Insights on the Job Process – V2

Get the job offer

How to navigate the job hunt stress-free with success. 

Table of Contents 

Introduction

Part I — Before You Start Applying 

Chapter 1: The Resume 

Chapter 2: The Cover Letter

Chapter 3:       The Mindset 

Chapter 4:       Preparing Your Stories

Part II — Getting Interviews 

Chapter 5: How to Get More Interviews Per Application Sent 

Chapter 6:       Practice Interview Mocking 

Chapter 7:       Doing Company Research

Part III — Interviewing 

Chapter 8: Recruiter Screening Interview 

Chapter 9: Hiring Manager Interview

Chapter 10: The ‘Onsite’ or Panel Interview 

Chapter 11: Take-Home Assignment 

Part IV — Closing the Offer

Chapter 12: References

Chapter 13: Salary Negotiation

Part V — Other Important Tips

Appendix A:     Questions to ask in Interviews Per Role

Appendix B:     Follow Up Thank You Email Template


Introduction

Job hunting fucking sucks. I get it because I’ve been there. Entry-level roles asking for 10 years of experience; hundreds of applications a week and hearing back from one if you’re lucky; nailing multiple interviews only to be ghosted at the final stage and receive no feedback on why they chose to hire someone else. 

Let’s face it – the hiring process is broken. I’m not going to fix it, but I am going to help you improve your chances of finding success. I’ve learned the hard way how to be successful throughout the demoralizing process, and I want to help you avoid the lessons I had to learn the hard way.

This is a collection of those insights and lessons I’ve collected here for you to benefit from too. I’ve used this approach to land roles in some of the most competitive job markets in the world (Silicon Valley and Switzerland) as a Canadian requiring a sponsorship visa.

Many of these insights come from my brilliant fiance, who is a designer at Google. She has helped me tremendously in learning how to sell myself and interview well. Also, I’ve collected great insights from books like Cracking the PM Interview by Gayle McDowell, and from going through the painful job hunting process myself and finding success on the other side.

I sincerely hope to help you on this journey, which I have frustratingly experienced countless times myself. 

Get ready to job hunt in a whole new way!


Part I — Before You Start Applying 

Chapter 1: The Resume

The entire interview process is a sequence of first impressions. Each interaction can make the difference between getting the familiar rejection letter, or being invited to the next interview. Whether you like it or not, your resume is your first impression. This is why you need to make sure you have a kick-ass resume. 

Your resume isn’t read; it’s skimmed. Recruiters, hiring managers, and other interviewers will glance at your resume for 5-10 seconds, form their first impression about you, and use that to make a decision about whether or not to interview you. This forms the guiding principle of how you should create your resume. Your resume needs to be optimized for the 5-10 second skim. 

During the 5-10 second skim, your resume needs to:

  • Generate enough interest to receive the first phone call from the recruiter 

  • Quickly show you fit the job requirements (keywords and job titles are important)

  • Reflect a good impression of you 

  • Set the bar for your level and salary when it comes time to signing the offer

It is equally important to understand what your resume does NOT need to do in the 5-10 second skim:

  • Storytelling (save these anecdotes for interviews)

  • Complicated project details that take too much mental processing

  • Company-specific titles or processes that require elaboration (when in doubt, default to industry standards)

  • Extraneous details that make it look like you’re fishing for content

Here are some tips you can use to optimize your resume for the 5-10 second skim.

Keep it 1 page!

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, you need to fit it into 1 page. It allows your resume to be easily skimmed. Prioritize your best selling points and fit them into 1 page so the reader can quickly get a good impression and make a decision.  

Brand yourself

The people screening your resume are hiring you for a specific job title. If the title next to your name your previous role titles are not the same as the job posting, you reduce the chances of moving forward in the process. It may not always be possible to change previous titles, but do what you can to brand yourself for the role you are applying for. If you are applying for a marketing manager role, anyone who skims your resume needs to walk away knowing: ‘this person is a marketing manager’.  

No blobs of text 

Keep your bullets short. Read through your resume. Half of your bullet points should be 1 line, and the remainder should be no longer than 2 lines. This may be difficult, but it makes the resume easy to skim and it forces you to cut out unnecessary details.

