How I managed to Get Shit Done all the way from South Africa!
I knew it was going to be a challenge applying for a job abroad, especially during a pandemic. However there is never going to be a perfect time, so there is no point in sitting around and waiting for the stars to align.
Joining the Big Leagues 🏆
In South Africa, where I'm from, we have a decent tech scene with a lot of potential, but we are like a fly on the wall compared to the world's tech capitals like Amsterdam and I knew if I wanted to be the best, I had to learn from the best.
Since I didn't know too much about the tech scene in The Netherlands, I didn't know exactly what to expect, but when I read "Get Shit Done" on the job listing, bunq immediately stood out. Later down the line I started to realize that "Get Shit Done" isn't just a catch phrase to grab your attention, but deeply ingrained in company culture.
The Process 🚅
After submitting my application at bunq, I quickly received a lot of information about the process going forward as well as about Phava, bunq's home-made blend of PHP and Java. At first, the amount of steps in the hiring process seemed intimidating, but I really started to appreciate that I got to learn just as much about bunq as bunq learned about me.
The process included a few challenges and online meetings with my recruiter and my future team lead at bunq. Although it was quite stressful going into the meetings because I didn't know exactly what to expect, I always left the meetings with a huge smile because the people at bunq are great people to just sit down and have a chat with.
Get Shit Done Day - Remote Style 🧑💻
The Final step was the Get Shit Done Day, where I was supposed to spend the day at the office in Amsterdam. Due to lockdown restrictions in South Africa and The Netherlands, international travel was unfortunately not a possibility (and yes, bunq will fly you from wherever you are to their office for this day). After a few days, I was informed that I will be one of their guinea pigs in their first round of remote Get Shit Done days. Woohoo!
The day started out with a meeting with Olly and following that a meeting with Ali, the CEO, and Jesper, my future team lead. After all the formalities I was added to a Slack workspace, where I could communicate with Jesper and the rest of the developers at bunq, and left to tackle my assignment for the day. Using a remote desktop program, I logged in via my own computer and was given access to a secure version of the bunq backend and wow, it is meticulous.
From the start, I knew I really should not be afraid to speak up and ask questions. Even though it can be more difficult to gauge if someone is available to speak online than it is in person, it's important to realise that this is your day! Make your voice heard! So, after a lot of questions back and forth with Jesper, I had a proposal on how to solve the problem and I was left to start developing a solution.
Halfway through the day I had another meeting scheduled with Tom, the most British person I've ever met, where he told me what getting shit done meant and how vital taking ownership is at bunq. These are ideas that resonated with me and gave me even more encouragement for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, I got to sit down and present my solution to Ali and Jesper, which of course was stressful, but at this point- I just had a great day and I actually had a really great time talking to them.
My Conclusion 🎉
Well, after this process, I'm extremely happy to say that I was offered the job and will be starting on the 1st of February 2021. It's safe to say that after everything, I've learned a lot about the company culture and I have a good idea of what I am stepping into. I'm looking forward to relocating to The Netherlands all the way from South Africa and finally sharing a cold one in person with all the people I met remotely!