It took me over a year to find my next job

I am moving to a new job in a different state. While my job search ended up being much longer than I expected, I learned a lot about interviewing and the salary ranges in Denver.  I ended up with 2 competing offers at the same time and managed to get a look at the maximum amount each company was willing to pay me. 

I started looking for a new job after the company I work for was acquired in 2017. I did this mainly in waves of 5~ applications with around a 50% response rate. Some companies got back to me right away, others took 3 months before starting the interview process. I did around 3 serious waves of applications and in total applied to 20 different companies. Considering that I applied to over 50 jobs before getting each of my internships this was a pretty good rate. Still it took over a year and thousands of dollars worth of vacation time. On the positive side my income will increase into the 6 figure range.

Part of why it was easier this time is that I have 3+ years of professional experience so I am not competing with new grads or junior engineers for jobs anymore. Additionally, my last promotion put me into a line management position where I was overseeing the work of others and led the project, which made behavioral questions much easier. The biggest difference here was the response rate. As a college student my response rate was 10% or less, now it is over 50%. 

Because my response rate was so much higher during this job search, I ended up doing a lot more actual interviews than when I was looking for internships. While time consuming, interviewing is probably the best way to practice interviewing. I have done enough interviews now that they start to flow together. The questions are all pretty similar. Whiteboarding has always been pretty natural for me because of my college background, but the questions repeat too. The last in person interview I did was 2 rounds of white boarding and a couple non-technical ones. But the questions were easy and I was almost bored. Luckily the people I was interviewing with were fun and it was a blast. 

It was also interesting to get a feel for the company tiers and what the technical level of my local area is. Most of the companies here in Denver ask technical questions of around the same difficulty. The hardest of which are Leetcode easy questions. I have only run into Leetcode medium questions from companies like Google or Uber. 

I have done around 20 Leetcode questions in total, which could be accomplished in a couple weeks. Interviewers want to see how you solve problems not how you already knew the solution to the problem. If the company is known for giving hard level problems you want to be totally solid on medium level problems and have done a bunch of hard problems. But grinding hard problems for months is not necessarily a good use of your time. Unless you must get into Jane Street. But I think focusing on just one company is probably bad for your career and mental health. 

While my job search took a long time and cost me some money, the increase to my income is more than enough to make up for it. I also got a chance to take advantage of Josh Doody’s Fearless Salary negotiation. Paying $50 to get an extra $5000 each time you switch jobs is worth it.

The rule of switching jobs every 3 years early on in your career seems to have held true in my case. Even if I had decided not to relocate, my income would have received a solid boost.