Content structure

Recruiters read a million resumes a day, so making sure yours is readable and in a familiar structure will help the recruiter digest your 1-pager more easily. A good place to start is using the Context, Action, Results method. Try to make each bullet point on your resume:

  • Start with an action word (e.g. led, built, launched)

  • Be 15-30 words in length

  • Contain numbers

  • Be results-oriented 

Results > Responsibilities 

No one cares what your job description says or what you were supposed to do in your last role. They want to know what you actually accomplished during your time there. When you write your bullet points, make sure they focus on the results you delivered and not the responsibilities you had:  

  • Responsibility oriented (bad): 

    • Oversaw interactions with the public through implementing content strategies on social media platforms

  • Results-oriented (good)

    • Led content strategy and implemented marketing campaigns resulting in 200 marketing qualified leads within 6 months

Design

Your resume is your first impression. With a quick skim, it needs to invoke a feeling of trust, professionalism, and excellence. Your resume needs to be a work of art. It is well worth the money to hire a designer on Fiver or Upwork to pimp your resume. If you can’t afford it, there are some decent options online:

Get feedback

There is always room for improvement. Your resume may be coming across differently than you think it is. Make sure to get feedback from someone who knows what they are talking about. It is well worth the investment to hire someone online to give you feedback on how your resume comes across for the roles you are applying for.

Spend a lot of time on it

Spend at least 40 hours crafting and tuning your resume. Your resume is the most important asset you have in your job-hunting process. If you are struggling to get to the stages in the interview process, there’s a good chance your resume is what is holding you back.

With these tips, you can optimize your resume for the 5-10 second skim and improve your success with the job search.

Chapter 2: The Cover Letter

Let's face it – cover letters are a pain in the ass to write. They can take hours to complete and there’s no guarantee of an interview. You may not even get a courtesy f — I mean ‘thank you’ rejection email. However, in a competitive sea of applicants, including a solid cover letter that is personalized and tailored to the role significantly increases your chances of getting an interview.

 

The only goal and purpose of a cover letter is to get the recruiter to schedule an initial call with you. That is all, nothing more. 

 

Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter and think about the steps they take to create a shortlist of applicants to call. Understanding this process will help you create a strategy to get on that list. 

 

A recruiter puts up a job posting and within the hour receives 100+ applications. How do they sift through hundreds of applications and narrow it down to a shortlist of 20 candidates to call? They can do this manually or they can get help from an Application Tracking System (ATS). The recruiter is not an expert on the role you are applying for, and they don’t know a lot about you at this stage. They have the job description that they are responsible for, and are hyper-focused on looking for the skills and experiences that match up to what’s written on that document. Your job is to make it as easy and obvious as possible that you fit that job description. Here is where your cover letter comes in.

 

While your resume is full of detailed evidence of your capabilities, your cover letter is your chance to make things really easy for the recruiter and tell them as succinctly and as plainly as possible that you are qualified for an initial call. 

 

Let’s look at a simple and straightforward cover letter template.

 


[DATE]

 

Dear [COMPANY NAME],

 

It is with enthusiasm that I am applying for the [ROLE NAME] role at [COMPANY NAME]. I’ve spent [X YEARS] as a [YOUR CURRENT TITLE] and I am really excited about [SOMETHING ABOUT COMPANY OR PRODUCT].

 

The job description for [ROLE NAME] mentioned you were looking for the following:

  1. [REQUIREMENT FROM JOB POSTING REQUIREMENTS SECTION]

  2. [REQUIREMENT FROM JOB POSTING REQUIREMENTS SECTION]

  3. [REQUIREMENT FROM JOB POSTING REQUIREMENTS SECTION]

 

As you can see from my resume, I have:

  • [SHORT BLURB ON HOW YOU MEET REQUIREMENT 1 ABOVE]

  • [SHORT BLURB ON HOW YOU MEET REQUIREMENT 2 ABOVE]

  • [SHORT BLURB ON HOW YOU MEET REQUIREMENT 3 ABOVE]

 

I feel that my qualifications are a solid match for the [ROLE NAME] position and would look forward to talking to you about how I can help you hit your [DEPARTMENT NAME] goals.

