How I Got My First Official Full-time Job

Preface

  • I got this offer a month ago and i am pretty satisfied about it.
  • This is a kinda long story about How I Got My First Official Full-Time Job, it’s been quite a journey and it just like riding a Roller-Coaster.
  • I was struggled with choosing which category of this story belongs and then it leads to another problem that which language i use to write this story.
    • This problem is solved. I put this post in my personal blog instead of my coding/tech blog. So i considered this is a life-related story.
  • This story involves servals companies and some beautiful/smart/nice girls.
  • I am really really thankful for the helps the HRs gave to me, I could still be desperately finding a job without their help.
  • I feel so lucky.

Let the Roller-Coaster begin.

In the early September of this year, when i took off the plane to my university. I saw massive recruit advertisements posted by Alibaba INC.

  • I started to wanted to work at Alibaba a year ago, because i like the way they do things.
  • Alibaba is one of the most active company in national/world-wide open-source community, which i really really look up to.
  • Alibaba is hell of a giant IT company in china. Alone with Baidu and Tencent.

I was planed to finding a job in next year, just one or two months before graduation, because i still has some project i want to do in those semester.

Now, it looks like my plan needs to be changed. I don’t know they start recruiting people this early and i just ran into this message. So, i told my self you gotta take this opportunity, or you will be regret about this. then, i sent out my resume, and i got their invitation to participate in their written exam in Tianjin.

It’s about a week before the exam begin. I am so so unconfident about my written exam, which is the first round of their recruitment. It’s so important to me. But I am that kind of guy which barely showed up in the class, instead writing codes in my room:) and always ended up with a little above 60’ in the school exams.

  • FYI, I don’t code that much right now, I spent more time with friends and having fun :)

I prepared the written exam for a few days, noting special, just some basic data structure, algorithm and some basic knowledges. I thought that if i passed this exam, I will have a great shot of getting this offer. Because i know i have so much to show which they can not found in my resume or exam paper.

So I took this exam and i will get the result about wether i will get to the next round in one or two days later.

A day went by, a friend of mine, who also take part in this exam ask me if i got though the first round and he was already failed at second round. i began to worried because i still got no notice from the Alibaba. Somehow, I made a surprise decision which i don’t know why i wanna do that on that day. I asked my friend about the place he took the interview and i just went to there, to see if i can get any infos about my situation.

I washed my face and shaved a little bit, then just ran out to the hotel where they took interviews in the night. Luckily, there were not any guards in the door. I saw a beautiful HR wearing suit, dark skirt with high heels and dark nail polish walked into me. I still wonder why i still remember her outfit in that intense situation, i’d have felt nervous at that time :(

HR: what are you doing here?

Me: I want to know if i passed the written exam.

He: We are still working on it, we will inform some students later.

Me: Since i am here already, can i just do the interview?

HR: what ? NOT! It’s already too late and interviewers were already left.

HR: So you just come here to interview?

Me: Oh, not. i already took the exam, but i was afraid i didn’t make it. I know some guys already took the interview today and I also know that i am much much better than them.

Me: Can you get my result now? just let me know if i still have any chances.. I started to worried.

HR: Ok, fine.. so you come with me, i will check your score upstairs.

So, we went to the upstairs and just doing some meaningless chat while waking… blah..blah…blah Then she came back and said.

HR: okay, you almost fail the exam. now you can go back and wait for further notice, meanwhile, you can start to prepare your interview, like those projects, codes you mention in your resume…

ME: Thank you! thank you so so so much. But i don’t think i need to prepare my interview. I know what i got, it’s okay. thank you!!

ME: Are you sure i get to the interview? did you double-check that?

HR: Yeah, just go and wait for our calls….

The day i start to loving Subway.

in the next, i got a call from the hr and they want me to do the interview at 15:00 today at same hotel i visited last night.

  • I put on a red shirt, that day, for a guru once tell me that red is my lucky color and i need to eat more meat and barbecue :)

I got dressed and head out, it’s kinda early before the interview begin. so i went to a Subway nearby. It’s my first time that i really really enjoy the Sandwich there. * Now, I became a Subway fan, along with Burger King.

Then i went to the hotel to wait for my interview, i met some guys and we chat a little bit. I know i have the lowest score on paper and I am from a not that famous university. But, yeah. i don’t even feel any worried about that. I just know that I can beat them.

First round of the interview(System Engineer)

Finally, It’s my turn for the interview. i walked in and sit, my interviewer is a middle aged guy. But i can see that he is so serious about technical.

  • After I finished the interview, i did a little on him, and it turned out that he has more than 10 years experiences and made a quite reputation in him field.

I sit down, he started introduce himself and want me to introduce myself. I talked about my university experiences, some of the project of mine and why I am choosing Alibaba. There’re not that much questions and i think i’ve handle them pretty well.

