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Ask HN: How do I understand the results of my job search?
243 points by definitegrunt on Nov 24, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 220 comments
I'm in the middle of a job search. Here are some stats:

  - 50 applications submitted
  - 21 no response
  - 3 no longer hiring
  - 11 rejected without interview
  - 15 first round interviews
  - 9 technical interviews
  - 2 rejected after technical interview
  - 2 onsite
I have ~6 years of experience as a self-taught fullstack web developer with a bit more professional experience on the frontend, though I'm comfortable with both sides. I've had a senior level title. All of my performance reviews have been positive and I don't have trouble doing the work. My current CTO said that I was one of the smartest developers on our team of 20. I got similar feedback from colleagues at my last company and I was promoted there 4 times in 3 years. I blog regularly about programming, including posts that have been on the front page of Hacker News. I spoke at a conference this year. I have a decent amount of work on Github, including some contributions to well known open source projects.

I feel like the numbers for this job search are not good but I can't figure out what the problem is. A large majority of the companies rejected me without an interview, either sending a form letter or not response at all. There hasn't been any feedback about why they're not interested in me. This has been especially true of larger, more well-known companies. I'm completely qualified on paper but there's no interest.

I've also started to lose confidence for technical interviews. They feel so arbitrary. Some times I do really well. Sometimes not. But in both cases, I don't feel like my skills have been tested or demonstrated. When I do well, the stars lined up and when I don't, they didn't. The whole thing makes me feel increasingly insecure about my ability to build a career, even though I've demonstrated that I can do the work once hired.

Is this the average experience or is there something going on here?

IMHO (unfortunately) in tech the skills that allow you to succeed in a job are different than the skills that allow you to get hired for a job. This is a generalization, but I think that is what happens in most places.

@patio11 has written a bit about this: https://twitter.com/patio11/status/1086379271415713792 @tqbf and Erin Patek https://sockpuppet.org/blog/2015/03/06/the-hiring-post/

I think this leads to a lot of false negatives when interviewing. but if you are applying you obviously want to increase your chances of succeeding so, you have to know how to 'play the game'.

My recommendation to you would be: 1. spend a lot of time preparing for these tech interviews. Study how they are structured. There is a lot of material online (blog posts) as well as books documenting what it takes to succeed. 2. there are some people that do paid courses on "how to interview at FAANG style companies". they may be worth depending on the upside. Note that not all companies have those types of interviews but if you are aiming for them it makes sense to prepare the best you can.

I’ve been doing coding interview exercises used at big corps. It is sent via email daily.

They seem to be quite easy and after solving some, it feels like I’ve ‘seen them all’.

You cannot be doing anything fancy in a short interview afterall.

If this is really how they filter programmers, it does not seem like a really good way to measure one’s ability to create true value.

They aren’t measuring your ability to create value but in how you approach problems you don’t know the answer to. In many cases you will get a pass even if you don’t solve the problem, but can talk about what the solution would look like, what the interesting parts of the problem are, and so forth.

But if you know the answer to all of them, what are they really measuring? Once you study enough there's not really much new under the sun. It's a really fatal flaw in the typical interview process.

A good interviewer could ask some questions to find out if the answer is just memorized or if they understand the concept. And it would test your willingness to educate yourself on a domain, which is something I would value in my team.

And I say this as someone who doesn't particularly like the modern tech interview style, I think actually trying to build something is better. However, it does have some merit in measuring a candidate's ability even if it's not necessarily that great.

What's the daily email you're using?

Not sure about the url, but he does lots of youtube as the “tech lead”

not op but


Thanks for these links! They're very helpful.

Or, just hear me out, you can use that time, take a little risk and develop your own products.

I'm in the very beginning of a search for a new job now, but already feel like things have changed a lot over the last few years, in some socio-economic sense, that I can't quite put my finger on.

I never had any problems with passing technical interviews, so that's not what bothers me. My gripe is with the job ads, that are 100% relevant to my experience on paper, and yet somehow my applications seem to go into a black hole.

I'm not comfortable with carpet bombing 100s of companies and hoping that someone will hire me for some _arbitrary_ job. I want this _specific_ job. I have pretty specific professional interests (in an area that I'm quite experienced in) and aiming high, so there is not a lot of vacancies, that I'd be willing to consider. After filtering for remote-friendliness, what I'm left with is just a few positions. And yet, the seeming randomness of the process makes it unlikely, that I'll be even considered to be put into the interview loop.

One friend of mine, who happens to be a head of the HR at a medium-sized company, told me, that for each publicly posted SWE job ad they get several 100s of applications. So they don't even bother to review the submitted applications anymore (!). Instead, they merely wait for the recruitment agencies to pick up the ad and find some reasonable number of "vetted" candidates via their own channels and bring them in to an interview.

Overall, I think that the "market" for jobs depends a bit too much on the middlemen lately. Needless to say, that most of these middlemen are not interested in catering to candidates' aspirations, nor are they going to spend too much time looking for a perfect match. The end result is (a) total mess with regards to matching jobs to people and (b) little hope for proper career progression, because the whole process is pretty much random.

> Overall, I think that the "market" for jobs depends a bit too much on the middlemen lately.

Lately? This industry has been full of dudebro "recruiters" since I've became a part of it. These people shouldn't even be needed because they're completely inept at interviewing for technical skills, and they're pretty easy to game if you use the correct lingo. The vast majority of them are a waste of time; I've only ever met 2 that either actually got me a job or at least intended on actually getting me one.

I was applying for jobs last year at around this time and didn't notice the black hole that you're talking about, but I guess it'll be something for me to pay attention for next time.

Then again, I doubt I'm going to rely on traditional job searching techniques the next time. I've realized that bypassing the recruiter and HR, as well as networking at meetups and conferences, are much more effective than shotgunning dozens of online applications.

These people shouldn't even be needed because they're completely inept at interviewing for technical skills, and they're pretty easy to game if you use the correct lingo. The vast majority of them are a waste of time; I've only ever met 2 that either actually got me a job or at least intended on actually getting me one.

I’m betting close to 100 with recruiters over two decades. The external recruiter’s purpose is not to access your technical skills. Their purpose is to see if you are the product that their buyers want and to make you look as good to the buyer as possible. You are not “gaming the system” by making yourself an attractive candidate that they can present to their client.

If you are looking for the standard median, commodity job , you have kept your eye on the market, done the correct amount of resume driven development, and you live in a major market, with local recruiters, it usually isn’t hard in my experience to find a job.

I won’t fit that description when I’m looking for my next job - I’m not looking for either the commodity job or to be in the 3rd quintile of pay for my local market. Networking will be required.

One thing I've found helpful when I don't already know someone for a referral is to try and find an internal recruiter on LinkedIn and message them. If you are actually a fit for an specific open role, they will 100% answer.

Thank you, makes sense. Though this would require paying for a premium account on LI.

Agree with another comment here saying that it's worth it. I've had way better luck reaching out to recruiters over LI than doing applications, and even better luck with two sided marketplaces like AngelList's Alist, Hired, and TripleByte.

You get one free month trial. After that, it’s $30/mo for job seekers. You might stand on the principle that it shouldn’t be necessary, but the price doesn’t seem like a barrier.

(I have no connection to LinkedIn, other than being a free tier member.)

The one month free trial does not mean much. Linkedin flagged me as a recruiter, and refused to let me search for people at one of my previous companies. They insisted I had to be a premium member to search the way I was searching. I signed up for the free month of premium, and I was still flagged as a recruiter, and my searches denied. Linkedin support had difficulty explaining there were two levels of premium, but they finally confirmed I had to pay to be able to search. I paid. Then my searches sort of worked. Out of five specific people, only one was actually in Linkedin. I realize they need money to make their business work. I just did not like the way they extracted the money from me. My free advice: don't search like a recruiter. Whatever that means.

why? you can send a message with a connection invitation I believe? I've done this without paying for LI premium.

Interesting - I have been working with a recruiter but the results are very underwhelming. Fortunately, I am not paying for the service.

You pay via reduced offers

This is really not true, except maybe in localized situations which you don’t want to work for (and recruiters are not going to want to do work for those companies so the overlap is minuscule). It’s a one time capitalized expense that reduces time (money) spent by on-staff employees.

One thing you do have to look out for is that recruiters get paid after a period of employment (3-6 months in my experience). So that can create a perverse incentive to fire someone you’re on the fence about. This really shouldn’t happen unless you’re working for an extremely cash-strapped place though.

Working from the other end with recruiters, I cannot confirm this. It feels to me, the recruiter I'm working with respects both parties and really tries to find a great fit.

All of the applicants he brought were better, than the ones that applied via an online job portal. Even tough some ask 20%-40% over our budget, we are still considering them.

Not true. The companies consider it a cost saving over in-housing the recruitment capability. Finders fees are paid on top of the offer.

This is completely untrue. A company can’t get away with paying 20% below market because they used a recruiter. No one would accept their offer.

Do you have a link/reference that explains this?

The gist is that the agency is going to demand a fee for bringing you in. A lot of times it’s a percentage of your offer. Thus, you get a smaller offer to offset or reduce the cost.

As a hiring manager for 15+ years, I’ve never nerfed someone’s offer because they came from an agency, nor have I ever caught a whiff of this happening.

I am conscious of which roles I offer to outside agencies, but once I do, I stop worrying about the cost and focus only on the value I can get from the candidate. Those agency roles are some of the most competitive positions; I don’t expect to be able to hire the best who happen to not realize that $0.75x is smaller than $1.00x for positive values of x.

I always thought it was because the recruiter only cares about whether you accept the offer, not really how much the offer is, and so will either negotiate based on that, or else pressure you to accept whatever offer they can muster. Plus, if the recruiter can bring in people who accept lower offers they're more likely to be used by the employer. Hence, if you accept an offer through a recruiter, it's likely that you're accepting a stunted offer.

Businesses always offer you the lowest offer they think you will accept. They can't offer you lower than you will accept, because then you won't accept it ;-) They will never offer you more than they have to just because they didn't pay a recruiter. Don't worry about that stuff, it doesn't factor into decision making.

Do you mean that all of these positions were recommended to you by a recruiter?

