You have now learned to love the job search. You have a strong narrative and are on an exciting journey with your career, supported by a team of peers and mentors. Now we reach the final step in the mental game — what kind of commitment will you make to the job search?
You can divide up the search into 3 parts:
- The Preparation — the studying, scheduling, and referrals
- The Execution — all the screens and onsites
- The Offer Stage — choosing and negotiating your offer
How much time should you dedicate to each, and at what level of focus should you approach them?
You could do this part-time, however, it would take significantly longer to reach the top bar in algorithms and system design. To get a sense, we would expect about 4 weeks of full-time study to get there. If you do this part time, it may be harder to schedule practice interviews with your friends, and this is one of the best ways to learn.
You could do screens and onsites part time. However, you may end up reducing your ability to negotiate, reducing your chance to find the best opportunity. For example, part time you may only be able to do one or two onsites a week. This means that you will either:
- Only do ~4 onsites, reducing the number of opportunities you see, potentially losing the best one
- Stagger your onsites across multiple weeks which may mean your offers will land at different times and make it harder to negotiate and get the best compensation
It’s definitely possible to negotiate while doing other things. However, expect the negotiation phase to take multiple weeks, with multiple meetings. Why?
Once you’ve gotten the offer, it’s time to choose, and it’s your turn to interview the company. You may want to meet potential managers and teams multiple times. This is not only helpful for choosing the right opportunity, but it also helps during the negotiation. If your potential manager really wants you, the recruiter now has further support for their case to the compensation team to help close you.
We’ve seen that focusing on your job search full time can make a significant difference in the opportunities you see, and the kinds of offers you close. We see two common objections to this
- It will cost a lot of money to not work for 3 months. This is true, however, we feel strongly that at least in the San Francisco market, the difference in offers will be much greater than this.
- Lack of confidence one will find another job. We think this is a false belief — if you are doing great at your job, you are in hot demand and there will be an option you’re happy with.
Now, if there are reasons you need to do part time, you can still make it work. We suggest looking over the study plan, and customizing it to your schedule. However, we strongly recommend you aim to schedule all the onsites within a 2 week window — this will help you land offers around the same time, and it will make a world of a difference during negotiations.
With that, we’ve reached the end of commitment — you now have the attitude, the direction, the community, and the commitment to start off your job search strong. Onwards!
Question for you:
How will you approach the job search? When will you study? What will you do about the execution phase?