That’s right— I’m back. Some of y’all missed me, others are probably realizing in real time that "that one guy” hasn’t been emailing every week. Either way, we’re back at it with the newsletter this week and going no-holds-barred style diving into the reality of the interview process with a rockstar of a guest, Angie Jones, VP of Developer Relations at Block. The short story— the market is wild (duh.) and if you’re thinking about a job change you need to be prepared for 1. tons of competition and 2. putting a strategy in place to even land an interview. You ready? Alright, let’s go.
Trust me if you’re on the job hunt and have the time, watch the full episode:
Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick?:
Starting with the obvious, it’s a company's market out there in tech right now. Layoffs have completely saturated the candidate pool with incredibly qualified and amazing talent. Not saying that you’re not amazing and talented but by comparison… Anyway, Angie broke down what it’s looking like from a hiring manager’s perspective. Even for a more specialized role like a Developer Advocate, she’s receiving around one thousand applicants. One. Thousand. From there, she narrowed it down to fifteen interviews and finally chose one applicant for the position.
Was that number of applicants a bit shocking? Yeah, same. The odds really aren’t in your favor no matter who you are. Let’s break down how to stand out:
- Be realistic: If you’re not qualified or you bomb the interview, quit expecting so much. It’s a cute thought that hiring managers will see your mysterious potential, and overlook buckets of other candidates. It’s not going to happen. While you’re having a singular experience with the company, they’re in high-stress elimination mode with every other candidate.
- Get a referral: The fastest and easiest way to stand out is by flagging your application as a referral. Lean on your network and see if you know anyone who may be in some way related to the company. Better yet, start building your network now so that a referral is there for you when you need it. Of the above-mentioned thousand applicants, Angie said that only two to three had referrals. Send a couple of emails or DMs and fast-track yourself to the top of the stack.
- Consider using a cover letter: Cover letters are historically clunky, outdated, awkward pleas for employment, right? But who says we have to keep going about them the same way? Take a paragraph to be real about what you’re good at and what you could bring to the company. Take time to add some of your personality into what you say, and you go from being another resume to, at minimum, a little more humanized. To the few of you reading this thinking, “That girl on TikTok told me to copy and paste the job description into Chat GPT #hack,” I’m calling you out right now. Hiring managers can smell that fake, computer wording from a mile away.
- Be authentic: So many people go into the job search process as a shell of who they actually are. We’ve all done it, put on a fake smile and memorized stock answers to questions we think interviewers will ask. But when has neutral ever been memorable? Treat the whole process like a first date. Casually mention you like Legos but don’t show her your whole basement Lego palace just yet, you know?
- Give back to the tech community: It’s controversial, because 9-5s are never really just 9-5, but some hiring managers are out there looking for those green squares and how much you contribute. Just something to consider. If the company that’s hiring has any open-source projects, hop in and at least get your name out there.
Want to hear more about Angie’s story, decentralization efforts and other thoughts on the job search and interview process? Scroll back up there and click that link.