 

Sincerely,

 

[YOUR NAME]

 


Remember you’re not writing a Pulitzer here. Keep it short. Keep it super pointed and scannable. Use the first few sentences to very briefly state your qualifications and enthusiasm for the job. Then get to the point and give the recruiter exactly what they want – an easy-to-read, bulleted section that shows how well you match the job requirements. Then close with another brief restatement of your enthusiasm for contributing to the company’s mission and goals.

 

Chapter 3: The Mindset

Job hunting is exhausting, but it is a numbers game… So get out there and apply to as many a day as possible, right? WRONG.

Job hunting can be a numbers game, but how you play this game will make a huge difference to your mental health and will directly impact how you show up in each interview. Showing up to perform your best in each interview will help increase your chances of success. The strategy below is one we use and love. 

Set a goal of landing at least 1 interview per week

Instead of endlessly applying to a never-ending list of jobs, set a goal for yourself that drives a useful outcome forward that you can work towards each week. Choose your own goal if you like, but we find that having 1 interview per week is a good target. Avoid goals like ‘apply to 5 jobs today’ as they are focused on output and not outcomes.   

Plan your week so you’re building a pipeline for the next week(s)

Job hunting is similar to the sales process. You need to generate leads, bring them through your funnel, and close an offer.

The interview process with each company will usually last between 2 weeks to 1 month and have many steps. You can use the typical interview process as your sales funnel. The typical process is:

  1. Recruiter screening call 

  2. Hiring manager interview 

  3. Take-home assignment 

  4. ‘Onsite’ or remote interviews with other teammates and departments (1 on 1 or in a panel)

  5. Executive (depending on company size this could be a VP or CEO/COO/CTO)

  6. Reference check 

  7. Offer sent 

  8. Negotiation

  9. Decision

If you have an interview scheduled next week at any stage, then great! Congratulate yourself. You can now focus on preparing for it, taking some time for yourself, or whatever else you need to do in order to crush that interview. If you don’t have any interviews lined up next week, then you need to kickstart your funnel by lining up some 1st stage calls with recruiters.

Spend time preparing for your upcoming interviews 

Once you have an interview scheduled for this week, you’ve hit your goal. You need to spend time preparing for it, and also re-filling the top of your funnel to line up at least 1 interview for next week.

Don’t underestimate the importance of preparing for your interviews. You need to have done your research, prepare a list of great questions to ask, and rehearse canned stories you are going to speak about in your interviews! 

Don’t take it personally if you aren’t selected for the role

This is going to happen a lot. It sucks being constantly rejected interview after interview. It’s important to know there are many factors that go into the selection process that are simply out of your control no matter how well you did in the interview.

Here are some common reasons why you may get ghosted halfway through the interview process or told you are not the right fit for the role. 

  1. They hired an internal candidate for the role. Unfortunately, this can be common. The hiring manager already has someone in mind they want to hire for the role when they put up the posting. They scan the market, interview some people, and ultimately choose the internal candidate they had planned on.

  2. There is no longer headcount to hire for that role. This can happen for multiple reasons. For example, a change in business strategy, the hiring manager changing roles/teams/company, a change in senior leadership, the business didn't hit its sales targets. These situations and more can change how resources get allocated including the budget for new headcount.  

  3. The team is behind on a project/deliverable or something urgent comes up that needs focus and they put interviewing on hold until the project is complete.

  4. A lot of people want the role you are applying for. When you're given the chance to interview, it is important you go in well prepared having done your research so you can put your best foot forward. Sometimes other candidates have more experience in a specific area that is desired, or they may get along better with the interviewers. This does not mean you are not capable of doing the job and wouldn’t be a great fit, but they can only hire one person for the role.  

These are all common reasons that are out of your control, so don’t take it personally when you get rejected at any stage of the interview. 

With that being said, it is important to spend some time reflecting after each interview to give yourself an honest assessment of how you did. Sometimes you do fuck up, and that's okay. It is not easy being consistent; it's difficult to crush every interview. There is always room for improvement, use it as a learning opportunity when you have a bad one. 

Celebrate your wins/losses

You’re not going to be unemployed and job hunting forever. Don’t forget to celebrate your wins along the way. Landing an interview at any stage is something to celebrate. Each step you take further in the process with one company is a reason to celebrate.

Rejection sucks, but you’ll need to get used to it. It feels good to vent and share your terrible experiences and failures too. If your family and friends are tired of hearing about it, find a community online to vent in. There's some funny communities on Reddit like r/recruitinghell, and we have one of our own you can join here called New Pastures.

