Experience in remote job search in London

A year ago, an agent from London called me - they were looking for Javascript programmers for Badoo. Vaguely remembering that working in the UK requires a complex work visa, I informed them right away that I only have Russian citizenship. The agent said that this is not necessarily a disaster, and that Badoo has several quotas for people without the right to work in Britain. Later, he really called back, apologized, and said that quotas were over.

This year I received EU citizenship and decided to try my luck again. Active search took about 3 months. There will be a list of various thoughts that came in the search process.

  • The job search should be approached as a game. There are game rules, there are winners and losers, and you can always play another game. Do not take the whole process too seriously.
  • Interview rules, terms of reference and questions are more likely to be irrelevant to real projects. Similarly, the final impression of you as a team may not be related to what you actually can.
  • It is extremely clear to find out for yourself what positions you want to fall into. This will save a lot of time - you can quickly filter out all unnecessary. I started the search as a front-end developer, then outlined a circle as a full-stack developer with the prospect of joining the project manager.
  • Skype interview - approx. Weekend assignment - approx. Fly to London for the first interview or the first technical task - not ok. It makes sense to fly only when everyone else likes everything, and both sides have a positive idea of ​​how everything can turn out. Or just if you want to see the city.

  • Some companies arrange a pair programming session during the interview. In my case, it took from half an hour to an hour. You are allocated a computer, one or two people from the team. They set a task for you and watch with interest how you will get out. For 10 years of work in Finland, I never programmed in pairs, and for the first time I was attacked by an incredible stupor. It helps to pronounce aloud your entire train of thought, as well as paper with a pen.
  • Startups often offer low salaries, while requiring vast experience and requiring great responsibility. This is not necessarily bad, especially if you can agree on a stake in the company.
  • Agency. They will look for positions, organize interviews, kick companies and you so that everything moves forward. They will tell you how to dress for the interview and what questions they will ask there (not the fact that it will coincide, but they will try). They can even send you a zip solution to the technical specifications, which in my opinion is completely cheating. On the other hand, between you and the immediate position there will be an interlayer in the form of an agency. All communications will be conducted through them. When the solution of the technical task does not suit the company, you cannot directly ask the person who evaluated him what he did not like and how to improve everything. The agency will send feedback, which usually comes down to “the code level does not match the requested salary level, we already have candidates who code better for less money”
  • It should be borne in mind that for an employer company, an agency is an additional waste of money. For this reason, the agency will recommend that you lower your salary requests - even to the extent that you receive less than you already receive.
  • For the same reason, it makes sense to take the initiative and go to the companies yourself, without agencies. Many vacancies and companies have a note - “if you are an agency, please do not disturb”. The cool FT Labs office writes in plain text - “if for the first time the agency will represent you and not yourself, this will create a bad impression.”
  • If you asked for the terms of reference, then it is worthwhile to stipulate the dates and the day when you will return it. The timely delivered task creates a positive impression.
  • The technical task code without tests is an automatic file.
  • As for agencies - if you are talented and your github sparkles with stars, agencies will quickly find you a lot of positions. If you have 0 followers on a github (like mine), agencies will send you random positions in the hope that someone will bite you. Conclusion - a talented person can quickly find work through an agency. But a talented person can just as well find a job without them.
  • Job search should be ongoing, even if you are already satisfied with everything. This should not be taken too seriously - then there will not be time for the main job. But it must be such an ongoing process to keep oneself up to date with real value and demand in today's world. What technologies are used in real projects. Several interviews can give an excellent cut on the working techniques and processes in the teams of modern companies. Each company (especially large) is like a separate world in which there are laws, and which does not recognize anything else. Startups are more unified, everything works approximately the same.
  • A good approach is to keep a short diary of the main events of the process. If the terms of reference or interview did not go smoothly, write down your thoughts and take them into account the next time. There is always next time.
  • If you do not search for a job, pretty quickly you can break away from reality and have inflated ideas about yourself.
  • Two interviews a day directly at company offices - the ceiling. After that, it’s good to have a minimum unloading day.
  • Most companies will try to save themselves and you time by asking questions about salaries and citizenship directly when you can move. An excellent sign is if the company offers a (reasonable) terms of reference before the very first interview - then you can not even waste time on the interview if something does not suit them.

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