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How I got three job offers while being outside Canada

Discussion in 'Express Entry / Expression of Interest' started by axolotl, May 11, 2017.

  1. #1 axolotl, May 11, 2017 at 4:35 AM
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
    The purpose of this post is two-fold. It tries to answer the following questions.
    • How to find a job while you are outside Canada?
    • What kind of salary can you realistically expect?

    Everything is based on my personal experience. Please decide for yourself whether anything applies to your own situation or not. For this purpose, I will first give some context so that you can compare your own situation to mine.
    • Education: Master in Computer Science from the Netherlands and Wharton MBA from the US.
    • Work experience: I had several jobs. I worked as a management consultant, a quant, and an equity analyst in the Netherlands, did my internship at Google during the MBA, and was hired fulltime as a Data Scientist at Twitter in San Francisco for one year, before moving to Singapore after H1B lottery non-selection in September 2016. The agreement back then between Twitter and me was for Twitter to apply for H1B again in 2017 and move me back to San Francisco after one year’s (or potentially a bit longer) working in Singapore.
    • On 6 January 2017, I learned from Twitter that they would not sponsor my H1B this year. I was pissed off as an L1 visa would be tied to Twitter and I would be screwed if I got laid off in the US.
    • On 8 January, I decided to apply for Canada PR after some investigation on Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. At that time, assuming my IELTS would fall under the highest band, I would have 443 for myself (by choosing to have my partner as non-accompanying) or 419 for my partner and me together. I considered two possibilities to raise my CRS: a) improving my French, which I could read pretty well already, and b) getting a job offer.
    • On 21 January, I took IELTS and got the results two weeks later. I had 9.0/8.5/9.0/8.5 for reading/writing/listening/speaking.
    • On 2 February, I had my first private lesson to improve my spoken French. (I had it twice a week and eventually it turned out that I did not need French as the CRS requirement went down.)

    My motivation of moving to Canada is as follows. (These were also the motivations that I gave during my job interviews.)
    • Singapore, or rather Asia in general, is not the right place for my partner and me to settle down. Same-sex relationships are not recognised and we plan to have children.
    • North America is in my opinion the best place for tech.
    • As a very pro-EU person, I am concerned about the rise of populism in Europe. I can always move back to Europe if the EU exists. On the other hand, I would not want to move back to Europe should the EU disintegrate eventually.
    • Donald Trump has made the US even less attractive for foreigners. (I am rather right-leaning on economic issues so I am not necessarily anti-Trump. But he seems too unpredictable.)
    Job Hunting

    I started sending my CV on websites like indeed.ca and tried to contact recruiters on LinkedIn. I thought it would be easy given my academic and professional background. But I got virtually no response. It seemed that Canadian companies did not want to waste time on me.

    I changed my strategy and started contacting Wharton alumni working in Canada. On 31 January 2017, I talked to an alumnus who was active in the startup community in Toronto. He introduced me to another extremely well-connected Wharton alumnus, with whom I talked on 14 February. The second alumnus suggested that I should focus on my Computer Science or Data Science background rather than the MBA. He sent out emails directly to the founders/CEOs of more than 20 Toronto-based startups and VCs. The response rate to his introduction email was above 90%. My calendar was filled with Hangouts interviews between 21 February and 17 March. (I was focusing on startups because I was frankly fed up with the politics and bureaucracy at big firms. Also, financially I wouldn't worry much if I am out of job for the rest of my life.)

    With most firms, both sides decided not proceed after the first interview. A few other companies were very interested in me but it was too early for them to hire a data scientist. Eventually I got three job offers from firms that would like to hire me immediately.
    • Company A: I had my first interview directly with the CEO on 4 March and got their official job offer on 17 March. The company had about 20 people and had just finished their seed funding. I would be reporting directly to the CEO. The job responsibilities were not clearly defined and would most likely be a mixture of data science, product, and business.
    • Company B: I had the first interview on 21 February and got an initial job offer orally on 27 March. (They sent me the official offer later.) The company had about 20 people and was pre-seed. My job would be more about software engineering than about data science.
    • Company C: I had the first interview on 22 February and got the official offer on 15 April. (The process took much longer because I took a two-week vacation back in Holland.) The company had been around for about 10 years and had about 200 people. It was still pre-IPO. The job was about machine learning and I would report to a data science manager in a team of about 10 people.
    I eventually took the offer from Company A.