Keep plugging away and improving, and get comfortable with getting rejected, many times it is out of your control.

 

Chapter 4: Preparing Your Stories

When I first started interviewing I would go into the interview as if it were any conversation. The interviewer would ask me a question and I would answer of the top of my head. Sometimes the interviews went great, but other times I would ramble on aimlessly, or totally mess up and not be able to put my thoughts into coherent words. I thought this was how everyone interviewed until I learned that the best interviewers go in knowing exactly what they are going to say. They have a set of canned stories that are well thought through and have been rehearsed tens or even hundreds of times.

Here I’ll share the framework that is proposed in Cracking the PM Interview, which will cover 90% or more of any behavioural interview question that is thrown your way. 

Your About Me Pitch

The first story to nail is: 'tell me about yourself. You are guaranteed to get this from 9 out of 10 people who interview you. It is your chance to 'warm-up' and make a great first impression to kick off your interview. You need to craft a great story and nail the presentation of it. This is a lay-up question. There is no reason you can't knock it out of the park. Take time writing one, memorize it, and rehearse until you can perform it without even thinking. Your story should stay 90% the same for every interview. You may want to tailor it slightly for each company with a personalized message showing relevance to the company or role. 

 

Behavioural Questions:

These are questions about your background and experience that you will be asked for every role no matter the field. They represent a large portion of what interviews will focus on. 

You’ll need a list of at least 5 canned stories that you need to think through, script, and practice pitching until they are memorized. You will need at least 1 story speaking to each section in the matrix below. These can be used for every company you interview with. 

Once you have these stories crafted and mastered, the interview becomes a lot easier. You simply need to wait for the interviewer to ask you a question, figure out what the interviewer is really asking for by matching it to the matrix below and reply with your canned story. 

Based on the themes in the first column, choose stories from your different jobs, side projects, school projects, or extracurricular activities depending on your experience. Here are the key areas to create canned stories around: 

Insights on the Job Process - V2
Insights on the Job Process – V2

 

Principles for canned stories:

Spent a lot of time creating stories around the matrix above. Then spend a couple of days just speaking your stories out loud until they become memorized. With digital interviews nowadays you can even have your stories on your screen while you are interviewing. Try not to read, but if you must, just make sure you don’t sound or look like you are reading.

 

Each story you create needs to be structured. A great one that is commonly used for interviews is the CAR framework — Context, Action, Result. This is a simple-to-follow framework for interviewers. It also prevents you from rambling on with your answers during interviews.

Context

Provide enough of a summary background so the person knows what made it important. Don't give lots of details here. Keep it simple, leave out unnecessary details or people will get lost. 

Action

What action did you specifically take? They want to know how you contributed and what you actually did, not what you were supposed to do, or what your team did.

Result

What were the results of your action? How did it help your team or company? how did people respond? 

Canned Stories – Prepared for Each Company

There are a list of questions you will want to have answered before interviewing with every company. These will come up in most interviews no matter the role, and there is no reason not to go into the interview knowing exactly what you want to say for each of these questions:

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • Why are you leaving your current job (or taking a break between)? A break is fine, just have a logical reason

  • What do you do in your spare time?

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

If you can prepare and practice everything in this chapter, you will be prepared for nearly any question an interviewer will throw at you. 

 

Part II — Getting Interviews 

Chapter 5: How to Get More Interviews Per Application Sent 

Imagine getting an interview for every job application you submit! That is probably impossible, but there are a number of things you can be doing to significantly increase your application to interview success rate. 

There are a few prerequisites you need before applying to roles: 

  1. You need a great resume. This is the most important asset you will have in your job hunt. This needs to be a work of art. We’ve put together some tips about how to improve your resume here

  2. You need a crisp cover letter. Spelling out exactly how your resume matches the job posting in a few straightforward points significantly increases your chances of landing an initial interview. We show you how you can create a cover letter in 2 minutes using our formula here.

  3. A great Linkedin profile. Once you apply, recruiters are likely to look you up online before scheduling a call with you. Remember to check that it is up to date and matches your resume.

