So I recently joined Atlassian as a Developer Advocate. It was an interesting experience looking for a new role. I seriously interviewed with 17 companies and turned down at least 6 offers over a three to four month period before accepting the role at Atlassian. I had more introductory conversations at a wider range of companies that never went further.

Phoning it Home

I hadn’t really looked for a job like this in a while, the first thing that really surprised me was how much of the job search took place on my phone. It used to be that a phone was just for calls, then maybe calls and some email. Now I read and compose more email on my phone than I do on a full computer. So I would Google for roles, email resumes, and fill out applications from my phone. Now there’s a lot I couldn’t end up doing from my phone, so those would be saved to address at some point when I was sitting at a computer. An important part of being able to email my resume from my phone was just having a copy of it I emailed myself. I would forward that email, changing the subject and to as needed. Outside of that, some places that have “apply with LinkedIn” buttons made it reasonably easy to apply via my phone. I would just have a couple fields to fill out.


Some application software that I interacted with required you to repeat information. Job history filled out when you ask for my resume is just wasting my time. More than once, if the application process is cumbersome I just decided that it wasn’t the right role for me. That self selection may have been useful to that organization, it’s hard to say.

I understand having technical questions to help screen candidates but some places had stuff that was pretty crazy. Asking me to solve is something I could have done shortly after school. I had a general idea of where to go to solve that but it’s not sort of activity you’d expect from your workers. So why test on skills no one will actually use? There was at least one technical interview I just said that I obviously wasn’t the right fit and suggested we stop wasting each other’s time.

I also had a number of scheduling issues. Recruiters would provide a time for a call that wouldn’t actually end up working. A couple times of it was because of timezone conversion. I would clearly label every time I provided with a timezone to try and reduce the confusion. Then there were just general scheduling problems - e.g. someone wasn’t actually free when things were scheduled. Having to reschedule isn’t the end of the world but interviewees are often working around current work commitments. So rescheduling at the last minute isn’t free.

Story Telling

The final important take away from the whole process is the importance of being clear on what your story is. For example, the technology stack wasn’t all that important to me when looking where to land. I feel like using that to transition to what is important to me is how I should have handled those questions from the start. I think there were some opportunities that might have worked out slightly better if I had expressed some of those ideas better. Making sure the story you want to tell is clear is hugely important. I was doing a lot better towards the end of my search and I think it really showed by the types of responses I was getting back.

I would often take notes about what an interviewer would say about their organization. It’s hard to keep track of everything in your mind. It turns out when you are talking to a number of people at varying stages it’s also hard to keep track of what you’ve told them. There is a list of things I considered important to convey, and I would write down when I hit each point. I carry a moleskine notebook for notes, this worked out brilliantly for this. Taking notes on your phone, tablet, or a computer seems less engaging than physically writing things down. It was also easier to flip back a few pages and look for notes about something specifically if I needed something from a previous conversation.

Part of the story was ensuring there was alignment with the company’s vision, values, and mission to my internal ones. It amazed me how many organizations couldn’t even describe what their vision, values, or mission was. Ideally someone could indicate how values of the company impacted day-to-day decision making. It’s much more likely people are in alignment from top to bottom then.

Wrap Up

So it was an interesting experience, looking for a new role. I wanted a slightly different role than I was used to, so there were plenty of challenges finding the right one. Being in an evangelism role will challenge me in new ways. I am looking forward to using those challenges to grow.

Travis Smith

Polyglot software craftsman. Knowledge disseminator. Awesome maker.