Jobsearch really sucks and maybe especially so in the tech industry. If you’re currently unemployed and reading this, my heart goes out to you. Wanting to contribute, knowing that you have the skills and experience to do a good job yet no one will believe you or give you a chance even though you’ve got the chops and have previously proven yourself with the many fires you’ve put out. At first, maybe you’re really gung-ho about jobsearch and applying to everything, writing lengthy customized cover-letters and following up regularly once a week. Initially, you get some interest and run through the process. It usually starts with a call from a recruiter and sometimes it sounds like they’re extremely fascinated with your experience. They tell you great things about how happy they are to have finally found you and think that you’d be such a perfect fit for the team. A few days later, they might call you back and let you know that the hiring managers are very interested as well and then ask you to please take a 2-4hr assessment test. You’re so excited, pumped up and have been learning as much about the company as you can find. So you agree, block out the time to take the test and feel pretty confident about your results. Maybe a week goes by and you get a template rejection email that tells you that they’ve decided to move forward with other candidates. Really? What? What just happened? Headhunter won’t pick up your call or return a message and you’re left in the dark without any feedback or idea of where things might have gone wrong. How many times do you need to go through such a scenario before feeling utterly dejected? Now a couple of months have gone by, maybe even a year or more. You still apply, knowing you’ve gotta keep on pushing but after so many rejections and black holes, your heart feels broken. *A black hole is when you submit your resume to a job application that specifically matches your skill-set but never hear back from anyone. Maybe you do get an occasional call-back these days but by now, interviewers can smell a certain cologne called, “the stink of desperation.”
Other times, whether or not you might be currently employed and just passively open to hearing about new opportunities, the interview process can still seem so combative. Sure, the interviewer needs to ask questions to learn about your background and maybe an assessment test is really necessary to determine one’s skills or thought process. But do they need to treat you like a little kid? C’mon, I’m a grown adult.
And then there’s a third scenario. Maybe you are that young kid who just got out of school. You apply and apply but you never get any callbacks. If you’re lucky, you might get that standardized response to let you know that the company “has decided to move forward with other candidates whose skills and experience more closely fit the role.” It seems like everyone only wants someone with experience but how do you gain that experience if no one will ever you give you a chance? Frustraty McFrustratedFace
If you ever find yourself going through such doldrums or otherwise stuck in a rut, you’ve gotta break the cycle. Get out there and shake things up. Attend local meet-ups and users groups. Figure out the best conferences to attend where you might be able to meet people from a company you’d be interested in working with and learn about cool places you never even knew existed. First, you’ll keep current by educating yourself on the latest tools and technologies. Hopefully you’ll also be meeting people and slowly building relationships where they get to know and trust you. If you have the necessary skills and experience, a reference referral can be much, much more effective than blindly submitting resumes to job ads. At the very least, you can be sure that your profile will be reviewed by a live human rather than potentially getting lost in an applicant tracking system.
One such opportunity is coming up right around the corner. The largest open-source conference in North America, SCaLE15x is happening March 2nd – 5th in Pasadena, CA. Celebrating their 15th anniversary, the Southern California Linux Expo is expecting an audience of 3500+ open-source speakers, exhibitors and enthusiasts. For those engaged in devops, open-source and all things Linux, what better place to potentially meet your next boss or co-workers? It all starts in conjunction with the UbuCon Summit where registered attendees can keep up with the latest developments in the Ubuntu community. Then there will be various BoF (Birds of a Feather) sessions where space is provided for groups to meet and discuss various topics of mutual interest.
In particular, jobseekers may want to pay attention to the Career and JobSearch BoF on Friday night where employers, hiring managers and potential candidates can get together for a conversation on the interview process. Sometimes recruiters do want to give feedback. But due to liability reasons, they often can’t. Because sometimes people can’t take the rejection and good intentions end up resulting in lawsuits. It’s better to just avoid that situation altogether. In a forum such as the jobs BoF, questions can be asked openly and those who have been on the interviewer side can share *anonymous* horror stories of why their team may have decided to pass on various individuals. Maybe it was personal hygiene or how they responded to a certain question. Hopefully, hearing from the other side will shed some light and those in the audience might recognize certain behaviors that they may be able to improve upon with themselves. Past employers who have attended include Warner Brothers, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, Oracle, SpaceX, Faraday Future, Taos Consulting, VideoAmp and more. There’s usually also a job-board where employers can list their open positions on one side and jobseekers can post their availability on the other. There’s a good chance you might be able to meet and connect with the employer or candidate in the jobs BoF.
Ever heard of a PGP key-signing party? It’s an in-person get-together for PGP users to exchange their *keys* in an effort to extend a larger “web of trust.” It’s all related to cryptography and being able to send secure, private messaging and files. What better way to meet and connect with new friends?
Hope to see you at SCaLE15x then! Full conference passes (including UbuCon) are $85 and a more limited pass to enter the exhibit hall and free events is only $20. This year, Facebook will again be present for recruiting purposes in addition to SignalSciences, Disney, OpenX, MediaTemple, SMCI, Everbridge, Verizon Digital Media Services, SteelHouse, DataDog, UserTesting and more.
Remember to keep in mind that every interaction is an interview and the floodgates open with hello.
*picture credit to @scalexphotos