A hiring manager and a recruiter’s guide to getting hired.

This post is a collaboration between me, Joe Basirico, and one of the best tech recruiters in the industry, Ellen McGarrity. You can learn more about Joe on this website. Throughout you can read Ellen’s take, in her own words in blue text

Ellen has spent her 18-year career focused on recruiting in the software tech industry at both large (Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce) and small (Tableau, Highspot) companies. She has recruited candidates at all levels, domestically and internationally. Originally based out of Seattle, she now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and 2 daughters.

According to Layoffs.fyi nearly 400 tech companies have laid off more than 100 thousand people in the first two months of 2023. To put that into perspective that’s two thirds of the total layoffs in 2022. Some companies are on their third or fourth round of layoffs and with more and more people looking for jobs I wanted to do what I could to help people find their next great job. I have about 15 years of experience as a manager. Over that time I’ve interviewed hundreds, if not thousands of people, read thousands of resumes, read and written more than my fair share of Job Descriptions, and hired many engineers, leaders, and entire teams.

I also happen to currently work with one of the best recruiters I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, so I invited her to collaborate with me on this article. She has filled in the gaps of my knowledge article to give you a complete picture of the interview of what it takes to land your next job.

One thing you will notice quickly is there is a lot of work listed below. You might ask yourself “Is it really necessary to do all this research, prep and follow up?” It would certainly be a lot easier to create one basic resume and fire it off to every role that could be a fit. While that may work, I don’t think that’s a good way to find the best opportunity for you.

We spend half our waking hours at our jobs with our coworkers. A good job and a good manager has a huge effect on your personal happiness and wellbeing. I believe it is well worth the effort to make sure you find something that you enjoy doing and that you find meaningful.

Doing this work will help you find the right place, increase the likelihood of getting an offer, and it will help make sure that your future employer’s principles align with yours.

Let’s get you hired.


There is some important work that you’ll need to do before you start interviewing. Building and polishing your resume is the obvious first step, but it’s also important to get your online presence in order. The recruiters and hiring managers will do some simple web searching for you, you want to know what they’ll find so you can speak to it, if it comes up. Blogs, websites, articles, public social media posts and photos are all fair game, don’t let yourself be caught flatfooted.

Building a great Resume

A great resume is clean, professional, easy to scan, complete, aspirational, and truthful. Remember you’re selling yourself into this new position so it’s important to be confident but not braggartly. Let’s break down each of these goals in turn.

The first thing I notice when I’m scanning a resume is the look and feel of the document. I want to see a resume that looks professional and is neat and tidy.

Ellen McGarrity (EM): Recruiters will often spend mere seconds scanning through a resume, especially if we’ve received dozens or hundreds of other resumes for a particular role. Your resume should be short, to-the-point, and organized.

A professional resume is easy to scan, clean, and completely free from typos, spelling, or grammar issues. It’s really hard to look past these kinds of mistakes for a Hiring Manager (HM). I will think “If they make this mistake on their resume, what will they do when I hire them?” Don’t include copy/pasted images from your certifications or classes, those distracting images give your resume a poor, unbalanced, design. Reference accomplishments by name instead. Use an easy to read standard font (no comic sans, please) and keep any graphic design elements like shadows, reflections, halos, and lens flare off the page (yes, I’ve seen all of these).

Including a short link to your personal website is OK, but don’t include long links. You can create linked words in a PDF resume to LinkedIn or other professional websites, unless you’re applying for a photography job you do not need to include a link to your instagram or flickr sites. If you have a professional looking headshot it’s fine to include it as a small image in a top corner, but don’t make it too large, and don’t include a random selfie. One reader gave some good feedback on including photos in a resume. They said the photo could encourage bias in the hiring process. I don’t want to recommend anything could benefit or harm candidates based on their race or gender. For that reason I no longer recommend adding a photo to your resume.

