I started a new job as Software Developer at Zillow in October 2019. This would have been hard to imagine when I left Zillow in August 2018, so I wrote a few blog posts detailing my experience:
- Believing it
- Lessons from interviews (this post)
In looking for a software developer position I cast a pretty wide net. I had the benefit of being unemployed while looking for work so I had plenty of time to interview and I wanted to make sure I found the best fit. I applied to around 20 companies, interviewed at 9 and got offers from 6.
Here at the big lessons from the experience:
- Behavioral questions matter – coming from a non-traditional background I was being hired on potential instead of demonstrated skill, so the fact that I could show that I aligned to a companies core values played a big role in sealing the deal.
- Write cover letters – I got a few interviews from cold applications. I applied on Glassdoor with a cover letter and the recruiter and interviewers all mentioned my cover letter when interviewing me. Few people write them, they get read, they make a difference.
- It takes time – I thought I would be done in 4-6 weeks it actually took 10 weeks. Scheduling and waiting for responses always takes long than expected.
- Bigger companies take longer – in Seattle Google and Microsoft in particular had a really slow moving interview process. If I was doing this again I would try to start with the big companies first and then apply to smaller companies.
- Negotiate – https://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/ is a great blog post and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t read it. One of the most awkward conversations is around salary. I couldn’t bring myself to not give a salary expectation, so I just used a broad range.
- Use your network – the majority of my interviews came from warm intros. I’m stating the obvious, I know.