Moving to California and Landing a Job at Yelp
I decided I wanted to move to California because of the tech job opportunities, easier funding if I wanted to start another company, and the weather.
On the job-search side, I picked up my Cracking The Coding Interview book and signed up for InterviewCake. I polished up my resume, my website, and wrote a couple new technical blog posts. I reached out to recruiters who I had talked to in the past.
Applying to Jobs and Interviews
I ended up applying to more companies than I expected. This time around I got a very bad ratio of phone screen requests per application but my screen to onsite ratio was pretty great. I got interviews with Google, Trip Advisor, Lyft, AirWare, Yelp, Credit Karma and a couple very early stage startups. Facebook responded to my application three months later and asked me for an interview, but it was too late.
I learned that the end of the year is really the worst time to be applying for a job.
Interview season ends at Thanksgiving and then everybody checks-out from there. Most applications that enter after Thanksgiving don’t even get reviewed until February.
Given my eagerness for a job, I decided to optimize and do all my on-sites in the same week.
I interviewed at Google on Monday in NYC, got back home the same day, flew to SF on Tuesday and interviewed at Credit Karma on Wednesday, AirWare on Thursday and Yelp on Friday. Sadly Trip Advisor moved very slow and I ended up declining the onsite because I had all my offers.
At all these companies, I interviewed for an iOS Developer position. So that was one notch down from my Lead Mobile Dev position at Education First. For some reason I thought my Education First title wouldn’t fly at Silicon Valley tech companies given the number of years of experience I had. So I decided to trade the title for the learning and challenged myself to “re-earn” the tech lead position all over again but this time at a tech company.
I failed my Google and Credit Karma interviews. While I aced the iOS questions at Google, I just didn’t do well enough on the algorithm interviews. These were the toughest interview questions I ever got.
At Credit Karma, I simply wasn’t sharp enough on Swift 3 syntax. I knew Objective-C and had just picked up Swift 2 while Swift 3 had just come out. A couple interviewers weren’t pleased and probably weren’t sure I was an experienced iOS developer. Interestingly, Credit Karma ends the day of interviews with a one-on-one with the VP Engineering. Something I had never been asked before was: Do you set technical goals for yourself on a regular basis? I admitted I don’t, however I do go learn new things in my spare time, it’s just not formal like that.
At AirWare I did six interviews and a team lunch. AirWare isn’t your typical Silicon Valley startup. They have a fairly serious atmosphere and their engineers are all extremely experienced coming from Boeing, NASA and SpaceX. I felt that I aced the interviews. Half the interviews were pair programming, essentially writing a program in Swift Playgrounds and having it compile and run. The other half were culture fit and management with some fairly probing questions. I did also get to talk to the VP Engineering over the phone.
At Yelp the format was very standard: a lunch and four sessions of whiteboarding.
Yelp was very quick to make me an offer at $135k base, $200k worth of RSUs and a $10k signup bonus.
The negotiation wasn’t typical as the recruiter tried really hard to obtain my past salary. Yelp doesn’t want candidates to use their offers as negotiating leverage with other companies or be presented with competing offers. Yelp also cares a lot that their candidates are interested to work there specifically. This pretty much means there is little negotiation. Your only option is to already have offers, know your market value and ask for numbers that are a little above your comfort zone. Paysa was a good resource in that regard. At that point, the Yelp recruiter expects a commitment that you’ll take the offer if you get the numbers you asked for.
I had a strong feeling AirWare was going to extend an offer, but sadly they moved very slowly.
Since Yelp moved first and I got numbers higher than I expected, I accepted the offer.
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