    My cash salary was 120,000 USD in San Francisco, was adjusted to 130,000 SGD when I moved to Singapore in September 2016, and raised to 145,000 SGD in April 2017. The three Canadian firms offered between 100,000 CAD and 130,000 CAD. I am not including any equity compensations here since they are difficult to value any way.

    Financially Canada is rather disadvantageous compared to what I have in Singapore, where the income tax is about 10% instead of the 30% in Ontario. But as I explained earlier, Canada is for me also an insurance policy which will pay off if Europe goes to hell. I consider the loss of net income my insurance premium.


    Below are the most important lessons that I learned.
    • Websites like indeed.ca or the Job Bank are useless, at least for someone like me who is currently outside Canda. In fact, some of the job postings are in some sense fake. For example, both Company A and Company B posted a vacancy to fulfil the LMIA requirement for me. They wrote the job description to fit me and had no immediate intention to hire someone else. (Eventually I no longer need an LMIA as the CRS requirement kept declining. But it will still be nice as it will waive the requirement of proof of funds.)
    • Use your personal network. If you can find someone who connects you directly to the CEO, the chance for you to get an offer will be very high.
    • Expect lower compensation if you are used to Silicon Valley salaries.
  2. Thats a good feedback but may not be an ideal situation for every one. Wharton MBA is recognized and valued high even in canada though u claimed job basis ur tech background.
    Nevertheless networking is d key to a quick job in canada and not every one wud be lucky to have options so what ever comes first should be picked up rather than to sit idle
    Rise and shine likes this.
  3. You are European, speak English very well and know French.You have both Master from Holland and MBA from a well known US school. You got jobs in dreaming companies, Google and Twitter. What else can an employer ask for? You are a perfect candidate.
  4. Wow, you have an super impressive cream of cream's profile. It would be a shame if someone like you did not find a good job in Canada or anywhere else for that matter!
  5. Oh tats great. Appreciate ur effort in explaining everything so vividly.

    And that's his story.. i m sitting at 376 (gonna retake IELTS of course!) NOC2132 Mechanical/Automotive engineer. Any chance for getting a job offer to increase 50+???

    Any seniors to help? How good are the odds to get picked up by an employer???
  6. #6 axolotl, May 11, 2017 at 10:44 AM
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
    That's exactly what I thought when I applied through indeed.ca and various company websites. Not a single company responded! (I am not convinced either my nationality or French was an important factor though.)

    I even tried to find the actual persons who posted vacancies on LinkedIn and contacted them directly through LinkedIn messages. I did manage to get initial phone interviews with them. But none of them came back to me to schedule a follow-up interview with actual decision makers.
  7. 2 Masters degrees, 1 of them from Top 3 business schools, working in 2 of top 10 companies. you are an outlier bro.
  8. Thanks, though you made a mistake by calling me bro. Whenever I contacted my brokers about financial stuff, they assumed I was a man.
  9. WOW that's great. Would like to stay in touch with a person like you. I have also filed EOI with 449 points. Hopefully will be landing in Canada soon.

    Also, If you don't mind can you share contact details of those CEOs or your contact person, by DM. They might be looking for some other team members too.
  10. #10 picklee, May 11, 2017 at 10:21 PM
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
    You must get that a lot, eh?

    Maybe your gender played a role in getting an interview. Those are still men-dominated fields with a lot of sexism and misogyny, especially in Silicon Valley.
    jes_ON and bellaluna like this.
  11. Hi axolotl, thanks for the great post.

    I was wondering what the typical duties for a data scientist are over there, if you don't mind me asking.

