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How to get interview calls?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Fidelity Investments9 months ago

I am good at LeetCode style problem solving and can also manage system design, but I never get interview calls when I apply through the company portals. Also recruiters barely accept LinkedIn requests and even those who accept them do not respond when reached out to for an open position.

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(5 comments)
  • 24
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    Staff Data Engineer at 🧑‍💻
    9 months ago

    It can depend on the company, industry, timing, and skills matching.

    Referrals

    Some companies such as Facebook are good with following up on on referrals, others like Amazon are not. It helps for getting visibility.

    Timing

    At a time where there are many layoffs, it could be more challenging if you are applying to the same roles.

    Industry

    Keep an eye out for the trends on which industries are hiring. There are general trends that happen around the same time. When talking with recruiters, ask and learn what is in demand.

    Skills

    Do your skills line up with the job requirements? How well is the resume read and parsed by ATS systems, before reaching a human reader? Are the experiences communicated on the resume in a way to get picked?

    Leet code is an important part of most software interviews, but if your problem is getting the interview in the first place, focus on the set of skills for getting the interview first. If you get no calls from recruiters, get referrals and improve your resume. If you get calls, but do not move forward, figure out the blockers and work on it step by step. Best of luck.

  • 26
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    Head of Engineering at Capgemini
    9 months ago

    I'll add a couple other options that work particularly well for smaller companies.

    • Find an aggregator such as Angel List and some VC funds have one. This allows you to reach potentially hundreds of companies within the VC portfolio with just one application
    • Figure out your candidate-market fit and optimize your LinkedIn profile accordingly. For example, your 'About' section should be easy to scan and consume in ~5 seconds. For better or worse, most recruiters are in pattern matching mode, so make it easy for them to find a match
    • Create content and publish! This one takes some effort, but will significantly increase your visibility and potential for people to discover you in the long run. If they find you because they like your content, you're already starting in a position of advantage.

    Happy hunting and keep at it!

  • 15
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    Mid/Senior Software Engineer
    9 months ago

    It's impossible to pinpoint exactly what to focus on without seeing your resume or knowing where you've applied to, but here are some general things to consider:

    • How long have you been applying to jobs? It's not unusual for recruiters to take a month or two to get back to candidates (it's happened to me quite a few times), so if you're only a month or so into your search, have patience.

    • Do the skills and YOE listed in the job posting align with the skills and experience listed on your resume? You don't have to match every requirement they list, but I'd reckon an ideal candidate would at least have solid evidence of the most important requirements (usually listed first).

    • How well does your resume portray your skills and accomplishments? Have you had peers review your resume and given feedback? You may find tools like ResumeWorded helpful in improving the structure and word-smithing of your resume (at least, I found it immensely helpful!).

    • How large/well-known are the companies you're applying for? Smaller/lesser known companies may have fewer applicants, and you might have a better chance at standing out.

    • Cold applying to companies (especially through overly-saturated networks like LinkedIn Jobs) doesn't work nearly as well as it used to. Lean into your network. Ask for referrals, and offer others a good word too.

  • 38
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    9 months ago

    Great question - It's a classic one for sure! There's a lot of potential reasons why you may not be getting calls back, so I'll go through the most common ones.

    For I dive into it though, I just want to reiterate that the economy right now is extremely bad, the worst it's been in 10+ years. It's important to be hyper-realistic and temper expectations. This means:

    • Tactics that used to work very well now only work some of the time
    • Tactics that worked okay before are now completely useless
    • Areas where you could make a few mistakes before are now 100% unrelenting and you need to execute perfectly

    Now let's figure out how to "debug" your job search!

    Resume

    I have been involved in the hiring loop at every company I've ever been at, so I've easily read 1,000+ resumes. I am consistently surprised at how unoptimized so many of them are with relatively basic mistakes like spelling errors, hostile formatting, and unclear language. The absolute first step to getting interviews is making sure your resume is super polished.

    To learn how to do that, watch our resume masterclass, which includes a link to my resume: [Masterclass] How To Write A Stellar Tech Resume That Gets You More Job Opportunities

    Diversify + Ramp Up Your Applications

    We all know that Big Tech is (generally) great for tech careers. Google, Amazon, Meta - These are all companies we've grown up using, and it's so many engineers' dream to work for them. However, they're now 100x harder to get into due to the layoffs + hiring freezes. One of the main reasons I see SWEs struggle to get opportunities is due to their "Big Tech or Bust" mentality, and this mentality is even more damaging in current times.

    As Melissa mentioned, it's important to be much more open towards working at a startup nowadays. Startups are struggling too, but any startup that is able to survive this economy is sure to flourish when things get better. If you want to become a mega millionaire in the next 5 years, now's the time to take a bet on a startup - The equity will be underpriced.

    Here's the websites I like for applying to startups:

    • Wellfound (formerly AngelList) - I love how easy it is to apply here: You can win with quantity to generate leads.
    • workatastartup.com - This is a portal just for YC Startups. I'm biased of course, but YC startups (e.g. Stripe, Airbnb, DoorDash) tend to be legit with great learning opportunity.

    To learn how about startups:

    Another way to send out more applications is to make sure you're not filtering yourself out:

    • If you meet 50-70% of the job's requirements, you should just apply. Treat job posting "requirements" as more of a wishlist.
    • If you meet 100% of a job's requirements, you are probably overqualified. You should probably still apply in this economy (a job's a job), but don't be surprised when you get an offer that's under-leveled and under-paid.

    Polish Your LinkedIn

    Similar to resume, I have been surprised at how many engineers have an unmaintained and messy LinkedIn. Most of my job opportunities have been LinkedIn inbound - People seriously sleep on how powerful it can be. The bare minimum is to:

    • Have a very high quality headshot
    • Flesh out your experience blurbs (you can copy-paste from your optimized resume)
    • Follow the general steps LinkedIn gives you to fill out your profile

    As a bonus, building a brand on LinkedIn is also very effective at generating inbound. I talked with a Taro Premium member who started their career at Google and growing their LinkedIn to 12,000+ followers played a major role! Here's the case study we gave on how to do that: [Case Study] Building An Engineering Brand - Why And How (LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Substack)

    Do Real Networking

    It's easy, but cold connecting with recruiters unfortunately isn't real networking. The success rate was low even when the market was hot, and now it's effectively 0. It's more important than ever to build deep relationships by adding value to people, so you can get very strong referrals. Fidelity is a major brand, so I'm sure there's a lot of great engineers that you can get to know there.

    Genuine networking takes time, so it's important to plant the seeds now and be patient. This isn't something you can rush, unlike the prior tips. Here's our resources to help with this:

  • 13
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    9 months ago

    Adding on to the more "traditional" ways of getting job opportunities that have discussed in detail here, I want to add my personal favorite: Build amazing software that grabs others' attention.

    Software is both infinitely sharable and infinitely scalable. A huge chunk of my interview opportunities have been inbound with recruiters from Google, Block, Uber, and others reaching out because I have built ~30 apps in my spare time with a combined 3 million+ users.

    To learn how I did that, check out these other great resources: