Cloudflare TV

Recruiting Corner: "So you just got laid off" pt. 3

Presented by Zach Tolley, Madison McKamey
Originally aired on 

A three episode series focused externally towards individuals that were recently laid off, providing a how-to style guide to navigating the circumstance like a professional recruiter.

Episode 3 - Crossing the Finish Line - Final Interviews, evaluating/negotiating offer(s)

This episode will be focused on the end stages of the interview process, evaluating offer(s), and negotiation. We'll tell you what can likely be expected during final interviews, tactics to help ensure an offer, and provide tips on evaluating/negotiating offers received.


Transcript (Beta)

All right, thank you everyone. This is part three of Recruiting Corner's segment, so you just got laid off, where we are basically walking people through kind of a play-by-play of exactly how us as professional recruiters would advise or go through these motions ourselves in, you know, the circumstances that are unfortunately becoming more and more commonplace.

So last week we talked about, you know, the, I guess, middle portions of the interview process and kind of the meat and potatoes of that meal, so to speak.

The week prior we had talked about resumes, materials, and kind of like preparing all the stuff, you know, that you'll be putting forward before you have a chance to actually speak with anyone at the opportunities you're pursuing.

So I'm joined with our last stage where we'll talk about, you know, the end stages of the interview process.

We'll talk about offers, timelines, evaluating, negotiating, all that stuff.

I've got Maddy with me.

Maddy, why don't you give us a rundown of kind of what you do here, how long you've been here, those kind of things.

Yeah, of course. I'm so happy to be on this segment.

So my name is Maddy or Madison, but you can call me Maddy, and I am a recruiter here at Codflare.

I've been with Codflare for about two and a half years.

I started kind of at the height of the pandemic in June of 2020, so I've seen a lot of changes.

I'm based out of Austin, Texas. Awesome. Well, thank you. I appreciate you being on here, Maddy.

So we will start, I guess I'll give a quick overview of kind of everything that we're going to go through.

Specifically, we're going to talk about the final stages, kind of like what those look like in different interview environments.

So we'll talk a little bit about, you know, what you can expect if it's a smaller company, what you can expect if it's a larger organization.

You know, we'll go in-depth on the matching timelines that I alluded to.

A lot of that is just setting up, trying to get expiration dates to match up and give yourself as much time to compare and contrast, you know, if you're fortunate enough to end up with multiple offers and kind of all the thought process that should go into that.

You know, late stage interviews, exactly who you generally will meet with, best practices and, you know, when in those interviews and then how to leave them.

And then, you know, evaluating different offers from like a total picture, not necessarily just financially.

And then negotiating them if you need to. So we'll start with final stage interview processes.

You know, smaller company versus larger company, I think is generally, you know, one of the most stark differences regardless of, you know, the core competencies of the organization or kind of the roles you're going with.

Maddy, why don't you start? Can you give people just a run through of what they can expect when they get to final stage interviews with us here at Cloudflare?

Yeah, definitely. And that's a good call out.

There's definitely, there's pretty stark differences if you're interviewing at a, you know, like a series A startup versus a more mature company that has probably a little bit more just rigor around like the steps that they'll need to take in order to receive an offer.

And so Cloudflare has a pretty structured just interview process in general, but in a nutshell, you can expect basically like a phone screen, a hiring manager phone screen, a panel style interview, perhaps two depending on the role.

And then once a decision is made to hire someone, there at Cloudflare, we have something a little bit more unique and it's what we refer to as the final call, or you may see it referred to as the executive call.

But essentially once we do decide who we want to hire, the written offer is contingent upon a conversation with someone from our executive team, which I think is pretty unique, especially given the size that Cloudflare is and has grown to.

But I think it's something so cool that we're still able to do.

It was a huge selling point for me.

Like I've, you know, I'm coming up, I'm getting close to a year in the seat now.

