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15 Dec




Finding, Landing & Negotiating Your First Dev Job — Pt. 2

This is part 2 our step-by-step look at the process of finding and landing a junior developer position with Tech Academy graduate Corey D. In part one Corey covered the application and follow-up process, his initial interview, and the following technical interview. We're picking up where we left off, on Step 11 after Corey's technical interview. Step 11: I received the following email from the lead developer a few days later: Corey, Both (name of interviewers) have reflected on our time together with you last week, and the possibility of moving forward. I feel like your enthusiasm and attitude would be great additions to the team, and you did quite well on the practical assignment. However, there were a few areas of concern that warrant further discussion, so we’d like have you back. How would Friday @3 pm work for you? Thanks, In response, I sent the following email: (Name of interviewers), Good morning! I hope all is well. I apologize for not addressing all of your concerns in our last interview. Any details regarding your concerns would be much appreciated. I will see you both on Friday at 3pm. Have a nice day! Thanks, Step 12: Since the interviewers were on the fence about hiring me I wanted to make sure I left them with no doubt that I was the best fit for this position. I contacted several instructors from my school, past bosses and co-workers to ask them for recommendation letters. I thought that with proof of my experience and success in school and in the workplace I could persuade the interviewers. I received recommendation letters from a couple of instructors and a past boss. I also asked these people to add their recommendations on my LinkedIn profile. I brought the recommendation letters with me to the follow up interview. Step 13: Follow up interview: I met with the same two interviewers and they wanted more detail on the programming boot camp I attended as well as why I wanted to be a junior developer at their company instead of being one at the IT company at which I currently worked. I was able to better describe the programming boot camp and that I learned several languages as well as the researching skills needed to find solutions to coding issues/tasks. I reiterated that the best thing I learned at the boot camp was how to become self-sufficient in finding solutions. This is when I provided the recommendation letters and told the interviewers there were more on my LinkedIn page. I also explained that I felt this company was more aligned with my goals of helping people find God than the company I currently worked for. *Also, I asked them more questions about their team, company culture, my role as their junior developer. The last question I asked was, “is there anything else you wanted to know about me in greater detail or did you have any additional hang-ups that needed to be addressed in order to avoid having another follow-up interview?” I wanted to make sure they had everything they need to hire me and felt good about it. The department manager asked me, “How do you overcome struggles?” I told them about a story in my life where I struggled and persisted and overcame life’s obstacles at the time. This answer as well as the letters of recommendation are what closed the deal for me in my opinion. I think it really helped them to make the decision to move me on to the next interview. I asked them again if they needed any additional information and they said, “No, we are ready to move you on to the next interview!” Below is the email I sent the two interviewers after this follow up interview. They requested professional and education references so I emailed them a list of 6-7 educational and professional references with names, phone numbers and email addresses (make sure to notify and confirm your references first!). (Names of the interviewers), Good morning. It was great meeting with you on Friday. I hope you're feeling better (Department manager’s name)! I am excited to move forward in the process and look forward to meeting with (co-founder’s name). I have attached a list of references for you to review. As for the meeting with (co-founder’s name), is there a time this Wednesday before or after the lunch hour that works for her? I look forward to your response. Thanks, My Name Phone Number Email Step 14: I had another situation/behavior/cultural interview with one of the co-founders of the company. This was another very in-depth interview about my education and professional experience as well as some personal questions. The interviewer wanted to know if I would fit in with the culture of the company. Below are some of the questions she asked: What do you know about our company? Tell me about a time when you had to overcome adversity. Tell me about a time your integrity was challenged. Tell me about a time where you had to help a co-worker overcome an obstacle. What does your desk at work look like right now? — I told them it was clutter free because clutter on my desk clutters up my mind and I like to think clearly. I asked her, “What’s the culture of the company like in addition to what is on the company website?” I also asked her, “What are the next steps?” She described the offer process and that HR would be in contact with me regardless if they wanted to offer me the position or not. Below is the email I received from the department manager after this interview: Hi Corey, I spoke with (co-founder’s name) yesterday and she was very enthusiastic at the prospect of you joining the (company name) team. So congratulations on that! I'll be calling your references over the next few days and should have an offer letter ready to present near the end of the week. Cheers, Below is my response: Hi (department manager), This is great news! I look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional information. Have a great evening. Thanks, My Name Phone number Step 15: The department manager contacted my references and sent me the email below: Hey Corey, I made contact with several of your references today, and they all spoke very highly of you, and not just in the way you would expect. So I'm pleased to let you know we'll be extending an offer of employment, either today or Monday (depends on the