Laid-off in lockdown — Job Search

In my last post, I discussed how to stay sane if you get laid off in such highly unusual circumstances. But thats is just beginning, you still need to find the job. Game starts when you start sending application.In this post I will discuss plan I followed to find a job. It worked with me, and I am reasonably sure it will work for you.

Do not read this post if all of following conditions are true for you

  • A rock star at leetcode, can solve coding challenges without struggle.
  • You know system design like back of your hand.
  • Behavioral interview is a piece of cake for you.

If you are still reading this post, I am sure this post will help you. So here is what I did and it worked for me.

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Start asking for help

Start asking for help. Known or Unknown people. Do it in a planned way. Following points my help -

Keep your information handy. No fancy stuff, Just your information and details of situations. Do not waste time on getting best CV or best cover letter. Do that in parallel. Which means Update CV, Update Linkedin, AngleList, GlassDoor etc. Update social networks (like twitter, github).Update your personal home page (if you have one).

Spread the word.Reach out to people you know, and tell them about your situation. Message to them, do a phone call or go meet them. More people you reach is better. Do not bring your ego in between. Do not think what they will think about you. Just go ask for help.Reach out to people you do not know. Drop cold email, reply to tweets and linked in posts. Be creative , Drop messages to recruiters/founders/hiring managers. Tell them your situations and forget about it.

Keep targets. Give your self a target ( like applying to 10–20 jobs everyday for first week, 10 in second and so on). Make sure you meet them. Keep a record of the places you are applying and people you are reaching.Do followups if you do not get response. Be shameless. Remember your priority is finding a job and those people can help you.

Expert Tip -

  • Dont be pushy, dont followup to quick. Give people time. You are not center of their universe.
  • When you broadcast to world, many people will come back. You will come across advises like “Put some fake some information in resume and get a job”, “Change the field”, “Compromise on money or kind of work you are looking for”. Do not immediately change the direction. If you are good at what you do, you will get a job you like.
  • Remember that these advises are coming from people who are trying to help you. Be thankful and polite to them. Explain your situation and move on.

Recruiter/TA Phone Call

In my opinion, good relation ship with recruiter increases chances of getting an offer many folds. Many people take call with recruiter as a least important step.Thats a huge mistake. Recruiter is the your guy In the company. Genuinely listen to her/him (take notes) and be frank to her/him. Ask questions about company and how to prepare well. You may know the answers. Still ask. Tell them your situation. Make friendship.

Expert Tip -

Some recruiters are not very professional. Don’t make it an excuse for acting unprofessional on your part. Play your part well. You will get chance/opportunity to settle bad behavior later, but park any immediate reaction to unprofessional behavior.

Coding Rounds

There is no short cut for this. Practice is the key, so does research. Some companies ask certain kind of questions while others have no pattern. Scan through leetcode, glassdoor and teamblind like site to identify those pattern. Solve those questions. Solve as many as you can.

Expert Tip -

  • Each coding interview you fail, is an opportunity to improve. Make sure you solve the problem once again after interview. Identify what you could have done better. It is more important than leet code. Think hard how you could have done better.
  • Remember.. failing coding interview is OK. But if you get the similar problem a different interview and you are not able to knock it off, then its not OK!!!
  • Each failure is a step towards success or away from it. It is totally up to you how you deal with it.


For behavioral round do not fabricate answers out of nothing. Try to base it on your own experiences. If you think hard you will find situations for questions like “Conflict Resolution” or “Going above and Beyond”. If answers are based on your own experiences, you will be confident. Interviewer will see it. If answers are based on your own experiences, you will be humble/proud . Interviewer will see it.

Expert Tip -

  • Interviewer is not interested in an action pack story where you are a super hero and doing everything correct. They are interested in something which they can relate to.
  • Do some research about interviewer profile or company’s stack and engineering philosophy. Touch them in your answers.
  • Be a good storyteller. You need to drive behavioral interview.
  • Try to highlight what you know, other wise interviewer may try to find what you do not know.
  • Do not copy answers from internet, it is very unprofessional and not good. Be honest, fail some interview, do mistakes and learn from them. Improve you answers.Its OK. Slowly slowly you will see the long lasting improvement.
  • Again, each failure is a step towards success or away from it. It is totally up to you how you deal with it.

System Design

Its a difficult round if you do not have experience in it. I enjoy system designing and alway participated in it at my work place. I never prepared for it. I just did it on the fly. But if you are not comfortable, then try to do some homework. There are some good videos on Youtube. There is also a course which people say is good. I am not very sure about it though.

Expert Tip-

Learn about

  • Message Broker , SQLDB vs NoSQLDB, Pub Sub, DB Sharding ,Frontend to Backend Communication, Rest vs Grpc vs Graphql etc , Serialization, WebApp vs Mobile App differences etc.
  • Also learn how would you do capacity planning? Like how would you calculate how much disk will be needed? OR How much you traffic translate to how much load. Calculations like that.
  • Solve it with the interviewer. Do not try to drive it all by yourself. Let interviewer drive it with you.

I hope this article help you in finding your next job. Feel free to drop me a message if you think I can be helpful in your job search. I will try to help you in all my capacity.

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