Some of the questions are:

  • what do i know about Open Source softwares.
  • The reason why i love C & Linux so much
  • What do i want to do if i join Alibaba
  • What do i think this position(System Engineer)’s job
  • My views on math and developers.

And we even talked about a project i working on:)

Them, i got a pretty surprising respond. He think the R&D position might be more suitable for me. So, I was transfer to the R&D interview.

Second round of the interview(Research/Develop Engineer)

So, I start my second round. As far as i know, this R&D position is the most difficult position for me, because this position is the hottest position people want to get in and i will have to compete with a lot of students from Tianjin’s top universities.

  • To those who don’t even know what they want, they applied to a R&D position.

There’s no way back. I even thought i will just get the offer if i stay in the System Engineer position. Because one of my big advantage is That I had pretty great Linux experiences/skills in the past years.

This interviewer is pretty young and smart. So i know i might have had a hard time for this one.

When i sit down and we greeted. then he start to asked questions. most questions I answered fine. But when the problems got deeper, i starter to freak out, because I really didn’t study something this deep, at this low level.

Since I put quite difference fields or skills in my resume, he almost check every single point of those fields. It turned out to be fine, for I wrote those entries honestly :)

Then, I pass this interview. March On!

Third round of the interview(Research/Develop Engineer)

This round is much easier than the pervious one. but that’s not the point of this round.

Before i start of this round of interview and was in the waiting room. Most people had been eliminated in the previous rounds, so the room is kind of empty. there’re only about ten students in the room, and some of us might get fired in the upcoming rounds.

A girl with New-Balance shoes came in, I gotta admit she was kinda beautiful, considering that she also had some skills. So instead of preparing for the next upcoming interviews, I was trying to find out any topic we can chat about:) I don’t know how i start this chat, but it turn out to be a pretty good one.

She: I had a few Linux experiences, and i am here for a System Engineer position.

Me: I just transfer from System Engineer to R&D. So you gotta grab this one:)

She: Okay, i will try..

No way!! This girl knows Linux and make it to this round, it looks like she really got something as well. I gotta ask for her number later, i told my self.

Then I saw that HR, the life-saver i met the other night. She saw me as well and i walked to her

Me: Thanks to you, i can be here:)

She: I didn’t expect that, it looks like you really got something.

Me: HaHa, Sure:)

A few minutes later, I got into the interview room again. This time, the interviewer looks kinda serious and unfriendly.

But it turned out i was wrong, we stared with a shell command, then he want me to implement those commands with servals programming languages i know and write it down in paper, then he just walked out.

The Python version is kinda easy, but the C version is just, it needs a lot of lines of codes to write every function then put them together. Finally, he know what i was doing and asked if i want to work in Hangzhou. I definitely said yes.

So, I passed this round as well. Went back to the waiting room.

Fourth Round of the interview(HR)

I got a great news that there’s no more technical upcoming interviews, what a relief!

That girl in New-Balance was still here waiting for her next round, so I gave her some tips about some Linux basic stuffs that the interviewer might ask.

That HR took a photo of me and the girl, that’s the only picture i got from this interview.

Then, I start my last interview and it’s around 7:00 pm.

This time, the interviewer is a mid-aged women who just 12 years older than me, she is very kind to me and I can see she was a pretty girl back in her youth.

We talked and laugh a lot, it didn’t like a interview at all. we talked about my failure relationship at university, how i got dumped by that girl i cared about, some crazy stuffs i did in those years and How i became the so-called leader of this so-called cloud computing group in university. also, how i feels about HangZhou’s foods and life there.

I said I love to accept any kind of challenge & changes, which i do. including move to a whole new city and making new friends, meet new people.

She said i have so many interesting ideas, but I might be unstable. for i stopped school for a year, just because i found the life in university was boring. which i accepted that. i did break any kinds of rule for so so many times:)

Finally, She let me go and want me to wait for further notices. At that time, i thought i got the offer for sure and i felt so excited.

Later

I went out of the hotel and it’s around 8:00. I forgot to say goodbye to the HR and that girl in New-Balance. But i know i will met them later

So I planed to bring a little gift to that HR when i came back to sign the offer in a few days later.

Its far from the finale

I started to plan my future life in Hangzhou the other day, with quite a lot confident that i will get that offer soon. But, after a few days went by, i felt worried and terrible. then, I’ve been told that those HR staffs were already left Tianjin. So, I found out that i didn’t get the offer from Alibaba.

I summarized this experience of the Alibaba interview was just like riding in a roller coaster and it finally crashed But.. keep reading :)

It hurts me a lot. I stared to doubt myself for a few days. And then is national holiday but i really really didn’t in the mood of enjoy that holiday. It’s bad.