Before you start submitting applications, it’s important to understand the process from the company's perspective. Think about it this way: a recruiter wants to scan the market as quickly and efficiently as possible to shortlist candidates that have the highest likelihood of completing the interview process. They don’t have too much to go on, nor are they spending too much time critically considering each candidate. The more obviously you position yourself in a way that meets what they’re looking for, the better. 

Get a referral, if you can

You have a huge advantage if you know someone at the company and can get them to refer you. An in-house referral is one of the biggest qualification signals the recruiter has that you may pass the interview process (which in turn means they hit their targets or receive their commissions). In fact, a lot of the big tech companies have a policy where anyone referred internally is guaranteed to at least be looked at and considered within 7 days by a recruiter. When asking for a referral from someone, find out exactly what they are required to submit. Offer to draft the answers for them to reduce the effort required on their part, and also to control the narrative you want to convey.  

Stand out by reaching out directly

Don’t have a referral? That’s ok – there are other ways to get noticed beyond just submitting your application into the void and hoping it’ll get read. Recruiters scour LinkedIn for profiles that match the job description, so meet them where they’re already hunting. Search for “[company name] recruiter” on LinkedIn and add these people to your network. If it’s a bigger company where they would have function-specific recruiters, look for those exact people, e.g. “Company X design recruiter”. Often, they are even further segmented by locations. With the invite request, already include a short sentence stating that you’re looking for opportunities, and include a pdf of your cover letter and resume (in one file). Otherwise, message them with this when they accept your invite. If it’s a smaller company or there’s no recruiter, you could also try finding the hiring manager or someone likely to be making hiring decisions in the department you’re applying for. This makes the recruiter’s job so easy and we’ve helped many use this method to great success.

Include a cover letter

Out of 100 applicants, a small fraction will include a cover letter. An even smaller number will have a cover letter that is to-the-point, personalized and tailored to the role. 

By including a cover letter, you:

  1. Make the recruiter’s job easy because you’ve told them exactly how you meet the job requirements

  2. Stand out against other applicants because you’ve taken the time to write a personalized cover letter, which shows you’re more interested in the role than candidates who didn’t submit cover letters

Not every recruiter or hiring manager will care about or even read your cover letter. However, if you can create one in a few minutes that spells out exactly how you match the job description, it can only strengthen your application and increase the chances you will get called for an initial interview. Get started with one here.

Make it obvious

Your resume and cover letter will not be carefully read, they will be scanned. Make sure that someone can scan yours quickly and conclude that you are a strong match for the job posting. For more on that, read this blog post.

Supplement with interesting side projects

If there’s a job requirement that your full-time job experiences don’t quite hit or to further demonstrate your capability in a particular area, include side projects with tangible metrics and outputs. Side projects can often show your well-roundedness and intellectual curiosity, and make you more memorable overall!

Chapter 6: Practice Interview Mocking 

By far the most valuable thing I learned to do was doing mock interviews. Here is how they work: you find a stranger on the internet and you interview each other as if they are the company/hiring manager and then give and get feedback. I did between 30-40 of these before interviewing at companies like Google and Facebook. While I didn’t get an offer from either, I got to the final rounds, which I am still happy about. 

Mock interviews are really awkward and really uncomfortable, and full of mess-ups, but doing 30 minutes of a mock interview is worth 5+ hours or reading/studying for interviews. 

There are many communities online you can join to schedule mock interviews. As a start, here is a cool app you can practice solo with as well. This is nowhere near as good as the real thing with other humans, but it is a lot better than reading and studying for an interview.  When you are in the app, click on the questions from the behavioural section. Every single question in the list provided, I have personally heard at least once in an interview at one point or another. 

Another cool resource is this community where you can schedule 1:1 mocks with real people. Even if you’re not going for Product Manager role, just schedule with people who are focusing on behavioural style questions and it’s generic enough for literally any role. 

You can also join our community here called New Pastures. We have a channel specifically for finding people to schedule mock interviews with.

Chapter 7: Doing Company Research

It is important to have done your research before going into an interview. You don’t need to do hours of research, but it is important to cover the basics. Have some knowledge of the role, company, culture, product, marketing, and recent news. 

Role

Read the job description/posting fully.

 

Company

Look up the company online. You can visit their website, but more often than not, websites are a disaster and don’t actually do a good job of telling you the basics about the company.

I prefer to use these 2 sites to do company research. 

