Monday, April 27, 2020

My Job Search Experience from Nov 2019 to Mar 2020

I found a new job a while ago. One of the major reasons why there have been few posts lately. I have a little breather now that I have exhausted my need to learn as much as I can about my new role (even though my employer did stress on my learning at such a pace).

For a quick conclusion, I recommend looking for work through recruiters. They know which opportunities are live and hot. Applying directly to companies was hit or miss. Online search was really a waste of my time.

Searching Through Recruiters

Because I found all non-referral based jobs through recruiters, my inflated ego wanted to try to find an opportunity on my own. I had avoided all recruiters. I did have a timeline though.

When my threshold was passed, I accepted all recruiters. I have to say that it was actually kind of refreshing to actually see responses. Not all recruiters were active, but I would say that at least 50% of recruiters did respond after their "fishing" expedition.

Most recruiters found me on LinkedIn. With all recruiters, I asked a simple question or expressed interest. Those that did not respond, I did not follow up. Those that did and requested resume, then ghosted after I provided a resume were added to my grey-list. If multiple recruiters found me from the same company and ghosted, that company was blacklisted.

But at least 50-75% of recruiters did respond with a response... even a simple 'thank you' before ghosting was sufficient for not being blacklisted. Almost all recruiters with an Indian accent ghosted me or simply said thank you then never heard back again.

I was honest about my compensation but did not give it up freely. I always lead with that it was negotiable. If they were forceful and I was interested in the position, I always gave higher than my range and added that my main focus was on how well we matched. This strategy worked quite well for me. I thought I would lose some opportunities, but all that were interested in me got me further into the interview process. In almost all cases where I was no longer considered, I was honest with them that I did not seem the best match for them, but willing to work hard, and lowered my compensation accordingly... so I was not surprised.

25% of the recruiters that did respond, I did get interviews. Most of my interviews went very well. And as mentioned, I was not surprised to be rejected to some of them. I was also very upfront about my existing opportunities. I had three companies interested in overlapping periods of time. I think I had a good chance with all three with one already given a verbal offer.

I honestly said that I had other opportunities. I also said that they were my top pick (which it really was) but also explained that I still wanted to complete my due diligence. They were more than happy to give me the time (I said a week, probably could have gotten two but I did like that job).

First one had a delayed response, and couldn't give me a firm confirmation. They couldn't pay my asking price. In my first interview, I did tell them that my interest is in the job which did fascinate me. I was also not a perfect match experience-wise as they were looking more for a business PM and I was more technical. I felt the director still liked my style. Unfortunately, timing and compensation did not work out. The job opportunity was about the same. The one thing going for them was that they were a smaller company which I preferred. Interestingly, they had considered me about half a year ago. If they had offered at that time, I would have accepted. In the end, I was honest in that it is difficult to pass on an existing offer to a potential offer and that my compensation was met.

The other one after an interview found that the role was not what I expected.

Applying Directly to Companies

This was close to a waste of time. But do apply to companies that you heard good things about their hiring process.

My suggestions would be Amazon and Snap. Amazon was reasonably responsive for certain roles. They do cleanup their posts so that old posts will eventually be closed. Positions that are interested do let you know your status well. Snap was very responsive, and quite mature in their process in that they do consider non-digital factors.

I did understand that I was probably on the lower-end experience-wise and on paper. I believed I would still have excelled in the role for myself and the company if picked.

Surprisingly, I had better hopes for Google. I still found that they still had my application for an opening almost ten years ago and that it was still open. I also have not heard back on the opportunities I applied to this year.

I did apply to several other lesser known companies within a certain geographic region with almost nearly zero responses. It was so terrible that I even started to question the very rare companies that did respond which made me think they were ultra-desperate to fill a position. That is a turn-off for me because those positions are rarely any good and often not the same as advertised.

Online Search

I used all sorts of sites: LinkedIn, indeed, glassdoor, monster, dice, etc. All of these have miserable success rates for me. These opportunities include known businesses and unknown businesses. Except for the job board sending the automated email, there is rarely any responses from any company. A lot of posts that I found do get closed and then I'll find another open exactly the same.

For a period of time, I was dedicated each day to apply to at least 5 positions a day. I probably applied easily over 200 positions with maybe 1 response.


Of course, timing is very important. I probably was in a terrible time-frame of Nov - Feb. I was lightly searching as early as May. I actually did not hear much from recruiters near the end of the year going into January. Suddenly in February, I started getting almost too many calls. Now with COVID, there probably will not be many opportunities now.

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