  • A girl showed up, which makes me felt a little bit better:)

I also read some articles in those days. read some stories about how those people get their first job and how their thought about that which i normally wouldn’t read at all. Most of people mentioned about luck, which makes me feel a little bit better. Maybe i was just need some luck, i thought. And i had to accept the fact that i was not that awesome as i thought i was. That is not the end of the world, i told myself.

Right now, since the offer of Alibaba is gone. I need to get a job from somewhere else. meanwhile, I started to learn and writing some stuffs. Hoping it could be helpful during this job hunting process.

A few weeks later, I sent my resume to some companies and I did got some feedbacks. and they want me to have a interview.

So I went to beijing for a few days, to take those interviews, one by one.

  • IBM
  • Opera
  • Ctrip
  • The surprising one
  • Baidu
  • Tencent

The blue giant - IBM

Since i can not have a Linux based job at Alibaba. the first company came to my mind is IBM. that company is making a huge contribution to the Open Source and play as a important role in Linux Community. Also it has a very great reputation in world wide IT industry.

Because of my bad education background, which those famous foreign company consider as a big factor, it took much longer before them approach me.

First, It was a phone interview, which i was doing fine, I guess. But i gotta admit, that was a really tough one. the interviewer asked a lot of questions about kernel, Operating System and C Language. none of them I can learn from university but all by myself. there is a english interview as well:) my accent is bad, but i told him that it wouldn’t be a problem, i just need some time to get used to that.

I got a feedback from a friend, he said i was doing ok especially for a student that comes from this second-class university and I made it to the second round. So i need to go to Beijing, IBM HQ of China.

  • I also had subway that day before i took the interview.

Those people in IBM are pretty skilled and most of them had a really great education background. Even taxi driver knows IBM in that district. You know, that taxi drivers in Beijing are barely know any places:(

My second round of interview in IBM began, I first took a English paper test, which i found is quite easy for me:)

Then, Two interviewer came in, that was the nightmare.

First, we talk about at a very low level how a kernel being boot up. which i’ve never dig up to.

Then, Their is some question about C and pointers. They want to to write the memory layouts in the blackboard, in bytes. Thanks to my pretty solid C foundation, i figured out those problems, but still, believe me, that’s hard!

Later, I just can not answer those question i don’t even remember now. I know I screwed up.

During this interview, i just feel like i was naked and those two evil interviewers don’t even like to talk to me. And they said i should have take the initiative during the interview and show them what i got, instead, i just let them to ask me those questions i don’t really good at.

After this interview was over. I got some feedback as well, they said i was doing pretty good in that interview, considering my university and my age. and want me to wait a few days for further notice.

The big red browser - Opera

There is a python position opening form me and they want me to come over and doing a interview in Beijing, as well.

I was told that this interview will only took in less than one hour, and i had two interviewer.

We start with some python and networking basic. like some weird python syntax and usage, http, tcp ip. I answer they pretty great. Then i just describe python’s dict implement which i study for a while, after that i know i will definitely pass this one.

PS, The Opera’s office is awesome!

The e-travel leading company - Ctrip

That opening is kind of like the one that ctrip offers, but it’s more related to Cloud Computing.

This one is quite this tough, because the interviewer thought i might have more experiences which i didn’t. So, this one didn’t end well.

The surprising one - Sina

I sent my resume to a Sina’s HR and I explained why i couldn’t make to Tianjin to take their written exam in the late night around 1 am. Luckily enough, she is still online and forward my resume to a director. then, Right after i finished the Ctrip’s interview and ready to get some sleep, I got a call from that director and he ask me when can i come to Sina’s HQ to have a interview

Why Now?

So, i got dressed, jumped out of the bed and headed to Sina.

That director is kind of like my previous boss back in the days when i was a intern. So, i feel so good with him.

So, the interview begin. We talked about some of my skill and he start to find out that i really, really got something. then he asked me of what kind of books i’ve read during college days.

That was a funny moment, i said, okay, don’t laugh, my first one this a quite bad book, the green C programming book. HaHa

Then, i stop reading that crap.. I start to reading those famous technical books, like those:

  • The C Programming Language, aka K&R C
  • Computer System, A programmer’s Perspective
  • APUE, Advance Programming in UNIX environment
  • TCP/IP… blahblah

Then, he ask me, why you didn’t read Richard Stevens’s UNIX Networking Programming, and i answered, yeah, i just found out this problem lately, it’s just because when i ready to read this book, i start to write python codes, and you know, python is networking is easy…

It just bad timing:( then we laugh again.

then he introduce his team to me, and how important his team is.

I can see he is pretty satisfied with me, then he said, if i can give you the offer right now, how much salary you want and i give him a range. then, he want me to wait a little while for the next round of the interview.

The second round of the interview just begin in a few minutes later, the interviewer is a quite old guy, the director’s boss. This time, we discussed some problem a little deeper, he was kind to me and he was also satisfied about my interview. i can feel that:)

Then, He want me to wait for another round, this round’s interviewer is a senior engineer. He came in and said he only wanted me to write some code in paper and want me to relax. he just want to check if i am really that good like those previous interviewer said.

