, most engineers/customers affected, and so on). I typically hate bragging but when there may be one time to brag, it is throughout an interview.

Making use of

Making use of itself is fortunately pretty standardized in quite a lot of locations. You will apply on-line, submitting your resume and filling out some customary fields – otherwise you’ll ask for a referral, the place somebody places in a (hopefully good) phrase for you, and you then get a hyperlink to the shape. Then a recruiter will arrange a name to ask extra about you, decide if there is a mutual match, after which schedule a screening interview. If that goes nicely, you will probably have a full panel interview (4-6 interviews), probably throughout a number of days.

There have been only some firms that had a unique course of in my expertise (some had takehomes, or a extremely async course of, and so on) – they usually stood out positively in my expertise.

Interview prep

Treating prep significantly, like a job, actually helped. I might get down and carve out just a few hours a day for prep as an alternative of taking part in them completely adhoc. There are just a few kinds of interviews value making ready for – most locations could have some mixture of those (and the preliminary display screen will probably cowl a bit of every).

Coding interviews

Ah, the dreaded coding interview. Sadly, these will occur for many locations you interview at, particularly for FAANG roles. There is no approach round these aside from follow. I spent a superb period of time on LeetCode simply going over quite a lot of questions, attempting my hand at fixing them, after which studying via the opposite options. All in all, I might say I did about ~60 or so questions (on the decrease aspect).

Listed below are just a few suggestions I discovered useful when training leetcode:

  • Don’t be concerned about doing all of the questions (there are approach too many) – do go over questions from firms you are planning to interview at, although
  • Give attention to subjects – e.g. do just a few tree questions, just a few grasping algorithm questions, and so on. You will most probably face an unfamiliar drawback within the interview and probably the most helpful factor you are able to do is to be able to rapidly slot it into “ah, I can use a tree right here” after which apply acquainted strategies.
  • Take it significantly. After I began, I’d simply do the query leisurely and attempt to be taught, look issues up, and so on. That did not assist a lot when it got here to an actual interview setting. So, attempt to time your self, and strategy it such as you would an actual interview, together with testing.
  • For the interview itself: suppose out loud (the interviewer cannot learn your thoughts), discuss via what you’re pondering, and get buy-in on the strategy earlier than coding. Look ahead to hints! And, lastly, keep in mind to check your code completely – take a look at what you wrote, not what you suppose you wrote.

System design interviews

These appear fairly intimidating, particularly when you’ve by no means executed them earlier than (I by no means had!). The best way they’re structured is each a plus and a minus. A good friend informed me “you may’t actually put together for these” and it is fairly true truthfully. If you do not have publicity to how large-scale methods are designed, you’ll wrestle as quite a lot of the ideas are totally different.

Even when you’re accustomed to them, although, designing stuff in an interview setting is a unique beast. I discovered it fairly useful to go over examples (Alex Xu’s system design ebook got here in actually helpful) to get an thought of the kinds of issues that come up in an interview. And there are guides you will discover on leetcode that go over the essential construction of those interviews (watching some movies on Youtube actually helps!) so you may comply with the sample and be sure to cowl all the pieces.

Some suggestions:

  • Write down a timesheet and record of issues to cowl and reference that as you interview. I followed this one.
  • Your interviewer is your good friend: ask them when you’re heading in the right direction or when you ought to deal with one thing else, and so on
  • Give attention to breadth and portray the high-level image first, go into particulars the place requested
  • Write down essential numbers, draw out an image, and so on – so you do not overlook the place you’re within the dialog
  • ASK QUESTIONS. Ensure you perceive who’s utilizing the system, what the necessities are, and so on. Do not soar into fixing issues upfront.

Behavioral interview prep

Relying on the place you interview, this is likely to be known as a behavioral interview, a tradition match interview, a profession interview, and so on. Naming apart, they’ve one factor in frequent: you will be anticipated to speak about your previous experiences in some depth, with the interviewer main the dialogue. These are onerous to prep for (you do not know what shall be requested!) however understanding what to anticipate actually helps. This is how I approached it:

See Also

  • Choose examples that can assist you shine: Give attention to “the most important” battle, “probably the most impactful” undertaking, and so on. These interviews usually decide what degree you are employed at, and also you wish to present you may deal with complicated points. Go over your proudest profession moments, recall them, and write down some fast notes so you do not overlook the small print
  • Preserve it quick. For each query, spend at most 45-60 seconds answering it. The interviewer could have quite a lot of materials to cowl, so simply reply the query to the purpose, do not add an excessive amount of additional element, and provide to elaborate if wanted. In case you elaborate an excessive amount of on each reply, you will not be capable of convey your greatest impression.
  • Give attention to the STAR technique. For every factor, clarify the Scenario, what the Job at hand was, what Motion you took, and what the End result was. Make your function in no matter occurred clear.

Different interviews

Relying on the place you apply, there is likely to be different kinds of interviews thrown in. It’s very fantastic (and anticipated!) that you simply would possibly need assistance and would ask for a rubric or a proof of what the interview course of is like. Simply take them as you get them.

For instance, I bought just a few safety interviews (code assessment/bug discovering/internet utility safety) that I used to be completely unprepared for – they turned out okay, as a result of I used to be capable of ask for assist and get shut sufficient with solutions. Hopefully, that technique works out – and if it does not, you would possibly be capable of see if the job is an efficient match or not (it may not be in the event that they’re specializing in one thing you do not have expertise in!).

When in interview mode

Alright, you have ready, you have arrange interviews, and now it is the dreaded interview day. This is how one can make it go higher for you.