You just explained why the industry depends on middlemen, especially for your bog standard commodity jobs. Any opening gets dozens of resumes and the people usually aren’t qualified. If you as a hiring manager are working with a recruiter, they can reach people who are “passively looking” and who already have a job.

The recruiter I used to get my last job reached out to me about 7 months before I was on the market. I told him that I wasn’t looking for a job until I closed on my house in October, even then I was so busy with life, I wasn’t about to go through all of the hassle of randomly blindly submitting resumes. I told the recruiter that in 6 months, my criteria as far as pay, responsibility, location and technology.

He called me 6 months later with a list of jobs and within two weeks I had a job that met all of my criteria and was the Dev lead of a medium size company with a small software development department.

On the other side, when I needed to ramp up the department fast with contractors, I worked with him to find qualified contractors.

* I want this _specific_ job. I have pretty specific professional interests (in an area that I'm quite experienced in) and aiming high, so there is not a lot of vacancies, that I'd be willing to consider. After filtering for remote-friendliness, what I'm left with is just a few positions. And yet, the seeming randomness of the process makes it unlikely, that I'll be even considered to be put into the interview loop.*

If the job is that specific, carpet bombing resumes isn’t the way to go, you’re right. At this point, my next job in two years, is also very specific. While my external recruiter network has been a godsend for the bog standard generic roles I’ve had in the past, I’ve got to start building a network now to get the job I want.

Of course if I walk up to the office tomorrow and the doors are closed and they go out of business (not likely), I can reach out to my long list of local recruiters and get the “right now” job or contract quickly that will pay more than enough to support us.

> I have pretty specific professional interests (in an area that I'm quite experienced in) and aiming high, so there is not a lot of vacancies, that I'd be willing to consider. After filtering for remote-friendliness, what I'm left with is just a few positions.

There's your conundrum. Having specific professional interests in an area you're experienced in is great...assuming that specialization has enough market demand liquidity for you to not be in this situation. If that's no longer the case, perhaps it's worth asking if you'd be willing to negotiate on what you're looking for?

I've done a variety of things so as far as what I have been looking for with my current search, it's really more a high growth company that places a premium on backfilling senior talent, which likely means I'll get (read: have already gotten) a very attractive offer. It's true that this means I am somewhat compromising on picking specific things that I want to do, but the reason I do it is because I'd rather bet on a company than a role, and if I do it this way, I only really have to find one company that has more to lose by not hiring me than hiring me.

I guess that's probably the advice (perhaps unsolicited) I'd give to you -- are you flexible with what you want to do but want to be well compensated and work with a company that has defensible growth? In that case, it might make more sense to take a position that might not be ideal today but is in a growing org where you can make it closer to something that would have the specifics you like. Do you want to do a very specific role? Well, unless it opens your pool of potential companies rather than closes it, you'll have to work within the diminished market demand for it, which leads the the sort of frustration you express.

I appreciate your advice, and it absolutely makes sense. But my complaint was not about jobs being absent, but about companies ignoring applications.

Ah, I see what you mean now.

> One friend of mine, who happens to be a head of the HR at a medium-sized company, told me, that for each publicly posted SWE job ad they get several 100s of applications. So they don't even bother to review the submitted applications anymore (!). Instead, they merely wait for the recruitment agencies to pick up the ad and find some reasonable number of "vetted" candidates via their own channels and bring them in to an interview.

This is kind of a poor analogy, but I think a lot about parallels between talent agencies and the entertainment industry. Prima facie, there shouldn't need to be middlemen involved, right? And yet, there are, and they vary in quality from being horrible to being stars that the talent absolutely prefers to have. Interestingly enough, plenty of companies that try to disintermediate them can end up getting reputations as being talent unfriendly (IE Spotify), to the extent that the disrupting competitor inevitably plays ball.

I guess what I think is fascinating is that your anecdote may reflect this. Frankly, I think the job application is not useful. Creating the equivalent of an effective "spam filter" or ranking for job applications is challenging, so there's no reason to expect it to always be clogged with poor match applications. Having been a hiring manager before, it's really, really time consuming to go through low quality applicant leads. It's time consuming enough that your job is nearly intractable unless you have an in house or contingent recruiter that does a good enough job at separating the wheat from the chaff. I've had to play recruiter and hiring manager at the same time before, and it was more than a full time job. Good recruiters are worth their weight in gold, and then some.

What you want as a hiring manager is a lead, not an "application" and in order to get that, you need some kind of a pre-qualification process. I've had some really awful experiences with recruiters, some of whom will join my LI network, have an intro with me about a position, never respond, and then re-post that same position on LI. Then again, I've had professional recruiters that are extremely well informed, shephard me through the process with very well defined expectations of timeframes, and timely communication at every step up to and including a potential rejection. What I'm trying to get at is that you seem to think that the problem is too many middlemen, but I think the problem is not enough -- that is, the middlemen have an important job to do, but there are too many incompetent ones that are costing both companies and candidates valuable missed opportunities.

> Good recruiters are worth their weight in gold, and then some.

Can't agree more. That said, there are so diminishingly few good recruiters, that it seems like we all would have been much better, if there weren't any recruiters at all.

I really understand and empathize with this sentiment, because for at least five years, I had pretty bad experiences with recruiters. But I'd caution you to not throw out the baby with the bathwater -- they're out there.

At the past few companies I've been at, I've had the chance to work with some really thoughtful, practical and productive recruiters. Secondly, at companies I've worked at with great recruiters, we overwhelmingly were able to build a great organization of engineers who I genuinely enjoyed collaborating with. I think getting to the root of there being so few good recruiters requires a bit of reframing -- why are there so many shockingly subpar recruiters out there?

If you think about it that way, there's so many shockingly subpar recruiters out there for the same reason there are so many shockingly subpar companies. The internal economics of a company allow it to "remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent" -- but just as equally, it could force to company to hire in a savvy manner to arbitrage an edge in the talent market that bigger, more complacent actors are leaving untapped.

There can be a lot of problems with VC funded rocket-ship companies that can end up being pseudo-cult like entities that crash and burn like WeWork. And yet, I've consistently had great luck getting amazing opportunities at growth stage startups that would be very hard to get at established companies that could really care less about losing me (or anyone else) as a candidate -- with a recruitment process that belies that apathy in a very palpable manner. Conversely, these growth stage startups actually fought to hire me, as well as the organization that I saw develop around me. I know that not every such company is like this, but I guess what I'll say is that I've had better luck with them than with the big companies.

Are the positions you’re hiring for very dependent on experience or soft skills? If not, what is preventing you from using a coding challenge or quiz as a pre-screen?

As a new grad who recently completed a job search, I'm really feeling the "randomness" aspect now. There were so many things that could have changed along the way, with a drastic impact on my future. Some of them were within my control and some weren't, but overall it feels like a job search is akin to spinning the wheel of fortune.

> in some socio-economic sense, that I can't quite put my finger on.

Maybe I can - they're asking for the moon, and a pony?

I see job ads that as for advanced mssql with SSIS/SSRS/SSAS data analysis, good c# and/or python, some web framework, powershell, some visualisation tools, some no-sql db experience[0] and often big data frameworks (hadoop, spark) on top ("and some knowledge of statistics and data analysis would be helpful!"). And OO, and FP. And they often ask for domain knowledge on top.

(edit: and I forgot, they often want data warehousing as well).

I think some of these are just added by clueless HR drones to pad job ads out (some of HR really are clueless).

[0] why ask for SQL & no-sql?

  > why ask for SQL & no-sql? 
It's not uncommon to have (even multiple variants of) both in a large org.

Have you tried reaching out to the recruiting agencies to find you opportunities which fit your desires? Gotta make the middlemen work for you.

For optimizing the top of the funnel, one approach which has worked well for me in the past is to use LinkedIn to connect with EMs who are hiring (they are looking for people like you), friends at other companies & and also accept invites from 3rd party recruiters. Good 3rd party recruiters can specially be helpful in reviewing your profile, and finding good fits. In the past they've helped me discover some very interesting companies. Getting referrals via TeamBlind is common as well.

Also keep in mind that hiring tends to be seasonal. Companies are generally very aggressive at the top of the year, and by Oct-Dec things do slow down a bit (but this is not always the case, for example if a company raised some $$$ in that period). In the past I've avoided applying to postings which are more than 3 weeks old.

You could also try services like TripleByte, which flip the funnel, and help you go directly go to onsites (there are some caveats though).

For the tech rounds, it's just more practice. Unfortunately the interview process is heavily biased towards people who practice, and has little to do with your actual abilities - and you are competing against such folks. For that I've found Pramp, interviewing.io, leetcode, educative (the grokking algorithms and system design courses), GH system design primer, (our even services like Outco.io) etc. to be very useful. The good thing is that atleast in SV these bits have become fairly standardized now, and if you spend time preparing, it significantly increases your hit-rate with everyone.

One of the companies apparently used TripleByte for the tech screen. They gave me a multiple choice test that I scored highly on (don't know the exact score) and after that I started getting emails about completing the TripleByte process. Is it worth it? I tend to assume these things are scams.

I had a pretty negative experience with TripleByte. This isn't to say that you shouldn't try them out, since it's a pretty small time investment, but I wouldn't do them again, in large part because I believe that simple networking is way more effective for job hunting.

First, I got a multiple-choice quiz, which wasn't too bad except there were at least a few of those "spot the problem with this code" questions that actually had multiple problems but you could only pick one. That sucked, but I still passed it.

After that, I got a technical interview over Skype with some stonefaced dude who asked me almost nothing but computer science questions. I applied as a web developer, so it really shouldn't have been surprising that I know the difference between a binary tree and a binary search tree. The interviewer was stone cold and had no sense of humor. The following day, I got a rejection email.

Seems like yet another SV startup run by bros who want to disrupt an industry and have no regard for their "human capital".

Hopefully that was a fluke or they've changed since. Keep in mind that my experience is from 2 years ago.

All in all, I'm glad that I didn't get hired through Triplebyte because I probably wouldn't have gotten my current job, which is an awesome one in terms of the kind of work, the benefits, and the people.