And I still remember the final stages when it was told, it's like, it could be one of our founders, Matthew or Michelle, any of our, you know, I was just sitting there.

It's like, well, we're a recruiter for a while. So I typically don't get nervous about interviews.

It's my old world. But that one kind of made me definitely take a really close look.

But I think one of the things that I always tell my candidates, like when they're getting to that final stage is like, look, it's built into our process more for the candidate to benefit, I think, than it is for us to perform further evaluations.

I do the same. I tell folks, I'm like, listen, this isn't an interview that's like testing the competency for you to do your role.

This is just a really unique opportunity to learn about the business from an executive's perspective and be able to ask questions that you can really only learn from an executive.

And I think something else that I like to highlight during that interview is I think it speaks a lot to like the culture of Cloudflare and the lack of a sense of hierarchy, like in having just like an open culture, like there is no one that is off limits.

And I think by like having every single person be able to have an opportunity to speak with someone on the team, it speaks to that as well.

Yeah, I would I would agree totally. And it's, you know, it's, it's, it's unique to us.

I don't think that especially in companies, I don't know if it's totally unique, but I would I would go as far as to guess that at companies of our size and scope, it's, you know, there's there's not generally kind of like, you know, one in one in five or one in seven chance that you'll speak with one of the founders or anything like that, or that you'll speak with, you know, really the high level executive team.

But I always tell people, it's no buffers, no filters in between.

It's, it's a chance for you to kind of get a read on it, you know, pick the brain of one of the top level decision makers.

And most of the time, people come with good questions.

It's not the design for, you know, one of our executives to throw a stick in the bicycle wheel spokes right before the finish line.

Yeah, I know. Mine was with Michelle and I was like, I was I was I was actually quite nervous.

And oh my gosh, and once I hung up the phone, I was like, there was just nothing to be nervous about what a cool experience.

And it was anybody that's in our final stages, like it's impossible to probably not be nervous, no matter what we say, but just know that it's probably going to be a lot more insightful, a lot more pleasant, and a lot less rigorous than you would expect.

As far as like, what can expect at other companies?

I know, for smaller companies, a lot of the things that you want to keep in mind is that the final stages, most of the time, especially with your really small companies, it'll be with one of the individuals that they view that business a lot of times, like it's kind of like their baby, so to speak.

You're talking with the individual that's put the put a lot of the blood, sweat and tears into into getting that business wherever it's at.

And so, you know, smaller companies, I would always say, if you're having that type of interview with the with with your last stages to, you know, just focus on the conversation and don't be bringing up I hear occasionally people talking about some of the specifics, like, you know, the offer numbers, things like that.

Those are best done.

Yeah, wait, make sure you get the job before you start bringing up or questioning about that.

This entire conversation, I think, in either instance should be focused on either the business as a whole or just the day to day functions of the role and making sure that the other person on the other end feels confident that you understand all the gray areas and that you really if you accept an offer, you're going to know what you're accepting and you know, you're enthused about it.

Definitely. I think it's a good, just a good call in general that I would tell tell anyone, regardless of the company that you're interviewing for, is like when you are doing like a panel style interview, you're talking to whether it be the hiring manager, whether it be a team member, whether it be a cross-functional partner, whether it be an executive.

Those are those are typically not the times to ask questions around compensation, around benefits, like those are really suited for, yeah, for the recruiting team.

Just a gap across. Yeah. And then some of the things I think like one of the things I'm big on, especially as you get to last stage interviews is like, especially if you have multiple, multiple opportunities that are kind of all in motion, is to try to leave every interview with an agreed upon expectation of like when you can expect the updates.

Not to leave yourself kind of like guessing or serially refreshing your email browser and everything like that, but just to, you know, as you wrap up these last stage interviews, most of the time, I think in any instance, it's usually made clear to you that which one is the last stop before you can expect an offer or, you know, hopefully an offer, but where you can expect to find out if you got the job or not.