    I just finished my Master's in Applied CS also, and since it's kind of a catch-all term it'd be nice to know if it means the same there as it does here.
  12. Your motivations (aside from the same-sex relationship angle) and background are pretty much perfectly identical to mine...my thoughts exactly...and I am also female. And our Europe to US to Singapore to Canada moves are pretty much identical and for the same reasons...I thought for a moment I was reading my own bio, haha. Well done, I will follow in your footsteps.

    Your CRS score should be higher though? I also have accompanying spouse and my CRS score is much higher than what you stated, we have same IELTS and same degrees...surprised it would only be 419 for you with spouse (we didn't claim any points for my spouse's work experience or education and his IELTS was worse than mine by quite a bit even though he is native English speaker, he just sucks at taking tests.). Did you receive ITA already?

    And yah, scrap the French test, I actually was going to take it because I speak French just fine and thought I could increase my points, but I got ITA pretty quick even without it, so didn't bother with the French test.

    For anyone who is interested, for me I just contacted potential employers through linkedin and my response rate was 90% as well. I was just doing it to get an idea of what to expect and found it wouldn't be too hard to find a pretty decent job with my background. I didn't take it further though at this point because even if my PR comes through in the next few months, I would probably not move right away. But I found all the places who I just cold emailed or contacted through linkedin extremely helpful, I have lived all over the world and I have to say the response rate surprised me.
  13. Hi axolotl,

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I am a software engineer in silicon valley. I really like my job here, but after failing to get selected in H1B lottery twice and probably third time this year since I haven't heard any thing, I probably will have to move. My company has a branch in India, but I feel reluctant to relocate that far. My CRS is 457 and I got ITA last week. I haven't started looking for software engineering jobs in Canada yet. Your story encourages me but it kind of discourages me also. I am not from a prestigious school as you, so networking with alumni is not an option, in fact, I don't know anyone in Canada. If job hunting from indeed.ca or Linkedin doesn't get us interview opportunities, what would you suggest about searching for software engineer jobs. I do have a few recruiters from top companies on my LinkedIn who can probably hook me up with some colleagues from the branch offices in Canada. What other channels do you suggest ?

    Thank you very much. I wish you all the best in relocating to Canada.
    tobs and aankushrawat like this.
  14. #14 lifein360, May 12, 2017 at 6:19 PM
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
    That is a fantastic post. Congratulations to you and yes you have an amazing profile and any employer would want you.

    I will echo what the OP said, applying to every job under the sun in job sites without prior networking will yield almost no results. You think 'Yes I applied to 10 jobs today, it was a productive day", but in all honesty you may as well have been shooting arrows in the dark. Networking before applying for the role is an absolute must because of the value of a referral.

    I cannot overstate how important LinkedIn is here as a networking and job search tool. I did my MBA from UoFt and one of the first things we had to do was totally revamp our Linkedin profiles. If you can afford it, pay for premium but there free would work too. First make a list of potential companies that fit your job profile - then contact employees who work in those profiles. If you are in Canada, set up coffee-chats if possible. If you're outside Canada, even Hangouts and Skype should also suffice if they are okay with it. Not all will respond, but in my experience in Toronto, most do as most here got jobs through such networking and there is a huge culture of "Paying it forward". During my MBA, I met with over 50 people before I landed my full-time job. Once you establish a rapport they may forward your resume to a hiring manager for a role you want to apply for. A resume sent internally will definitely be looked at in comparison to the 400 resumes they will receive online for any job posting.

    I would suggest everyone to read the book '2 hour job search' by Steve Dalton. Fantastic step by step methodology for job search which is perfectly suited for American work place cultures.

    Linkedin works great for financial industry, marketing, retail, consulting, IT, sports, operations and even some corporate healthcare roles. Linkedin may not be the right option for non corporate roles like service industry and actual doctors and nurses etc so I cannot speak for those.
  15. #15 axolotl, May 13, 2017 at 1:46 AM
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
    Sorry. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to do it for you now. I wouldn't mind doing it for you or others in the future when I have already established my own personal network in Canada.

    If I were you, I would think very hard and try to find someone in my personal network who is already in Canada. If I couldn't find anyone, I would try to DM on LinkedIn those people who are actual decision makers (CEOs, heads of department, etc.) instead of recruiters.

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