I (practice) interviewed with TripleByte a few months ago, and no, the interviewer was not particularly warm. But on the bright side, it was quite clear they are not evaluating you on your small talk skills. The feedback I got was quite useful, so I highly recommend them as, if nothing else, a free interview coach.

What feedback did they give in your rejection email?

I was told I needed to polish up on some data structures and algorithms topics, which of course I knew already after the interview. More helpful was the feedback I got on the coding portion of the test. I was told I appeared to lack familiarity with Python since I shadowed a built-in function name with my own variable. I knew what I was doing. I didn't need the built-in function in that scope, naming things is hard, and under the pressure of coding under someone's watchful eye I made a quick decision. I won't do that anymore.

The email was actually pretty long, which is to Triplebyte's credit. Although who knows how much of it may have been algorithmically generated.

Here is an abridged version the sake of brevity:

Hey [Ravenstine]

Unfortunately, we're not going to move forward with your application right now.

You did well in the Kanban problem. You talked well about HTTP. You write really nice, idiomatic front-end code. You understand how to build the front-end of a web application, and explained it well on our used car API problem. And you were friendly and we enjoyed talking to you.

We didn't see the depth of knowledge that we look for in front end programmers: you didn't show very deep knowledge of security or data structures. On the used car problem, you didn't seem very knowledgeable about backend web systems.

You might benefit from studying some of the following topics: Classic algorithms and data structures. Basics of HTTP. Advanced Javascript things like the ES6 features, async/await.

We recommend you study algorithms more deeply.

We think you're really high potential, and we'd love to talk to you if you're still job searching in four months (we of course hope for your sake that you're happily employed by then), or next time you want a job.


Triplebyte Team


Again, the fact that they provided this kind of feedback is actually pretty good.

My problem is not only that I believe I was interviewed on the wrong things(over half my questions were CS and algorithms but I was applying as a web developer), but the feedback also isn't entirely accurate.

Could I shore up on algorithms? Sure.

But look at this:

> You talked well about HTTP. [...] You might benefit from studying some of the following topics: [...] Basics of HTTP.

What the hell? Not only is that feedback contradictory, but it's horseshit. I wasn't stumped on the HTTP questions, and all my answers about it were accurate. I've written HTTP servers and have done some interesting things cutting together audio and streaming mid-roll through HTTP, so don't tell me I don't know enough about HTTP. HTTP isn't complicated.

> Advanced Javascript things like the ES6 features, async/await.

I'm not sure whether this is related to the question about promises in JS that I was asked, but I don't see how because I explained their function accurately.

> you didn't seem very knowledgeable about backend web systems

This one blows my mind. I had way more experience doing backend than frontend at the time. I don't know what I could have told them that would have suggested that I effectively know nothing about how HTTP and backend programming works.


Maybe my diction was poor, idk. If it was, it didn't seem to stop me from getting jobs outside of Triplebyte.

Perhaps I wouldn't have been as miffed about this if they had included algorithm and CS questions in the initial multiple-choice quiz. I shouldn't have gotten to the point of the interview only to find out that I didn't have the knowledge required.

I think that is more or less a canned response, got nearly the same thing about a year ago.

I used Triplebyte as part of my last job search in 2017, but ended up taking a job not from them. I'd recommend them highly, if only for these two things:

1. You actually get feedback from their interview. In an interview at a company, if you're lucky, you'll get which interview you didn't do well at. Triplebyte sends you feedback like "Finally, $QUESTION[3] was probably his worst: good knowledge baseline, but gave the impression that this is an area where he doesn't feel at home. Didn't lead the conversation, and most items were shallow in details, especially when talking about scalability." This is one of many parts of the feedback I got from my interview.

2. They send you Cracking the Coding Interview. And a light jacket. For free. At least, they did when I interviewed. I think it was post-Triplebyte interview, so at that point they were sending my profile out to companies. They might not send it if they don't accept you; I don't know.

But even #1 is a very good use of your time. You get feedback about your interview that isn't just binary. They also send you links to specific references for the parts you could focus on.

My experience in TripleByte is this: even though I passed their quiz and interview, and was referred to companies, I ended up getting only one interview and no offers through them.

I happen to work in a bank doing boring banking-like things and did not attend university. My experience has been that even if one passes their resume-blind interview, the companies are not resume-blind and are still looking for the hot-topic skills and experience du jour.

The people with that kind of skills/experience probably don't need Triplebyte anyway. And my guess is that if you are being turned away from hundreds of online applications that you do not either--despite whatever programming chops you actually possess.

I have my doubts, having also passed their quiz (and still being pestered to do their full interview). The problem as I see it, is that Triplebyte is only one tier of tech screening. They’ll help you get on-site, but don’t eliminate having to do on-site tech interview BS again and again.

I went through them to get my first tech job. I highly recommend them, though I’ve seen enough negative reports on HN to say your mileage may vary with them. I certainly think they have a much higher caliber crop of companies hiring on their platform than other platforms like Hired.

Its definitely worth it, if nothing else its good practice, and identification of your weaker parts (they cover a wide spectrum) would be super useful.

Also, you would be given an option to schedule a practice mock test for the final interview.

I know someone who got interview invitations after completing a Triplebyte quiz. Just make sure you practice a lot before taking it, because IIRC you can’t retake it.

I already passed the quiz. I guess there are more steps.

I think you can retake it after 1 year.

You have an idea for how a fair and equitable job search is supposed to work.

It does not work like that.

Almost half of all jobs are filled through referrals by existing employees, so if you're cold applying to a company you're at best, cutting your chances in half and wasting your time.

You're also forgoing important information _for you_ if you don't know anyone at the company you're applying to. How do you really know what it's like to work there?

"The whole thing makes me feel increasingly insecure..." Don't get discouraged! There are tons of really great opportunities out there.

So, would you recommend OP go through a headhunter? I've heard mixed things about them, mainly that they don't do much in exchange for taking 15% of your first year salary.

It sounds like he's suggesting OP should leverage his professional network, especially since he's not looking for his first job. He's got a decent chunk of industry experience, and should've built enough connections to get a couple referrals to different places.

From my own personal experience, I got incredibly lucky finding my first job, with a bunch of extraordinary people, through what was essentially a cold call. Since that job, I haven't had a job that wasn't through some kind of referral or secondary connection.

> Since that job, I haven't had a job that wasn't through some kind of referral or secondary connection.

This has been a huge part of my job finding experience. Most of my work has been found through previous connections. Keep in touch with these folks and help them when you can. It's a good thing to do, and will pay dividends in the future.

Other things that were useful (beyond my network):

* Contracting, because this lowers the risk on both sides. Of course you have to be able to handle the difficulties of contracting.

* technical meetups and getting to know hiring managers through these, which again lowers the risk because you're a known quantity (or at least more known). This is a long play, so join a Meetup now, way before you need to switch jobs.

It's more like 20% but it shouldn't be affecting your base.

If anything it should be increasing it.

They are, in general, scum of the earth though, so tread lightly and hold no loyalty.

Don't give them your CV in word format unless you feel like finding modified versions of it in the interview.

And please replace referral contact/ name info with "referrals available on request" unless you don't mind your old boss being hit up for new work behind your back.

"Almost half of all jobs are filled through referrals by existing employees, so if you're cold applying to a company you're at best, cutting your chances in half and wasting your time."

I am sorry, what? Have you got any particular data you would like to back this up with? Why would a company have even a job ad if they are hiring someone through referrals?

"You're also forgoing important information _for you_ if you don't know anyone at the company you're applying to. How do you really know what it's like to work there?"

Uhm, what again? Are you saying that you cannot apply to a workplace where you don't know anyone? Well, looks like I have been getting jobs wrong all my life! Are you for real?

At least your last paragraph is ok.

I don't understand why your post is so aggressive... The comment you're replying to was giving some friendly advice, which you apparently disagree with. I don't think the escalation in tone in your comment is helpful to the conversation.

What you're describing is pretty unique, in my experience. Looking at my current team, significantly more than half of the folks here worked with someone else on the team at a previous gig.

Often, companies don’t post a job ad. Hiring managers usually explore their network and their trusted employees’ networks before resorting to outside help. Sometimes the interviewing process is already in motion when a referral comes in, as well.

“I worked with this person for 2 years and they always produced quality work” is way more of a confidence inspiring piece of evidence than “we interviewed this person for 30 minutes and they sounded like they’d be able to do the job”.

Hiring managers aren’t dumb. They know interviews are not super reliable measures of a person’s future performance. All hiring managers have stories about people who were bad at interviews and great at their job, or great at interviews and horrible at their job. A trusted referral decreases this risk significantly.

My take. You have a 30% success rate landing an onsite interview. That is actually really good. You have had 9 technical interviews with 2 rejections and 2 on sites and I assume 5 pending? So your on site is probably enriched > 30% even though it stands at 22% now.. My guess is that if you need to do anything then maybe you just have to practice your onsite interview skills. Maybe some of these are technical e.g. whiteboard problem solving or something else.

Remember the goal here is to get through this with a job offer at the end. You only need 1 offer. Also remember this is as much about the company as it is about you. The companies/groups you have not had success with might be a total mess.

Another thing to do is, if you have an opportunity, is to ask a lot of questions about the interviewer in a social, friendly way. Be genuinely curious about others. People love more than anything to talk about themselves.

-- Also Apple and even Google have noted that their best individual performers tend to be self-taught. I think that means that if you have the skills and interest to learn programming you tend to be pretty good at programming.

Also 15 initial interviews from 50 cold applications is astoundingly good. I generally expect about a 10% rate, which would require 150 applications to get this many interviews. I think there is nothing wrong with the top of the funnel here. OP’s resume is likely great.

Another thing to consider: there are a lot of bad companies out there. If you aren't turning down about 1/3 of the jobs that you are interviewing for, you're probably having trouble identifying the good places to work. Similarly, many times it will be a fine company, but just not a good fit for you. No shame in not being offered a job that won't be good for you!

Finally, it's a bit like finding a girlfriend/boyfriend. If you approach the exercise as some way of validating your worth, then you get a bit of a stink to you. Nobody really wants to start out a relationship that way. On the other hand if you are just keeping your eyes open for opportunities that are mutually beneficial things will go much more smoothly.

