notes to self for next job hunt (some of which may be generally useful):

  • don’t apply to general tech companies anymore for many reasons.
    1. heard back from very very few but that may be b/c I don’t know many people at general tech companies
    2. never been able to get through interviews; they’re presumably looking for computer science grads (not me)
    3. most of their missions are probably not stuff I’d be happy about at the end of the day. despite missions of doing xyz, it’s probably really about $$
  • don’t apply to pharma companies any more. there’s lots of good software jobs in that sector, but i’ve struck out 3 times, and so that’s a clear pattern my background/whatever isn’t something they want
  • next time only apply where I have a connection that can refer me or dig around for a referral. it’s super easy to apply for jobs, especially if you don’t write a cover letter; however, the less time I spend surely the less likely I am to hear back
  • make sure (and I’ll probably fail to do it again this time, ugh) to write down what questions I was asked, how I answered, and how to improve on that answer. then study and reference those questions and answers for the next interview
  • its good to have multiple offers at the same time, but then deciding is harder - & I don’t love to negotiating - so maybe don’t worry about multiple offers at the same time next time around
  • I have relatively low expectations in any interview b/c I don’t do technical interviews well - I also try to seek out orgs that do not have crazy technical interview processes - eg., Roche had a whiteboard technical interview that I totally bombed, but was unsurprising in hindsight since the interviewer was an ex-Googler. I’m more of a thinker than a quick responder, making it hard to do well in very fast paced (for me) tech interviews. Though I know i have been a good software engineer where I’ve worked, so these fast paced tech interviews are probably selecting for a certain kind of brain function I guess?
  • seek out orgs with interview processes that have take home assignments - or at least timed coding tests on something like hackerrank - instead of live whiteboard/zoom tech inteviews
    • my last job Deck had a take home test
    • Axiom DS has a take home test approach
    • AdHoc uses a take home test approach
    • Invitae had a hackerrank test, not a take home but better than live coding test
  • cover letters? I still don’t know whether these are worth doing or not. the advice seems to be mixed. they sure take a lot of time, so I hope they’re not necessary for most hiring managers; given my bullet above about spending more time on fewer applications, I could find time for a cover letter on every application if ther’s not that many

some data about this last job search:

  • 48: orgs that took time to say No
  • 51: orgs that didn’t respond
  • 10: orgs that interviewed me (including recruiter only)
  • 1: thanks hutch!