Posted: April 1, 2021 | Categories: Miscellaneous
I start a new job on Monday. I've been out of full time work since the end of September, which has been a lot of fun, but its time to get back to work and have steady income and benefits again.
During my time off, I did some interesting things. I completed certification as an OutSystems platform Reactive developer. I tried to complete my CSSLP (Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional) certification but failed the exam; that was a tough blow, but at least I focused some energy on development security for a while, so that put me in a good place.
I did some consulting work for a company, designed and helped build a cloud-based sales automation tool. This gave me an excellent opportunity to learn Firebase Functions and Google Cloud SQL plus I worked on my largest ever Ionic project which really solidified my skills there.
In all, losing my job was quite painful, but I used the time to enhance my skills while I looked for new opportunities. I didn't sit on my ass and relax.
Looking for a job during the Pandemic was hard, but different than I expected. Previous experience and research in the job market made me believe that people didn't get jobs anymore by applying for them online. That turned out not to be the case, I was very active on LinkedIn finding and applying for positions and I got quite a few interviews that way. Knowing someone still pays off more, but I found a nice balance between working with people I know and applying for jobs blindly. As it turns out, I got two offers, one from someone I'd worked for before and another from a company I applied to blindly last year.
Companies sure make you work harder nowadays to earn a position. Most companies I dealt with during my job search asked me to perform some sort of task as part of the interviewing process which ended up consuming a lot of my time without benefit. I laughed inside when a company looking to hire me as a manager for some technical writers asked me to do a writing exercise. I thought for sure that availability of 8 books written by me plus numerous public examples of blog posts, documentation articles and the like would be enough, but they asked me to write something anyway. In another example, when applying for a developer relations position for a company (a job that really interested me), I was really surprised they asked me to do a coding exercise. Again, I thought that my 7 technical books plus numerous blog posts and more than 60 public code repos on GitHub were enough to prove my coding chops, but apparently not. I did learn something about NodeJS development in the process, but I would have preferred that they look at my public body of work rather than make me create something new just for them.
What bothered me the most about this whole job search process is Recruiters lack of responsiveness. I often waited weeks to hear back from recruiters on jobs I interviewed for and that was painful. In several cases, I didn't get the job I wanted (for whatever reason) but the recruiter assured me that the company liked me and that I should apply for another position. I'd quickly look around for other interesting open positions and apply for them (letting the recruiter know) only to get no response for weeks or more than a month (even sometimes no response ever again). Don't lie to me, if you don't want to hire me that's OK, you're not going to hurt my feelings. But, don't leave me on the hook for weeks at a time when I could be expending job search energy in other ways.
How hard is it to reply to an email a few days after an interview series ended and give the candidate an update? Not hard really, but it rarely happened in this recent job search.
One of the funniest and potentially saddest issues I came across was for a position I applied for in a big company. The recruiter reached out to me and asked a few questions about my application and I responded in a matter of hours. A week later, nothing - so I sent the recruiter a follow-up email - nothing. Another week goes by and I sent another follow-up email. Crickets. Finally after a few weeks of this with no response from the recruiter I finally got a text message from the recruiter asking if I was interested in the position. Yes, of course I was, I replied, I've been emailing you for weeks now. It turns out, of course, that none of my return messages made it into the recruiter's inbox. Thank goodness for this particular recruiter's efforts, otherwise I wouldn't have a chance to interview for that position (which I didn't get anyway).
I have one last story to tell - about the time I talked myself out of a job opportunity while speaking with the VP at the end of a series of interviews. Its the first time I really ever knew exactly when I didn't earn the position I applied for. Perhaps I'll write about that tomorrow.
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