The hunt for my first job was a long journey. It started in late September 2018, and extended to mid February 2019.
In the first phase interviews from September to November 2018, I contacted around 6 companies and was shortlisted and accepted by one of them.
Generally, things went well and I was en route to start my first job some time in early January 2019 after a short probation at a company.
But a situation cropped up and I decided to move on and continue my job search, which saw me applying to at around 20 more companies.
It has been more than a month since I was out of job.
The urgency to find a job, coupled with the constant pressure from my parent to “just get a job” and “don’t be so fussy” is slowly but surely getting to me.
However I paid no attention to it, which brings me to an exciting journey of even more interviews.
The second phase: the storm before the calm
The second phase of interviews spans from January to mid February 2019, and was characterised by tremendous uncertainty and doubt.
Rejections and ghosting became second nature to me quickly.
The frustration of going through the wildly varying software engineer interview processes at different companies showed me that it is important to what I am looking out for and the values I bring to the team.
I dropped them as soon as I detected red flags that I find it unacceptable to work with:
- a phone call just to ask me about my graduation date and github profile, which are stated in my resume
- hiring manager who doesn’t know what kind of team member he is looking for, such as trying to squeeze out as many programming languages out of an applicant as possible, like throwing a net, hoping to catch the biggest fish.
- a continuation of the previous point: a hiring manager that hum and haws half the time, which certainly doesn’t help to instill confidence in me that he is capable of building and leading a team of software engineers to achieve the business mission.
All these trials are the lessons I needed to learn in order to be a better and well rounded person, to make a well-informed decision regarding career and life.
Throughout the entire process, I am glad I have learned to set my own standards, as well as having clarity about the value I bring to employers, instead of complaining about how life is unfair and giving up, or take the easy route to accept offers that I didn’t find fulfilling and favourable.
If there is anything I learned from job hunting, it is to evaluate the company as much as they are evaluating me.
Beyond the job description, learn as much about the hiring manager and business executives as possible.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Finally, with some self-work and a little bit of luck, I managed to secure a job that I really wanted. I had great impression of the company and leadership, and am confident in levelling up myself by working for them.
In all honesty, I didn’t quite see this coming and it would be easy to say that hard work always prevails with the clear lens of hindsight.
For now, it is an achievement unlocked and I am looking forward to unlock many more in the future!