Use a professional email from gmail [email protected] not [email protected], you’d be surprised at some of the email addresses I’ve seen. If you don’t have one, create one for this process. A personal domain email address is fine if it’s professional and you want the recruiter/HM to go to your website. They will go to your personal website and read the posts and articles you’ve written. Don’t use older services like hotmail.com or aol.com. You may also want to create a virtual phone number from a service like Google Voice if you don’t want to provide your personal cell.

Submit your resume as a PDF and only as a PDF. I don’t want to open a MS Word doc, a text file, or RichText document, or an image. Don’t try to be clever with zany designs, again, your resume should be easy to read in seconds. Most recruiting platforms do really well with PDFs. Making your resume clean and easy to understand for humans will also work well for those platforms. Make sure your resume prints well in black and white.

Your actual resume should include a short paragraph at the top that explains your experience and the role you’re looking for. This can replace a traditional cover letter.

EM: The majority of roles in the tech sector do not need a cover letter. Alternatively, you can write a succinct summary statement about yourself at the top of your resume. Especially if you’re transitioning roles/sectors, looking to relocate, or are coming off a period of not working, this can be helpful to alert the recruiter of what you’re seeking next.

The most important things on your resume are:

  • Company Name - Don’t include a wonky screenshot logo, remember keep it clean
  • Title - Use a professional, recognizable title. They might have called you Security Princess , but unless you’re actually Parisa Tabriz, you probably can’t get away with that, call yourself by a recognizable title.
  • Dates of employment - Just the dates, not the duration.
  • Key Responsibilities - in 3-5 words per line, 3-5 responsibilities
  • Key Skills - keep this to a top 5 list, guess what, everybody knows how to use MS Word, I don’t need to see that.

When you’re writing your skills and responsibilities, again be aspirational. If you just started managing an external vendor relationship, then say “Managed external vendor relationship to XYZ” don’t say “I was just starting to work with these external vendors, but I really hadn’t figured anything out yet.” Provide detail on your achievements, responsibilities, ownership, leadership, and impact. In your responsibilities and skills section use powerful, past tense, verbs: Owned, Managed, Improved.

You may include a “References Available Upon Request” but make sure they’re good references and that they know the Recruiter or HM will be contacting them! It’s quite awkward to give somebody a call who isn’t expecting to be a reference. Good reference: my previous boss or coworker with whom you’ve built a trusting professional relationship and who can speak to your abilities at work. Bad reference: that really good friend who you worked with at Burger King for that summer that time.

Keep it concise, less than 2 pages long with a reasonably sized font. I don’t care about the details of what you did 20 years ago, and I don’t care about your university accomplishments if it was more than 5 years ago. Do include your degree and dates, it’s valuable to know you have a degree, if you do.

Finally, make sure you actually know everything you mention on your resume. The interviewer will read over your resume and anything on it is fair game. If I bring something up from a resume I expect you to be able to talk about it.

Rapid fire Q&A with Ellen:

Q: Does it make sense to customize the resume for each application?

EM: In a tough economy when jobs are scarce, it could help your resume stand out if you customize for roles you’re particularly interested in.

Q: Does it make sense to “keyword stuff” my resume?

EM: This is not necessary, but it can be helpful to look at the keywords in the job you’re applying for and then ensure that your resume includes the keywords that are relevant to your background. Many recruiters will use Boolean strings to source in a product like LinkedIn, and our strings are often tied to the keywords in the job description. If your profile or resume doesn’t include them, we might not find you.

Q: Should I include a QR code to my online resume or linked in?

EM: This is not necessary.

Finding a Position

Once you have a great resume now it’s time to find a great company with a job opening with a good match and apply!

Finding a position to apply to can be difficult. There are lots of websites out there that curate job descriptions and openings, but they can sometimes feel overwhelming. Sifting through applicants can be difficult for recruiters too who tend to get dozens or hundreds of applicants for a single position. We’ll talk more about setting yourself apart, but the first thing to do is to make sure that you can do the work in the Job Description, you will find the work interesting, and you feel like the company is a place where you want to work for a long time.

Job Satisfaction Alignment

It’s important to be honest with yourself about your purpose for working. Is it simply to get a paycheck, is it more about the company culture and values, or is it about solving really interesting challenges.

