One of my favorite things to do is help my fellow software developers and other top performers interview and negotiate more effectively. I do this by learning about your background and deeply understanding your needs and wants as a potential client. If you are already interviewing or going to be interviewing soon and would like some help, I’d encourage you to read on.
To understand where I come from and why I’m so passionate about helping people interview and negotiate more effectively, I’ll share my experience with it.
About 7 months before I graduated from college, I decided to start interviewing with companies, in the hopes of lining something up a months before I graduated. I figured I’d interview with ten, maybe twenty companies and I’d have a couple of job offers to pick from.
I was dead wrong.
I ended up interviewing with over 150 companies either by phone or in person. I went through interview after interview and rejection after rejection. I started to answer the phone by asking who was calling, and as soon as they said what company they were from, I was already pulling up my spreadsheet to scratch their name off the list. Finally, the day before I graduated, I got a job offer for an internship and accepted it on the spot. I worked through the internship, and about 2 weeks before it was over, I got a full-time job elsewhere through a company I’d done a project with previously while still in school.
It took me a year to figured out the reason I couldn’t get a job as easily as I had hoped. The reason I had to interview with so many companies and was rejection so many time was because I didn’t have a clear picture of what I wanted my career to look like nor did I know how to illustrate my value.
More Naive Hopes
After I started working at this new company, I had my next realization.
I used to think that people such as my manager and co-workers would simply recognize my skills, efforts, and accomplishments on their own. I honestly thought we worked in a meritocracy, and that, by extension, I’d have money would fall upon me and that the promotions would come like clockwork because I simply did the work that was valuable to the company. What I learned much later was that the money and promotions were unrealistic expectations without evidence. More importantly, the co-workers and managers didn’t know I had done something interesting if I didn’t tell them, so I began to adopt the philosophy of “Do Something Interesting and Tell People”. When I’d make a particular accomplishment, I’d share it with my manager and relevant team members. Sometimes, it would only be relevant to one or two people, but other times, the entire team would benefit.
I figured telling these people what I had done was going to be easy to do for the most part, but once I started to put this into practice, I had to learn how to get out of my engineer’s mindset and figure out what was relevant to them. If I didn’t find out what was relevant to them, I’d become another engineer talking over their heads with lots of details and what I thought was fun information, but was more commonly equated as engineer mumbo-jumbo.
While I didn’t always talk over the heads of my fellow engineers, I did talk over the heads of participants anytime I was talking to project managers or non-technical individuals. Really tackling this problem head on was hard to do, but it’s ultimately helped me in the long run because I’m much more confident in interviews now. I know how to gauge when a person is interested in the story and how to have points explained in ways relative to their technical skill level.
The Final Straw
The final straw came when I got a letter in the mail from Sallie Mae. I was living in a 1-bedroom apartment with my girlfriend and her daughter. That night, my girlfriend went out with some friends and put her daughter to bed. I looked at the computer desk where I had place the letter, picked it up, and sat down on the edge of the bed and opened it. It informed me that my student loan payments were going up by $500 in about a year. Only a week prior, I had done a budget and found out that I had a mere $21 to my name after paying my bills, putting food on the table for the three of us, and putting gas in my car to make this so-called “living.”
Needless to say, the news devastated me. How was I going to break the news to my girlfriend? Would she give up on me and leave? I wanted to propose to her, so how would she respond to the big question coming from her loser boyfriend who could barely make ends meet? These were all the thoughts floating around in my head after getting the news.
The Long, Hard Road to Success and Discovering the Answer
It was then and there that I decided that I needed to get paid more. I started doing research to determine what I was worth. I found out that I was being underpaid by about $30,000. This shocked me and made my stomach turn. The day after I found out this information, I went into my boss’ office and laid out the situation and asked for a raise. He flat out refused and said, “No, we won’t give you a raise.”
