The Airbnb engineer who negotiated a $250,000 starting-pay package shares his tips on how to land a job interview

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Haseeb Qureshi.
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haseeb qureshi

Haseeb Qureshi is an Airbnb engineer who drew a lot of attention last month for his blog post explaining how he negotiated a starting-pay package up to $250,000 from $120,000 in a matter of a few weeks.

Qureshi has an interesting background – he’s a former professional poker player with an English degree. Despite getting rejected by all 20 jobs he initially applied for, Qureshi worked his way up by learning how to code on his own, and he ended up landing eight job offers, including positions at Google, Uber, and Yelp.

Earlier this month, Qureshi updated his blog post with tips on how to nail your interview and find your dream job.

We’ve put together some of the highlights:


Job hunting and landing an interview is a numbers game. Meet a lot of people and apply to as many jobs as possible. “Trust in the law of large numbers,” Qureshi says.

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Flickr/S.Alexis

Networking is an easy way to get your foot in the door. If networking sounds intimidating, there’s a simple way to do it: “Just buy everyone coffee,” Qureshi says.

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Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

That means buying “tons and tons” of coffee for everyone you meet in tech. The goal is to meet as many people as possible.

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Flickr/Nordic Innovation

Other ways to meet cool people in tech: Go to meet-ups, local events, or developer conferences, or even cold email or message people online.

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Flickr/Nordic Innovation

There’s no shortcut to finding people. Make a spreadsheet of every single person you know. Reach out to the most relevant contact at every single company. Reach out to every single one. Ask for a meeting — and always buy.

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Craig Chow-Moulding/Flkr

Once you meet someone in the sector you want to work in, learn as much as you can about the person and the company/industry/technology the person works with.

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REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

But don’t ask for a job. This is just a chance to ask as many questions as possible about the work itself. Qureshi says these meetings are called “informational interviewing.”

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Flickr / Siebuhr

Before you leave, ask: “Who else do you know who’d be a good person for me to talk to?” The goal is to turn every conversation into at least one more contact.

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Shutterstock

Then just repeat this cycle: Buy more coffee, ask more questions, and find more contacts. Make sure you don’t ask for jobs or referrals in these conversations. If you do it enough times, someone will eventually float the idea: “I could refer you if you want,” Qureshi says.

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Thomson Reuters

“This might seem weird,” Qureshi says. “But studies have shown that this is the most effective way to get a job. And ultimately, it’s the most effective way to generate referrals outside of your network.”

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haseeb qureshi

This method works because people hate getting asked for a job. Qureshi calls this “the power of informational interviewing,” where you’re not making the conversation about yourself but about them. People like talking about themselves and will feel less pressure to refer you for a job.

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flickr/Canned Tuna

When it comes to your résumé, always keep it to one page. Make sure you highlight anything technical. And never, ever have typos.

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ever/shutterstock

Sign up for all the job platforms, like Triplebyte, AngelList, or Hired. Refine your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles.

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Shutterstock/d8nn

Make sure you apply to a fixed number of companies every day. Small and medium-size companies are more likely to respond. The goal is to get as much interview experiences as possible as well as, hopefully, an offer. Having even one offer under your belt can help leverage your chances of getting into other companies.

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Flickr

Study hard. Qureshi shares a bunch of studying resources and engineering tips on his blog. “You need to study your ass off,” Qureshi says.

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Flickr / Daniel Dione

The process can get really demoralizing. So make sure you eat good food, get enough sleep, and just hang in there. “Keep grinding … Keep putting yourself out there, and most importantly, keep taking care of yourself,” Qureshi says.

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Flickr/Timothy Krause

Keep a positive mindset. Treat everything as a learning experience and set specific, realistic goals.

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Moyan Brenn/flickr

Last but not least, keep having fun!

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Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider