Earlier this week I announced that I started work at ESPN. Only a handful of people knew that they had extended an offer and even less knew that I had accepted. This comes after almost six months since I left my previous position. While it is an accomplishment, I did not do it completely myself. This was actually the only job that I didn’t seek out, it kind of fell into my sight. I follow Hunter Walk. He used to run Product at Youtube and now is a Partner at Homebrew, a venture capital fund. I was introduced to him at a YouTube for Good panel at Vidcon ’11. When he shared a post from Ryan Spoon, SVP of Digital Product, Design and Audience Development at ESPN, I reached out. Fast forward a month and half and now I work there. But that’s just a part of the story. The happy go lucky… everything just happens. It wasn’t that easy to get here. I’m going to share the rest of it.
After I left my previous position I continued waking up the same time as before, I kept my workout routine. I spent time researching companies, finding them on AngelList, LinkedIn, Crunchbase. At first I focused on companies in Denver, and later expanded to Los Angeles / Bay area… later expanding to New York and Seattle. As some might notice the end of the year might not be best time to look for work because of the holidays and usually that’s when budgets are winding down, but this also the time where some know head count and are pushing for new positions.
I sent and applied like it was my job, mainly because I wanted one. I never expected to be without a one for so long. I really thought that it was going to be a faster turn around because of my background and experience. So I thought I would be a bit more transparent on which companies I spoke to and where there was a drop off in the process, either from them or me.
1. Recurly: Phone screen, 1 call, passed on me
2. Textplus: 2 calls, it was part-time, I passed
3. eFolder: Phone screen, call interview / technical challenge, built on Java decline going forward
4. Honda: Outsider recruiter, no reply
5. Toast: Final interview. Passed on it. built on Java, in Boston (Later raise 30 million from GV earlier this year)
6. Deutch: 2 calls. Agency, I did not want to move forward
7. Oblong Industries: Final in-person interview / no offer
8. FirstData: Via a LinkedIn Recruiter, 3 calls and a phone interview [Thought of it as back up opportunity as it was contract and I continue looking for work] No offer
9. Brandwatch: Phone screen, 2 video calls, and tech challenge. did not like product
10. Apple: Apple News phone screen / 1 phone call and video chat and then spoke with an iWork team manager. They passed, I was not right for either role
11. Tesla: 3 phone calls, technical challenge, no offer
12. LegalZoom: Phone screen, technical phone screen, 2 video interviews, 1 in-personal interview, then ask for a follow-up interview to talk about me learning mySQL, I passed on the offer
13. Clicktime: Phone screen: seems like my asking pay range was higher than they were willing to pay.
14. 22nd Century: contract, 2 phone screens, technical call mis-schedule and fumbled, I told them I was no longer interested.
15. ustwo New York: 3 video interviews. Final Interview. Solid feedback, too similar to those in the team / no offer)
16. Earnest: Phone screen, 1 call with manager, position filled while interviewing.
17. Pandora: Phone screen and 1 call with a manager: manager did not like that in 5 years I would like to be working on Product instead of QA.
18. When I Work: 3 calls did not like the location/ remote work,while it can be a plus I prefer collaborative work environments.
19. Snapchat: Video interview mainly because I was sent email by accident that I had passed their technical challenge.
20. Acorns: Phone screen, not right for the role
21. Managed by Q: Phone screen
22. Neatly: Phone screen, not right for the role
23. Sprout Social: Phone screen: did not like the product
24. MassRoots: Phone screen, they wanted a QA person, then delayed when they wanted to talk, not really interested but it was in Denver.
25. Dialpad, formerly Switch Communications: Phone screen, we both knew it wasn’t going to work out
26. Sighten: Phone screen, interesting but they wanted a more skilled programmer/QA Manager person
27. Slack: Phone screen, passed on
28. Payoff: Phone screen, technical call, technical challenge. Did not like the service
29. Kiswe: Phone screen, tech interview and 3 video calls. Liked the company but in the middle of Jersey, no relocation package
30. Lootcrate: Phone screen, tech interview. told I need more experience in ruby
31. Charles Swab: Phone screen. We both knew this was not right for me
32. Kinsa: Phone screen, tech interview. Did not seen eye to eye on a lot of stuff
33. SONOS: Phone screen, 3 tech interview-call, Final in-person interview. No offer. They were looking for a more senior person / I lacked managerial skills.
34. Event Farm: Phone screen, tech interview. low pay not really feeling the company
35. SoundCloud: Job asked for a QA Engineer, during the phone screen it seems like they wanted a SDET instead, I don’t have those skills
36. Roli: Phone screen. Views on patents weren’t eye to eye and concerned about getting a work visa in the UK.
37. Imgur: Phone screen, no response / reply
38. Westfield Labs: Phone screen. I was from out of town, no relocation
39. Homehero: Phone screen, tech interview, call with CTO… no follow up
40. Pivotal: Phone screen not what I wanted, Agile is ok but not an advocate for it
41. Vixlet: Phone screen, technical interview. No relocation package, outside recruiter wanted me to move to LA in less than 2 weeks. “Just make it happen, I would!”
42. ESPN: Offer
43. Recruiter from Portland: didn’t go anywhere. enterprise company not consumer facing products
44. Amazon [Alexa]: Phone screen, technical call, tech challenge. Not strong enough in ruby
45. Echostar/Sling TV: Phone screen/ in person interview/ offer)
46. Twitter: Phone screen, technical call, technical challenge. passed on, wanted a more senior person
47. Whisper: Phone screen
48. Headspace: Phone screen, video call, did not hear back after a few emails that I had an offer but wanted to continue the process before I accepted
49. Blinker: Phone screen, call with VP of product did not move forward because “I did not have enough enthusiasm while talking about cars”
50. 8tracks: Phone screen job posting was withdrawn because of cash flow problems
51. Makerbot: Phone screen. I then rescinded my resume because I accept the position at ESPN
To recap… I sent out my resume to tonnes of places, which I spoke to 51 companies between Mid November and early March (excluding Holidays, but did speak to some while in Australia, no lie)
Out 51 companies only 7 of them followed through to a final interview.
Here is the break down:
51 Phone Screens
41 First calls/ technical call
27 Second calls
13 Video interviews
9 Third calls
6 Tech challenges
7 Final interviews
I did 6 final interviews
4 in person
2 job offers
Why write this? I felt like there is so much pressure from other that are doing better or at least that’s what it appears. I was out of work for a long time, but most wouldn’t have notice. I rarely mentioned it. At times I was heartbroken when I had devoted so much time into a company talking to them and nothing came out of it. I sulked for a day or two but then continued to apply and talk to new companies.
There is also a growing trend to talk about diversity, transparency, and wage gap in tech. More and more people are talking on how to get better pay by knowing what a fellow person with similar skills is making, instead of just taking the salary offered. I’m not at that part yet, but at least I’m trying. I thought because I had 5 years of experience it was going to be easier. Turns out it wasn’t. Maybe someone will read this and realize that persistence and some luck is usually what gets you ahead in life.