Upon hearing that firm rejection, I began a crusade to get job offers and potentially leave the company. I was very upfront with my boss about the whole situation and explained to him multiple times that I would stay as long as I was paid better. I lined up a number of companies and started interviewing. I did deep research into the companies I interviewed at and broke the job description down line-by-line, listing everything I had done that proved I could satisfy the requirements. I sat in front of a camera and practiced my interview answers. I came up with solutions to the problems the companies were facing as I discovered them in the interviewing process.
I gave every ounce of focus, energy, and effort that I had at interviewing and negotiating more successfully. I ended up interviewing with 6 companies and receiving 5 job offers. Each time I received a job offer, I went back in and talked to my boss about another raise. The lowest job offer I received was $10,000 more than what I was making, and the highest was $28,000 more than what I was making. My boss only came up to $8,000 more than what I was making even after he heard the $28,000 job offer.
I gave my two-weeks notice and knew I had a winning interview strategy on my hands. Instead of feeling rejected and defeated going into interviews, I felt confident and practically bullet-proof.
Interview Coaching Online
Since then, I’ve interviewed with other companies and changed jobs a few more times, each time receiving increases in pay and further refining my interviewing and negotiation skills. I’ve been a student of the subject since the day I received the letter from Sallie Mae and I haven’t looked back.
As a result of practicing and executing multiple job hunts and going from getting one job offer out of 150+ interviews to getting a job offer with nearly every company I’ve applied to, I offer personalized, 1-on-1 interview coaching online, teaching Software Developers and other top performers how to interview far more effectively and earn what they are worth. The strategies and tactics I teach work and my clients have gotten amazing results.
Here’s what some of my clients had to say about working with me:
“I had 6 straight interviews yesterday – 6 hours without a break (except one lunch interview). And I’m pretty sure I CRUSHED 5 of them. The first five (and the most important by far) went VERY well, and were actually kinda fun.” – Andrew H.
When was the last time you heard of job interviews being fun? Andrew thought I was joking when I mentioned this, but now he’s a believer. How about another:
“Jarrett’s negotiation practice session was phenomenal! He helped me understand and then articulate what sort of things my employer will likely find valuable. He then talked me through how to approach the negotiation and what might work best for my situation. As a result, our board approved a bonus structure for me which has never been offered in my organization before. Very valuable help.” – Sarah M.
Sarah was in an organization that never had a bonus structure before, and knowing how to effectively position herself and prove her worth, she was able to get what she deserved. What do others have to say?
“Huge props to Jarrett Coggin for his input last night into my upcoming review/salary negotiation (I mean “compensation adjustment”).
Very generously gave his time to go through my approach, give me some great feedback and poke holes in the argument I was presenting.
Biggest victories were getting the structure of my argument sorted out and assigning the proper value to my mixed-bag role at the company.
He’s also convinced me that I should be coming back in 6-months to my next review with other job offers in hand.” – Ross O.
I taught Ross how to increase his options by showing him what multiple job offers can do for him.
“Jarrett is the real deal when it comes to preparing you for your interview. Through a series of about 5 mock interviews, I was able to hone in on the questions that were really causing me trouble. It’s amazing how much valuable his feedback was. I have no doubt his services helped me land my dream job.” – Bud H.
Bud’s experience was absolutely awesome and he’s been one of my favorite clients to work with. He came a really long way in a really short amount of time and he landed his dream job.
If you’d like to start working with me and get a free 30-minute 1-on-1 consulting session, fill out the form below with details about your situation including:
- What specifically you are struggling with.
- How you feel about the situation.
- What you’d like to get out of the situation.
- What actions you’ve already taken to address the situation.
- How I could best help you.
- What job title or role you’d like to get. (Example: “I’d like to be a front-end web engineer for Facebook.”)
- A link to the job description you are aiming for.
- A link to your resume.
- A link to your LinkedIn profile.
- A link to any examples of your work, such as a GitHub profile, an online portfolio, websites you’ve built, etc.