workload of our HR folks). Additionally, can you email me your preferred start date so I can include it in your offer letter? Feel free to call or email me if you have any questions. Cheers, Below is my response: Hi (Department manager’s name), Happy Friday. This is awesome! I've been fortunate to work with some great people. I just completed the background check authorization online. My preferred start date would be (date). I have a planned vacation to see my sister and new nephew that next week (the week of (date)). Would that work? Thanks, My Name Step 16: Once we coordinated a start date that worked for both them and I, I received their offer letter. I had some questions about the offer as well as the overall package/benefits so I replied to the offer letter email. An important side-note here is that up until this point I made NO mention of money in the interview process. Hi (HR director’s name), I hope you had a nice weekend! Thank for the information you have included in the offer letter. I have some questions that I hope you can answer. The offer letter states, “If you accept our offer, we suggest that you do not give notice of resignation to your current employer until we have notified you that all components of our pre-employment screening process have been satisfactorily completed.” Have we completed all components of the pre-employment screening process? I have read the (Company’s online benefit page with hyperlink) page online which states the information online is a “brief overview.” Will you provide me with the official benefit package information, please? I particularly have questions regarding: ∙ Is this an hourly or salary paid position? o If hourly, how does overtime at (company name) work? ∙ What is the schedule for this position? o Monday- Friday 8am-5pm with 1-hour lunch? o 8am-4pm no lunch? o Flexible schedule as long as a minimum of 40 hours are contributed? o Etc. ∙ What is the typical rate of (company name) profit sharing disbursement? ∙ Will you provide more information on the vacation buy-up plan, please? ∙ What date will I be eligible to receive health, dental and vision benefits? ∙ How does sick time accrue? Is it included in PTO time accrual or is it separate? ∙ How do bonuses/raises/reviews work at (company name)? ∙ What type of tuition reimbursement does (company name) provide? Any information is very much appreciated. I look forward to your response. Feel free to call or email at your earliest convenience. Thanks, Name Phone number Email The HR director answered the questions he could and directed the questions he couldn’t to the department manager. Step 17: Counter offer. Once I received and reviewed their answers I sent them the following email in the morning: Hi (HR director’s name), Good morning. Thanks for the additional information you provided yesterday. I am very excited to start on (date) and look forward to working for (company name) for many years! I researched salaries for (title of position in offer letter) positions in (city of company) and found the range for similar positions to be around (range in which I found). Can we meet somewhere in the middle? I look forward to hearing from you. Please call or email me at your convenience. Thanks, Name Phone Number Email After waiting all day to hear back from the company I started to regret my decision to send the email above. The initial offer I received from them was a fair offer and was more than I was currently making. Since I didn’t hear from them all day I figured they decided to hire someone else or withdraw their offer to me. The whole day I was a nervous wreck and very regretful. However, I decided to be patient and wait for their response. I received the email below at 10:30pm that same night from the department manager: Hey Corey, I received your counter and will give you a call tomorrow. I think we can get where you'd like to be, but I have a few items I'd like to discuss before revising the offer and sending it your way. Cheers, The department manager and I spoke on the phone the next day for about 15 minutes. He increased the offer to middle of the range I provided in my counter offer. I was very pleased with this amount and very thankful they still wanted me for the position. The department manager was very excited for me to be a member of his team and was very encouraging. I received a revised offer with the new agreed upon salary and I signed it the next day! This is the most involved and strenuous interview I have ever had in my life or ever heard of! The entire process took 2 months. The biggest takeaways for me are below: Know what type of company you want to work for and what values that company must have in order for you to be willing to go through the entire application/interview/negotiation process. Or you can have several companies you know you would like to work for and search their job boards daily. Setup daily alerts for various position titles with various job boards Junior developer Junior Software engineer Junior web developer Entry level developer Entry level web developer Entry level software developer Research the company thoroughly so you are prepared to speak about it in your interviews. Follow up with HR or hiring manager after you submit your resume/application. Have several stories/examples of your past education and professional experiences. Organize these stories/examples using Situation/Action/Result format Mock interview with Job Placement personnel, family or friends. This will really help you with interview confidence. It’s much better to go to the interview already having said your stories/examples. Research the salary range of the position in which you are applying. Make sure to research salaries in the town/city of the position, not nationwide. Be polite with your counter offer and be patient. If you do counter their offer be flexible with their counter offers and consider the benefits you are receiving along with the salary. Separation is in the preparation. Most likely you will not have to go through the entire process listed above, however, if you are prepared you will separate yourself from your competition. Good luck and God bless! *If you read any part of this article read this paragraph! — Written by Corey D., The Tech Academy Graduate

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