How to get a job: 10 tips to find a good job

Learnings from my job interviews

Some time ago I made one of the most difficult decisions for someone who has only had one job, guess which one? Exactly! find a new one.

My search was motivated by many factors; from a low salary compared to the market, discrepancies regarding how decisions that affected my work were made, as well as not having growth opportunities within the company . Despite this, weighing everything bad and comparing it to the exceptional team of people I worked with was what led me to put off the decision for months.

With the passage of time the resolution came and very easily, my expenses increased and I was forced to look for better opportunities in a short period of time.

Now I find myself in a job that meets all my expectations, where I am comfortable and can continue to develop professionally. But this did not come by chance, but after doing an exhaustive search and analyzing my options.

I was in my previous job for 5 years from when I started as a college student until one year after graduating. I had virtually no interview experience, nor did I know about recruitment processes or what to assess before applying for a job . Being in search of new opportunities was a pleasant experience for me and I learned a lot. Knowledge that I now want to share with you so that you can apply it in your next job search.

Before you start applying

1) Know your market and how valuable you are

The first thing you should know before starting to apply for a job is how much you are worth in the market, how much would companies pay to have someone like you? Of course, multiple factors come into play that influence the response, such as the type of company to which you apply; if it is a venture, a StartUp or a large company, the requirements of the position, your experience and your achievements.

To have a salary reference, research employment web pages and also consult with your acquaintances. Consider each skill or knowledge that you can offer and compare them with the requirements of the job advertisements that are of interest to you. Depending on the number of requirements you meet and how much is offered, you can get an idea of ​​the amount you can negotiate as a salary according to your level and professional experience.

While you are researching keep a list of companies you would like to apply to and remember to state why. Order the list from highest to lowest regarding the benefit that working in each of those companies would give you performing the role they need. Consider different aspects to evaluate in addition to money such as experience; prestige, challenges, growth opportunities, health benefits, scholarships, among other things.

If in the short term you do not plan to change jobs but would like to start investigating. I recommend you find out the knowledge and skills you must have—based on the requirements of each job—to be selected in the companies of your choice. Then discard everything that during the period of time in which you plan to change you do not manage to learn and focus on what you can do. In my particular case, I dedicated myself to reviewing theoretical knowledge and carrying out practical programming exercises on web pages such as codesignal and HackerRank (I am a software engineer).

2) Build a concise and effective resume

A picture is worth a thousand words, just like a stylish resume stands out against a sea of ​​monochrome documents.

Recruiters read hundreds of resumes to apply for a job, so it’s no surprise that an eye-catching presentation stands out from the pile of documents to review. What’s more, I’m sure they would also appreciate being concise and brief. You do not need to count your entire life, only the most relevant for the position to which you are applying.

If possible, your resume should have only one page. If you have a lot of experience, reduce the descriptions to just a couple of words per job, this way you will leave a topic of conversation for the interview.

Don’t recycle your resume for every application. First read what they ask for and build your resume according to what they need, emphasizing the specific experience you have for that job.

Depending on the type of company you apply to and if it has a more relaxed or informal culture. Consider including hobbies or personal talents so you have something to grab your interviewer’s attention.

Unless you’re someone with a background in design and a talent for photoshop , you can use an online service to create, edit, and save your resume like . So you forget about the style and focus on the content by using a template and adapting it for you. Do not be stingy and invest in a nice resume, if everything goes well you will more than recover the investment.

3) Don’t rush, delay going for your best prospects

One of the first mistakes I made when I started applying was to go after the best prospects. I started my search by applying to the best companies almost simultaneously. I managed to get my first interviews but since I had no experience in them I ended up being rejected in all of them. The problem was that I exhausted my best options, I wasted all those interviews by not having the preparation.

In each and every interview I made a mistake. I spoke about something that was not appropriate, I paraphrased without saying anything relevant or I mentally blocked myself due to nerves which prevented me from solving a practical exercise.

In those interviews I could not demonstrate my knowledge or the experience I had. I didn’t talk about any interesting milestones that would serve to test my skills while demonstrating the impact of my actions on my work at the time. Worst of all, since I started applying to the best companies on the list, I had no choice but to lower my expectations.

My advice to you is to practice interviewing, it’s not as easy as it seems and since no one has a hobby going from interview to interview every couple of months, surely you will have lost practice when looking for a job. One strategy you can use is to start by accepting interviews for jobs that are at the bottom of your list. In this way, if you are not selected or the offer does not attract your attention, at least you will have gained experience that will serve as preparation for future interviews . There is a lot to learn from an interview; the entire structure of the conversation, your posture, gestures and the different tests with which you are evaluated (psychological tests, group interviews, technical tests, multiple short interviews).

