The Interview Chronicles, Part 2: Always Be Interviewing

You’ve just started a cushy new gig.  Maybe you’ve even been there for a while and you’re still loving it.  All the perks are there.  The pay is there.  The tech stack your work on and the people you work with are both amazing.

Most people, at this point, stop looking at open positions and stop taking recruiter calls or LinkedIn messages.  After all, they’re content with the job they have.

This is the worst thing you can do.  Always be interviewing.  Even if you don’t want a new job.

Keeping up with the industry

When you’re interviewing with a company as a programmer or a systems admin, one of the ways a company will try to sell you on their position is to talk about their stack.  Some of this information may be public, but few companies will talk about the coolest stuff they’re working on without a signed non-disclosure agreement.  This is, by far, one of the best ways to keep up with trends in the industry.

If you start hearing about a technology a couple of times in a row during interviews, it’s a good sign that the technology in question is one to start brushing up on or looking for ways to use at your current job.  It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than attending conferences and such, especially if you’re a consultant that doesn’t have an employer to foot the bill for travel and attendance.

Practice, practice, practice!

Like any skill, you need to practice interviewing to get better at interviewing.  Going on interviews is a good way to test out different resume and cover letter combinations, get exposed to numerous different forms of the technical interview, and get yourself better at parts that nobody likes doing, such as salary negotiation.

Not only that, you’re going to eventually be asked to interview someone else as you move up the seniority and/or management ranks, and being exposed to many different interview styles can help you ensure that you’re doing both your company and a potential candidate a favor by coming into an interview without a bunch of frivolous questions and exercises that don’t tell you much about the candidate.

Wrapping it up

As programmers and sysadmins in a hot technology market, we are, by and large, blessed/lucky/what-have-you by the fact that jobs come to us.  Everyone has recruiter stories, and their favorite ways to get less calls rather than more.

Rather than treating them as an annoyance, use the demand to your advantage.  You get great intelligence on where the industry is headed, the opportunity to practice people skills that will positively affect your future earnings, and you’ll make yourself a better interview in the process.

Always be interviewing.