Rate how important each of these areas are for you, there’s no right answer below, but take care not to rate them all at a 10, because you’ll need to make a tradeoff eventually.


  • Base Pay - what you take home every fortnight
  • Stock options or stock grants - what you hope the company will be worth in the future
    • There is a lot more to these things than I can cover here, but if you’re interested Carta has good information
  • ESPP - An Employee Stock Purchase Plan is a way for employees to purchase stock, usually at a discounted rate
  • Quarterly or Annual Bonus - This can be personal or company performance based
  • Other perks and benefits - 401k matching, parking, free lunches or coffee, what matters to you?

Opportunity to solve interesting problems

  • Challenges - Do you find these things interesting? Do you believe you can solve them?
  • Responsibilities - Will you be responsible for solving these, or will you be a part of a team?
  • Ownership - Will you have ownership over decision making?
  • Collaboration - Will you have the opportunity to collaborate with others, do you want to?


  • Company direction - If the company “wins their category” do you believe in that vision?
  • Values - Do you agree with their values, do values matter to you?
  • Team culture - How much does team culture matter to you, do you want to feel supported and collaborate with your team, or work in a silo?
  • Personal growth - Do you want support to grow, do things like education credits, conferences, or programs like BetterUp matter to you?
  • Leadership - Do you want a connection of trust with your leadership, or are you happy as long as they keep the light on?
  • Mentorship - Do you want a formal mentor? What form will that take?

Now that you know what matters to you, it’s time to do some company research.

Company Research

Try to get as much information about the company as possible. Digging into the culture, values and goals of the company can make sure you don’t waste time on time consuming interviews and prep. If you have questions and can’t find your answers feel free to ask these questions during your interviews. This is an opportunity to show off your knowledge about the company and get meaningful answers.

EM: I’m always surprised how few candidates do research on the company I’m representing. One of the first questions I ask in my intro screen is, “What do you know about XXX company?”. When a candidate has researched beforehand, it stands out and I note it for the hiring manager. This extra work can really make you stand out from the beginning.


Some companies publish a set of their values on their website or blog. These can give you insight into the type of company they are, or the type of company they want to be. Some values are historical as in “this is how we’ve always operated, and we’ve decided to write it down” and some are aspirational as in “this is the company I hope we can be as we continue to grow and hire.” I suppose there is a third category of “Here are some values that we thought would sound cool and make us attractive to new hires, but have little to no intention of actually living.”

Through your research it is important to try to understand which category your prospective company is in. Can you find evidence that these values matter and are used in their decision making? Do these align to your own values? Will these values help or hinder your professional goals? For example, if you want to help roll out an expensive and all inclusive DEI&B program. That’s an important goal, but it could conflict with the leadership’s perspective of the values of “Frugality” or “Results First.” You may need to be prepared to defend your position or educate leadership if there is a misalignment. If you have any question about the company values and how they align to your own or how they’ll help or hinder your own professional goals ask in the interview.


Working for a company that you believe will be successful will help you commit to your role fully without worrying about the company’s future viability. Depending on your role and the amount of your total compensation that is dependent on a successful exit you may choose to go deeper into this validation or you may choose to trust what you hear during the interview process.

The first questions you may want to ask are: What is this company trying to accomplish and will they be successful in achieving this goal? Some companies are establishing a new market, others are disrupting an existing market, others still are simply trying to optimize an existing solution. Success and growth can be different depending on the market they are trying to serve. Creating a new market is exciting but risky and requires a lot of sales education. Disrupting an existing market can also be exciting, but it’s important to ask why this particular disruption hasn’t happened before. Serving an existing market might feel safe and familiar, but also may be difficult to penetrate if the market is already saturated. If part of your compensation will be tied up in stock options it’s very important to be realistic about the likelihood of success and what that exit may look like, for every unicorn there are a lot of failed startups that have zero return; for every IPO at $100/share there are dozens of acquisitions for dollars on the option.