  • Focus in your bodily self: be sure to’ve gotten sufficient sleep, have meals able to go for lunch, and have breaks between the interviews if potential. If the interviewer asks when you want a minute at the beginning, and also you do – please take it. At a better degree, when you’re interviewing throughout a number of firms, attempt to have a half day/day between units of interviews.
  • Do not stress out. Nerves could make or break an interview. Failing an interview is just not a detrimental judgment of who you’re – it is only a efficiency in a extremely synthetic setting. In case you decrease the stakes for your self, you will end up performing higher.
  • Be at liberty to ask for assist or a touch when you’re caught. It is okay! I did {that a} bunch relatively than waste time and have the interviewer write me off.
  • Be taught from your self. I stored detailed notes of each query I used to be requested and the responses I gave in order that I might debrief myself on the finish of the day and do higher the following day. That is simple to do while you’re distant (and onerous to do in individual) so reap the benefits of it when you can!
  • Ask for clear expectations at the beginning of the interview, if not supplied – e.g. for a coding interview, ask about how a lot they count on you to cowl, whether or not you might want to write working code or pseudocode, and so on.

Truth discovering & choice making

All through the method, you are interviewing firms too, to search out the suitable match. Refer again to your standards record to be sure to’ve gotten sufficient data for every firm. I discovered it fairly useful to ask every interviewer just a few questions from my record on the finish of every interview to ensure I had all the pieces coated. If you have not, be happy to achieve out to the recruiter or hiring supervisor for a follow-up – they’d be fairly completely satisfied to fulfill to promote you on the function even additional.

In my case, after the primary few interviews, I spotted I wanted to replace my standards so I went again and redid all the pieces – after which had a bunch of follow-ups to ask locations.

In case you’re undecided about which inquiries to ask, this one is a great list.

Notice that you’ll probably be underneath stress to determine early on (firms will push for this). So ensure your standards are prepared and you’ve got the information you want. Or be keen to push again onerous to get extra time to determine.

Experiences throughout firms

Since I used to be exploring, I bought to speak to a large set of individuals throughout a wide range of firms doing wildly various things. Although quite a lot of processes have been fairly customary (telephone display screen, coding+behavioral+design+supervisor interview), every place had its quirks, good, and unhealthy. This is some stuff that I didn’t count on/actually preferred/realized via the method:

  • Recruiters matter so much. An important recruiter makes a world of a distinction as a candidate – there have been just a few that went above and past, serving to me with additional prep calls, answering all of my questions, and being versatile each time I wanted a change. On the flip aspect, a nasty recruiter might be very off-putting, particularly in the case of issues like ignoring communication preferences or ghosting you (I had a very unhealthy expertise there).
  • Relatedly, candidate expertise issues so much. A number of firms despatched doordash/ubereats present playing cards as an alternative of the lunch they’d usually present in an in-person interview setting, and it helped save psychological vitality for the interviews
  • Distinctive interview experiences stand out! There have been a bunch, however probably the most memorable ones embrace:
    • had an asynchronous course of. The take-home was a good way to be taught concerning the firm tradition, and I actually beloved that they delivered suggestions and gave me an opportunity to enhance my take-home earlier than submitting it.
    • Akita had an attention-grabbing 90-minute coding problem the place I needed to work on a real-world drawback and construct a helpful characteristic – past simply coding, I bought to be taught concerning the area and train problem-solving expertise.
    • Felt had a work-day train the place (for an EM function) I bought to have two 1:1s with members of the workforce (like I might on the job) after which debrief afterward with the interviewers to provide ideas. It was very refreshingly totally different and attention-grabbing.
  • The interview setup and expertise inform you a large number concerning the firm and what they worth. Take note of the questions they ask and the folks you meet. For instance, interviewing at CZI was actually optimistic for me: I bought to see precisely how passionate everybody was concerning the mission and the way they bought folks from all backgrounds to work there (it was probably the most numerous interview panel I had).

Hindsight bias & classes realized

With hindsight bias, I positively realized so much and would do issues in another way subsequent time. Hopefully, you may be taught from these:

  • There are quite a lot of good jobs on the market, and never sufficient of “me”. It is nonetheless a candidate’s marketplace for now, so use that to your benefit. Corporations need to rent, and regardless of hiring freezes quite a lot of nice firms are nonetheless rising.
  • Core expertise matter so much – it’s a must to be good at what you do. In the identical vein, on the senior ranges, it is much less about pure technical depth (until you are going for a really specialised place) and extra about “gentle” expertise: the way you lead a workforce, how you’re employed with folks, and so on. That is good and unhealthy: however helps for interviews as you may apply for a broad set of roles.
  • In hindsight I would not have utilized to as many roles as I did – however hey, I wished to discover. Interviewing for 6-7 hours 4-5 days/week for 3 weeks straight bought a bit a lot, and my calendar was so full that rescheduling issues grew to become a nightmare. I had a few days with 6 interviews with 5 totally different firms and I don’t suggest that have.
  • Do not overdo the leetcode: I felt like I ready all of the “onerous” questions whereas I principally bought requested “simple” or “medium” ones. That may positively have minimize down on prep time.
  • Find out about inventory compensation/all the assorted types of fairness. I needed to scramble to be taught these whereas making my choice and in hindsight, I ought to have learnt about these items earlier.
  • References: A shocking variety of firms requested for references. I might in all probability have ready higher for this relatively than trouble busy folks on the final minute as I did. Ensure you’re ready for this.


Job looking might be nerve-racking and take a very long time. However there are quite a lot of assets and prep materials and you will finally land a superb function.

As all the time, please let me know if in case you have any suggestions/feedback or if there’s any approach I may also help!

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