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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Adventures in job hunting...

My company went belly-up in June, and I collected my last paycheck on June 30. After that came the Great Job Search, which ended this week.

A bit about me in advance: I've been a database engine developer for the past 20 years, and work as an individual contributor with some management responsibilities, and typically work at a "director" level (ie, reports to VP Eng) in a small company.

Some observations from the job search:

o A surprisingly large number of technology companies use pedantic "employment applications" of the sort one expects to see at Burger King. An experienced professional has a very different life history than these applications are built for. One example: they have trivial notions of compensation - they only ask for base salary, without the ability to enter bonus information, profit sharing, stock options, etc.

2. I had to rewrite my resume a couple of times to get it right. I had friends proofread it and this helped greatly. I maintained a MS Word version of my resume as well as a text version.

4. I worked with several recruiters. Two of them were "active" while the others were duds. I ended up accepting an offer from a company the most active recruiter found.

5. Interviewing is a skill that needs practice. I blew my first couple of phone interviews until I analyzed them and realized I talked too much about my last company and not enough about what I could do for them. A good interview is where you ask more questions than the interviewer.

6. Again with interviewing: I accepted a couple of "practice" interviews so I could hone my interview technique.

7. A couple of interviews involved writing code in front of the interviewer. I did well here, but I always hated this practice, especially for senior people. I always preferred offline coding tests to scrawling code on paper in front of someone trying to play gotcha. More on this later...

Anyway, enough of the job search. More on it later...

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