More Reconnaissance

Learning more about the prospective company might give you more signal as you move through the interview process. Consider investigating the following topics or asking about them during an interview.

  • Other open roles - This can help you understand what team you’re going to step into
    • If this is the only open role, you may be joining an existing established team
    • If this is an open role of 5 available, you may be the first of many to be hired
  • Leadership
    • Figure out who your leadership representative will be, do more research on them on linkedin, blogs, etc.
    • Do you like this person? If you had to work with them daily would you feel inspired or transactional?
  • Projects
    • What projects do you think you’ll be working on?
  • Competitors
    • Who are their competitors?
    • Who is “winning” the space?
    • Check out the Gartner Magic Quadrant to understand more
  • What sets them apart
    • What’s their magical special sauce that will make them successful?
  • Technology
    • What technology do they use?

Hiring Manager Research

Search every area you can to learn more about your hiring manager. This will give you insight into the questions they may ask, the values they have, the importance of different things. If you search for them and find a recent post on “10 reasons why react is the best web framework in the world” you better bet you’re getting react questions. If you find an article “Why C# sucks” then don’t write your programming question in C#.

Moreover, try to understand their own interests and goals. Will they be an inspiring leader to follow? Do a web search for your Hiring Manager, read the blog posts and articles they’ve written, listen to the podcasts they’ve been involved in. Bring these things up during the interview in a genuine way.


OK, finally I’ve found my dream job, I’ve found my dream company! How do I get hired?

The best way to get noticed is through an internal referral, if you have a friend at the company or can get an introduction that helps immensely.

Many people will not apply to a position they could do because they feel they don’t meet all of the requirements in the Job Description. Many Job Descriptions are not written by the hiring manager or engineering managers, this means that the list of requirements are not fully accurate or actually required. Job descriptions will often have two or three key responsibilities or core areas of expertise. Apply if you feel confidence in one of them, but you feel you can/want to learn the other two. Apply if you meet more than 50% of the technical requirements or have at least 50% of the years of experience. Apply if you’ve already held positions that are similar or adjacent.

If you are on the fence, apply!

Setting your application apart

Consider reaching out to the Hiring Manager on LinkedIn. Introduce yourself and express interest in the role and your ability and applicable history. A simple message like “I saw your job posting [here] and I think I’d be a great match for the position, can you tell me a bit more about the role?” can start a great conversation and help with name recognition in the final stages of the process. If they don’t respond or direct you to a different hiring channel like Lever or LinkedIn simply thank them for their time and use that channel.

EM: Sometimes, it’s tough to get our attention, especially if the role you’re interested in has many applicants. If you know someone in the company, have them directly refer you. Or look at the job posting on LinkedIn and sometimes you can tell who the recruiter is. Send us a short, friendly message saying how interested you are in the role, but don’t put pressure on us to respond or pick you. These actions will give your profile more visibility.

In most interview processes, the first person you talk to is the Recruiter. And you might interact with the recruiting coordinator for scheduling interviews. If you have to go into a physical office to interview, you might talk to employees at the front desk. It can be tempting to brush us off as not important, but how you interact with each of these people will often be reported back to the hiring team. Be gracious and engaging with everyone you meet. And if you make it to the offer stage, it’s often the Recruiter who is acting as your advocate to get you the best package possible. Having a good relationship goes a long way.

As you prepare for interviews, don’t be shy to ask the Recruiter questions. Hopefully, they’ve shared some sort of prep materials with you. But if not, ask things like:

  • “Can you tell me more about each person I’m interviewing with?”
  • “What topics does each person usually cover?”
  • “What are the top skills this hiring manager is looking for in an ideal candidate?”
  • “What are the key focus areas for the company in the next fiscal year?”
  • “Is this role a backfill or a brand new position?”

We will often have valuable information to share, and this could help you prioritize when getting ready for the next round.