You can ignore all the non-responses or anything short of an interview. Sometimes listings aren't as real as they appear, and often it isn't you, it is them... simply needing something different than what you are. You cannot control that, and it isn't a judgment against you, so forget about all that.

What you should worry about is whether the hiring process continues after the first interview. You moved on to tech interviews in more than half, which is decent. Again, if half of them needed something different than what you are, that is fine. Let it go.

But you only moved to an onsite about a quarter of the time - it sounds like you may have a disconnect in the tech screen. It is difficult to say what isn't working there without more info, but I'd focus your attention on that step of the process.

And one side piece of advice - your blog posts, open source contributions, speaking engagements.... those all are commendable. But mean little when it comes to hiring you. Hiring managers want to know what accomplishments you had in your work. How did you improve the business results of your former employers?

I've had a couple interviews that mentioned the blog posts as being a factor in giving me an interview. But I definitely agree that these things are valued very little and that's ok. My resume and what I say in interviews focuses on past work performance. I mentioned these things in an attempt to provide some details to support my claim that I'm an ok developer.

>> And one side piece of advice - your blog posts, open source contributions, speaking engagements.... those all are commendable. But mean little when it comes to hiring you.

This may very well be true. But I will say, as someone looking to break into the industry, this is very surprising to me. I guess I should focus on acing the technical interview?

When I interview candidates who mention github contributions or courses they've created/taught or talks they've given I never have time to look at it. I'm literally told we're bringing someone on site maybe a day or two in advance, mostly it's day of. I don't have much time to personally comb over their resume sadly.

If you can bring this up during the interview I'd greatly appreciate it otherwise don't assume these things (open source contributions, blog posts, talks) will help you get interviews. What they may give you is the ability to network with people who are hiring which gets you an onsite.

Focus on both - they just serve different purposes. The items mentioned will get their attention, so they are great. But once you have their attention, you need to switch to proving you can help their business.

Hard disagree. Open source contributions are definitely something EM look at. And a good EM knows to look at blog posts. “Can this person explain technical topics to a technical audience” is a hugely important factor.

>> How did you improve the business results of your former employers?

Do you have any suggestions for experienced devs that aren't free to answer that question with any detail?

Don’t use detail, use metrics. “I reduced the time-to-production of a critical service by 41%” tells me absolutely nothing about your previous employer’s trade secrets. Everybody wants a 41% reduction in time-to-production.

You said you applied to 50 companies. Did you send all of them the same CV?

When I was hiring, there was one thing that made candidates really stand out: when they had previous experience that matched the job description exactly.

For example: I was hiring for a Mac app developer, and I got an application from someone who had developed a Mac app and published it on source forge. That's pretty much an instant hire.

The important part is not hide your relevant experience in a long, generic CV. Once you have a few years of experience, you probably have a lot of stuff in your CV, and most of it is probably irrelevant for the job you are applying to.

So it might be worth it to shorten your CV, and strongly emphasize only the parts that are relevant for the job you are applying to. Don't waste time talking about stuff you did a few years ago when it's not relevant for the job you are applying to.

A concise resume is very appreciated. I normally have a recruiter filtering resumes for me, but when hiring for a data scientist role I went through the list myself. There were almost 400 applicants. I could only spend max. 30 seconds per resume to keep the task manageable. A few candidates bolded key words in their experience section, which made it very easy to scan.

15 out of 50 is not a bad run for cold applications. we know that most jobs that are listed are not real, and most companies looking for employees don't list.

any company that is always hiring is equivalently never hiring.

As for the rest of your funnel, these seem like typical numbers. I assume this is over the course of a little more than a month.

The biggest problem with interviewing self-taught programmers, is that their vocabulary is often weak. This makes it very hard to test their practitioner skill from a conversation.

If you are doing post-mortems on each of your interviews, I imagined that you will land a position soon.

Yeah it's been about a month. Thanks for the reassurance!

Yeah, for me and anyone I know who tracks it, out conversion rate (without referrals, which convert much better) is 100 applications to 1 offer.

"The biggest problem with interviewing self-taught programmers, is that their vocabulary is often weak"

Would you mind explaining/elaborating this point?

Knowing the concepts but not the corresponding vocabulary.

For example:

- intuitively applying SOLID without knowing that there is a set of principles

- knowing how to play with closures without knowing the dictionary definitions of “closure”

This makes interviewing a bit harder and might lead people to (falsely) assume that the candidate isn’t any good.

I have a masters in CS and have been working for a decade at highly-regarded companies. I've never heard of SOLID and couldn't define closure precisely.

I do know closures but got rejected on not knowing SOLID. And when the interviewer explained it, the concepts were so easy to understand. I don't get it why he couldn't infer that I'd be able to apply the principles after a bit of practice.

Sounds like it's a bad place to work anyway. Hiring people who can recite definitions without evidence of being able to apply the concepts is a recipe for building a terrible team.

Seen it happen.

Very much like bike shedding: zealously insisting on <acronym> for every triviality, never doing so for more complex situations.

SOLID is one of my pet peeves, because the important thing is to know the basic principles and architect it ok, naming be damned.

(Not to mention they are, in essence, very subjective principles)

Also knowing the names of them doesn't mean anything as far as I can tell. I've seen SOLID done well and SOLID done awfully. What counts is can you actually produce clean code that's not wasteful? Apparently knowing the acronym and being able to answer at least one question on it is a proxy for that. IMHO it's a pretty darn poor one, but it seems to be the one everyone goes with.

It makes for a an easy checkbox. No thought on the side of the interviewer required. Quite sad, really.

[x] closures

[ ] solid

Candidate had 1/2. Rejected. Now back to shitposting on HN.

If they demand you know SOLID then they must be “Uncle Bob” acolytes, which is a strong signal that you should run in the opposite direction as fast as possible


Closure don’t seem to be widely discussed outside of certain areas, so be it.

SOLID is rather surprising though. It seems to be quoted and (supposedly) adhered to religiously. Though I suspect it’s akin to people preaching TDD in public while we all know that’s rarely the case.

I'd say closures are one of the fundamental concepts of computer science. They're described in the introduction to chapter 2 of SICP, "Building Abstractions with Data".

SOLID sounds nice but I don't think I've ever seen anyone adhere to it religiously. Easy exercise: take any Java program, and imagine the spec changed the width of integers it needs to support, from 32-bit to some other size. How many files would you need to touch to make this change? Clearly, no class in the program has the Single Responsibility of this. The first letter of SOLID is already violated.

From that chapter: "In general, a method for combining data values satisfies the closure property if the result of combination can itself be combined using the same method."

It sounds like they're just describing recursive data structures? When most people talk about closures, aren't they referring to this (from Wikipedia)?

"In programming languages, a closure, also lexical closure or function closure, is a technique for implementing lexically scoped name binding in a language with first-class functions. Operationally, a closure is a record storing a function[a] together with an environment."

EDIT: My SICP quote was actually from somebody's notes, not the book itself. But the point remains.

now imagine that is the case for almost every topic you know how to practice in

I see what you mean, a kind of IRL extension of the "problem of naming things".

I'm sure the opposite exists too, interviewees who can rattle off the names and principles at interview, but don't actually apply them in their code.

Now for the prize question:

Provided many candidates fall on one side or the other, what does one prefer?

When I talk with a person who studied cryptography in school, I can usually refer to a trapdoor function producing a digest of data. For a self taught programmer, they will know this as a hash.

When I talk to a person who studied algorithms in school they know phrases like amortized analysis and big O notation for time and space complexity. For self taught programmers they can often tell me an expected runtime and expected runspace.

For concurrency persons often use words like counting-semaphore, threads, and blocking operations may not be universal

Self taught programmers may know about unit and regression tests and code coverage, may not be thinking about execution paths as a graph problem.

The understanding is usually there. It is often even the case that a self taught programmer have no standard words for a particular pattern they use regularly. It becomes the interviewer responsibility to decide how much of the vocabulary is important for the job.


This is a different problem than not knowing how to use a domain. Things like SOLID, I have never been asked in an interview. I have never studied them in school. I would be subject to the same interview challenges as someone who was self taught in these topics despite my degrees

I (full stack self taught engineer) recently accepted an offer. Here's my biggest takeaways which you may already be aware of:

- It's an imperfect system but a closest thing to a functioning one.

- Referral is the best way in.

- Apply early, within 24-48h of job posting. I setup a Tuesday/Thursday morning schedule to check and apply for new jobs. Ignored stale job postings (> 14 days).

- Apply to jobs that fit your profile. If you want to switch to a different stack, work on a project/course and add that to resume. That should get you through recruiter's filter.

- Spaced repetition is the real deal. The more interviews I gave the better I became, primarily because I got more comfortable. It also helps internalize all the concepts and bring it to your system A. Also experiment during your interviews to see feedback and engagement. Most results are canned responses so you have find signals elsewhere.

- It's a search problem (numbers game). It's akin to finding a partner. Wider the search the better. When it clicks it makes a world of difference.

The way I rationalized rejects, which is defeatist, was by thinking they know what they are doing and it's better to be rejected than to be hired and be miserable from being a bad fit. If nothing works, I for one know my worth and will build something I value.

> a self-taught fullstack web developer

Don't underestimate how many firms rely on academic degrees for their initial filter. It makes no sense, since few university programs turn you into a good programmer, but it's true. This differs per geography but I'd say 50 to 80% of companies will skip CVs without a proper degree if they have the luxury to do so (i.e. sufficiently many applications). Quite some even when they don't have the luxury.

This works in your disadvantage, but in the end it'll just skew the numbers and that's it. Don't take this as "get a CS degree first!" kind of advice, more like: here's an explanation for at least 50% of your rejections (probably even some you did multiple interviews with).

In other words: if you have no CS degree but can otherwise code as well as people with a CS degree and similar experience as you, then this affects you like so:

- on the job: not at all

- when searching for a job: you need to apply 2x to 4x more than others

It's not fair, but others might counter that having to spend 4-5 years in college + be in debt for decades (if you're in the US) isn't fair either.