Usually that's made known to you. And I always like to tell people, don't, don't set yourself up for the anxiety of wondering, you know, 24 hours a week, like, you know, when, when it's when you've missed the boat or start drawing your own conclusions about it.

But just to have an agreed upon date that you can expect to receive feedback is pretty important.

Totally. And I think too, like, it's, it's such a, it's such a two way street between a candidate and like the recruiter too.

So like, it's very much on a candidate to like express with, you know, like to, to the recruiter, like, Hey, like I've wrapped up my interview with Zach.

I think it went really well. Like, please let me know, know the feedback.

And like, ultimately like that kind of like that lane of communication should be constant between the recruiter and the candidate as it pertains to like, when we're looking to make a decision, any kind of roadblocks that might, might come up, like that's very much on, on us to make sure we're being really, you know, communicative.

But yeah, like the, it's, it's so important just to, just to be communicative from both, from both sides.

I would agree totally. And it's, and it, and, you know, if the deadline, if you haven't agreed upon expectation of when you should hear feedback and that date goes past and you ping your recruiter, you ping hiring managers, or you kind of reach out to anybody hopefully that would not be the experience with us.

But, you know, with any company, I would say that's, that's not a good thing if you have those deadlines missed.

And I think as a candidate, like, it tells you a lot that maybe you should focus elsewhere if these dates are breached.

So it's almost like you're setting that expectation just because I think everybody, it's easier to remember things if there's a bit of a deadline attached, but at the same time, it's, it's a good read for you as a candidate on how tangible the opportunity is and, and, you know, where you stand with it.

Like, just as much as we interview people, like, but can it, like, this is also an interview for them, like, really big decision to change jobs or to decide where you want to land next.

Like, that's a, you know, that's, that kind of stuff a lot too.

So yeah, totally. And then, so let's talk a little more about like, when, when we alluded to earlier, like matching up the timelines and the importance of that.

I know that like, in past times that I've been looking for a job, especially earlier in my career, it's like you, if you don't, I guess, kind of have a forward thinking of a proactive approach to the time timing of everything, you can set yourself up for just like the, it's mentally taxing to be sitting there like, okay, I have my, you know, second or third place choice.

It's solidified, it's good.

And there is a deadline, like a clock is attached and it's counting down. And then I realize that I'm going to have to let this one expire in order to see if my first choice, if I end up getting that job.

And, you know, a lot of times, you know, people even accept and then rescind and you burn a bridge entirely when you do that.

It's best to avoid all the mental anguish and try to line things up from the start.

And again, it goes back to Mattie said, be communicative about where you're at in other processes across the board so that, you know, I know that's a big part of our job is helping people, you know, speeding things up or even slowing things down when we need to so that, you know, the decision they make is not as influenced by expiration dates and timing and more just like what's the best fit for me and the circumstance and where can I contribute the most.

Totally. I think that it's a really good point and like another piece where actually there's kind of two things that I think about when you're like managing these expectations.

And first and foremost, is it like, is purely around communication?

Like if you do have another, if you do have another offer and it's like, if it's for some, if there's like pressure or whatever that might look like, like that's, that should really be like, you got to like let your recruiter know, because ultimately like they're going to be your biggest advocate too.

To help move things along internally and kind of help you navigate that.

And then another thing that I think, and to your point too around like that, I think maybe folks that are a little earlier on in their career, but I see it too, even with more senior folks is like nine times out of 10, like you can ask you, if you handle it the right way, you can ask the other company for some type of an extension and just by being communicative too, right?

So by sharing like, you know, I'm in the process with one other company that I'm looking to make a decision here in the next week, like will that work in terms of a timeline?

Like I think people are afraid that like, if they ask for more time to make a decision, like the offer will be taken away, like it won't, it's not going to be taken away, but they may put pressure on you and then you have to navigate that.

But just if you, just by asking if you have options, it's like, it's okay.