Preparing for the Technical Interviews

Preparing for the technical aspects of the job cannot be understated. As a hiring manager I tend to put interview candidates’ answers into three categories:

  1. doesn’t know this topic
  2. knows this but is very new to the topic
  3. knows this topic well

The difference between category two and three is the confidence of how you answer the question. It is a good idea to collect a set of questions you expect to be asked and get really confident at answering them. Dive deep into the second or third level of questions that you may be asked. Read recent articles and all the common literature on key topics. Develop your own opinions and understand alternatives to common solutions.

You can collect a good set of questions by first thinking about the questions you’d ask if you were hiring for the position. Second, do a web search for “[ROLE] interview questions” and get comfortable at answering them. If your role includes a coding portion, get really comfortable with your language’s syntax, don’t look up for loops or basic builtins during the interview. Practice and practice on services like leetcode.com review whatever you feel is applicable on YouTube or services like Educative.io .

Sometimes, if you prepare well you can even preempt some of the questions before they’re asked. This is always great from an interviewer’s perspective. When I say during a debrief “We took the full hour interview and I was only asked two of my questions, but she ended up answering all of my other questions organically” that’s a good interview! That means the interviewee not only has the answers, but understands the meaning and context.

Research every topic and term on the Job Description. This is the cliff notes version of what you may be asked. It’s a great opportunity to see what you need to learn. Have at least basic familiarity with each topic and for key areas be able to redirect as appropriate. For example a question might be: “Tell me about HIPAA” A decent response is “I haven’t spent a lot of time with health care privacy laws, but I”m happy to apply what I know about GDPR and CPRA and I’m sure I could learn HIPAA quickly” Focusing the answer on what you do know about privacy, vs. what you don’t know about HIPAA is a good way to show your understanding and highlight your background.

Using a Rude Q&A technique can also help prepare you and calm your nerves. Rude Q&A is a process where you create a list of the questions you do not want to be asked in an interview then answer them as well as possible. What are your worst fears? What is your weakest area? Write the question in a rude way to help you prepare for the worst. Prepping for these questions with polite, thoughtful answers can help keep you in control throughout the interview. To be clear, don’t ever let an interviewer actually be rude to you, that can be a clear indicator of poor culture and a bad fit.

Some Rude Questions might be:

  • Why were you let go/laid off from your previous position?
  • Why haven’t you achieved Senior level yet?
  • Seems like you’re a job hopper, why have you switched positions three times in the last two years?
  • You used to be a manager, and now you’re an IC, couldn’t cut it?


Every interview goes two ways. They’re interviewing you for the role, but you’re interviewing them to see if this is a place you want to spend 40 hours per week. This is important, remember it’s just as important for you to recognize poor fits as it is for them.

Phone Screen

Come with questions, lots and lots of questions. Make sure they have the opportunity to ask theirs, but make sure your important questions are answered. If they ask “do you have any questions” the only wrong answer is “no.” During the phone screen you should ask as many questions as you can about the next steps, interviewers, and interview questions. When asked I will walk a candidate through every topic we’re going to ask about. The interview shouldn’t be a surprise, it should be an opportunity to put your best foot forward. You can only do that with proper information preparation.

Ask how you can properly prepare and what questions will be asked. Ask if you’ll need to code live and what technology they use to do the live portion. Test your system with all the technologies, I don’t want to spend 20 min of my 60 min interview debugging your browser. If there’s a take home component, ask questions about that. “Should I use libraries?” “Should I optimize for performance, or security, or testability or just focus on getting the work done?” “How do I submit the work, do you want a runnable docker container, a binary, a script, or just the core function of the code?”

Ask about the people you’ll end up talking with. Ask for their names, roles, and anything you should know about them. Use this information to look them up and further prepare for their specific interview.

Technical Interviews

Most companies will have you do 2-5 technical interviews. The best interviews I’ve had are conversational. They’re two people talking about a set of topics that they know about and enjoy. Interviews are nerve wracking, but the more of a friendly conversation you can have the better. Throughout the interview ask your questions as they come up. If you think of something that you want to ask, go ahead and ask when you get a chance.

