Refining my priorities
After nearly 10 months and more than a dozen interviews, I was finally feeling more comfortable with the interview process, but I still hadn’t landed a job in health tech. I was also surprised by how little rapport I’d been able to establish with the people I’d met in those interviews. It suddenly dawned on me that I’d been approaching my job search with a limited perspective—the most important thing wasn’t finding a job in a specific industry, it was finding a team and manager who I would be excited to work with. I decided to broaden my scope into other fields, and I quickly started to feel a deeper connection to the interviewers I met. I finally nabbed an onsite interview with a tech company whose mission I believed in.
The needle in the haystack
Around the same time, I attended a researcher meetup event where I ran into an acquaintance who told me about a research role on Google’s Material Design team, where I could help shape tools and other resources for UX designers. Having worked as a designer before getting my master’s degree, it was a near-perfect fit for my background. Another friend had previously worked for the hiring manager, and I’d heard great things about him—which were all confirmed when we sat down in an interview. It also turned out that I had a passing acquaintance with yet another member of the team, and found out later that she advocated for me when my name come up as a candidate; I was surprised that she even remembered me. I later came across research documenting that ‘weak ties’ (to people you know but aren’t close to) lead to more job offers than strong ties. In hindsight, I realized just how important it can be to have these relationships.
After a year of practice, I was in good shape to clear every hurdle in the interview process. For good measure, I practiced my case study presentation one last time with a friend, who helped me polish my slides and make my delivery more dynamic. I felt good about how the interview went, but was happy to have the interview at the other tech company to distract me from the wait. Two weeks later, I got the call that Google was going to make me an offer.
One more rejection
Although I was pretty sure I wanted the Google job, I thought the other interview also went quite well, so was curious to see if I’d get an offer from them. I didn’t. I wracked my brain looking for something I did wrong or wished I’d done differently, but nothing stood out. Sometimes, you’re just not what they’re looking for. Fortunately, I couldn’t be happier about where I was about to end up.