**If they call you and during the interview they did not convince you to participate in the company, be direct with the recruiter rejecting the offer. Don’t waste his time.

preparing the interview

Congratulations!, you learned your value and you know the market. You managed to identify the companies that are a contribution to you and you got interviews. Now you must prepare for a new stage, keep in mind the following tips.

4) Organize your time

One of the keys in this is to organize your time well. Keep your calendar updated with tentative interview schedules and if you are working, add your working hours, trying to leave free time slots to dedicate yourself to looking for work . So when they call you unexpectedly to schedule an appointment, you just have to take your phone or computer, check your calendar, and propose a date and time without problems.

There are times when you manage to reach the final stage of a selection process and they make you an offer that you must respond to in the next few days. The problem is that you are really more interested in the response of another company but in this one you are in the middle of the selection process. In these situations you will have to make a decision: reject the current offer and wait for the resolution that interests you or accept an offer for which you are not so interested.

What you can do to avoid situations like the above is to apply in interview cycles. You must first select and group job applications to separate them into application rounds. Then you start a cycle and apply to a limited number of companies and wait to be ahead of these processes, either because you went to a second stage or were rejected. Only after this can you start a new cycle of interviews.

Don’t apply to every ad you see, organize your applications so that you are more likely to receive an offer from different companies in the same time frames.

5) Practice your speech

A valued co-worker recommended a book to me a few years ago that he was using to prepare for interviews for big companies like Google, AWS, or Airbnb. The book is called cracking the code interview and despite being focused on the IT area, the first chapters are transversal to the field. The main idea of ​​these chapters is that you should prepare for an interview, since sometimes due to nerves or pressure it is possible to forget to talk about important topics for an interviewer . Especially if you are applying for positions of greater responsibility or that require more experience. You mayDemonstrate your commitment to your work by providing information on the projects you have worked on, challenges, achievements, errors, conflicts. Always focused on highlighting what makes you different, how YOU do things.

Going into an interview prepared with an idea of ​​what you plan to talk about and knowing the projects you have worked on will help you answer typical interview questions such as: what are your strengths and weaknesses?

When asked about your weaknesses, give an honest answer . If you are thinking of saying that your biggest weakness is being a workaholic or being very obsessive , I recommend asking the question again because these answers will only make you sound arrogant.

A better answer might be:

My biggest weakness is that I don’t pay much attention to details, so I always try to have someone else check my work.

This shows that you are aware of your failures and you do something to reduce their impact on your work, you care.

If your interview is for the company of your dreams, I recommend you practice your speech with a friend or relative, this will help you focus your effort on the parts where your speech is weak and in this way you will make sure that you do not leave out anything relevant that helps to discover the great professional that you are.

6) Prepare your questions and answers

As I mentioned before, being prepared for an interview prevents you from letting important details slip into the conversation but also helps you know how you should behave. By practicing your speech with someone else you get immediate feedback on the impression you make. Do you sound arrogant? Shy? Dishonest?

A rule of thumb in answering any question appropriately is not to sound arrogant . Arrogance raises a negative signal to your recruiter. To avoid this, you must be specific by providing only the facts and let your interviewer draw his own conclusions, always trying to be brief to keep the focus on the most relevant milestones.

For example, when asked what was your greatest achievement in your previous job?

Suppose the facts are as follows:

The interviewee initiated on his own initiative a process of adopting a framework with which he had worked before. He had several obstacles such as resistance to change from both the development team and the refusal to implement it on the management side. He resolved to teach the advantages and disadvantages of this way of working to each teammate. By obtaining better results, the team was able to convince management that what was proposed would bring order and predictability to operations as well as better use of time.

A bad answer would be something like the following:

I started adopting a framework at my old company. I managed to convince both managers and my team that it was for the best. I had discussions with several people who did not agree but when I know that something is good and I keep pushing until the rest give in.

The answer is arrogant and even shows the interviewee as an inflexible and stubborn person, someone who imposes his way of thinking.

A better presentation of the facts is given in the following answer:

I started adopting a framework at my old company. I had worked this way before so I knew the advantages and disadvantages of using it. As it suited the current situation of the company, I suggested it to both the team and management as a possible solution to the problems we were having. Although it was not widely accepted at first, I did not give up and decided to start explaining to each team member how this way of working worked, the advantages and disadvantages it presented. After a while the team was willing to experiment with this way of working and together we achieved better results. With this we managed to convince management and we got their support to continue applying this framework.