You know, like from our vantage point, we're not going to want to scrap all of the progress, all the time we put in, all the multiple individuals generally involved in these interviewing to find the person that we think is a really solid fit.

And they ask us for a few more days to make sure that this is a long-term solution.

And, you know, we're not all doing the same song and dance in another six months to a year.

Like it's never, and, you know, if it does evaporate into thin air, probably tells you all you need to know anyway, if asking for an extra couple of days to make sure the decision is the right one causes it to be taken away.

You know, that's a pretty good sign of how to take a read on that particular opportunity right there.

Let's see. And then, you know, if agreed upon deadlines are passed, I guess really quickly, it's just kind of like, you know, follow up, but don't keep pressing, I guess, too, too much because it's just, and I look at that purely from a, from just a, where's the best time, especially individuals that have just been laid off.

And you know, that getting the income source coming back in is going to dominate the thought process.

Your time, if these deadlines are passed, if these agreed upon dates that you're going to receive feedback, or you'll know when the offer is coming, if these things start to, you know, you start to get one, two, three days past, you're probably best served, you know, in focusing elsewhere.

And a lot of times people have PTO, they go off, there's other things, but I know that most, especially in your mid or larger size companies where these things are pretty structured, generally always going to be covered.

There's really no excuse for someone not getting back to you with those types of questions, especially late stage in the process.

Yeah, definitely. And then let's talk about, I know Maddie had done, had done a good presentation for us, just talking about like, you know, particularly when offer letter stages and, you know, how they're evaluated negotiations, things like that.

So one of the things I wanted to get your read on was, was just kind of like, how best from a candidate perspective, let's say they do want to approach an offer letter and make sure they're not leaving anything on the table, kind of the pieces to evaluate, because I think a lot of people just think of the financial aspects, but a lot of the times it's like, evaluate the whole picture of what you're seeing.

And a lot of times other things are negotiable too.

Yeah, no, definitely. I think, I think that it's really easy to get hung up on, on just like pure cash compensation.

And here's the thing, like, of course, that's important, right?

Like everyone needs to like live their lives and pay their bills and all of those things.

But I think what it there, what it comes down to also that I implore oftentimes, like my candidates to think through is a couple of different things is, is like one, like the total, the total package, right?

So like, for example, like at a company like Cloudflare, and where it may different from say, like a, like a smaller company is the RSU piece, which is different than having options, right?

So like, I always really, I always make sure to explain that to folks and make sure that they're thinking through, through that lens of, of opportunity to versus, you know, maybe something that's more of a risk, right?

And I also make sure to kind of like use that as an opportunity to make sure you're really thinking about like, what's important to you, right?

Like, is it the scope of the role? Is it opportunity for advancement?

Is it opportunity to learn like, there's so many more things that in that encompass changing, changing jobs, outside of just, just cash compensation?

Yeah, for sure.

And it's like you, especially I mean, if we're just being 100 % real right now, it's like the, the, the headlines and everything, the economic uncertainty that's around like looking at company stability, and looking at, you know, I guess they're a lot of times the performance, if they're publicly traded, you can get a lot of that information and kind of see where things are at.

You know, I would say you always look beyond stock price and to start looking into, you know, performance metrics and how consistently the expectations are met or exceeded.

And, and, you know, just, I guess, from a financial perspective, how different companies navigate different circumstances, but overall company stability is one that, you know, if I were in the exact position of really trying to navigate layoffs, especially for the next, you know, however long this, the uncertainty piece lasts, it's like, company stability is going to be a huge piece for me, it's going to probably within reason outweigh some of the other aspects of just bottom line cash is like, you know, and I think we probably be preaching to the choir from the viewership angle, because no one wants to be in this spot, again, you want to get out of it as quick as you can, and make sure you don't land in the exact same circumstance later.

So that's probably one of the things that I would be looking at a lot, particularly if, if evaluating like privately held companies that are, you know, likely to rely on investment banks and things like that to scale.

