Job Hunting Tips

For those trying to get into tech

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Since I started working at Airbnb, I’ve done about 250 phone calls and coffee chats with individuals interested in coming to work at Airbnb or trying to get into tech.

Here are some helpful tips I’ve put together based on my experience talking with people.

Prepare

There are the four things I usually always ask prospective candidates:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. What are you interested in?
  4. How can I be helpful?

As you’re networking and doing exploratory conversations, make sure you can answer these four questions, as these questions will usually always come up.

Be able to answer each of these four questions quickly and in 30 seconds or less.

When you’re asked to talk about yourself and what you’re interested in, don’t talk about things you like to do or go into too much detail about your past jobs.

Give a quick 30-second update on what you’ve done previously, then talk about what you’re passionate about and want to get into next, how you can help the company, and some roles you’re looking at.

In about half of the conversations I’ve done, when I ask people if they’ve looked at the careers page and have some roles in mind, the answer is usually, “No I haven’t.”

Do your research

The best prospective candidates I talk to who are interested in Airbnb have done their research and know about our business, what teams we have, and what team they’d like to join.

This not only helps me give them better advice, but it allows me to connect them to others in the business in the specific area they’re interested in.

They also have an updated LinkedIn and resume. I usually ask for an updated resume that I can look at and pass along to contacts I have either at Airbnb or other tech companies in the area.

When you connect with someone who works at the company you’re interested in, these are the ways they can be most helpful:

  1. They can tell you more about the team or department you’re interested in
  2. They can tell you about the company, the culture, the mission and the hiring process
  3. They can connect you with others at the company who you can talk to
  4. They can put in an internal referral to increase the likelihood your resume gets seen by a recruiter or hiring manager
  5. They can pass your resume/LinkedIn directly to recruiters and hiring managers

Depending on what stage you’re at in your search, don’t be afraid to make these asks. For many, the hardest part can be to ask for a referral or for you to help pass along their resume. It can be especially hard if you don’t know the person you’re talking with.

While asking for a referral isn’t something you should do right at the start, several people I sit down with have successfully asked for a referral like this:

“It was great connecting with you and learning more about Airbnb. As we talked about, I’m really interested in x role on x team. Based on my background and experience, do you think I could be a good fit for the company and team? And if so, I’d love to get connected with others on the team I can talk to to learn more. And if you’re willing, I’d love to get an internal referral for this role. After we’re done here, I’ll send you my updated resume, LinkedIn profile, and a short description of why I want to work at Airbnb and why I’d be a good fit.”

Be patient!

Roles are always opening up and closing, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t find anything right now that’s a good fit. I’ve helped several people who found nothing that was a good fit initially, but then, three or four or six months later, something popped up. Like most companies, teams at Airbnb have restrictions on the number of headcount they can open, and have caps placed on this number it by the business.

Andrew lives in San Francisco and has worked at Airbnb for the last three years. Previously, he worked for the veteran support non-profit Team RWB and served in the Army for 8 years.

Dad. Husband. Army vet. Enjoy running, cycling, cooking, & guitar. Sign up for my monthly humor newsletter: https://eepurl.com/hoZRwH

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