> In the aftermath of his first interview, he has been getting in touch with all his close engineer friends and asking them to write to the company founder recommending him.
This sounds incredibly obnoxious unless your friends are well-known engineers. Has this worked for anyone here?
Do people actually do this? I've always assumed it was one of those pieces of advice they teach you in Interviewing 101 only to find that it isn't as applicable to programming jobs.
As a side note - if you are applying to startups, write your cover letters while sitting in SF/SV coffee shops that are known startup hotbeds. If you strike up friendly conversations with random folks wearing the right t-shirts you'll often get recommendations to apply to places you've never heard of, perhaps with a friendly "in" if you can impress them by being a personable, well-balanced individual.
As a shameless plug, hit me up if you are looking for a data geek or someone who honestly loses sleep over graph algorithms.
I do always personally thank the person (with a handshake) for taking the time to interview me or taking the time to let me interview them, though. But that's just common courtesy.
When I'm hiring programmers, I don't care about thank you notes. I don't care because how good a programmer is has nothing to do with being skilled at social niceties, networking, and so on.
For a business side role, however, these things are a must, and thank you notes can be good indicators.
I mean, a follow up until you get a firm 'no' is standard in most sales, and make no mistake about it, interviewing for a job is sales.
I've always thought it was a combination: a thank you that the person took time to talk to you and with you about the position (especially a non-HR employee), a follow up to the interview if there were other questions or to send a work sample as discussed during the interview, and to state again something that marks you as a fit for the position.
But everywhere I've interviewed at has used a loop of interviewers, so a thank-you note doesn't really make much sense unless I spam their loop... and that still doesn't make any sense.
It might have mattered back in the days of hand-typed letters and I'm sure some stickler curmudgeons still want to see it as some rite of passage/hazing thing.
It seems to be better received than null-content pings.
The market is such now that even little old me doesn't go two days without a few emails from startup HR departments, networkers and recruiters. If I ever find myself in an interview for a full-time job at a startup, it's going to be be me interviewing them.
Did you contact some recruiters at some point? Where are they farming your email address from?
I get a few messages even though I have zero interesting projects or distinctive characteristics out there, apart from a basic "I'm a backend developer" presentation profile.
Yes, and I've had mixed experiences with them. Some of them are great, others not so much.
> Where are they farming your email address from?
I make my email address publicly available, so possibly from my LinkedIn profile or portfolio site.
This sounds like a horrible idea. There's a well-established history of inexperienced people doing amazing things that their more experienced counterparts couldn't do. This often includes founders (also true in other disciplines like the arts and science)
Obviously this is a much more nuanced topic (personally, for most roles, I would not consider random resumes on general principle because I don't think it's a great way to make an impression) but if you're going to have hard rules to weed out resumes, I would not recommend using experience.
It's a bit pedantic because this is not the article's main point, but it stood out for me and I think discouraging inexperienced people from doing anything is generally a bad idea.
I think it is important to note that there is a big difference between weeding out resumes due to a heuristic like experience, and weeding out candidates based on experience.
Take the oft-quoted Tristan Walker/Foursquare example. If Tristan had simply sent his resume to "email@example.com", It's likely that Dennis and Naveen would have hardly looked past the first lines of his resume. However, because Tristan worked his ass off to reach out directly, he was given a chance to do amazing things despite his inexperience.
I entirely agree that inexperienced people shouldn't be discouraged from trying to punch above their weight. I just believe that the bar for them to gain entry is a bit higher than submitting a resume.
1) It's cheap to apply to a startup. The worst that can happen is that you get your ego bruised with a rejection
2) Interviewing at a startup will help you interview elsewhere. You will learn something.
3) Startups complain about a lack of talent. Maybe you're the one to prove them wrong.
Also if one has a current job and looking to switch it is even more less scalable as there is not enough time to do all these shenanigans.
Of course if you have the connection go leverage it...
I think for the better good we should encourage #3 as that is the right fair approach where talent and skill set is at stake and not whether one had the time and money to go to a conference/tech meetup.
that said, intuitively you will get better offers when you are being recruited, which means establishing a history of interacting with them, participating in meetups, anything you can do to reduce their perception of hiring risk.
obviously, once you decide where you want to work, you obsess over nailing every piece of communication because your offer directly reflects their perception of you, but this is self-evident.
On the one hand, I got my current job (as one of the first 10 employees at a startup) by "traditional" means--I saw a job ad, responded to it, interviewed, and accepted the offer. It worked great.
On the other hand, I am now on the other side of the process, and I really wish more people would follow your advice. Enthusiasm goes a really long way--if you're competent and likable, I will likely vote to hire you if you seem enthusiastic. Sending individual emails and doing company-specific prep for your interview should be a no-brainer. Have enough confidence in your technical chops (or non-technical jobs, I guess, if you're non-technical) to put effort into the other aspects of your job search.
Maybe the advice should be, don't "apply" for jobs period.
I always imagine that being an employer advertising a genuine job on a job board (in this economy) is probably a similar experience to being a supermodel and signing up for a dating website.
I wonder how well the networking approach will scale, I imagine it could get annoying very quickly being a company CEO or whatever and getting hundreds of emails every day from people who want to "have a chat about X".
Then stop whining that "ohmahgawdz I can't find talent!!!11!!1"
The risk is "maybe didn't maximize earnings over n years". The reward, regardless of the startup's success is "learned a lot, enjoyed myself a lot". That's reward I get no matter what.
EDIT: Additionally, I applied in the fashion of #3 (from the article).
Also, if you are a VC or a co-founder, then the risk/rewards ratio totally changes, and it's most definitely worth it. But if you are like the rest of us, then it's a big NO.