A final observation: I've found it satisfying to recognize that job hunting (or employee hunting for that matter!) is essentially just sales. And the thing about sales is that it's a numbers game. Reach out to 100 leads, get 10 talks, land 1 customer. Job hunting is similar. It's a shit job but you just got to bite through it. Think about the years of college you saved and how much less time the extra job interviewing is costing you than taking a CS degree would.

I'd agree with this, 12 years experience here but all self-taught. From reccomendations I have gotten to final stage interviews with large silicon valley companies (I am based in Derbyshire, UK), without recommendations I rarely get a callback.

I found this increasingly an issue when applying for remote jobs.

Locally though, degree's don't matter because there aren't enough good programmers, when there are lots of options it seems people will look for degree's as an indication if you are "good enough".

> Locally though, degree's don't matter because there aren't enough good programmers

Aren't programming salaries much lower in the UK than the US? If there's a shortage, why don't companies start paying more?

By locally I am talking mostly about the city Derby and county Derbyshire, where I live. London and other big cities (Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester etc.) are full of great programmers who are paid a much higher salary than Derby(shire). Albeit, a much much lower salary than the US.

If you are from around here, you're main options are Nottingham (quite a good city for programming jobs) or move away to a bigger city with more opportunities, that isn't to say it's necessary and I have been forunate to find good jobs where I live.

The success of applying between local vs remote jobs is staggering, and have been told many times by local companies they really struggle to find decent programmers (maybe salary is the factor here as you say!)

> Albeit, a much much lower salary than the US.

Can you define "much much lower" please? Is that by purchasing power (i.e. university, housing, medical coverage)?

Because they don't get outsized profit returns like FAANG does. FAANG is head and shoulders above any company in the US as well (someone who reads The Economist a lot told me that, I unfortunately have no source).

The Information, a great Silicon Valley news site, keeps track of FAANG profits and revenues per employee:

"Still, even with the declines, Facebook continues to generate by far the most profits per employee among the Big Five tech companies—$141,552 in the third quarter. In second place was Apple, with $99,898 per employee. Facebook’s core advertising business carries significantly higher margins than Apple’s business, which is based primarily on hardware sales."

That's $140k of average annual profit per each and every one of Facebook's ~40k employees, not just engineers.

However Apple still takes the lead when looking at revenue rather than profit:

"On a different metric, revenue per employee, Apple tops the list at $467,445 in the third quarter, higher even than Facebook’s $410,225 in revenue per employee (see chart above). Apple’s headcount for the quarter was 137,000, including workers in its retail stores."


Aren't those quarterly numbers? So the average annual profit per employee in FB would be about $650k?

You're absolutely right. The numbers are flabbergasting to me. It's like pumping digital oil or something.

> few university programs turn you into a good programmer

None, in my experience, produce universally good programmers. I think all that can be said is that some studies have a higher chance of producing good programmers, but in the end it's up to the student to learn to code while they're there (either using the university's material or not).

> I'd say 50 to 80% of companies will skip CVs without a proper degree

And the companies that claim they look at skills instead of degrees will want a super amazing candidate before they take the perceived risk of hiring someone without a degree. And then you get to HR and they offer you a salary 30% befitting the work you're hired to do and 70% befitting your "social status" (e.g. high school drop-out).

A programmer becomes good after they have gone through at least 3 to 4 projects. Straight out of the university, they would have the potential to be become one.

A few things:

1. I always work with recruiting agencies. Might sound odd, but they have a direct line to managers and their incentives align with yours. To that end you only submit a handful of resumes. I’ll submit some outside of the recruiting agencies as well, but generally they get the bulk of my interviews.

2. I always interview a few times a year (2-5), so I always have offers on the table. This let’s you negotiate and keeps your skills up.

3. Regarding your pass rate. You may not be applying to the correct roles and / or there are some other key-words you’re missing in your resume. Try to pack keywords where you can, because NLP is used to filter resumes as a lot of places.

4. Find someone to professionally review your resume. A recruiting agency will do this for free!

5. Practice coding interviews on leetcode (website), cracking the coding interview (book), etc.

6. Practice mock white board interviews if you can, I actually have a 6ft white board at home (for general use, but good practice)

7. What you’re seeing is normal, you’ll always face rejection. If you’re a dev, facing 50% to 90% rejection is fairly normal (From top of funnel) depending where you apply and you’re skill set.

I for one always apply to the best jobs I can get. This means I face probably higher rejection rates than average.

Note, none of this is really about your skill at the job. That can come into play for high-end niche jobs, but full-stack developers will always face the same default problem set, found on leetcode and the like.

2-5 interviews a year feels like a lot, but I _do_ recommend interviewing at least once a year. I'm now ~10 years into my career (I have a CS degree as well), and interviews scare the hell out of me and keep me sharp if I ever need to get a job ASAP. Software interviews are largely bullshit, but if this is what you want to do for a career, you have to play the game (or be so overwhelmingly smart that it doesn't apply, but that's rare).

What does it mean to interview at least once a year? If I already have a job, why would I need to interview just for the sake of interviewing?

I mean, yeah. It’s a different skill-set entirely. Also forces you to go back to CS fundamentals that you almost never use directly in industry (like remembering what a red-black tree is or how Dijkstra’s works again). Once a year really isn’t a lot.

So you're suggesting applying for jobs just for the sake of interviewing? That sounds mean and misleading to the companies that actually want to hire someone.

I’m actually curious about your practice of interviewing several times a year in spite of(I hope) being happy with your current role. Interviewing is incredibly disrupting for both sides, as an interviewee you have to take a day off more often than not and the other side has to invest time of several highly paid individuals to interview you. What do you say when asked why are you interviewing? And are you interviewing at companies where you are prepared to take a job regardless of your current obligations at your present company(let’s say you are in the midst of building a critical application)

I’m genuinely curious

It's counter-intuitive but the best time to get a new job is when you are happy at your current job. Most people think "well, things are going great. Why should I look for another job?". It's pretty simple. Ask yourself the question "What offer would make you change jobs?". Most people start searching for jobs when they are unhappy with their current situation. If your job is crappy, then you will take pretty much any offer just to get out. If things are going great at your current job, then the only thing that would make you move is a fantastic offer. Why wait until things go sour then move on to another sub-optimal situation? Why not use the time to find a fantastic offer now?

This makes sense, although having a great and a crappy job is a wide scale, with most people probably being in between somewhere. And switching jobs is not just about offers.

In my experience, looking for a (good) job takes a lot of time and energy, and OP's experience reflects this well: you do have a lot of calls, emails, interviews etc. that lead nowhere.

You may do the onsite interview to learn that their pay range is way off or that the office is just not a good workplace physically.

Even if everything looks nice in the benefits package, you can end up having a bad manager, teammates or too chaotic/boring/legacy/complex/(insert your nightmares here) projects - these are risks that you take on with any job switch, not just the risk of the job search itself.

Nothing comes for free. You're digging for jobs with the hope that it turns up a diamond sometime along the way. It's tasking but the only question is if the possible payout is worth it to you.

Arriving a little late in the conversation and with a little of shameless promotion... we are a small startup from Copenhagen who is about to launch a product to fill this exactly niche. Our launch is scheduled for next Sunday, but since this thread seems to fit our audience let's launch it now: https://www.voorjob.com. (We still have rough edges to fix and text to review but the MVP is usable at this point.)

Our idea is to offer a tool that - at first - aid the job seeker to keep track of job applications, cover letter and CV variations and also provide some insights about the process. Or saying in another form, we want to give you a understanding of your job search. For later we are aiming to have more and profound insights, allow the user to compare his journey with similar population and maybe do some predictions before hand.

Our product is for the final user, the person living the experience of sending 100's of job applications, we felt that the market for applicant tracking system is now really widespread, and we are aiming to give back some control to the applicant.

Feel free to check our page: https://www.voorjob.com we are really interested in any feedback that you can provide given you recent experience in job seeking.

Ps. If anyone have doubts we would be really happy to answer back, but since this is literally our launch, first we are going to drink a bottle (or two) of champagne :D

Love the idea! Happy to chat sometime. We're approaching this from the other side - a free hiring platform to help small (but growing) companies find people based on more than just resumes. We're at http://www.happymonday.com/

Sure thing, I would love to to chat with you, drop-me a line anytime: pascal at voorjob.com

Nice! Would probably use it when looking for a job next time, although this would be in 2-3 years... This could make your life hard, too... Unless you could sell this data to headhunters, HR companies, agencies etc. :troll:

Hey, glad you like it. You brought some valid points, questions that we have been making to ourselves a lot during this early stage... The first thing is about the short life of our customers, since we are trying to help you to reach a new job in three months, you would stop paying for our service when the goal is reached, we don't know yet how this will work, maybe we will need to increase or prices, maybe there is enough customers that keep actively looking for new jobs even while being employed, it's uncharted territory...

Selling data to headhunters, HR companies or agencies is completely off our plans of given back the applicant some control over the hiring process.

Job hunting is like online dating, 95% will swipe left... and you shouldn't let it get to you.

It takes luck, skill, and a personal match between you and a set of people at a company. At the end of the day both parties must feel like they have a good match.

Re: Tech interviews, unless you pore time into things like leet code and "cracking the code interview" tech screen will always just be psudo random.

Ok that's reassuring, though I'd prefer if the process was less random.

I second what mharroun said.


- having a Github project matters, but nobody looks into it the code.( nobody looked into mine, because I was never asked about it.)

- The ethnicity match matters, a interviewer from India will reject you outright if you are a local American.

- about the the luck part, I have one interesting observation. When teams are desperate the bar is much more lower. Give enough interviews and you can be assured that atleast one of them is for a position where they immediately need someone. The downside to this, is that once you get the job, you will notice that desperation for candidates most probably stemmed from a project not meeting it's deadline and the team was hoping to throw in more bodies to salvage it. You will be under tremendous pressure to deliver the undeliverable. Do not let this get to you.

> having a Github project matters, but nobody looks into it the code.( nobody looked into mine, because I was never asked about it.)

Just because they didn't say anything does not mean they didn't look. I look and take notes about what I see, but in the actual interviews I very rarely talk about their GitHub. I mostly just stick to the script.

