Figuring out the job hunt
Job-hunting was interesting to me. Thankfully I didn’t have to find a new job as I was still employed. I was fortunate to be in that position during a global pandemic where many companies lay off people or put them on leave.
However, the downside to job-hunting in a global pandemic is that it is incredibly competitive. There were many unemployed developers, mainly mid and senior level, who were fighting over jobs.
The companies who were hiring seemed to have the same few opinions:
- We’re all working remotely so training up a junior member of staff is not practical.
- The company is not in a financial position to afford to lose money on training a junior who is not producing output.
- There’s a lot of developers desperate for jobs which can jump straight into the work.
One recruiter told me there was no point in job hunting so I should stop and wait for everything to settle.
But as I didn’t have to find a new job, I could also use the job hunt as a learning experience. I updated my CV and my Linkedin with my new found tech skills.
Top tip: When you are job hunting, you need to make sure that you include the projects you have been working on and the tech stacks you used.
That’s where things got interesting!
I was getting recruiter calls and emails every day. In all honesty, I had never seen this kind of response to my CV or online profile as a researcher (my previous career). However, the number of recruiter calls did not equate to the number of actual interviews I received. Over the month of job hunting, I only progressed to interviews with about three companies.
But throughout all of this I did a few things:
- There are not many recruiters who have in-depth tech knowledge; most of them focus on ticking off the criteria explicitly mentioned in the advert.
- A phone call does not always mean there is a potential job, especially with cold calling. Recruiters will find your details on various websites and contact you, to add you to a database. At one point, I had two recruiters who worked for the same company add me to the same database twice and then I was bombarded with emails!
- GDPR now mean recruiters need explicit permission from you to share your details with a company. Make sure you keep a note of which company and who is putting you forward. A few times, I had to cut a recruiter off mid-sentence and insist I needed to know the name of the company in case of a conflict.
Though I was getting excited about the number of calls, it was always a bit of a bummer when I never heard anything back. But, as I said, I was also treating this as a learning experience. After a month, and as we started getting closer to December, I had essentially paused my job hunt.
I accepted that I would not be changing jobs in 2020.
That’s when I received the call from the company about what is now my job. All of the previous recruiters, and I mean every one of them, were external recruiters. That means that they are a company which specialises in recruiting. The company which required staff may hire an external company to find suitable candidates. Or recruitment companies find the positions themselves and put candidates in for them.
For this latest company, however, it was an internal recruiter who called me up. He worked for the company for a few years and had personal relationships with people within the company. He even pointed out when he first rang me that he had already forwarded my CV to the CTO of the company and they had already asked for an interview.
I think the main thing for me was how contagious his excitement was. So while my job-hunting motivation was pretty much zero, I decided to give it a shot and have the interview with the CTO. The recruiter even checked in with me regularly to keep me up to date with anything even if there was no news. I appreciated this because most recruiters seem to go radio silent for ages, whether or not they liked your application.
This interview was not only remote due to the pandemic. At the time, I was not even in the UK, but it also made me confront my biggest interview fear: tech tests!
If you want to find out how it went, make sure to check out tomorrow’s post.