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Knack for Engineers: A Mobile App for the New Era of Remote Work

The coronavirus will transform the world economy in ways none of us could have ever imagined. The measures that we as a species are having to take to battle this pandemic — social distancing, shelter-in-place, and the total cessation of most economic activity around the world — will inevitably usher in new era of “remote everything” that will very likely become a new normal across many sectors, especially education and work. It will also accelerate the world towards even more reliance on engineering and technology as companies try to survive without the availability of human workers.

In the US, there are some projections that this pandemic could drive unemployment as high as 20% and send this country spiraling into a recession the likes of which we haven’t seen since The Great Depression. As with all crises of this magnitude, however, it doesn’t affect everyone equally. Some of us will lose everything, and some of us will thrive and come out the other end in a better position than we were ever in before. The fate that awaits each of us will be determined by what we do with all of this spare time. As technology professionals, most people reading this article are in a unique position to provide value to employers while remaining at home. By focusing all of your energy on learning the skills and tools required by the remote workstyle, you can ensure that you and your family remain safe and stable through this crisis and also put yourself in a position to enjoy a tremendous life of freedom and prosperity once it passes.

Introducing Knack for Engineers

We’re proud to announce Knack for Engineers, a mobile app built FOR engineers, BY engineers. Knack for Engineers is like a mobile, personalized job feed that streams the best jobs right to your phone, based on your unique profile and interests.

Those jobs come from a number of places, including:

  • Job Boards. Our job crawler monitors hundreds of RSS feeds and does a full HTML crawl of job posts to create detailed hiring requests that can be matched against your profile.
  • Employers. Knack for Engineers gives you direct access to hiring managers at many top employers in the US, who can directly request interviews with you through Knack.io, our next-generation applicant tracking system.
  • Staffing Agencies. You will also have direct access to hundreds of recruiters via Knack for Engineers, who can send you interview requests directly through the app.

At a time that so many people are being laid off and experiencing upheaval in their careers, we are grateful and fortunate to find ourselves at the right place and time with a product that can help so many. Knack for Engineers is free and will always be free. 

Install Knack for Engineers

Knack for Engineers is available for iPhone and Android. To install the app, simply scan the QR code below. Knack for Engineers is a free app and requires no credit card or other sensitive information to install and use. Before installing the app, make sure you have a copy of your resume in PDF form sitting in Google Drive, iCloud, or on your mobile device, ready to upload into the app. For more information, visit https://knackforengineers.com.

Create Your Profile

Once you’ve installed the app, you can log in with LinkedIn or Apple ID. Since it’s your first time logging in, you’ll be directed through a quick onboarding flow that will require you to upload your resume and answer a few simple questions about your background and experience. Once you upload your resume, Knack will analyze it and extract contact info, skills, and other profile information and attempt to pre-populate most of the screens in the onboarding flow to expedite signup. It should take no more than a minute or so to complete the onboarding process and then you’ll be dropped into the main experience, where you’ll immediately see your personalized job feed.

Make sure your profile has no more than 5-10 skills. Knack will attempt to extract those skills directly from your resume during onboarding, but you should review them and updated as need to focus on your top 5-10 skills. Otherwise, make sure your zip, titles, and other profile info are accurate. These will all impact the jobs you see in your feed and those for which you are directly submitted by Knack.

Customize Your Feed

Once your profile has been created, you’ll see jobs in your feed based on your skills, location, target titles, and other profile attributes. You can further personalize these results by updating your filter. The filter allows you to specify things like onsite vs remote, permanent vs contract, distance within which to search for onsite roles, and jobs to exclude.

If you enable your feed for onsite roles, you can specify a radius and Knack will focus the search for onsite jobs based on your zip code and the distance specified in your filter. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that almost ALL jobs you apply to right now will be remote initially due to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, so feel free to use a wide radius or even update your profile to use a different zip code where more engineering jobs may exist — particularly if you’re willing to relocate after the crisis passes.

The “jobs to exclude” filter is probably one of most useful. It allows you to specify skills that you DON’T want to see in your job feed and would like filtered OUT of your search. For example, I’m a Fullstack Javascript Engineer, but I often get emails from recruiters about Java, Python, .NET, and other stacks that I prefer not to work with. I like Javascript on the frontend, Javascript on the backend. In order to exclude these roles from my feed, I specify the skills I don’t want to work with where it says “Exclude Jobs Requiring These Skills”, as shown below:

Once you’ve customized your filter, your personalized job feed should contain highly targeted jobs unique to your profile and preferences. The feed is updated every few hours, so you should see a steady stream of new jobs from that point forward.

Apply for Jobs

To apply for jobs, simply tap into a request and then tap the thumbs up button. If the job came from a job board, the source request will load and you can apply for the job directly on the site where we found it. Many requests are internal, coming from our own clients, and in that case you will see a different screen that allows you to submit yourself directly to the client by specifying your expected rate and any additional info you’d like passed to the client.

If you don’t have time to apply for each job as you’re reviewing them, simply click the heart icon to add the request to your Favorites. You can come back later and apply when you have more time. Finally, if you are NOT interested in a request, simply tap the thumbs down to remove it from your feed.

Submissions & Interviews

For internal requests that come directly from our Knack.io clients, will see a few unique things. First, if you submit yourself to a role (or we submit you directly), the job will appear under the Submissions tab. If the client wants to interview you, they will send an interview request, which you can review and confirm from the Interviews screen.

You can easily decline an interview or confirm it from within the app. If you decide to confirm, you will be presented with two time slots offered by the hiring manager. After confirming the interview, you will receive a Google calendar invite and the interview details can easily accessed from within the app, including the hiring manager’s phone number and driving directions (for onsite interviews).

Update Your Profile

You may need to update your profile from time to time. We encourage you to do so — particularly if your circumstances change and you find yourself back on the market.

You can easily re-upload your resume, update your location, target titles, and more from the profile screen. Employers and staffing firms using the Knack platform will be able to see when your profile was last updated, which often increases the likelihood that they send you interview requests, since it signals that you are in the market. Make sure you re-upload your resume at least every couple months if you are on the market, actively looking.

Spread the Word

When you install Knack, we generate a unique tracking URL for you that allows us to determine how many people you refer. We would greatly appreciate you helping us spread the word about the platform and grow our network of engineers and other tech workers. You can share an install link by tapping the share icon on the main Requests screen.

Very soon, we will launch our Youth Scholarship Giveway to reward those who help grow the network. We are donating a significant portion of our revenue to funding that program, which is discussed in detail on our website.

This is a challenging time and almost all of us are being affected in some way by COVID-19. We have pushed very hard to get this app out the door and into the hands of anyone looking for tech work — especially remote work. Although the name of the app is Knack for Engineers, we encourage designers, web and mobile developers, cloud architects, martech and fintech professionals, support technicians, and just about anyone building technology solutions to install the app. If your feed doesn’t contain jobs related to your background, contact us at support@knack.io and let us know. We’ll expand our crawler and our relationships to ensure that we are helping the greatest number of people.

Knack for Engineers is our gift to those who are building our future, and we hope you’ll love it as much as we do. We welcome your feedback!

For more information, visit https://knackforengineers.com.

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