It's, you know, a lot of that money is drying up. Yeah, yeah. And I mean, like, and that's, that's always kind of been the, that's always been a thing, right?

Like, startups are high risk, high reward, right? And during, you know, kind of like economic downturns and in seeing just the world today, from a macroeconomic perspective, I think stability is probably more important now than it has been in a long time.

So yeah, yeah, it definitely is. And then, you know, I guess the other thing I would, I would encourage people to think about is like, not just I guess, from a company perspective, but also from a role perspective, and taking both those into mind, it's especially if you're in the earlier middle stages of your career, it's like, how far will this job go in helping me get the next one?

If unless, unless the role that you're pursuing right now and applying for is the end all be all, it's like, I'm only going to be this.

And I don't, I don't want any other promotions, I don't want any other advancement, this is the job for me.

And that's it.

I think most of the time, you know, most human beings aren't wired that way.

So kind of like viewing it from an overall journey, and not just like, you know, purely evaluating only the next step is something that I think a lot of people always try to do, but can get clouded in the late stages, when you're looking at, you know, just base salary amounts, total packages, things like that.

Totally. I think it's super, it's super common.

And really, it's really easy to be a little short sighted when it comes to, to that kind of stuff.

And sometimes you have to take a step back and look at, look at the bigger picture.

Yeah. And so I guess when it comes to like offers, and when you should consider, you know, the thing that let's say you receive a couple offers, you land on the one that you like the most.

It's like under any circumstances, I think it's an age old adage, but it is for a reason.

It's like nothing is real until it's in writing. So a lot of the times, you know, I'll even send in prior job searches stuff, I'll tell people, okay, like I am in process with a couple other companies, but we seem to agree on everything.

And I'll just let you know that I'm comfortable and will plan to shut down all other interview processes, the moment that I received this offer letter, and everything looks as it should, and we've discussed it, and I sign off on it.

But I would say that a lot of times people, you know, it's like, you hear certain things, and then you make your decisions before it's concrete.

And, you know, a lot of the times, it's like, when it's in writing, it's real, but before that, you know, keep chugging.

Yeah. I mean, I think that my recommendation is everything should be in writing, especially like if you're going, especially like you're going to give two weeks notice, so on and so forth.

I think it's probably safe to like, maybe like back out of certain interview processes if you're not that excited about them.

But I would definitely just wait until anything is in writing.

At least, I mean, I think that's just, it's a safe bet. And I think like, at least here at Cloudflare, we have just like a pretty like structured, like timeline for when we are able to deliver things.

And so we can set those expectations like very, very explicitly and very clearly, like, you know, like our offers are batched on these days, meaning your offer will go out on this day.

And, you know, if anyone asks me, they're like, okay, well, I want to give my two weeks notice before then I'd say like, I love that.

And like, there's no reason I don't anticipate you not receiving this written offer.

But I would just recommend for everyone just wait until you get the offer letter.

Yeah, you bring up a really good point too.

And that's like the, like, when to start doing those latter stage items and everything.

And I know it's kind of baked into our process to where any recruiter that you work with at Cloudflare, like there may be some like little variances and stuff about, you know, an offer letter, we expect it Friday, and maybe it comes out like Saturday.

You know, a lot of it, East Coast, West Coast, and things like that, those can be, it can be the same day, depending on which side you're on and things like that.

But within reason, it's, you know, we're all I know, it's a big emphasis, it's a large emphasis point with our recruiting department overall, is just like to make sure people know where they stand, they know what to expect, and when to expect it.

And that any of those things fall a little bit outside of line of the expectations that are set, that they're communicated, you know, clearly and quickly, to save the mental anxiety as much as possible.

But I think that like the two weeks notices is a good point. And one that, you know, I actually hadn't thought to include when we were drawing up the resume and everything like that.

So having it in writing, and then a lot of times too, I'll even tell people like, look for peace of mind and everything like that.

