My review of the Dubstarts jobs fair a couple of weeks ago had an unprecedented response. It was unprecedented in the sense that I had only set this blog up about a week beforehand and as soon as I tweeted about my review the number of retweets, emails and comments just exploded! I couldn’t believe it!
What I mostly couldn’t believe was the fact that 8 companies contacted me with a view to offering me something. That is 8 times more than anything else I’ve tried. The start-up scene is so much more accessible, encouraging and community-driven than I could have imagined. It’s a tough scene to survive in but it’s a great way to get started, to meet people, or even to get experience for setting up your own start-up.
Now, I just want to make it clear from the beginning of this post (because chances are this is the only reason you’re reading this), that I will not be naming any of the companies that approached me or that I met with. Most people wanted to know who I spoke with, and I completely understand. It’s a very small scene and everyone knows each other. Everyone gets along so well (it seems) and I don’t want to give reason or cause for gossip or speculation. While I had a good few companies contact me via email and social platforms, I’ll only touch on my experience with actual interviews, both phone and in person.
The first interview I had was over the phone. It was arranged for the Friday morning after Dubstarts and I was quite nervous. It went remarkably well and I couldn’t get over all the kind and encouraging words from the guy I spoke with. The interview lasted about 20 minutes and discussed my availability and goals, for the most part, but didn’t narrow down exactly what the role was just yet. I knew I was the first of about 15 to be interviewed that day and so I think it took us a while to get into the swing of things. We laughed and chatted quite a bit though, so that eased my nerves quite a bit.
Later that day I was driving to Cork with my boyfriend when I checked my emails. I had an email that was sent 45 minutes prior asking me to take another call from the other founder of that same company. He was scheduling the call for 15 minutes time and I couldn’t figure out what to do. I just ensured that we had the radio turned off and that my boyfriend didn’t make me laugh and I took the call when it came, praying that my phone maintained clear reception. It went very much the same and I was very honest. I explained the skills that I have, that I still had a lot to learn, and that I was very eager to learn. I wasn’t nervous this time, partly because I had spoken to this guy at Dubstarts before so I was comfortable enough.
On Monday morning I had my second interview. I had received the loveliest and most encouraging email from one of the founders in charge of marketing. She had a very professional but human approach that I found so reassuring and attractive. I met with her and the CEO in their offices. The emails were a very good representation of how they do business. The product that they have is very promising and they were keen not to just avail of “free labour”. They really wanted to know what I wanted to learn and they answered all of my questions very succinctly and clearly.
On Tuesday afternoon I met with another company. Their product was very much in an area that I am familiar with and seems like a very good one, once they get it off the ground. That interview lasted an hour and for the first while it was very much a chat about the start-up scene in Dublin. It’s very interesting to get different perspectives and opinions from the inside.
Later on Tuesday evening I went to the Wayra Enternships launch party. I mentioned it to my classmates who are also looking for work and four of them came with me. I got to meet a lot of the Wayra people that I had been in touch with on Twitter and that I had met at the Undergraduate Awards. The launch party was on in the Telefonica building on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay. One of the companies had been in touch with me the previous week to come in and meet them, but we figured that it was best to wait until the launch party. One of the founders gave me a tour around the whole office and told me about a lot of the other companies. I only really got an opportunity to speak with one other company but upon contacting them both after the launch party, they both offered me unpaid positions. I mean, everyone was offering unpaid positions but I still felt very lucky to be offered them.
The next interview I had was with the company that I ultimately chose. I met with John on Thursday in Fixx coffee. We sat and talked for about an hour and again I was very impressed with all that he had to say and the scope of work that I could potentially engage in. The product has already been launched and has nearly 50,000 users already. Now it seems that all they need to do is work on expanding it and showing customers why it’s worth paying for the service.
Later that day I got a call from the first company I spoke with. They were offering me a 5 week paid commercial research position. Every day the choices were getting harder and harder. I was probably most interested in the company I met on Monday, one of the Wayra companies and the company that I chose. I still had to consider the paid option too though, I mean it would be stupid not to at least consider it.
I whittled it down to 3 on Friday. It broke my heart to have to say no to some of them because you can never be sure what the right decision is. Last weekend was a long weekend and so I made by decision on Tuesday.
That decision was….
Fluid UI is a very easy to use prototyping software for designing mobile apps. The company is located with a whole load of other start-ups down in dogpatch labs. I went in to meet with them for an hour yesterday to get a brief introduction to everything, and I start properly on Monday. I’ll be interning part-time so I can keep my job in the Senate and not be completely broke!
This whole process has been tiring and difficult. I’ve met amazing people and I can only assume that I have made a wise decision and that I’ll be able to learn and grow within the digital media industry. I don’t have my niche narrowed down yet but that will hopefully come soon. To all the people who met with me, I genuinely appreciate it. After all the wondering and waiting about jobs, it has been the most heartwarming experience to realize that there are people out there willing to give you your first shot! It may be unpaid, for now, but hopefully it will get me on the road to being employed full-time.