So far, we learned about signal and scope, and we learned that our goal in the interview is to maximize signal and to communicate as much as possible, exactly where we’re at with engineering, technical leadership, and people leadership.
Now, once we’ve sent that signal — what do interviewers do with this information?
Once they’ve gotten signal, they’ll aim to level you — this is the job title and responsibilities you’ll have at the company.
Most large companies, have converged to a similar leveling system, and calibrating yourself to the right level, can be one of the most leveraged actions you take in the job search.
The level changes the game in two ways —
First, the right level defines what you do day to day — your level sets your expectations, and the kind of scope you take on — If you want to be solving large and ambiguous problems, it’s much simpler to do that when you come in at a senior or staff level. By getting this right, you are starting off your role strong.
Second, level is the biggest deciding factor in compensation. Once your level is set, your compensation is determined by a range for your level, and where you fall in that range. By changing where you level is at, you can massively shift your compensation.
Spend about 1 hour looking through the leveling doc. Answer, which section most speaks to the kind of work you have done? Now take that level, as well as the one above it, and for as many points as you can, list briefly the work you’ve done that matches, or why you believe that you match that.
Our main advice for you — be ambitious, and let your work speak for itself — the more evidence you have, the more conviction you will have, and the higher the signal you will be able to convey. If you notice that you are close to the level above what you thought, you may want to think hard about going for it!