Can confirm. I have seen them being looked at.

> The ethnicity match matters, a interviewer from India will reject you outright if you are a local American.

Not saying this never happens, but I doubt it happens at any kind of company one would WANT to work for.

Could it be a phenomenon that superficially may look similar: discrimination due to different educational backgrounds? Foreign employees at tech companies often have degrees from quite selective colleges — to some extent it's a prerequisite of the visa process. In contrast, local candidates don't always have college degrees, and if they do, they're not always from top tier colleges (e.g. at some point, the university that the most Apple employees graduated from was San Jose State: https://www.businessinsider.com/best-schools-to-get-a-job-at... ).

That's not to say that this is a good hiring criterion. But it's not quite as deranged as hiring on ethnicity.

In general, don't send out cold applications. Use the internet tools at your disposal and find someone inside each company that you're interested in, whether it's an in-house technical recruiter, engineering manager, or even an IC engineer who has interests related to yours. Don't send a resume, just make contact and feel them out about the potential of working there. This may lead to an initial "soft" screen before you can get to codin' but at that point you're in their pipeline for real. And you may also find out ahead of time that what they're really looking for isn't very closely related to the job postings you saw.

Tech hiring has a changed significantly in the last few years. At the dawn of the recent start up boom (2010ish?) the best things on a resume were a great github profile, popular blog posts, and conference speaking. This is because startups needed and benefited from unique developers who could individually bring a lot of value to a company.

Small, disruptive companies benefit from having a handful of really great individuals that can give them a competitive edge.

But as FAANG becomes the norm, hiring has shifted towards desiring good but ultimately hot-swappable engineers. Being a talented individual developer with something unique to offer has shifted from the ultimate asset to being a liability. On small teams at companies that value unique skills, you being featured on the front page of HN is a source of team pride. But on a team of generic engineers it's a source of jealously and resentment. I've had more then a few posts on the front page here and have personally witnessed these two extremes.

As the Misfit's once sang "Is it time to be an android not a man" and the answer is right now is leaning toward android. What can you do with this information? There are two things you can do:

The first is to make yourself the shiniest android you can. Practice leetcode (it's honestly a lot of fun) and get really good at technical interviews. Learn to think like a robot: creative answers at non-creative places will hurt you. Being an expert will hurt you. I have personally worked at a place (fortune 500 company) where a case study was technically wrong so answering with insight and understanding would cause you to fail. Instead think "how would someone with less experience answer this?" because someone with less experience wrote it. And realize that for robots this is a very stochastic process so just keep applying.

The second is even better: target interesting, smaller companies that benefit from you being the developer you are. These interviews will be easier and the job will be more rewarding. The only catch is that currently the number of these jobs is much smaller than it was 2-3 years ago. Compensation might also be less (but doesn't have to be).

Don't let the occasionally negative comments here get to you. People have a lot of anxiety about the job market so they'll want to make this your fault to reduce their own anxiety.

Good luck! It will take more time than it used to but you'll get there!

Have you had luck winning any referrals into the companies? Often that is the best way to find work, unless you are in a location where your network is limited.

If you are someone who is not good at networking and hence finding referrals is hard, there perhaps other things you can look at.

After spending about 9 years working for myself, I decided to go back to work for others. I was in a completely new country, and hence zero network. Strategy I used was just find 5 employers and figure out what exactly they are looking for. Be very knowledgeable about their culture, tech, people, and work. Having (some) sales background was quite useful, as doing research on prospects was a known quantity.

I used a copy writer to help me write my resume and 5 different cover letters which target these companies. All of them were a great match for me. Out of 5, I was able to get technical tasks for 5. Successfully complete it for 4.[1] Land interviews, pair programming sessions with all. I rejected two companies, and got offers from other 2.

If you are dealing with external recruiters, remember it is in their best interest for you to land the job. So ask them lot of questions on what to expect in the interviews. See if they can connect you with someone who has gone through the interview process or better yet is hired by the company.

If internal interviewer, then you can still ask lot of question. Specific questions like which skills do you expect me to demonstrate during the process? Is there any specific background reading about the interview process you can point me to?

Glassdoor also often has lot of interesting information on interview questions and process at large companies.

And do not worry about rejections. I know it feels really bad, but sometimes you have to see that they are rejecting you because you are not a match for them. And hence they are not a match for you. Creator of homebrew was rejected by google in a technical interview. :) Sometimes companies value one type of technical knowledge (say abstract/theory), and you might value different type (getting things done).

[1] The company where I failed technical task - reasoning was too many comments in the code and checked in generated files in git. Hardly something I personally would have worried about as an interviewer, but again everyone has different criteria. I have seen people give bad reviews for programming tests because formatting was un-java like, or overuse of the final keyword.

Not that many jobs, especially good ones, are filled by applicants replying to want ads. You should be leaning on your personal network more and on “job applications” less.

Upload your resume to the job boards. I've had almost no success applying through the standard process, but when companies or recruiters reach out to me, it's been ~ 75% offer rate with jobs I followed through on.

> I can't figure out what the problem is

Companies don't know what they want and are incapable of hiring the best talent.

My advise is to find the tech you want to work on, and apply to those jobs. If you're short on skills in those areas, github and personal projects with go a long way if you already have general programming experience.

> feel increasingly insecure about my ability to build a career

This is a real problem for the industry. If you're focused on the front end, you're disposable I think. That area is completely commoditized and easily done by outsourcing. Focus on the infrastructure and the backend if you want to be in high demand.

Where you're located might make a big difference in what advice is applicable.

I suspect that something about your resume is throwing people off. Definitely have someone technical review it.

From your interviews, do you have some sense of what's going wrong? Is there difficulty in getting through the technical challenge? Is the code possibly messy in some way? Or maybe you aren't hitting it off well with the interviewer? If you can't figure it out, then maybe a friend will be willing to mock interview and give some suggestions.

Finally, if you perform well on the job, then interview at a place with a coworker who thinks highly of you. Their reference can help get you through any bumps in the interview process, and they might even be able to pass along more detailed feedback.

I've had a couple people review my resume but they were all non-technical. That's a good suggestion.

In the two technical interviews I failed, one was an algo question that I bombed. I choked and everyone understood it was no-go. The other was a practical coding exercise that I failed but I didn't get any feedback. I can guess why but I'm not sure what was expected. I don't think anyone could have done the exercise perfectly in the time given, so I went with one set of trade-offs. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm just too slow, or maybe I chose the wrong trade-offs.

According to the statistics you way above average in terms of response rate.


    1 in 6 candidates who applied for a job were asked for an interview.
    (Jobvite 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report)
Your response rate is 3/10. I think you are doing pretty well.

This is disconcerting for me. I'd expect to be more hireable as my career progresses. But this doesn't seem to be happening.

Lots of my friends in this point of their careers are having a hard time moving. Everyone is looking for a senior SWE. No one wants to really pay for it.

Also, as a recently returned American expat. It was really, really hard. Things that were important to me while working in Europe, like GDPR, had no equivalent in the US. I turned to old alumni friends to get me in the door. That proved more effective than spraying resumes.

I think being hireable, more hireable even, is illustrated by your having an above average response rate.

> I'd expect to be more hireable as my career progresses. But this doesn't seem to be happening.

As people progress in their careers, some have valuable experience and acquired skills to show for it, others only have a few additional gray hairs to show for it. That's why there's always skepticism about people no matter what stage their career is in.

The questions all of us need to ask ourselves is: "What in my resume shows that I'm in the former category rather than the latter?" and "How can I prove it?"

I’m 20 years into my career and your results are as good as or better than my last job search. You’re doing fine.

Yes, this is spot on.

Unfortunately, a trend that I’ve seen in recent years is listed jobs that are not real opportunities. They may be either:

Listings intended to show investors, current employees, and others that the company is growing.

H1B required listings that are effectively taken.

Positions that executives want filled so the manager lists them with no intention of actually hiring anyone.

I’m sure there are many other reasons why applications are not getting a serious review.

My experience is That being part of of the local community, go to meetups, get to know people from different companies and making more friends in the field is way more important than applying for jobs. At the end of the day, a recommendation will throw you in front of the queue and sometimes you skip the interview process entirely.

An Amazon recruiter messaged me via LinkedIn. He thought he had an opening that fit my profile. He sent me a link to an online test/questionnaire. The content of the test: Active Directory, Linux Commands, Exchange Server - not even the same ballpark as my skill-set, as my background is SQL Developer. Half way through the test I was bombing, I just quit, it made absolutely no sense. I suppose it makes no sense unless you have another agenda, like using it as proof to say: "we can't find qualified workers"

I reread this to see whether you currently have a job, and it appears you do, right?

Maybe there has been a cultural shift back to viewing "job hopping" as undesirable. After all, given the generally improved market, more people than ever are quitting jobs, so maybe there is a backlash. Or maybe people just kind of implicitly feel like the job market is good for now, and it won't last, and maybe the people who are out of work or underemployed should be preferred over those who are just climbing the ladder. This could be considered exploitative [by employers looking for cheap hires], but it also could be a moralistic thing.

Everybody says applying to 50 (or hundreds) of jobs is normal, but I don't think I've ever done that, including when I graduated from college. The last time I was unemployed, it took I think ~a dozen applications and maybe 3 or 4 interviews.

I've made an effort to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn for years, but I've never gotten a job that way, although I've gotten phone screens at Google and other interesting places. Dice only produces recruiter spam these days for me, although I got two jobs from corporate recruiters finding me there in the past.

Your stats make it unclear what happened after the technical interviews. If you were not rejected at the technical interview 7 times, and you got to the next step twice, then what happened to the other 5 instances? Were there any offers that you rejected?

> Everybody says applying to 50 (or hundreds) of jobs is normal, but I don't think I've ever done that, including when I graduated from college. The last time I was unemployed, it took I think ~a dozen applications and maybe 3 or 4 interviews.

I’ve always used the approximate rule of thumb: 10%-10%

Out if 100 applications, you'll probably get 10 interviews, and out of 10 interviews you’ll probably get one offer. This has been approximately consistent with my results for 20 years.