I said ok, then i wrote some functions in C, as he required. the interesting part was just a few seconds later when i started writing codes, he asked me if i can keep talking with him while writing those codes, i said, ok, no problem. i just feel so confident at that time.

I finished those coding exam and we talk about some trick in C and Linux, that’s fun. Then he ask me if I can coding in lisp, I said, I might just can writing some simple Emacs configure files:)

Ok, this round is over and congrats to you:) he said.

After this round, the director came back, and tell me i was doing a pretty great job in those interviews and he’s certain that he will gave me the offer.

He said he could see that i had great enthusiasm about programming. and he could feel the passion inside me, that’s very rare. Now, it’s up to me to decide wether to take this offer or not.

Then, He continued,

I know you will get some better offers in the future, the only thing I can do right now is giving you the offer. Now, you have at least one offer from us. and you can go back and take a good rest.

Wow, that’s just so quick before i realized that i just got an offer, But i want to wait some times before making any decisions.

Suddenly I felt so relaxed and took a nice dinner before i headed back to the hotel.

The director’s exact word about I will get some better offers, really really give me confident, which i’ve lost for some time and i felt like i was awesome again!

Also, I am really really thankful to that Sina’s HR, her got my resume in the midnight and arrange my interview as soon as she can. In that day, I just thought that she is the one that make my day lighter and brighter

So, I went back to Tianjin the other day, started waiting for the messages from those companies.

You think that’s the end of the story? No Way!

On my way back, i got some interview invitation in a few weeks later from Baidu & Tencent.

  • I am not very sure about why i eventually skip those two interview:(

Meanwhile, i start again, to looking for informations about that girl in New-Balance i met in Alibaba interview. luckily enough, i found a guy in her school and that guy had so much connections. then, bingo. i found that girl eventually and we talk a lot, like old friends. that’s great. But, she had a boyfriend, damn it!

I also trying to get in touch with that HR i met in Alibaba for that photo, and express my gratitude to her, even though I didn’t make it to the Alibaba. I almost search every weibo that were being sent in that places during that day. But I didn’t make any progress about that.

Then, I got messages from Opera and they want me to take the next round of interview, which, i decided not to go. For i didn’t think that offer is suitable for me.

IBM came later and they still want me to wait, i said ok.

The problem at that time was IBM or Sina.

Sina is a pretty good one for me.

I might be the first one who got the sina’s offer, because that day i took the interview in Beijing was the first day of Sina’s campus recruitment. That means while those students are taking their written exam, I’ve already got the offer:)

So, I know sina’s offer is pretty good and I almost decided to come over and sign the documents, then give over with this job hunting thing.

The Roller-Coaster is keep going.

Days later, I got a really really un-except call from Alibaba OMG!! I could felt my heart started to beat again! No kidding!

I wanted to figure out what is going on with my status. And They said that they did not actually declined me at the first place, Instead, they put me into a waiting list somehow. now, there’s a opportunity for me. OMG!!

During those days of waiting, I know that my offer in sina is a pretty good one, compare to those ones who also got the offer from Sina. Plus, the position is in one of the hottest team.

A few days of suffering on waiting, again, i here waiting! I got another call from Alibaba and they want me to sign the offer the next day.

Despite the fact that i didn’t get the offer from Alibaba at first place and the pretty good offer & position in sina, I decide to go to Beijing and sign the damn offer with Alibaba @ Hangzhou

That day i got up quite early, but time was so tight. Even I had that feeling that i might see the HR i met in Tianjin that day, but i just do not have any extra time to think about that:(

When i entered into that room, Oh, there she was:) I said hi, then there were so many stuffs I wanted to said to her, but, i don’t know which one to start. So, i just pick up one randomly and started chatting, blah..blah..blah

Later that day, I got the photo she took at Tianjin with me and that New-Balance girl via Laiwang.

So, thats how i got her Laiwang Account.

  • Laiwang is a mobile IM APP, one of the Alibaba’s product.

I think we are friends now, and just a few minutes ago, she told me that she wanted to read this blog:)

  • So I gotta be careful with my words.

That’s how i got my first official full-time job

That’s it. I got off the roller-coaster and continue my adventure, maybe that already started.

Thoughts

I know that’s not easy for me to get this first official full-time job, but, deep down in my heart, i wasn’t too worried about that.

After all, I know those AWESOME codes i wrote and somebody will eventually found out the value of those codes.

PS, Finding a perfect job is easier than got a girlfriend.

  • You know what, when it comes to offer, i can still have choices!

PSS, Writing this blog is harder than write codes.

PSSS, You should take a good rest now and look outside, it’s hard for you to read this long-piece-of-crap-and-boring blog.

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