Applying For an Engineering Position at Telnyx
At Telnyx, we recently began hiring in Denver. As a long-time remote employee out of Boulder and one of our only employees in the area, I’ve suddenly had a lot of people reach out to me through LinkedIn about these positions. Some of these came through mutual contacts. Most were cold contacts.
This is new to me. Responding to each one is time consuming. I want everyone to have a great first impression of Telnyx so I always try to respond. The net effect is that I encourage everyone to apply and remind them that all the usual job seeking advice applies equally to Telnyx.
I thought I’d also write this blog post summarizing the advice I give when someone reaches out to me about openings at Telnyx.
My first piece of advice is, not surprisingly, to just apply. The hiring manager will see your application and decide if you look like a good fit for the role or not.
If you do look like a good fit, this sets off a series of steps: a 30-minute video screen, a coding challenge, a more thorough block of interviews, executive review and finally an offer. Each step provides ample opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the process, the job, and the company. Each step can be short circuited if it’s not going to work out. We don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
How do you make your application look like a good fit? The ideal method is to send us a resume clearly showing that you match what we’re looking for in the job posting. If there are any major discrepancies between what we’re looking for and what your resume shows, a cover letter can really help. This is the best piece of advice I can give. Cover letters are rare but they’re almost always helpful when they’re included in an application.
For example, I’m involved when we hire Elixir engineers. Elixir is a relatively new language. We know we can’t fill all our Elixir openings with seasoned Elixir veterans so we have to look closely for signs of other functional programming experience, or at least interest.
Sometimes we get resumes for these openings showing 10 years of Java experience, no cover letter, and no explanation of why the applicant took the time to apply for an Elixir role. While these applicants are undoubtedly accomplished software engineers, we don’t move forward with them for Elixir roles.
We might get a similar resume with a cover letter. The cover letter might explain that the applicant fell in love with functional programming doing a side project in Scala, which led them to Elixir, and now they’re conducting a deliberate search for a company already committed to Elixir. Like Telnyx. This candidate would very likely make it to the next step and beyond.
If your relevant experience isn’t clear on your resume but you’ve made relevant, non-trivial contributions to open-source projects, explicitly pointing them out on your resume or in a cover letter also helps the hiring manager advance you to the next stage. Anything you can do to help the hiring manager easily see your relevant experience ultimately helps you.
To be clear, the cover letter doesn’t have to be overly formal. Its only job is to help us easily see that you have a decent chance of succeeding in the later interview rounds. If you do then we’ll reach out to set up a video screen.
Once you make it past the initial stage, you’ll be invited to a video screen with a real person. Hopefully the process will feel much more human from that point forward. You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions in the screen interview.
As with any company, it’s fair to expect to hear something after taking the time to apply. We recognize that job seeking consumes time and energy and we don’t take that for granted. However, there are a variety of reasons why we might not follow up as quickly as we would like to in individual cases. If you don’t hear from us in a reasonable amount of time, I would encourage you to check in. You can always email the last person you heard from or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I want to mention a possible alternative in case you’re presently working on a transition into an engineering career from a different background. At Telnyx, everyone in every role is technical. If your previous career is in another area represented on our careers page, the combination of your prior experience plus your new engineering aptitude might make you a strong candidate for a role outside the engineering department to start. This can be a great way to make an impact, learn how we work, and ultimately transition into a pure engineering role.
I hope this is helpful. We’re looking forward to working with you.