Surviving Grad Day and scoring my dream job

Getting your first job after University can be daunting. During my studies I knew I really wanted to work as a Web Developer and it would be a dream job to be part of the huge-growth SaaS industry.

After reading about Xero in the news and doing some research it was obvious that Xero is a leading SaaS company with an extremely exciting future. This was a future I wanted to be a part of and the Xero careers page had Developer opportunities in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

The Xero Graduate Day happens once a year in both Auckland and Wellington Xero offices. It was advertised through University Career Services and some of the Xero Dev Team presented at our University so we got the chance to talk to them beforehand as well. Xero sounded like a great place to work so I sent my CV through and a couple of weeks later got an invitation to take part in Grad Day. Here I am giving it my best shot…

Grads at the Xero office playing pool

Grad Day was a fair bit different than what you might expect. The tone of the day was very casual and not intimidating at all. I expected a number of long interviews but only had one ten minute interview. Throughout the day we also did two short technical coding tests, a team building exercise and a quick presentation.

The presentation was the biggest challenge as we only had 20 minutes to prepare to talk about a random technology we had never heard of. It was a great test because being able to quickly understand something then share it with your colleagues is an extremely important skill!

 Rod Drury at Xero Grad day Xero Grad day applicants Xero Grad day presentation

After Grad Day I emailed through my references and then a week later received a call from the Recruitment Team offering me a place in the Auckland Team! I was extremely excited and it was a relief that all my hard work at university had landed me my first choice for a job.

Going from University life to a full-time job is always going to be a bit of a shock but at Xero it was as small of a shock as it ever could have been. The team, and my boss Steve, were extremely welcoming and never made me feel like the “new guy”. The office culture is great and you can wear whatever you want. I was given time to get up to speed, and everyone was patient in answering all my questions. I quickly became part of the team, contributing to design decisions, writing code and most importantly releasing software!

University gives you a great technical foundation of knowledge. While most of the specifics of how we write code at Xero I didn’t learn, I learnt similar things or concepts. This base allowed me to very quickly pick up the technologies Xero uses and the Xero way of doing things so I could promptly become a productive team member.

Xero is always looking for great talent to join the team. Check out the careers page to find your next dream job.



One Comment

Gayle Buchanan
October 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Hi Max, welcome to the family, oh you lucky lucky … just thinking of my first interview at Norwich Insurance in Welly … was a friggin nightmare lol

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