Sorry there was no entry yesterday. Things are getting busy.
Got that overlap rescheduled yesterday… for today. And I had to get a presentation ready to go because today’s screening call would be the first of at least three times I’d have to give a presentation for an interview. Luckily no one’s wanted a bespoke presentation and I had misread the 30-minute time as a target instead of a maximum. Yay.
So basically I took an old presentation I gave in 2016 (when I was between Avalara and Amazon), updated it to reflect the experience I’ve had since then. Tightened it, and got it coming in at about 17 minutes. I’ll just give it three or more times. It’s meta technical about the differences and similarities in teaching tech to kids and adult devs. I get to say some technical things that show my command of technical topics, but it never discusses a specific technology that might be too different from a potential employer’s or that might go over the head of a product or marketing manager sitting in on the presentation.
The last time I had to do a deck for an interview, I did a complex one on Alexa Account Linking flows, showing how to use WordPress to set up a demo server with OAuth protection, so I could then link a demo skill to it and query the server for blog post titles. The idea was that if I didn’t get the job I was interviewing for, I’d be able to use the deck for a webinar at the job I had. I didn’t get to that before I left, but in chatting with a former co-worker a couple days ago, I got a chance to hand it off to him.
I also got hit up by a former skip-level manager about a role he was recruiting for at his new employer, but after we discussed it yesterday, I told him I could do it, but it was far enough out of my wheelhouse, that I wouldn’t be anywhere near the best candidate. It was not only a tech I didn’t know well, but a community I had no presence in. I could have remedied both, but it would have taken more time than I thought he had for this role to show big results. I would have really loved to work with him again, we had a great time catching up, but we both realized it wasn’t the right opportunity. Still it felt REALLY good to have him reach out. Thanks!!
I also had my first “we’ve chosen not to move forward” today that wasn’t just rejecting my resume. Oddly, I was about to tell them the same thing. Yesterday I did an “editing” exercise with the manager, going through a fuzzed-up documentation page to spot technical, grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. I love writing as part of my role as an Evangelist/Advocate, but I do not love writing and editing docs enough for it to be the primary part of my role. I realized that the way the manager saw the role and my ideal role were diverging. I wanted to sleep on it and was sort of keeping the role on the back burner like a “safety school” when you’re applying to colleges. But my morning was filled with interviews and by the time I could even think about it, the email popped up in my inbox.
“SAFETY SCHOOL” IS A BAD THING IN A JOB HUNT
Here’s the thing. I’ve got no salary coming in. That creates some desperation thinking, like “I might have to take a job I’m probably not going to like.” And that’s what happened there. I was pretty sure this wasn’t a good match, but I wasn’t totally sure, so I was keeping it on the back burner in case the other ones I’m pursuing didn’t pan out. I thought I was beyond that after my sabbatical. I’ve withdrawn from consideration for other roles after a couple of calls. But tomorrow is 2 weeks from the date I set to be finishing up interviews and until this morning I only had one “full loop” scheduled. I still have only one, but I’m feeling more confident about two more.
Things are looking up (knock wood)
One interview this morning was with a FAANG company. It was the last screen before they decided whether to bring me in for a full loop (5-7 interviews over the course of a day with different people who would evaluate me on different qualities). What was really nice was that it went well. The manager expressed that they liked my answers on the behavioral questions and I even heard them say “nice” during one of my slides in the presentation portion. I’m 95% sure this is going to full loop. That would make it the second full loop I’ve locked in.
Another interview with a smaller start up, like the one with the FAANG company, was me meeting with a manager I’d met with before. We’re actually going to have a third meeting tomorrow just so he can give me a quick programming test and have me give the presentation. If I pass that, because it’s a start-up, I’ll have one or two more calls before they’ll make a decision.
The other FAANG company responded that there was a manager interested. It’s for what I call a “straddle,” because it’s for a high-visibility public portal, but the Dev Rel part would be with the internal developers creating extensions for the portal. At least that’s what I got from the job description. That was another “I wouldn’t have thought I met the technical requirements, but the hiring manager thinks I have the right stuff for this, so it’s at least worth talking to them.” The screen is scheduled for tomorrow and will consist of a few portions including one coding test.
So far I’ve only had one coding test, writing a simple algorithm as two of their developers watched me hack away at it. I guess I passed, since they scheduled the loop after that, though there will be a more extensive pair-programming exercise as part of that loop. Tomorrow I have two. One will be to read the company’s docs and actually perform some simple calls against their API. The other will be with the FAANG company, so it could be anything from Fizz Buzz to reversing a binary tree.
Okay, it’s time for some TV, some rest, and then a good night’s sleep to be ready for tomorrow.