Like, if you want, we can, you know, we're usually pretty fluid with start dates, I think within reason, like a lot of places are now.

I think in this instance of people having been laid off, obviously, like you just go full throttle and kind of try to get things moving as quick as you can.

But for those that maybe are, I guess, looking into these things, not because they've been laid off right this second, but because they feel the change in the wind, or they just feel uneasy, and that's what's prompted the search.

You know, a lot of times I'll talk with candidates about like, hey, I can let you know when background check is cleared, like literally everything is ready, every box is checked, and now we're just waiting for orientation.

You know, sometimes we structure it that way, you know, things like that too.

But most of the time, I think it always just comes back to keeping an open line and not being shy to ask some of those questions, because it's generally not awkward, or anything that's going to change our influence, our thought process.

That's a really good point.

Like there is like, there's no such thing as a still on track, or we're, you know, so on and so forth.

And again, it's just a really another opportunity to, for recruiters too, to make sure that they're communicating effectively too.

Like for example, you know, I've had just instances where maybe a deadline was missed for an offer going out, just because like, you know, our executive team is really, really busy.

And so like, that always, I always bubble it up to the candidate, right?

So I'm like, hey, FYI, like this is like, everything's good to go.

We're just waiting on so and so to send the offer. There's a little bit of a hang up just due to like schedules or something like that.

You know, just that kind of stuff, like really like helps people because it's like really stressful being on the other side of the process.

So. Especially in the use case of like, when you're out of work and looking for a job too, and it's like, as all of these things are happening at once and hope, you know, maybe you'll be fortunate enough to find yourself in that situation that we talked about of, of like, you're going to have a couple of different options.

Like you can breathe a little easier.

You have your number one choice. You have your contingency. You have your, maybe in case of emergency break glass.

Those are, I think like it's, it's a hard circumstance to find yourself in.

But if you manage to kind of get there, then, then it makes it a lot easier to think about these things at the same time.

I would, I would just tell people in, in today's climate and the things that we're looking at, at recruiters, especially when we're evaluating the, the applications and, and kind of the circumstances is like, it's all human beings on the other side.

Like if, if I see a big gap right before COVID, like I understand, like it's, it's, it's that's, that's, that's okay.

If I see a quick layoffs and like we talked about before, if we see a sequence of them like coming up recently, that's we're looking for skill sets and for human beings to join our team and to, that we would like to work with every day and share a common goal.

But I would, I would always like tell people to just kind of, I guess, take some of the, the rigid, what's the word?

The, like the rigidity out of it and kind of like the overly formal approach that a lot of people just kind of build these things up in their minds and just remember that, yeah, we're human beings too.

Like we, we, we, we understand those things.

And a lot of the times you know, the people who are good at their job and are evaluating a lot of the, the, these types of things, like they're going to take that into account.

Feel free to address them and everything like that.

And you know, cover letters even though in the first episode I said, I think they rarely apply.

But you know, anything like that, feel free to address it, but don't make it the, the core narrative of what you're talking about.

Cause most of the time we get it. But I want to thank you very much for being on here.

So I guess our wrap up or our key takeaways, the biggest things I would say to take away from, from kind of this, when you're trying to pull yourself out of any unemployment scenario, when you get to the last stages, set the expectations for when you should receive updates and you know, when you should know where you stand and when you expect to receive offers and when you expect them to translate to written offers.

Match up the timelines of any competing interview processes as best you can.

Save yourself the mental anguish of you know, the option B expires while option A is still in flux.

Money isn't everything. Evaluate other pieces of the offer and remember that in certain circumstances and with smaller companies, especially like a lot of the other pieces, PTO, things like that are negotiable as well.

When in doubt follow up, but don't spend all of your time and energy continuing to follow up if you know your gut is telling you that it's not the best use of your time.

Yeah. Thanks again, Maddie. Thank you. Bye.

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Recruiting Corner
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