Irina’s story is a bit different to our other stories because she didn’t receive a single screening call throughout her job search. This unique situation is very uncommon, but thankfully Irina wants to share her story with everyone, so everybody can learn from her experience.
Thanks for chatting with us today. Can you tell us where you’re from?
Hi, there! I’m from New York.
So, can you tell us a little bit about your story…
The reason I want to tell my story is because it's very unique. My story is like one in a million!
Basically, when I started my job search I didn’t receive any screening phone calls from recruitment teams. This was a pretty scary time for me, and I wasn’t too sure what was going on. I was constantly applying for roles and I was receiving emails from recruiters, but I never had any calls. The whole situation was rather strange.
My career coach checked everything out, and even Max checked everything for me, but everything was fine. But for some reason, I never got any screening calls during my job search. That’s why my story is unique - people usually get lots of screening calls during their job search!
Did you use the job application service?
Yes, I used the job application service and I also applied for jobs myself. I sort of combined the two. There were a few occasions where I’d double applied for jobs. I guess that’s just called being a human - errors happen.
Since there was obviously a problem with recruiters reaching me by phone, my career coach told me that my job search could take a little bit longer than usual. I just had to deal with the situation and I had to keep pushing myself forward until I got a job offer.
That’s very unusual. How did recruiters contact you?
I sent out around 2000 applications for various positions and I didn’t get a single screening call.
As I mentioned earlier, I did get emails from recruiters and that’s how I’d communicate with them and arrange interviews. So, they would send me emails and we would schedule a date and time for a call. Every interview started with an email.
I was happy to communicate this way. I guess there was some technical problem, but I managed to handle the situation.
How long did your job search last for?
I finished my course in March 2020. Then I took a break for a year. I went back to the job search in February 2021. To start off with, I called my career coach, we chatted and together we started the process again.
My active job search started in mid-March, and I got my job offer at the beginning of August. Overall, it took me about four months to find a job.
How many interviews did you go to?
I went to 15 first-round interviews, they were all with hiring managers, and I passed all of them. Then I went to 15 second-round interviews.
I was asked a lot of behavioral questions and they were okay to answer. But when it came to the more ‘technical’ questions, like the ones about writing bug reports, I found them more difficult to answer.
I think you might’ve scared a few people by using the word ‘technical’ there. Can you explain what you mean by the word ‘technical’?
All the interviews I had, 15 out of 15, had some sort of technical questions in them. I understand that this isn’t very common, but it’s something that students need to prepare for.
After my first few interviews, I started reading up on and studying some additional topics to better prepare myself for the technical questions. I'd read up on things like API and SQL, because knowing about API is important. I’d study by using free resources.
I remember feeling really relieved when I met a fellow student at a graduate meeting who was experiencing the same as me. He was also struggling a bit but he kept on pushing himself.
According to our data, 70% of interviewers don’t ask questions related to API or technical questions.
So, overall how did you find the interview process?
Overall the interview process worked out well for me.
I got a really good feeling inside of me when I managed to complete two successful interviews within one week.
I remember receiving one call after attending an interview, and they told me that they were in love with me. They said they were ready to cancel all their remaining interviews if I agreed to their job offer.
I did get asked a lot of questions by one tech director, and yes, some of his questions were complicated, but I managed to answer them because I’d done some additional reading.
Did you have a background in tech before completing the course?
I did have a technical background, but not in Computer Science. I didn’t know any programming languages.
That’s great to hear! Would you like to share with us what your job offer was?
It’s a $90,000 a year full-time job. I also get a 10% bonus and additional benefits.
It’s not likely that I’ll be working in an office anytime soon, and I’m happy with that.
Can you tell us about your job?
I started on September 7. To be honest, I didn’t do much to begin with. There were some emails I had to deal with, I had to set up my accounts, and so on. The onboarding process usually takes time and it’s okay for new employees to do very little during their first month. It was such a smooth process, but I did panic sometimes, but everybody was, and is, so supportive and friendly.
I’m not the only new person in the company, three new people started at the same time as me. They are working in product manager and QA manager roles. All of us are learning together and we’re all trying to adjust.
I have done some UI testing, but I found it a little too easy for me. I have since asked for a more complicated job but nothing has changed as of yet.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
My advice to others is to keep pushing forward. Sooner or later you will find a job.
Listen to Lana’s lessons. The last call I had used the exact same example as she talked about in class.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary. When I started talking to the company that hired me, they wanted to offer me a job with a yearly salary of $75,000. After completing the interview, they changed this figure to $85,000 a year. I didn’t accept this new offer, and I asked them immediately to double-check their figures. In the end they offered me a yearly salary of $90,000 a year.
You need to be prepared to talk about yourself in interviews.
In some interviews they may ask you about projects you’ve worked on, and they might ask about the QA processes in your previous job. They even asked me in one interview about where my previous company was located in the city. I was lucky to remember the address. However, I think if you tell them that you’ve been working remotely, they’ll be okay with that answer.
And finally, good luck to everyone!
Thanks for the advice and for sharing your inspiring story with us all. We’re so glad to hear that you found a job during such a difficult time.
For those of you who don’t know much about API and SQL, don’t worry too much about it, you’ve just got to keep pushing forward, and you’ll find a company that matches your skill set.