Lessons from interviews to first job

Photo by Nils Stahl on Unsplash

Lessons from interviews to first job

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 sometime 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 parents and relatives to "just get a job" and "don't be so fussy" is slowly but surely getting to me. I tried my best to ignore them, 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 filled with uncertainty and doubt. Rejections and ghosting became second nature to me quickly.

The frustration of going through technical 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 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 simply checking off a list of requirements. It's like throwing a net and trying to catch as many fish as possible.
  • a continuation of the previous point: a hiring manager that hums 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 to achieve the business mission.

Levelling up

All these trials are the lessons I needed to learn in order to be a better and well-rounded person, and 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 have clarity about the value I bring to employers, instead of complaining about how life is unfair, or taking 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 a great impression of the company and leadership, and am confident in leveling 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 unlocking many more in the future!

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