In this second version, more facts are presented, it is explained why the interviewee considered what he was proposing to the company to be a good idea. He describes the problems he had and how he dealt with them, at the same time he gives recognition to others by explaining that it was a job that he started but ended with the collaboration of the team.

Not only the answers are considered in an interview, the questions also give indications about the interest you have in the position or the company, a relevant characteristic for a recruiter. If you want to impress you must choose your questions well.

During the Interview

You landed an important interview and have properly prepared yourself for the challenge. Don’t be nervous, here are some tips to overcome the challenge.

7) Be honest and transparent

For a recruiter, the honesty of the interviewee is valuable. In an interview you may have to do an exercise that you already know how to solve or know the answers to. Raise your concern to your interviewer, they are unlikely to change the exercise and still let you do it but you will earn points for being trustworthy because of your honesty.

This also applies in cases where you feel uncomfortable during the interview. If there is any behavior or word that bothers you or you feel uncomfortable due to the heat in the room, you are thirsty, among other things. Communicate your discomfort to your interviewer but always RESPECTFULLY. There may be the rare case in which they tell you that your discomfort cannot be dealt with and that they must continue with the interview, in these cases continue with your best face and accept the situation.

8) Do not talk about money, at least not until it is necessary

There is a rule in negotiations:

The first to give a number loses

I would have liked to know this in my first interview, it was for a well-known transnational company in the field of startups(at least in my country). When I introduced myself I felt very nervous and anxious but I tried to hide it as much as I could to project an air of calm. The recruiter was friendly and the conversation was quite pleasant until the moment she asked me the following question:

How much do you earn at your current job?

This question completely confused me, I did not understand what it had to do with the interview but due to my naivety I answered it. We continued the interview but since then the environment changed, it went from bad to worse because the focus was no longer focused on me and my abilities, but on trying to defend myself because I was earning much more than my current salary.

Now with more experience I can say that the recruiter was not well-intentioned and just wanted to adjust the possible offer to what she or the company considered fair according to my salary at that time. Reasoning that does not make sense to me, because she did not know if they really paid me according to the market, according to my experience or the responsibilities that she had.

When you meet people like this I advise you to answer the following:

I’m sorry but that’s something personal that I’m not going to discuss with you.

Simple and direct, how much you earn or earned should not matter in the offer of your possible “future company”. This offer must arise from the value they perceive in you according to what you could contribute.

When you participate in an interview do not talk about money until the moment of negotiation. If possible, do not give a salary range either because that already establishes the limit of what you could receive, which could be much less than what the company intended to pay. Try to force them to give you a figure and negotiate from there, for that you must be clear about 2 things: how much you want to earn and how much is the minimum for which you would change to that company .

Remember that not everything is money and if the company cannot come close to what you ask for, you can talk about other types of compensation such as your schedule, vacation days, courses and other benefits.

9) Don’t ask for feedback right away

This is something I’ve discussed with a few recruiters. Apparently it is quite irritating and impertinent to ask for feedback at the end or during the days following the interview. You may be wondering why and the reason is simple. Nothing ensures that you will NOT go to the next stage of the selection process, so it is unethical for the recruiter to tell you that you did well or badly in the interview by being advantageous to you in the following. The recruiter does not immediately determine whether or not you go to the next stage, much less is he responsible for determining if you are selected for the position. This occurs after analyzing the answers and the performance of each candidate in the interviews. The final decision is usually made by someone else, usually the one you will be in charge of.

The only time your interviewer could give you an answer right away is when you really suck, either because you disrespected them, made them angry, or showed them in some way that you wouldn’t fit in or align with what the company requires. at that moment.

I recommend you wait for them to call you and set a time limit, if nothing happens when the time comes, you simply renew your search.

10) Do not dismiss opportunities just because they are difficult or challenging

In a casual conversation with my former colleagues we discussed the types of job interviews for software engineers . They had been in at least 3 other jobs and therefore went through many selection processes. Everyone agreed that the worst selection process was the one in which a software project (an application) must be delivered, that is, doing programming work as a test in order to be accepted. They said that doing this was always a bad investment of time because the test generally takes a few days to do something complex and there are even companies that take advantage of candidates and use these tests to make them work for free.

After 2 months looking for a job, having gone to multiple interviews, answering calls and checking notices every day. They answered me about a job that I liked and, guess? The next stage was to complete a software project in 2 days . I decided to take a risk and did the project finally getting the job.

Finding a job is a difficult and exhausting task, sometimes companies take weeks and even months to respond. Stay firm and be patient, you never know how things will end. So when an opportunity presents itself, do not hesitate to take advantage of it, after all, the more offers you have, the better, right?

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