I decided to take a break from the technical blogs and write a little bit about my experience searching for a job in the government contractor community and why Sequoia ended up standing out to me.
Though I am clearly biased as a current employee of Sequoia, I want to try and make it clear that I took a very objective approach to my job search and had never heard of Sequoia when I started. They were just another tree in the forest.
Let's start with my experience and why I have a unique perspective or insight into the government contractor job market.
I am entering year 5 of a still-blossoming career working as a government IT contractor on everything from software development to systems administration to Agile framework implementation.
I started out at Raytheon right after graduation from Mount St. Mary's University. I mean that literally - I graduated on Sunday, May 15th and started my job on Monday, May 16th at the ripe old age of 21. After two and a half years there, I switched to a much smaller company that is actually owned by a friend of mine. I enjoyed working there and their culture was great, but I found the benefits not living up to my expectations. So after a little over a year, the job search began.
This is where my 'unique perspective' comes in.
The Job Search
In this line of work, if you have the appropriate skill set and the right badge, you are somewhat like a high level athlete - lots of companies are willing to offer you a lot of nice things.
When I put my resume out there, I was blown away by the level of activity I got. I vividly remember that the first phone call came less than two minutes after I posted my resume. It was like they were waiting for me...
Once I realized the volume of offers I would be receiving and that I did not want emailing recruiters to be a full time job, I took down my resume, created a new email address just to talk to recruiters, and re-posted it. That kept things way more manageable.
I was receiving around 20 emails and 10 phone calls every single day. I got offered signing bonuses, ridiculous salaries, positions I was not qualified for, benefits that you couldn't dream up, and work in exotic locations. And this is not because I am so amazing - it is just the industry. Many of my friends and co-workers have had a similar experience.
After realizing that I held the power because I had so many offers, something not enough people in my field fully understand, I narrowed all of them down to 200 different companies. After letting it sink in how blessed I am to have TWO HUNDRED legitimate job opportunities, I emailed each one of those companies with a "list of demands" that basically said I was not going to take them seriously unless they could meet my salary and benefits requirements. This was not to be proud and demanding so much as to see which companies were serious about hiring me. That narrowed it down to just under 50 companies.
The interesting thing was that almost everyone of those 47 or 48 companies was small. I had been with Raytheon the longest and they had 60,000 employees at the time. These companies contacting me were all less than 1500, and most of them less than 500.
After some back and forth, talking about the type of work and the commute, I narrowed it down to my top 8 elite, small companies in the industry who could meet my desired requirements.
The Elite 8
So out of these 8, why did I pick Sequoia? The answer to that is actually pretty easy. Their benefits and salary offer put them in the top 3 of those 8, and then I started to have phone interviews with all these companies. That is what pushed Sequoia way over the edge and I realized they were the only choice for me.
It's hard to explain without using cliches and platitudes such as "they were so real and honest" or "they treated me like family from day 1" but let me tell you that from the first phone call I could tell that every cliche you can think of was actually true with them.
No oily recruiting emails, no confusing language about their benefits, and no empty promises.
Everything about Sequoia is just like they told me in those initial phone calls and, in fact, it is even better! We are growing rapidly, the work is exciting and more innovative than anything else I have seen in this industry, and the owners and back office take care of my every request and need (and, as they could tell you, I am very needy). I am so blessed to have found a home here to advance my career next to people I feel like I have known my whole life and I thank them for bringing me on board!
You could do what I did and spend 4 months sorting through hundreds of offers, or you could just do the smart thing and come work for Sequoia. In my experience, they have benefits that outmatch more than 200 companies in the industry and the way they treat their employees is truly second to none.
Please let me know if you have any questions! I am happy to share more details about my experience and talk to you about why Sequoia makes so much sense.