A Job Search Refresh with Taylor Poindexter

Alright, y’all have been stuck hearing from just me for way too long. So today we’re chatting with… Taylor. No, the first couple weeks haven’t completely broken me to the point that I’m talking in third person (though they tried). We’re talking to Taylor Poindexter, Engineering Manager at Spotify, about all things job search and tech.

To tune in to the whole live sesh, click here.

For the wrapped version:

Alright, let’s start with a another tip for the job search. Taylor (again, not me) brought up a great place to start which is looking into companies/products you already love using and talking to people in your network that may be connected. I mean it’s a goal to work for a company you already love, but it also helps you identify what exactly would draw you to a job there. Maybe it’s the service they provide, maybe it’s their community efforts, or maybe they just ran a really funny ad you can’t stop thinking about. And if/when you strike out on job opportunities for one company, Taylor mentioned checking out g2.com to explore software that may be in the same field.

LinkedIn gurus and those cubical savants on TikTok tend to push the same tactical, consumable job advice. Yet it’s a rare thing to see someone talk about the mental side of the job search— something I’ve been guilty of myself. Sometimes we get so caught up in sharing things that can be favorited or reposted that we forget to talk about what’s arguably the hardest part— the mental and emotional drain. You know how difficult (and dangerous) it is to drive when you’re tired? Same thing goes for the job search. Taylor spoke on the importance of slowing down because, despite it feeling like you’re losing ground, it will more likely slingshot you further than you would’ve gone before. You need to be so incredibly sharp and mentally present to succeed in this market, and you can’t do that if you’re barely making it through. So, in short, be brave enough to give yourself a break.

Switching gears a bit here, here’s some advice for those of you that are new to the tech world or those that get wildly nervous during interviews. Remember two things: 1) The interviewer is somewhat on your side. They want to fill the role quickly, and they think you could be the right fit or you wouldn’t even be there. So if you agree that you’re perfect for the role, interviews are as easy as explaining why you would be. 2) Everybody is nervous. This doesn’t really help in the moment, BUT if you need to admit that you’re feeling a little silly, goofy, sweaty it’s okay to say that. A good interviewer will have some empathy because we’ve all been there. They’re not waiting for you to leave the room to say, “Man, can you believe they admitted they were nervous? What an insane reaction to this classically stressful situation.”

Okay, last tidbit. If you’re getting into tech or practically any new career path, is it better to start with a large company or a small company? Large companies have their perks, but I think if there’s a generalized answer to this question it would be to go small. One of the cons to working for a smaller company can actually be a pro. You’re going to have to wear a lot of hats. So if you’re wanting to try new things or have your roles be constantly progressing, there you go. Also smaller companies just tend to invest more in their employees, plain and simple.

So repeat after me the vibes going into 2024: we’re using all our PTO, we’re not getting titles for the sake of the title, we’re prioritizing our mental health, we’re allowing ourselves to pursue our passions, and, as always, we’re remembering that we’re not alone.