I started this year with a resolution, that I will upgrade my job, and will not compromise on anything in the process.
My first contact of 2019 finished in late March. By late April, I had two offers: a web dev contract with AT&T (boring, questionable work environment, rather short, but quite lucrative pay) and Microsoft (a lot of creative freedom, challenging project, access to some of the smartest engineers in the world, almost certain extension, ok-ish pay). I went with Microsoft as it seemed to be a more interesting project even if it didn’t pay too well. I learned a ton, met many incredible people, got extended, learned some more, shipped and delivered. By early October, I was back on the job market, and let me tell, I was quite salty. Year end is in sight, I’ve got some great new experience under my belt, but no cigar: where’s my job upgrade, damn it?!
So I’ve designed my new job hunt very precisely. Here’s what I did differently:
- I stopped sourcing positions from trash sites (ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Monster, and a pile of others). They are infested with third- and fourth-party recruiters, staffing and temp agencies, scammers, and other leeches of this kind.
- I started tracking my activities very carefully, methodically recording where I sourced a position from, how and when I applied, what’s the status, what’s the interview stage, etc. I now have a list of companies I will never consider again: those who didn’t have the decency to send an automated rejection and just ghosted me.
- I sourced my positions almost exclusively from Glassdoor and Linkedin (to much lesser extent), and directly by searching for local tech companies with great reviews or great backstories (and exceptional hiring practices)
- I only applied to companies I truly wanted to work at. Not “if the pay is great”, not “well, if I can work from home three times a week”, none of this. Just “Yep, that’s my place, and these are my people, and we’ll figure out the rest”. I was fortunate to be in the position to spend a few months just looking for a perfect fit, and not taking any job just because I needed a job ASAP.
- I spent 10+ hours most days crafting cover letters, tweaking my resume, researching companies in-depth, applying, answering emails, setting up calls, taking phone interviews, going to onsite interviews, doing take-home assignments. It was intense, draining, but so much fun!
- Not even once did I attempt to please the interviewer or guess and offer answers I knew they were looking for; I was 100% my authentic self and gave exactly zero fucks about the usual hiring dance. “Where do I see my self in 5 years, you ask? Hopefully, on a beach with a mojito. Next question.” It was so liberating and so rewarding. I even got to wear my “Task failed successfully” t-shirt to one of the interviews just because I felt like it (and ended up getting an offer from them)
- Being relaxed, authentic, and confident in my decision to never compromise on anything important to me, gave me this incredibly powerful feeling of being in control of the process, and not at the mercy of the job market.
In the end, I applied to 2x fewer positions than in the spring round, and got 2.5x more offers in the same timeframe, all of which were permanent, full-time positions at companies I’d be happy to work for.
I ended up with 5 offers, 4 of which were within my range (and the 5th one could probably be negotiated to get within the range), with a variety of benefit options, different flexibility levels, and a variety of career paths.
Now, with 4 offers in hand (and one coming in later), I had a tough task of making the right choice. Do I go for more money but less flexibility? Or better work environment, but unclear career path? Stock options or flexible paid time off? Well, I was set to not compromise on anything important, so… Flexible schedule, flexible (as in “unlimited”) paid time off, good 401(k) match, stock options, clear career path, challenging tasks, awesome team. All or nothing. And at this point, it was pretty easy to choose. Introducing Auth0.
The interview process took about 5 weeks from the day I applied to accepting the offer. It consisted of an initial phone screen, an interview with my potential manager, another one with my potential teammates, a take-home assignment, and finally a call with one of the senior directors. There’s a great post about how exactly Auth0 hires engineers.
Initial screen was nothing surprising, except for a sense of transparency and genuine interest in my experience and personality.
Second call… I blew it, big time :) It was setup as a Zoom meeting, and for some reason I thought that I should expect a call, while in fact, I was supposed to call in myself. Anyway, the call was rescheduled and went well over an hour, and generally was just a friendly chat about me, my experience, job expectations, the company, position, team,management, and such. It went well, and the next step was set up.
Next call went equally well, and it was a great chance to get a better feel of the teammates, what they do and who they are. Again, it resembled a friendly conversation more than an interview. Take home assignment, coming up next!
Then, a take-home assignment was set up. It was a pretty interesting experience. I got invited to a Slack channel, where I was to work with one of my potential co-workers on a task that might come up in my day-to-day job (I had to write an app using Auth0 docs and APIs). All expectations were set very clearly and upfront, no guessing required: what they were looking at in the process and in the end result, how my performance will be evaluated, what success looks like, what to be aware of, and so on. I was traveling at the moment, and submitted the app almost a week later.
A few days after that, I got a message that the team was impressed with my app, enough to move me to the next and final stage. A call with a senior director of my potential department was set up a couple of days later, it went well. The next day I was offered the job, which I accepted.
I started on December 9th as Developer Support Engineer with a group of 26 newly hired colleagues from engineering, marketing, sales, administration, from all over the world. It was the first time we visited Auth0 office. A week of intense onboarding resembled a nerdy summer camp rather then corporate orientation. It was fun :)
Auth0 is a remote-friendly company, and the whole interview process is organized 100% online. When 60% of the company doesn’t work in the office, and the team is spread across all timezones in 35 different countries, online-first is the only approach here that makes sense. Still, for onboarding, Auth0 brings new people to Bellevue HQ.
It will take me some time to write about the onboarding experience and my first weeks at Auth0, but let me just say that it’s everything I’ve been wishing for and then some. Stay tuned!
Oh, you’re still here? Ok. We are hiring right now! Hit me up for a referral, see our Careers page, and follow us on Linkedin! Here’s how we hire engineers (and we hire from all sorts of non-traditional backgrounds), and here’s what we value.
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