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Finding A Job Isn’t That Hard, Just Get The System To Work For YOU

July 05, 2012

A few months ago I decided it was time to switch things up a bit. I was eager to move back to the US and also eager to work for a startup where I had more control over my place in the company. I wanted an office I could walk to and one that I wanted to go to everyday. And I wanted the office to be in a vibrant, exciting city with an active startup scene.

Sure, I dabbled with a few companies over the last year, but it wasn’t until mid-March of this year that I started to get a bit more serious about it. Getting cut after the 3rd round of several-hour interviews at Google a year ago was a bit painful, but I was glad I went through that because it forced me to think about what I really wanted to do. It was actually the first time I interviewed for a job that I did not get. There would be a few others after that, but each bad interview taught me more and more about what I wanted.

Google came up because of a conversation with a friend at a ski house in France last year. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but hey, it was Google. Another company came up because of a well timed LinkedIn email just as the Google opportunity died (turned out they wanted a well-experienced do-it-all trainer but wanted to pay a fresh-out-of-college salary). And then I stopped pursuing anything for a good 6-9 months. That happened to coincide with the work I was doing to create I was having too much fun in my job to think about changing things.

So in March I decided to start looking again and thats when I put the Internet to work for me. The key tool I used to get me my job was IFTTT. Don’t try to pronounce it. Its “If This Then That”, or IFTTT basically waits for something to happen on the internet and then does something in response. What kinds of things? Well, I use it to check tomorrows weather, check web sites without RSS, archive my Instagram pictures, auto-respond to new Twitter followers, and more.

But for job searching, I had IFTTT start searching a few sites every day and send me an email when it found a match. Each This and That combo is called a Recipe, and I had about 10-15 recipes for different sites and searches. I had searches on Craigslists for Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, NYC, and Boston for jobs with the word “evangelist” in them. I had searches on the various VC company pages for jobs at the companies they were funding, again looking for the evangelist role.

Every day, 3-10 jobs came into my inbox. Some were repeats, and some were actually jobs for pastors and preachers. But some looked like amazingly cool opportunities that I had to investigate. In April, I sent in my resume to one of those companies. Later that month we were talking (while I was in Sydney and Bangkok and San Antonio) on the phone and for some in-person interviews in Boston. In May came the offer, and next week I start the job: Technical Evangelist at a very cool web startup in Boston, Massachusetts.

Looking back at the interviews that did not work out, none of them were jobs that I really wanted. Some were startups a little too new (and risky) or too established (and rigid), some were Dev Evangelists, some were trainers. None of those were what I really wanted. Maybe that showed in the interviews because I wasn’t as excited as I should have been. One insisted on a Skype interview even though he had a terrible connection then had HR contact me to say I didn’t have the skills. If that was really it, they could have figured it out from my blog and twitter. (HINT: if you are hiring, have a bad internet connection and want to do a good interview, pick up the damned phone!). Glad I didn’t end up working for that guy.

Out of all the jobs I looked into there were many I was a perfect fit for, but there was only one that was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do right now. That was the one I was super excited about. That was the one I contacted several times mid-interview process and post-interview with ideas of what I would do in the role. I even made a video or two demonstrating my skills with their messaging. The one I was super excited about is exactly the one that I got. I can’t wait to get started!

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