Yeah, but maybe if people were more selective in applying, they would get a higher percentage of responses and waste less of everyone's time. I don't think I'm a particularly good candidate, it's just that it seems easier to read a hundred ads and apply to one or two that are the best suited than applying to dozens.

> 50 applications submitted

This is an enormous red flag to me. Submitting dozens of applications almost certainly means you're not putting the required thought and attention into each one. For any given job application, you should be spending a good amount of time analyzing the job posting and researching the company and tweaking your resume so your accomplishments and responsibilities match what they're looking for.

You did PHP and JS at your last job but you're applying for a JS job? Cut down the PHP mentions and emphasize your JS-related accomplishments. You worked on e-commerce but you want a job at a content/publishing company? List an accomplishment or responsibility related to the handling of product content.

If you're doing it right, you should not have time to submit 50 applications. The shotgun approach is lazy and ineffective.

For the record, you're far from the only one who suffers from the shotgun approach. It seems extremely common, and as such, the "why isn't it working" question is very common.

IMHO, tailored resumes are a waste of time in the current market.

I was recently looking for a position in a new area where I had virtually no network connections and had to deal with the current hiring system. At first, I used the tried and true tailored approach, but after being completely and utterly ghosted by what seemed legitimate and reasonable postings after investing hours into each, I reverted to the shotgun approach across groups I had some interest in and finally had success landing interviews.

Now, after working in the area awhile and establishing some connections for a small network, I have multiple projects and more interesting opportunities than I have time to give popping up. If you don't have a network, it's a complete mess to deal with right now.

This is correct. You need to carpet bomb your resume everywhere. A large percentage of ads are fake and/or you will be ghosted after applying, so any time spent tailoring your resume to these is wasted. And you don’t know beforehand which ones they are.

That's my view as well. In the vast majority of cases, where your CV is going to be first looked over by HR, just tweak the cover letter/summary to say "Experienced in $TECH_X, $TECH_Y, $TECH_Z" for everything you know that's relevant to the position. The rest of your CV doesn't change. (Relevant to where I live, YMMV.)

I’m still going through this process after my team at a FAANG was killed off.

Granted, I can at least get interviews. But with each rejection, even when I make it to on-sites that seem to go well, I just walk away feeling like I suck or should do something else.

It’s really hard to keep going like this at times... painful to see new grads out leetcode me / interview into FAANG right out of school :(

man, remember when we were kids, and everything was so easy? now we're MIDDLE AGED (PERSON)[1] and those young whippersnappers are breezing in.

[1] https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/middle-aged-ma...

I’m actually only 3-4 years into my career.

I've actually started turning down places that do leetcode-style interviews unless I'm really interested in working there. There are a fair amount of places that do other kinds of interviews, if that's any comfort. But the compensation will probably be less than FAANG, with some exceptions.

I’ve never gotten a response from companies that claim to not do leetcode esque screens. How do you identify these companies? I’ve just used the GitHub list of “interviews without whiteboards”.

I applied to a lot of the companies on that list. I also focus on fullstack roles. I think my experience is that 50% of the tech interviews end up being leetcode stuff.

Yup, this seems about average. I get awesome reviews in person as well, but it doesn't show up in the results.

I feel like it's a numbers game. Technical interviews are a mess all over the board. It's sort of the joke where someone knows something is done wrong, so they do things differently, which is just as bad.

You'll probably have to keep trying your luck, hoping you find a company whose star developer just died or started a startup and they're desperate to fill the spot. Or someone who has this perfect vision of an engineer which fits you exactly.

I tried to optimize my job search the same way, and what worked for me were the things I hadn't optimized for. Like I've fine tuned my script for YC's job listing when I was actively searching, and yet two of them offered an interview when I wasn't searching. Maybe people who fine tune their resumes and cover letters feel 'off' somehow. It seems to work a bit like dating - the more stats you collect, the weirder you seem.

Have a look at this advice: https://www.busymonk.com/how-to-get-a-software-job/ While it's intended for new grads, there are a number of items on it that we often miss/forget/neglect.

If it means anything, my experiences are similar with perhaps even more mystery at the end re lack of reasons for rejection. It’s as if so many are happy to pass on a more than competent candidate on the off chance that the next one will be even closer to their Platonic ideal of perfection.

Sorry to hear that! It's not very fun.

Hello - I founded Rezi - a free resume software for applications at large companies. If you need another set of eyes on your resume, just let me know. I am happy to offer my advice


The problem was apparent on the second line of your post: "applications submitted". Submitting your CV is a loser's game.

If you're a good developer you likely have developer friends who work for different companies. These can also be people you've collaborated on open-source projects with, or met at conferences. If you've made a good impression on them, tell them that you're looking for a job. Either they'll be interested in getting you hired to their company and getting a reference bonus, or they could hook you up with friends of them who are looking for developers.

I also tried a similar active method of looking for a new job but I also never had much success. I have better luck with applying "passively" instead. I would suggest for you to:

1. Set up online profiles in as many "resume" websites as you can find and let it work for you, i.e. let recruiters find you and contact you.

2. Get out there and meet other people, and not just online but also through in-person activities that you enjoy. I was referred to and subsequently got hired in one company because the drummer of a band I joined is friends with the CEO.

@OP - this sounds pretty frustrating, but similar to the experience I had in SF technical interviewing circa 2013.

And now that I'm an interviewer, I've made it a project to promote questions and processes that make people feel (1) they had a chance to demonstrate real skills that are important to doing the job (2) they experienced what it's like to work on my team and feel excited about it.

Happy to chat in more detail if you're interested, even if our firm is not the right fit for what you're after... contact info is in my profile.

Some info that would be helpful to understand your situation more:

- which country are you based in? (each country's job market is wildly different); are you native of that country?

- do you apply in response to job ads, or find companies you like and apply even if there are no openings?

If I can advise something regarding no responses: finding a recruiter (on LinkedIn etc.) and talking to them directly might yield better responses than applying via a blackbox website (although this is just my gut feeling).

- I'm a U.S. citizen based in the U.S., though my most recent work experience is in a foreign country. I'm applying to jobs in the major tech hubs. I have previous experience in one of those locations. - All applications in response to ads.

I've been working with a recruiter but they haven't done much for me. Very generic resume feedback (e.g. "Here's an example of a good resume. Just compare yours.") and no feedback from recruiter when companies turn me down.

The recent experience in a foreign country may affect you negatively. I moved back to the US after about 15 years in China and had a difficult time getting a job in the USA. But now that I have my most recent job in the US things are much better.

As for your stats, they look normal. It's a numbers game and the interviews have a large element of luck - some will click well, most will not. In the end, its just a shit job!

I have landed a new job recently and during the job search I also did statistics.

For context I am 30 year old french, had my one and only job for 6 years doing PHP (sf2, postgres, redis, solr, rest), I have a 2 year degree where in europe most people have a 3 to 5 year degree.

Here is my statistics to applying to ads on indeed:

France: - application: 40 - noreply: 20 - phone screen: 7 - interview: 3 - landed: 1

Luxembourg (french speaking): - application: 18 - noreply: 9 - phone screen: 5 - interview: 1 - landed: 1

Remote (europe): - application: 7 - noreply: 5 - interview: 0

Spain(5)/Portugal(2)/Uk(2)/Switzerland(1): - application: 10 - noreply: 1 - phone screen: 5 - interview: 3 - landed: 0

My takes over are:

- Cover letter doesn't increase my chances of having a reply.

- Changing my CV after the feedback of a recruiter (he asked me to lie by omission) didn't improved my chances.

- I don't apply to company I recognize the name. If I do lots of people do too therefor there is a lots of better candidates than me and the company can afford to run me through many interviews.

- I don't apply to company that do more than 1 interview, they have too much time on their hands to find a reason not to hire me.

- I don't apply to company that specifically ask for a 3 to 5 years degree even if I fit the rest of the requirements.

This last job search (the one that landed my first job 7 years ago wasn't a bliss either) made me feel extremely under-confident in my capacity to grow my career even having a job.

Unsolicited advice: apply to companies who require a longer degree. After a couple years what you studied doesn't matter any more, experience is king.

I am also searching now, so here are my statistics after four months searching Silicon Valley for a combo hardware/software job, with masters degree, and lots of experience (old :-) 75 applications 48 companies employ someone I know 27 companies I applied without knowing anyone 13 phone interviews 6 face-to-face interviews zero face-to-face interviews at companies where I don't know anyone zero offers so far one company is at the offer stage (perfect fit, I have worked with the hiring manager for years-- he ought to offer) four companies are currently between the first interview and the offer stage.

Other interesting observations: one company called back for a second interview after six weeks. I thought they had ghosted me.

Another company (highly qualified) called for a second interview after three months.

There was a company that listed reasonable requirements on their ad, and then in the phone interview they wanted someone with extreme talent. Why waste my time? Why waste their time? Don't put hard requirements in the "nice to have" section please!

This is tough for anyone to answer without seeing what your resume looks like. It’s possible to have amazing experience but present it poorly.

you have to show them that you are different from the other candidates. The reviewer will go through a bunch of applications, if yours dont stick out then chances are low they will pick you.

Here are some tips:

- call them on the phone and pretend you have some relevant question about the job. Then slightly introduce yourself so when he/she goes through the candidates you will be remembered.

- the recruitment people are like you and me, nobody wants to see a boring CV and a application text that screams "please hire me". Sometimes I dont even upload the CV, I just link them to my github and linkedin profile and instead write short but mesmerizing applicant text. Keep it short. Its like when you read the comments section on HN or news papers. You skip the long comments because its just too much and instead read the one-liners. The same applies here.

-this is optional but having published projects are bonus. Like if you have app on appstore or websites/startups and things to show for it certainly will catch their attention.

I think the process also depends on your location. Seems like this is for US. In London, UK you can easily get noticed and start the process, but 100% of the time they give you a test to do before any interviews. The problem arises here, because even if you do the test perfectly there is 90% chance you will never hear from them again. You basically end up wasting your time doing some test just to never get any contact/feedback from them. On that last note I've never got a feedback from any interview process even when I've asked. Assuming you are the 10% they contact back, then you go for a face-to-face and the interview there is a tech interview and barely any HR part. Only the tech part of the interview matters and if you pass it you get job, if not - you never hear from them. Anywhere well outside London they don't even do test/tech interview, you just do an HR one and high chance of getting it.

