Easiest decision of my career

The easiest decision of my career #

July 13th 2020, Summer of Covid #

Hey Adil. Hope you’re doing great despite the bad news earlier. I wanted to point something out now that the process has come to a close with Cutover. A contact of mine is in the internal team over at Hopin, a video events platform thats gone from 8 people to 80 people in the last 4 months (thanks to lockdown). They’re looking for people with your skills, and I’m happy to make an intro if you would like me to?

This was the message sent to me by one of the best recruiters I’ve worked with, Dale Player, after having lost a potential position at a company called Cutover for a more senior developer. At the time, I was pretty down about it, although the developer who interviewed me seemed to nervously laugh alot about the role mainly being upgrading to Angular 2.

I had only used Angular briefly at a previous role, and something about the listlessness in his eyes told me that it would be a gruelling job.

Still, I naturally felt dejected by the rejection and so I jumped at this new oppourtunity offered to me by Dale. He put me in contact with a chap called Darren Tomlin, and on the 24th of July I found myself in a video interview with Nico Klein and Piotr Sarnacki.

Is this real life, or is it a fantasy? #

It was an interview unlike anything I had ever experienced. Nico peppered me with questions to assess my Ruby and Rails knowledge, which I stumbled through awkwardly before he hit me with the next question. It was blunt and to the point; he moved from one question to the next with dexterity, while readily giving feedback on my answers and proposing other alternatives.

These alternatives are now what I know to be the objectively better way of going about things, however he never made me feel like I got the question wrong. He reminded me of a stern yet fair teacher, (ironic, since I later found out his passion for teaching Maths through a non-profit app!)

Piotr, the other interviewer, was quieter then Nico, letting him drive most of the questions. I noticed, however, warmth and encouragement in his eyes, even when I gave the “wrong” answer to one of Nico’s questions. This warmth erupted into an inferno of excitement when he spoke of the cutting edge technologies they were planning on using at Hopin, the unique challenges and oppourtunities to be innovative; to use a lanaguage like Rust to create performant services.

To hear Piotr talk about Rust was electrifying. Now, to give you some context, I don’t really like Rust that much, but his passion was contaigious and palpable. I used to run a Gust club at my previous job (what was meant to be a Golang coding club but everyone wanted to do Rust so we made a compromise), and I had a little idea of what made it so revolutionary. Listening to Piotr speak of using it in production, it gave me goosebumps.

All of this happened while we all sat in different rooms, in different houses, and I’m pretty sure different countries (Piotr was in Berlin at the time I think, and unless I’m mistaken, Nico wasn’t living in London at the time). Yet I felt like I was in the same room as them, something I remarked to my brother later on who replied,

“Well at least you saved on the commute if they don’t take you on”.

It was the first time in my career that I was interviewed by two distinctly different developers, who were actively trying to get me to show them my strengths; a stark contrast to my other experiences. Most tech interviews I had up until that point seemed to be a search for my inadequacies; reasons to say no or reasons to offer you a lower salary then you expected or were worth.

These two chaps however, with a combined experience quadrupling my own, brought out my best qualities; my curiousity and enthusiasm, my lack of ego to my ideas or beliefs, a detachement to my code. Most of all, they saw my deep desire to grow, to work alongside passionate, empathetic and talented individuals.

It was by far the best interview I had ever had, so much so that I told Darren (foolishly, don’t do this kids) that I wanted this job so badly, I would be willing to take a salary that was lower then the advertised range.

It was my first taste of Hopin culture, and I was hooked like Tommy from trainspotting; intoxicated on a combination of admiration of the company and the pride I felt that I was even being considered to join it.

Palms sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy #

5 days later, I get a call from Darren.

Heya Adil, so here’s the deal mate, I couldn’t get you the salary you wanted unfortunately…

In a matter of seconds, my heart sunk to the floor, then jumped back up when i realised there was still an offer coming, just a shittier one then I had hoped for. I audibily groan/sigh, as I start trying to figure out how low I would go to join this company. I just knew I had to be part of it, but man, living is expensive…

…but I did manage to get you 3k more then you wanted!

I swear to God I jumped around my house, flip flopping betwen roaring with laughter and cursing out Darren for his perfectly executed prank.

So do you want the job?

Easiest decision of my career; of course I want the bloody job!