Before Steve received an email from hackajob, he wasn’t feeling confident in his job search. With plenty of experience in DevOps, he’d had been out of work for a year and was struggling to find a role that suited him. After spending just two weeks on the hackajob platform, Steve found a new role as a Senior DevOps Engineer at his dream company. Here, he tells us his story and shares why others in his position should never give up:
The recruitment conundrum
After leaving my previous role, I felt confident that I could pick up a new gig pretty quickly. I had years of experience under my belt and was just looking for a role that felt ‘right’. My problem? The word ‘DevOps’. Right now, the term is a buzzword and it’s something that recruiters the world over seem to be looking for. You might be thinking, ‘that seems like a good problem to have’, but honestly, it’s not so great. I come from the operations side of DevOps, whereas a lot of recruiters are looking for candidates on the development applications side.
I’ve had to field hundreds of calls from recruiters who have no idea what role they’re recruiting for and are just pushing the term ‘DevOps’ to anyone who they feel might be vaguely relevant. At times (mainly when updating my LinkedIn), I’m called by recruiters around 3x per hour throughout the day. It’s a nightmare.
Finding hackajob (and my confidence)
After a year of sifting through hundreds - if not thousands - of roles, I received an email from hackajob. I’m not quite sure what, but there was just something in it that stood out to me and made me think that the platform was worthwhile. I’m glad I did, because my experience with hackajob was really efficient.
First of all, the job descriptions are easy to get your head around. There’s not a huge list of criteria and you won’t have to spend a good chunk of time wondering if you have all of the relevant attributes (hint: you probably don’t). Instead, I was able to read a short, to-the-point description of what different companies wanted, and would know straight away if I could do the role. From there, I’d get sent messages via the platform from companies themselves, not recruiters. They’d ask me if I was interested in a quick 15-minute chat - nothing complicated - and from there we’d look at whether I wanted to do a ‘proper’ interview with them.
I like that hackajob remove all complication and pressure. I enjoyed the technical challenges that hackajob offer - it’s a really interesting part of the job search because it allows you to show off your skillset. I didn’t need to do many of them, but appreciate that hackajob offer this route. Overall, hackajob made finding my new role effortless; I mean, I found something new in just two weeks of using the platform when I’d been looking for a job myself for the best part of a year. hackajob gave me my confidence back.
The problem with ageism
One thing that I feel could have hindered my job search is my age. Before hackajob, I’d attend face-to-face interviews and see that entire technical teams were just so young. I mean, I’m in my 50's now and was finding that I was being interviewed by people 15, even 20 years younger than me; then it would eventually transpire that I wouldn’t get the job. For example, I went for one job and I and thought that I went really well. I had an instant rapport with the person interviewing me, had really great feedback and honestly thought that I had it in the bag.
Long story short; they kept me waiting for a month because ‘they had more candidates to interview’, and eventually settled on somebody else. It was a really stressful time for me because I thought I had it and I’d put other things on hold for it to happen, and then it didn’t work out. The experience definitely made me cautious and it did put me off for a little while.
There are a lot more opportunities in tech now, which I’m keen to stress is fantastic. The fact that people have access to education is really important and it’s rewarding to see so many new people in the industry. What I will say, however, is that because there are so many opportunities now for young people to get into tech, the industry has become saturated by the younger generations. It’s made me wonder whether I can survive in this industry until retirement, or whether I’m going to have to try my hand at something new.
When it comes to hiring, companies need to become more inclusive for all roles. I hate to say it, but it seems as though whilst gender and race are always considered, age doesn’t even seem to be an after-thought in most cases. At least, that’s my observation as I look around the room and struggle to identify even one person that’s a similar age to me. My advice to others in my position? Keep pushing and don’t stop learning. Make sure you’re staying up-to-date with the latest trends and if you want to get into DevOps; you’ve got to keep yourself in the loop. In my career, I’ve seen plenty of change, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with refreshing your knowledge and skillset every once in a while.