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♟️ Job search strategies

Strategising in your job search will help you spend time on your most promising interview processes. Here are a few strategies to address common job search scenarios:

When you’re unsure about the opportunity

If a company prefers having a chat with you over answering your questions via message, you may feel unsure how to proceed.

Taking an interview when you’re unsure of the opportunity will depend on your current time constraints. Ask yourself:

  • How many other interview processes have I committed to?
  • Of my other interview processes, do any of them seem less appealing than this one? If so, I should rather continue with this company and close the loop with the other.
  • If I currently have a job, what deadlines do I have to meet in the next few weeks?

If you feel like you’ll have two to three hours a week to contribute to each interview step, then definitely take the first interview. Remember you may need to dedicate more time to technical assessments.

You may find it worthwhile to set up a 15-30 minute chat with the hiring manager prior to the first interview to get clarity on the opportunity. Use this chat to determine if you want to proceed to the initial interview, which will require the above time commitment.

If you have more than one promising opportunity you’d like to explore, see ‘How to manage multiple interview processes' below.

How to evaluate opportunities from the first interview

Evaluating an opportunity may seem impossible until you have completed the full interview process.

However, it’s often possible to determine whether a job aligns with what you’re looking for by asking the hiring team targeted questions.

Some examples of targeted questions

SalaryHow do you benchmark your salaries? How does the company think about remuneration in general?
BenefitsWhat benefits are offered at [company name] and how does this impact Cost to Company?
CultureWhat kind of person thrives at your company?
Tech stackWhat programming languages, frameworks, and libraries do you use and why?
Company missionWhat are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?
LeadershipIf a staff member comes to you with a problem, how do you usually address it?
LocationIs there flexibility in terms of place of work? Are employees in the office every day or are they able to work from home too?
Remote-first companiesIsolation in remote working is a real issue. What sort of strategies/systems are in place to prevent that?
IndustryWhat is exciting about X industry?
Consultancy companiesIf I am not happy in the position/project is there flexibility to move to a new project?
Career growthWhat opportunities and routes for career development and skill development are available?
Roles and responsibilitiesHow can I impress you in the first 3 months?
If you meet the teamWhat about your role in the company do you like the most and what do you like the least?
Financial viability of the businessWhat are the biggest financial opportunities and challenges for the company?
More resources:

Examples of questions you can ask the hiring manager based on your decision-making factors can be found in this downloadable resource.

Once you have your answers, compare them to your initial job search goals. Determine if there are any dealbreakers or red flags that will inhibit you from accepting an offer from a company.

The connection you form with an employer will be stronger if you close the loop in the middle of the process over rejecting a formal employment offer.

How to manage multiple interview processes

Managing multiple interview processes is difficult. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities, but you do want to spend the majority of your time on the most promising prospects.

Here are some tips to determine what opportunities are worth spending your time on:

  • Consider how much time you can afford to dedicate to your job search with your current schedule. You need to allow sufficient time to prep for and be present in interviews, as well as for technical assessments and possibly visiting offices. As mentioned above, this could be three or more hours for each interview step.
  • Once you know how much time you have, you’ll know how many interview processes you can undertake.
  • After every interview, reflect on your current options and rank your processes according to how many you can do at a time.
  • Rank each opportunity against your job search goals and either pause or close the loop with companies that don’t meet the threshold.

How to pause an interview process

If you need to pause a process to focus on another, the most important thing is to be open and honest with a company. Here is a message you could use:

Get your template!

Hello [hiring manager’s name],

Thank you for the interview yesterday [the last touch point you’ve had with them]. I am excited about [whatever the next step is in their interview process].

I am struggling to find time to dedicate to preparing for [the next step] right now. Would it be possible for us to pause the process and continue from [give them a specific date that you’ll be able to continue].

Kind regards, [your name]

Some companies may not have time to delay in filling the role you’re interviewing for. You may miss out on opportunities by delaying them. It’s unlikely any company will be happy with pausing a process for more than a couple of weeks.

However, if it allows you to focus your efforts and what time you have to dedicate to opportunities more in line with your job search goals, it may be worth missing out on a less appealing role.

Keep in mind how long you have to find a new job – if your search is more urgent, it may not be worth pausing any processes.