Job Search Part 1: Preparing

When Chris and I first started talking about getting a different job, and moving, I knew it was going to be a lot of work and stressful, especially for Chris. I knew it was going to take up a lot of time. I wasn’t prepared for how stressful and time consuming it really would be.

What made it even more difficult was Chris’ lack of interviewing experience. He had interviewed for a few other jobs, but nothing like this.

The first thing Chris did when he knew he was going to apply for a job was buy the book, Cracking the Coding Interview. This book is HUGE, like over 600 pages huge. It gives examples of coding questions that may be asked in the interview and gives good solutions to those problems. Chris went through that book as best he could with the time period he had. (He had about a month before he started doing phone screens and about 2 months from when his in person interviews were.) The book recommends start preparing for interviews about a year before hand. He also bought Programming Pearls 2nd edition, and Elements of Programming Interviews.

He started looking for positions that he would be interested, and updated his resume. Then he started applying for different positions.

We had talked about moving for several months and had been thinking it was time to leave Intel for a few weeks. I finally told him for my birthday I wanted him to apply to 5 jobs and he did. He heard back from one of them wanting to do a phone screen, but he hadn’t heard back from anyone else. We were both a little discouraged so he decided to apply to a bunch of places. Since we were new to this we didn’t know that different companies have different time lines. Some respond almost immediately. Others take several days, weeks, or even months. (We are still just hearing back from several companies he applied for.) Soon everyone was getting back to him requesting phone screens. I think there was a point where he had scheduled over 30 phone screens.

When he had phone screens scheduled he knew he had to start studying really hard. He put a lot of time in preparing for these interviews. He would study over the weekends. He would be up late studying. The three months he had interviewing and preparing for interviews was worse than when he was in school. It was becoming a full time job just prepping for these interviews. He would go into work after hours and practice coding on a white board. It was extremely stressful and time consuming for him.

We did learn a few good lessons in this process. First, he highly recommends Cracking the Coding Interview. He said he would pay a lot of money to have that book. He says it basically got him a job. Next he would only apply to a few companies at a time and be patient to hear back from them. And lastly he will be more prepared next time. He won’t start prepping the month he starts interviewing. He will try to stay up on the interviewing type questions, even if he isn’t interviewing.



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