For each question you get, take a second and think about the question. Why did they ask this question? What are they trying to get out of you with the question? Stay on topic and answer the question thoroughly, feel free to bend the question a bit to highlight the topics you know most about, but don’t answer the question “Tell me how a carburetor works” with the answer “let me tell you the story of a time when I had to convince a difficult customer to buy our product.” Check in as you’re wrapping up. Ask if they’d like you to go more in depth or if that answers their question. This shows me the candidate is thoughtful about the time, but also wants to make sure my questions are thoroughly answered.

Don’t BS me. Seriously, don’t make stuff up. I’m asking these questions and probably know a decent amount about them, so be comfortable saying you don’t know. This doesn’t mean you need to immediately and one dimensionally answer “I don’t know” to anything that doesn’t rigidly align to your expertise. A good example might be I ask “Explain to me how Docker works” a decent answer might be “I don’t have much experience with docker and containerization, but I use virtualization heavily in my work, I’m happy to talk about that technology…”

Be really ready for STAR type interview questions and stories. Have three to five stories ready to go and pick the one that most closely matches the question when asked.

  • S - Situation: What was the situation and why is it related to the question they asked
  • T - Task: What was the task you had to accomplish? What was your goal?
  • A - Action: what did you do to accomplish your task to rectify the Situation?
  • R - Result: what was the outcome of your action?

Get ready for some non-technical questions as well. Prepare with stories where you learned something.

  • Tell me a time when things went to plan and what you would repeat.
  • Describe a time when things didn’t go well and what you learned and would change.
  • What attracts you to this company/position?
  • What does success look like in 3/6/12 months for you?
  • What do you need to be effective in this position?

EM: Some other general tips for technical rounds:

  • Think out loud and show your work. The interviewers want to see your thought process.
  • When given a problem to solve, feel comfortable to ask clarifying questions and state any assumptions you’re making. This can ensure you’re starting with a good approach.
  • If you get stuck and the interviewer offers you a tip, take it graciously and keep going vs. getting defensive. Often, the interviewer wants to see you successful and it’s common they might give a hint to get a candidate over the hurdle. And if you can collaborate with your interviewer, this demonstrates how you can be a team player.
  • If one interview round doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, try to keep a positive spirit heading into the next round. It’s rare that a candidate aces every single question. If you’ve overall demonstrated most of the skills needed for the role, the team may still decide to extend the offer.

Another common question is “What interests you about this company?” This is your time to shine with all the company research you did up above, you did do that research, right? Have a good answer for this, and be ready for follow ups. Good answers speak to the alignment of your values and goals to the company, this is easier to answer when you’ve done that alignment exercise from earlier.

  • Why this small company and not a big FAANG?
  • Why Amazon and not Meta or Microsoft?
  • Why this small company and not one of our competitors.

Have questions!

It’s important to have questions, not only because it helps you learn about the role, but it also establishes you as somebody who is interested. I’ve actually passed on candidates who were technically capable, but I didn’t think were interested in the company or role.

Here are some questions to get you started

  • What’s the most exciting thing about this position?
  • Will you be my manager, if so what are some ways that I can immediately be successful, if not what are they like?
  • What would success look like after 3/6/12 months?
  • What’s the next level of promotion look like?
  • How long has this position been open?
  • What’s the biggest challenge to the success of someone in this role?
  • Use the list from the “Matching yourself to the opportunity” section to ask questions that are important to you for example:
    • If professional growth is important to you, ask about professional development or mentorship opportunities
    • If culture is important ask about the company’s values and how they align to your interviewers day to day
    • If leadership is important to you ask what they like about the leaders in the company or a time the leaders have impressed them, ask for specific recent examples

EM: I can’t stress this point enough! If you’ve had a great interview and then at the end you have no questions, it can really leave a bad impression with the interviewer. If you’re on a longer interview loop, that means coming up with a lot of questions so you don’t run out of them by the last people you meet.

Post Interview

Follow up email

Seriously, this is critical. Interviews are terrible signals for who to hire. The interview is the tool we have to find the best person we can. We really want to know how you’ll do at this job in the long term. We want to know about your follow through, communication, leadership, memory, and capability to learn and apply new knowledge. You can demonstrate a lot of that as well as remind the interviewer of your name and how well things went through a follow up email.

