Hacker Career Advice

Getting Past Gatekeepers

Ever wonder if experienced developers and executives have trouble getting jobs? They do. And it’s often because of the gatekeeper problem:

To speak with the person who actually has the power to hire you, you’ll probably have to talk to other people, like recruiters—who aren’t as technical or as senior as you are—but who can determine if you make it to the next step (phone screens, interviews, etc.).

So, how do you get past gatekeepers? Preparation

At the start of the recruiting process, gatekeepers and hiring managers are looking for two things:

1. Whether they’d want to work with you (i.e. culture fit)

2. Whether you have the skills/experience for the job

Write out the key points you want to convey in your cover letter / resume / phone screen / interview and practice with a friend. When you’re on a call, be friendly and answer questions succinctly. Ask your own questions. Give concrete examples of your work & experience. The more you practice, the easier it’ll be when you get the call.

Gatekeepers can also reveal a lot about their organization’s culture early on. And that can save you time during your search. It’s rare, but ocasionally, you’ll get a real bad one saying ridiculous things.

If you have ever have an experience like that, end the call politely and put on some Aretha. You shouldn’t work anywhere that doesn’t respect you.