  1. www.owler.com

  2. www.crunchbase.com

Jot down a couple of highlights that you can bring up in interviews wherever you can.

Culture

Glassdoor reviews are a good place to start. You’ll find a mixed bag, and need to take each review with a grain of salt because usually the only people who take the time to write company reviews are disgruntled employees. 

Product

Learn about the product the company is selling. Websites like G2 crowd can be great, or if they have an app, check out the App Store reviews, Google play store reviews, or other communities where users may be talking about the company and product. 

Marketing

A quick way to learn about their marketing efforts and strategy is by visiting their own website, and www.similarweb.com. Similarweb is a great tool where you put in a company website, and they show you the breakdown of where their web traffic is coming from and all sorts of other great pieces of information.

Recent News

Read about recent news using google. You can also usually find news on Linkedin and on their website.  

Part III — Interviewing 

Chapter 8: Recruiter Screening Call 

The first interview you are likely to encounter with every job is the recruiter screening call. The purpose of this call is for the recruiter to do a sniff test on you, and determine if you are worthy of continuing the process to speak with the hiring manager. 

The recruiter will be taking notes (maybe more than actually listening). The notes she writes are important because they are put into the internal system that is visible by all future interviewers. You need to make sure to speak clearly and slowly so the recruiter can jot down an accurate representation of what you are saying. 

These calls are usually no more than 30-minutes long. You should be prepared to perform your about me pitch, and answer 2-3 of your canned stories. Usually about your successes.  

When the recruiter asks you if you have any questions, it is important that you ask a lot of questions. It will make you come across as interested and engaged, which is what they are looking for in an employee. Don't ask the recruiter detailed questions about strategy or marketing tactics, or role-specific questions because the recruiter won’t be able to answer them. Instead, ask her questions you know she can answer. It will make her feel good when she can answer your questions, and in turn, she will relate that positive feeling to you as a candidate. In Appendix A you will find a list of questions that you can ask during your interviews that are tailored to the role of the person who is interviewing you. 

You need to also use this as an opportunity to find out more about what you need to position yourself as a strong candidate for the role, and what to expect in the rest of the interviews. 

The HR or recruiter is on your side and wants you to get the job because it also makes them look good when they successfully find and bring on candidates. They are paid based on how well they do this.

It is important to note that every company has a different hiring process. Below I outline a common process that I have seen across many interviews, but you need to ask each recruiter what the interview process looks like, and what types of questions to expect in each stage so you can know what to expect and prepare accordingly. 

Chapter 9: Hiring Manager Interview:

First impressions are important. Show up happy and confident. This interview is where your canned stories above will come in. 

The hiring manager wants to know you're curious and excited. The way to show that is through the questions you ask. Always ask lots of questions. It is a huge red flag to the hiring manager or future co-workers if you don't ask questions or only ask a few. Make sure you use up all the time they give you at the end with questions. Make them intelligent and thoughtful. 

Appendix A has a set of questions that are good for asking a hiring manager, but make sure to also create your own questions. Use this as an opportunity to interview them as well and make sure you are going to get along with the manager. As they say, people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. 

Chapter 10: The ‘Onsite’ or Panel Interview 

The panel will usually consist of the immediate team you will be working with closely, and also cross department stakeholders. It is important you make a great first impression because this is your first opportunity to win their respect. This stage of interview can occur as one on one meetings that you have back to back, or as a panel interview.

Your 'about me' pitch is critical here. It’s your first impression, and you will say it to everyone you meet onsite. The two general areas you can expect the panel’s questions to be around are: Is the candidate capable, and can I work with the candidate? If you were given a take-home assignment, that will usually be something that you bring ready to present to the panel during the onsite. 

Your canned behavioural stories are important here. You will get a variety of questions depending on who from the team you meet. The matrix you made above will have you prepared to answer most questions that come your way. 

Make sure to ask lots of questions here as well (same as before, checkout Appendix A). Tailor your questions to the person you're speaking with. For example, if you are speaking to an executive, ask about vision, strategy, big picture. If you are speaking to the marketing team, ask questions about what they do and how they typically like to work with the role you are interviewing for. 