I recommend sending a follow up email to every person you talk with. If you don’t have their email address, write one and send it to your recruiter and ask them to forward it along.

Your email should include a heartfelt Thank You and include a specific thing or two that you enjoyed about the process. Remind them how well the interview went and how excited you are about the role. If there were any questions you felt you didn’t answer well or thoroughly enough, now is your chance to answer them! It’s totally fine if they asked a question that you didn’t answer well. Use the time after the interview to research and follow up. I did this to land my first real job. After my interview I felt like I had totally bombed the questions. I spent the evening researching all the questions and wrote a long well structured follow up email explaining what I’d do and how I felt like I should have answered the questions. Later my manager said I wasn’t the strongest technical candidate, but that my follow up email showed my capability and follow through and that was enough to push my application over the other candidates.

If you have any other follow-on questions it’s great to ask them here, it helps you get the answers that are helpful in your decision making process and helps keep the conversation going. Finish up with a reiteration of your excitement about the opportunity and how your skills fit with their position.

Negative Outcome

EM: If you don’t get the role, it can be disappointing. Sometimes a recruiter or company can give you more detail about why you didn’t get the offer and if so, take the feedback graciously and count it as valuable feedback/learning as you enter the next interview process.

Often companies aren’t allowed to share detailed feedback after the interviews. Many Legal teams (especially at large companies) do not want to take on the risk of sharing this feedback with candidates. Even though it might feel frustrating, understand that your recruiter is usually sharing what information they can.

Lastly, keep in mind that sometimes when you don’t get the job, it has very little to do with your interview performance. The headcount could have been shifted or put on hold behind the scenes. Sometimes, there were multiple candidates who did really well, but the team only has one position to fill.


EM: Be sure to keep your recruiter aware of your timeline. Often, candidates are looking at multiple companies. In turn, companies are looking at multiple candidates. It can be challenging to align the timelines. Keep your recruiter updated, especially if you get an offer from another company and there is a quick decision deadline. Sometimes we can nudge the hiring team to expedite the process.

Most companies in the tech industry will give 2-5 business days to make a decision. This might mean you can’t finish the interview process with every single company before deciding on the first offers you get. You should have a clear idea ahead of time of what factors are most important to you to say yes to a job.

All this said, if you need a little more time to make a decision, communicate with your Recruiter and they can see if an extension is possible.

Offer Negotiation

EM: Your Recruiter has a big role to play in putting together your offer. Typically, it is the Recruiter who makes the initial compensation proposal and then works with Finance, HR, and the Hiring Manager to land on the final numbers.

We will be taking into account a number of factors including: what you (the candidate) have told us you’re looking for, the ranges our Compensation team has given for the role, keeping you at equity with others on the team in a particular role/level, and setting you up for success as you go through the yearly performance review cycle.

Be up front about what you’re looking for, but try not to appear pushy or greedy. If you have competing offers and not all of them are the same, share the highlights with your recruiter and ask if there’s any wiggle room on a certain component. In the tech industry, negotiation is common and the company might have built in some room to negotiate from the initial offer quoted to you.

When you do ask for negotiation, always come with data and a good justification. Your recruiter will need to sell the new proposal to several other parties. If your answer is simply “I looked on the internet and saw that other engineers make more money”, that’s not a good case. :)

Summing up

I hope this article is useful to you. It’s a summary of most of what I know about the interview process. As we all navigate through this tumultuous, stressful, challenging time it’s important to help where we can, and support each other. As you continue your job search, you may also consider changing sectors. Technology is being heavily affected by the economy and general layoffs, but other areas aren’t as hard hit. Lots of different companies are looking for great talent, widen your search to the financial, healthcare, or other areas that have open positions.

If this helps you find a job I would love to hear your story. If I can help you find your next opportunity please reach out and I’ll do what I can. You can reach me by email at [email protected] .

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