Aug 24, 2013

Looking for a new Job: the experience


On this post I've said that I was joining a great team and that I was really excited about it; I did meant that but unfortunately this journey came to an end on Feb/1/2013 when my contract was not renewed after the latest corporate acquisitions round.

In this post I'll describe the process I took to find a new job, but first lets make things as clear as possible:
  1. I am not an HR expert (far from it, I'd rather say I am a complete newbie on the subject), so take every world with a whole mountain of salt ;)
  2. yes, I did follow most, if not all, of the presented advice.
Perhaps the most important advice (and probably the hardest to follow) is: don't panic! I know that it is easier to say than to do (I've been there, remember ?), but try to keep calm and review your options carefully.

The first thing you need is to realize that 
Looking for a new job is a full time job!

It may look like restating the obvious but I haven't realized how much time it may take! So, be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to this phase (fortunately, job wise I hadn't much else to do :).

My first step was to create a list of requirements/constraints for the new job, sorted by importance; you should take into account aspects such as compensation package, relocation, type of work, etc. Depending on your constraints it'll take longer to find your new dream job.

In my case the list looked something like:
  1. It had to be fun and challenge.
  2. The company  I'd work for should at least recognize and be committed to implement/use good development practices (TDD, continuous building, pair programming, etc).
  3. Compensation should be closer to or higher than what I was earning before.
  4. Work from home if possible.
  5. Avoid relocation.
Soon after I come up with this list I started to suffer from the ROOR (Running out of resources ;) syndrome - for reasons that are not important to explain here I had almost no savings... :(.

At this point you really need to think about what you want, review your requirements list and refrain from accepting the first (or second, third, whatever) job offer you may get only because you are running out of money. 

Of course there is a hard deadline and you can't wait indefinitely  in my case I strove to get at least 4 ~ 5 job offers before taking a decision. More importantly than the number, was the quality of the offers; there was one in particular that I was really interested in so I discussed with my wife and we decided we'd squeeze as much as possible from our small savings and would try to allow me 1 ~ 2 more months before taking the decision (while I was waiting for the interviews to come I took the time to experiment with something new, but related to my field of interest). 

After some time the interviews started to come and suddenly I had participated in 3 ~ 4 of them, some in the traditional sense of the word and some virtual interviews (through skype / phone).

Some notes from these interviews (process wise):
  • Never forget that interviews are a two lane road: you are not the only that is being interviewed! You should also be evaluating the company in question.
  • Don't be afraid of challenges! Instead, use them as a motivation to you to learn and improve.
  • Be humble but not shy. Do not put yourself in the position of someone that is reluctant to disagree because you are afraid of not getting an offer: be yourself.

  • Be prepared to face ridiculous, unrealistic job skill set requirements / compensation packs. Just keep the professionalism.

  • Show enthusiasm; would you hire a candidate that looks (and behaves) apathetic in an interview?

  • Even if, in the middle of the interview, you've already made your mind and you don't plan to accept a (possible) job offer, keep the professionalism.
Fun fact: there was 2 situations that I found very strange: in one of the interviews I was asked absolutely no technical questions (at least none that I think would be able to assess my ability to do the job) and in another one the interviewer sold the company in question as the best company in the world but said that they could not get good developers to join them, hum... (guess what? I discarded both of them). 

When you finally get a job don't forget to get back to any pending job offer and let them know you are not available anymore.
Hope this was helpful.

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