Any work you do to get hired by a company is billable work so invoice the company for your time.

What did you do as a full stack dev ? If you are run of the mill fullstack dev with no core deep knowledge of anything specific like databases and just know how to hack together code by researching libraries on npm or maven central or pypi, people wont hire you after 6 years because some entry level guy could do it cheaper.

I have deep knowledge of the underlying technologies, mostly deep knowledge of the languages. But my experience is that most interviewers do not care about this. They want to hear about your last project using their laundry list of libraries. Everyone wants me to assure them that I am a "React expert" or that I have "used AWS" and no one cares about the papers I've read recently or the first-principles, ground-up projects I've done. The only time anything approaching specialized knowledge comes up is when people ask trivia questions.

I think that's a concrete area for you to explore. When I hire, I'm often looking to hire to fill a specific skill gap on a project. I look for the specific skills I need right now and for skills I think will help the employee grow into other / more senior roles. But in the initial assessment I'm look for indications that the candidate can hit the ground running and be productive in a relatively short period of time. Of course sometimes I can't find the exact right candidate end-up broadening the filter. The learning for you here is to focus on selling you abilities in what the hirer is looking for. The rest are nice-to-haves.

I've got the same experience. It's weird how similar our experience in this interview process feels while we're literally years apart in work experience.

You sound like a good fit for NexHealth. Shoot me an email at alamin@nexhealth.com. I'd love to chat.

Also be aware that some companies keep a listing open for all times, just to fill their pool to use when it's needed. I've been getting "are you still looking for a job" mails even after a year of the original application (most of them was no-response).

Seems similar to my experience. The 9-2 technical to on-site is the only concern I’d have. Maybe dissect if those technical interviews could go better?

That said maybe the ratio is because you are aiming high, so it could be a good sign. A 1-1 ratio could show going for too easy jobs.

First, I'm not in the tech sector, so take what I say with a grain of salt as industries are different. That being said, in Germany that seems to be a rather good quota of returns from my experience.

Regarding the companies rejecting you right away, my experience is that a lot of times it is either some particular key word that is missing or some other little detail they don't like. Hard to tell so as I don't know which companies rejected you.

The more important question is whether these have been your dream jobs and employers. If not, just keep in mind you do not need dozens of job offers but the one you really want.

May I ask why you want to change jobs? Seems like you are rather appreciated where you are right now.

If they asked you for what you want as compensation, I would guess it was too much for what you bring to the table.

You never mention what exactly you did, but it sounds like JavaScript and nodejs from your username. I don’t know how often you switched companies but if you switched more than 2 times in your 6 years, there might be a risk of „you build it but you don’t want to maintain it“.

I also got a similar vibe from some of your comments. Some of them sound like „I know the concepts, I build my own better React“.

It’s really not something I would like to hear in a technical interview.

There is less info in this post than on your CV, so please excuse when I read too much into it.

>I don’t know how often you switched companies but if you switched more than 2 times in your 6 years, there might be a risk of you build it but you don’t want to maintain it.

Consultant shops build things for businesses all the time without maintaining them (and businesses pay lots of money for it, way more than an individual candidate), so that shouldn't really be on any hiring manager's mind. Job hopping is a rational response to tech companies unwilling to give raises that match market salaries.

Plus if you have someone that can build things but hasn't maintained them, your company can be their first experience.

I work for a consulting company and we build lot's of applications. You're right, it's much more about building something quickly with a team of experienced devs than it's about maintaining. But they hire a company especially because we have the capacity to still complete the project in the specified time frame, even when devs leave. Also they don't need to hire a whole team and don't have much risk.

I understand the reasoning to want to make more money, but to me job hopping regularly with less than 2-3 years stay, it's a bad sign. It can happen, and I also have seen people who realized two month in a new job that this doesn't work out for them. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but when I see a resume of someone having 5 jobs in 5 years, I probably would pass on them.

But I'm in Germany and maybe that's just me and in the US it's very different.

Wait, does this mean you have 7 which ghosted you after the technical? That is unusual. I would follow up with those. I have always gotten a response, in both directions, after a technical.

Also these numbers look very reasonable to me. 9 technicals out of 50 is a good rate, esp for coming from an overseas company as you said you did.

Finally, are you using the modern tools like Hired, etc? Do you have LinkedIn gold? Are you actively networking and getting internal referrals? Are you going to meetups, esp those run by companies of interest?

Getting a job is not just about sending resumes into the void and waiting.

>I've also started to lose confidence for technical interviews.

have you been leetcoding? if not, start now. read teamblind threads on job search.

forget about your github projects, blog posts, conf talks ect. Almost noone will look at those.

good luck.

You will benefit a lot more from HN if you post your resume here for review.

Maybe I will at some point, not in connection with this post.

Your experience is not uncommon. A former coworker of mine has a few relevant posts/talks on this:

My recent job search adventures:


Rants and Ruminations From A Job Applicant After 100 CS Job Interviews in Silicon Valley


Yes, I was in the job market recently. It is absolutely devastating how terrible the software development hiring process is. There's almost no job in the world where you are humiliated so much and goes through such an agonizing process to proof yourself. I'm a mother of a small child, and don't have that much time to work on creative puzzles or study so many entry level computer science stuff that only a 'fresh graduate' would know.

Two of my last 3 positions have been a recruiter reaching out to me via LinkedIn.

75% of my attempts to find my own via job applications result in no response (your stats are better than mine), with zero feedback at one point or another (ghosting).

If you're not using recruiters, you should be. The discussion you get let's you sell yourself a little better than you can with a paper application only, and they often have additional info you won't find in the job descriptions

Where are you located? I just finished a job search with about the same experience as you in SF and 50 applications submitted makes me think that you might not be approaching this the best way possible, assuming you are in a tech location.

It seems like you went for quantity instead of quality. The opposite seemed to work well for me (personally, not trying to say its the only way).

I'd be happy to chat more, feel free to reach out. my email is my username at gmail.

Send me your resume at julien _AT_ serpapi.com.

Regarding your issue, I won’t overthink it. A lot of things can go wrong that just outside of your control.

> Is this the average experience or is there something going on here?

I'm experiencing this as a college grad with 1 year web dev experience (similar accolades as you but then 1 year) and 1.5 year teaching experience.

IMO it's the interviewing thing that's completely bullshit.

Also if any company on HN is reading this, please reach out to interview this person for a frontend position.

I feel pretty the same.

10 years experience as Full Stack Dev, passed all the tech interviews also for some of the FAAMG group, but I was rejected after the "behavioral" interview.

I don't know what to think. I believe it is an excuse to reject candidates with higher compensation requirements.

It's hard to say WHY just looking at the numbers, but I agree the numbers indicate something is off, or you're just very unlucky at the moment. I'm a tech recruiter myself, perhaps I can help with CV check or a video chat? use my username +85 AT gmail)

15/50 is pretty good actually.

I’ve performed thousands of interviews. Happy to talk and help you debug the issue. https://www.linkedin.com/in/bercovich

I have been working on a product in this space, and I'm aware of the situation. I'd love to help, and also learn from your job search process, can you drop me an email? (I couldn't find email in your profile)

>A large majority of the companies rejected me without an interview, either sending a form letter or not response at all.

sounds like they're doing it for compliance, so that they can hire H1B people at super low wages

Just recently indeed.com scraped our website and posted a job on our behalf. My email address started receiving resumes for our IT services division and I figured they were in the loop so I trashed them.

I believe you’re supposed to keep applications on file for a year.

I have similar credentials (and praise from coworkers), and I had similar experience to you earlier this year. It sucks, but you'll come through the other side.

I can tell you that jobs are based on your talent - but also whom you know.

Just focus your energy on the things that work, and apply for jobs where you think you get what you want.

Honestly I’d just find a recruiter have have them do the heavy lifting. The good recruiters will have direct relationships with various companies.

Maybe you should get someone to review your resume.

I've gotten feedback from two recruiters and a little from one interviewer. Most of it was generic. The interviewer suggested adding more skills.

The initial screeners ( people or software) of resumes look for keywords. So put in all those keywords that you think are relevant even if from a skill perspective they are trivial. For example basic skills related to xml are easily learnt by most developers in a very short time. Ideally no employer should ever be asking for 'xml' skills but they do. So, in this example that I gave, make sure that you put the 'xml' keyword in your resume.

your job search is well above average from my point of view. you seem to be quite successful, and those numbers are great.

You have enough experience to apply through interviewing.io

Triplebyte is also good. Also ask around with ex-colleagues for referrals.

Let's check the basics:

1. Do you have a LinkedIn profile, clearly listing your skills, accomplishments, and experience? Also with a clear, professional profile picture? Do you link to your Github page (and vice versa).

2. Do you have an account on StackOverflow careers?

3. Does your resume look crisp and clean (using a good template), with readily available information about skills and experience?

After this, remember that straight-up _applying_ to companies is well known to be the LEAST effective way to get a job.

The better way is to let companies - or at least recruiters or hiring managers at specific companies - approach you (usually LinkedIn, StackOverflow is better). This involves a lot of tending to your professional social-media profiles, love it or hate it.

The best way is of course to get hired by someone you know from prior successful professional collaboration who makes an opening at their company specifically because they want YOU.

TLDR, give a lot of attention to LinkedIn, GitHub page, StackOverflow careers profiles. Let people approach you. Don't fling out resumes to hundreds of companies like a frisbee.

Leetcode+Referrals/cold app Series A,B,Seed companies

Looks like you're not working with a recruiter. (Not a bad thing)

Going off my sample size of three, yes, that looks like the average experience.

It's just a numbers game/funnel like anything in sales.

The 50 applications thing is one of the reasons I get really annoyed at people who claim software Devs have it so easy (we do) but when asked how many jobs they applied for last week it's like, oh I applied for 5 jobs over the last 6 months.

Here I am writing and sending 10 unique, researched cover letters every day. No wonder I get hired in under two weeks.

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