Job Search 2022 Update: Week 4

Has it been four weeks? I can’t remember. I’ve been told there was a time before the interviews, before the coding challenges, before the system design questions. But I can’t remember. That life is gone, lost in the haze. All I have now is the interviews, the endless stream of questions and scheduling requests. My only hope now is that this infinity will end, but how can infinity end? That’s the paradox that consumes my waking thoughts.

If I add it all up, I had 11.5 hours of interviews this past week. That doesn’t seem like much when I write it down, but it sure felt like a lot while I was doing it.

Fun fact, a lot of the people I talk to have read these blog posts! That’s not surprising, since I link to this blog from my resume and online profiles. From what I can tell, nothing I’ve written has alarmed anyone too much.

Originally, in my week 2 post I had said I am “terminally blunt” and someone did ask about that. I realized that wasn’t the best wording, and I’ve since edited that blog post. What I was trying to express was that I don’t like the types of social lies where I’m lying and the person I’m speaking to knows I’m lying, but social convention says I should lie anyway. I’d rather just tell the truth. But the phrase “terminally blunt” makes me sound like I could be a huge asshole. I will leave it to those who know me to judge whether I am, but I am sure that none of my references will say that I am.

Again, I’ll start with the list of places that simply have not responded beyond the initial automated “thanks for your application”:

  • Cockroach Labs - applied on 2022-03-21
  • GitHub - applied on 2022-03-10
  • Netflix - applied on 2022-03-11
  • Oso - applied on 2022-03-10

I added Cockroach Labs since it’s been two weeks since my application now.

ClickHouse is no longer on the list! I have a first interview with someone there next Monday. Can I get through the process with them and other slow movers before I have enough offers that I should just pick one? Maybe they’ll move fast. Let’s see.

I didn’t submit any new applications this week, and at this point I’m responding to all1 new incoming requests with “thanks but I’m too busy for more interviews”.

Here’s this week’s updates …

I had an initial call with a recruiter at 1Password. I had applied for an engineering manager position because I thought from the job description the role involved a fair bit of IC work too. But it was much less than I wanted. The recruiter said they’d run my resume and interests by all hiring managers to see if maybe there was a management position that fit what I wanted, or if they wanted to consider me for an IC role. The next day I got a generic “we’ve decided not to move forward with the role you applied for” email. So I’m not sure if they actually considered me for anything else.

Maybe they thought I was trying to do some sort of bait and switch application. Is that a thing? How could that possibly work?. I didn’t apply for any IC roles because at the time I didn’t see any that seemed like a good fit. Maybe I was right and that hasn’t changed. Oh well.

I still hadn’t heard back from Array by Tuesday, March 29, six days after submitting my homework, so I emailed the recruiter to check in. My homework was well received and they just needed to get the CTO’s feedback. I ended up meeting with the CTO on Friday morning and he was very positive about my application. They’re hiring for several teams so we talked about which might be the best fit for me, and I’ll move forward with one of those teams next week.

I spoke to a different recruiter at Fastly and I have an interview with a hiring manager scheduled for next Wednesday. I’d like to move this one along since at one interview per week the process will take way too long. If things go well next week I will politely tell the hiring manager that.

I got an offer from LogDNA! It’s a good offer, but I told them that I need to wait to see other offers before I make any decisions.

I had a metric forkton of interviews with MongoDB on Monday and Tuesday. This included a couple live coding exercises, one on concurrency and one on algorithms, as well as a live systems design challenge. I think I did really well on the concurrency exercise, fairly well on the systems design challenge, and not so well on the algorithms exercise. I have a lot more to say about these sorts of live exercises, as well as homework/take-homes, but I’ll save it for after I accept an offer2.

I did a live coding exercise with OneSignal as well. This went quite well. I have a “virtual onsite” (aka circa three hours of interviews) scheduled for next week.

One thing about OneSignal that stands out is the detailed interview guide materials that they give you. These materials detail what types of interviews you’ll be having, what topics they’ll cover, the qualities they’re looking for, and they give some guidance on how to prepare. This is great! Every company should do this! If I end up somewhere beside OneSignal I might try to make this happen there.

I met with several people from Oden, including the CEO, another engineering manager, a software engineer, and a product person. This included a systems design challenge with an interesting structure. For the first hour, I worked with an engineer who presented the problem. I sketched out a design in Lucidchart and made a bunch of notes. Then after a short break, I met with a product person. I explained the design to them and we talked about various potential issues.

If I had to pick one company right now based purely on the product (ignoring offer details, tech stack, company size, etc.), it’d probably be Oden. As a refresher, they do data collection and analytics for factory production lines. This is quite interesting, and it’d be totally new for me.

But of course, all those other details besides the product matter a lot too. And fortunately, every company I’ve spoken to has an interesting product that will involve some sort of new challenge for me, whether that be its scale, learning a new field, or something else.

I had a couple more interviews with Optic, including one with an engineer and another chat with their CEO. They’re a very early stage startup (just 5 people right now, I believe), but it sounds like they have a reasonable work/life balance. I greatly enjoy having a chance to talk to company CEOs and learn more about the product vision, their growth and funding plans, the challenges they face beyond the technical ones, and other high-level details. This is a perk of interviewing with smaller companies, and it was an aspect of my interview process at ActiveState I liked a lot back in 2017.

And that’s this week’s update. The list is slowly shrinking, and I’m hoping that I will be able to make a decision by Friday, April 15 at the latest. After that, I suspect the gating factor on my start date will be laptop availability.

  1. If someone reaches out about a job that pays $1 million a year with 20 weeks of PTO and a 4-day week, I’ll definitely respond. Again, my email is↩︎

  2. Translation, I’m gonna complain about these big time but I don’t want to do it mid-process in case it makes any potential employer mad. ↩︎