For everyone you interview with, at the end of your interview, make sure you have their full name and their email. It is really important to follow up after with a thank you. It goes a long way. In Appendix B, you can find a sample email that I received from someone I interviewed. It was a role that I would work closely with, but not directly on my team. It made a great impression and is just another way you can stand out from other candidates and leave a good impression. And yes, we did hire him. 

Chapter 11: Take-Home Assignment

These can be a pain to do. It is a lot to ask from the candidate and doesn't guarantee you an offer. 

Make sure you are confident you want to work there before doing the assignment. This is also a stage used to weed out and keep only serious candidates. 

They will ask you to spend no more than 2-3 hours on the project, but the truth is, most people who are interested in the role will spend considerably more time on it than that. So, if you want to have a competitive project that impresses, you will need to also spend considerably more time on it.

Part IV — Closing the Offer

Chapter 12: References/Offer

Yes, references are actually called for jobs. Yes, I have seen people not get offers because references have come back less than stellar. This is what I recommend you do to ensure you can have your references come back as positive as possible. 

Choose the right references

You get to choose the references, so don’t provide a reference that you know is not going to talk anything less than great about you. They usually ask for someone who directly managed you, and one of your colleagues you worked closely with. 

If you didn’t get along great with someone, then DON’T USE THEM. Even if they were your most recent boss or supervisor. Find another person who has managed you in the past or been superior to you in the past you can use instead. You can find a colleague you worked closely with to do you a favor they may ask to speak with your former boss/supervisor, and maybe you didn’t get along. You don’t need top

Salary negotiation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY5SeCl_8NE&feature=youtu.be

Other important things that really help

Showing That You Are Wanted

Another thing that is important is showing you're wanted through the whole process. When HR or anyone asks where are you in your 'process', make things up and tell her you are actively interviewing with a number of companies and are at the onsite and offer stages. You are looking to make a final decision by (insert date that is like 2-weeks out). That will show them you're wanted and moving quickly. If an issue comes up and 3 weeks go by and they ask about why you still haven’t got a job or ask you again where are you in the process.. you can easily deflect the question by saying like ' I bought a bit of time in the other interviews because I am really excited about this role with your company and wanted to make sure I completed the process with you. (something along those lines). I used it many times, worked like a charm.

Questions/Feedback?

I’d love to hear if this was helpful for you. Let me know what else you would like me to add. 

Please me at jordanstarrk@gmail.com

Appendix

A: Questions to ask in Interviews Per Role

Recruiter

  • What can you tell me about the hiring manager?

  • Is this position backfill or newly created?

  • What is your timeline for filling this role? 

  • What are some reasons that other candidates haven’t been selected?

  • Do you have any doubts about my qualifications for the role?

  • What is the best part of working for this company?

  • What's your least favorite part of working here?

Hiring Manager 

  • What is your favorite part about working here?

  • What is the biggest challenge you are facing right now?

  • Let’s say that, in one year, you are looking back on this hire. What has that person done to exceed expectations on every level?

  • Ask about a current event (for example?—?I saw that [Competitor X] came out with this product. How do you see that affecting your business?)

  • What is the most unexpected lesson you’ve learned while working at [company]?

  • What is your management style? 

  • Tell me a little bit more about you, what do you like to do outside of work?

  • How is the department structured and how are decisions made?

Hiring Manager (additional questions to ask if you’ve got time)

  • What are the hardest parts of the job?

  • How does this role contribute to the larger business goals?

  • How often are reviews conducted?

  • What are the prospects for growth and advancement in this position?

  • How does the company invest in the team?

  • How has the company changed over the last few years?

  • What are the company's plans for growth and development

  • Tell me more about the team

  • What can I clarify for you about my qualifications?

  • What's the most important thing I should accomplish in the first ninety days?

Executive / Owner / or Hiring Manager’s Boss 

  • What is the ultimate goal and vision of the company?

  • How does this role contribute to the goal/vision?

  • What is the biggest problem the company is facing right now?

  • Where do you see the company in the next 5 years?

  • Why have past people in this role not worked out?

  • Why did you decide to work here?

B: Follow up Thank You Email Template

Hi [INTERVIEWER’S NAME],

Thanks again for your time today. It was great to meet you, hear about your priorities in product management, and hear how you prefer to work with product marketing. I definitely appreciate you sharing about the culture, as well.

Please let me know if any other questions come up that we weren't able to cover during our meeting.

— 

Name

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