I’m distilling what I’ve learned from almost 40 years of job hunting and interviewing, both as a candidate and as an interviewer. I have experience with programming jobs both in and out of the tech industry, and 10 years freelancing.
My experience ranges from big companies to startups. Big employers will have a more defined process (and it will prove harder to bypass). Smaller companies and startups generally follow a less formal hiring process.
Starting the job search
Posting résumés (or CVs) online and sending out lots of emails may help with the numbers game, and if you have in-demand skills it can’t hurt to get your name out. In most cases a more targeted approach works better.
- Identify companies you want to work for.
- Learn as much as you can about them.
- Use your contacts to give you leads.
- Work with recruiters if necessary, but only with someone you feel comfortable with.
- If you live physically close to the company try to meet people who work there. Go to local meetups and user’s group meetings employees might attend.
- Ask all of your friends and professional contacts if they know someone at the company. I’ve hung around offices at lunchtime and approached people at nearby delis, asking if they work at the target company, and if I can join them. Don’t stalk employees, but there’s nothing wrong with asking people about the place they work — people usually like talking about themselves.