I would like to share with you my experience with looking for my first Ruby job. I want to focus mainly on the timeline of the whole process. Before I started, I was under the impression that everyone would answer my emails within 24 hours. This post is to let you know how wrong I was and how tedious the recruitment process can be.
Prologue - A kick in the butt
I had been wanting to work for Company X ever since I have heard their employee give a short presentation at my university about how awesome Ruby and Rails are, in October 2014. This guy knew how to deliver a presentation. He was natural, well-spoken and relaxed. I was sold. I wanted to be like him. I decided to learn Ruby and Rails. Fast-forward 14 months…
11-12 December 2015: I attended a RoR workshop at Company X (required for an internship).
19 December 2015: I applied for an internship at Company X.
29 December 2015: Company X rejected me (with feedback).
I was not prepared for a failure. In fact, I hadn’t experienced many big failures up until that point of my life. This rejection was very important to me. It motivated me to start working really hard on a portfolio app (after two or three days of self-pity).
Part I - Portfolio ready, time to start applying
04 February 2016: I applied for a junior position at Company A in a response to a job offer.
08 February 2016: Company A asked me for patience saying they were extremely busy and they will not get back to me for another week at least.
09 February 2016: I applied for a junior position at Company B in a response to a job offer that has been on their website forever.
A whole week of silence.
Part II - Slowly losing my mind
Why wasn’t anyone replying? I triple-checked my resume, the email address was correct, my phone number was correct. I triple-checked my sent mailbox - the applications were there. I assumed I was silently rejected and sent more applications. Sadly, there were no more junior positions available in my city at that time.
16 February 2016: I applied for a position (level not specified) at Company C in a response to a job offer with a deadline (29 February 2016).
16 February 2016: I applied for a position (level not specified) at Company D in a response to a job offer.
3 more days of silence.
Part III - Some replies, at last
19 February 2016: Company A asked me to do a recruitment task.
19 February 2016: Company B rejected me saying that they do not plan to expand their team in the nearest future, but will keep my resume around in case there is a new project requiring someone with my skills.
23 February 2016: I sent the recruitment task back to Company A.
Part IV - Resolution
26 February 2016: Company A wanted to do a Skype interview.
01 March 2016: Company C rejected me due to lack of experience (it turned out to be a mid position). They offered to keep my resume around and gave me a coding test, so that they can immediately invite me to an interview when they need a junior. I passed the test.
01 March 2016: I had a Skype interview with Company A’s developers.
03 March 2016: I had a Skype interview with Company A’s management. We agreed on a date to sign the contract.
07 March 2016: I signed the contract with Company A.
Epilogue - A new beginning
14 March 2016: I started working for Company A.
IT companies treat job applicants well. They don’t leave you hanging. I got a response from 4 out of 5 companies. The number of days it took the companies to send me the first reply in ascending order: 4, 10, 10 and 14 (but it was right on time after the deadline). That’s an average of 9.5 days. Between sending the resume and the first day of work 39 days have passed. It would have taken much longer if I weren’t ready to start working right away.
There aren’t that many candidates to choose from when it comes to recruitment in software development, so employers want you to have a positive memory of them. You might not be suitable for the position they’re offering right now, but after 2-3 years you might be the perfect candidate and when that happens, they want you to want them. You should adapt a similar strategy. Do not burn bridges. If someone gives you negative feedback, don’t argue. Be polite and thank them, they want you to become a better developer.
Be patient and don’t obsess over one application. Keep sending resumes, but more importantly, keep improving yourself.