Ilya: Hi everybody and welcome to another VanHack success case. I’m super excited to be joined today by Evaristus, who just got hired as a senior developer and relocated to Toronto. Welcome Evaristus, thank you so much for being here. Congratulations.

Evaristus: It’s my pleasure, Ilya, and I want to say thank you very much for the good work you and your team are doing.

Ilya: No, it’s our pleasure as well. We love helping people get hired and then relocating to their new country and new adventure. So let’s dive into the story because I think there’s a lot of exciting things. First off, just give us a little bit of background about yourself, where you’re from, your work experience, this kind of thing.

Evaristus: Yeah. I am from Nigeria. I lived in Lagos. I am a senior software engineer with over seven years experience working mostly in Nigeria and with remote partners. I work mostly principally in JavaScripts, but getting to Toronto now I’ve been working in Ruby on Rails and Javascripts. I’ve always had this dream of improving my life, improving the life of my family, improving the life of my daughters and software engineering offered a pretty wonderful path to do that. I would say if not for software engineering or for the fact that VanHack was there, I wouldn’t be where I am today, right. So working in Nigeria, gaining experiences there helped a lot, but also meeting VanHack, going through the premium program. Getting to learn how to interview with Canadian companies. I know that got me to where I am today. To the point that my children have a brighter future, my wife is excited to be here and I, myself, I’m pretty excited to be in Toronto.

Ilya: That’s fantastic. So great to hear. So, let’s start, where did that dream come from? Maybe how long ago, or when did you decide, you know what, I want to look for an international job. And did you look just for Canada or did you look at other places as well?

Evaristus: Yeah. In 2018, my wife and I decided that it was… We just had a daughter in 2017. So in 2018, we decided that it was, we wanted our daughter to grow up in a more inclusive, a more tolerant society. Pretty much we set our minds for Canada, but we also had at the back of our mind any Western country where we’ll get a job, we’ll definitely go. We try some other programs that didn’t work for us. Until I got one of my friends was working in VanHack then. He was the one that mentioned VanHack on Twitter. I signed up and pretty much the process was very smooth for me. But one thing I learned through the way in the journey was that you have to be consistent. You have to follow the recommendations of the experts which are the staff of VanHack.

Evaristus: Yeah, because when I was doing this in my own way, I submitted a CV that I crafted myself. For a long time I was in the pool. I was applying for jobs. I wasn’t getting mentioned, I wasn’t getting recommendation. I wasn’t getting interviewed. So I begin to wonder how best, how I could do this better. So I started to follow, first of all, I transformed my resume into the Canadian style using the template that VanHack gave me. I noticed that when I put that template into my profile, I started to get interviews. So that was one huge barrier. Also, I tried to be more involved in the VanHack community. I became friends with a lot of VanHack staff, and that was very advantageous for me too, because definitely anytime they see a job, I was at the forefront of their mind to say, yeah, this person is fit for this job because I became more relevant within the VanHack community.

Evaristus: So that was how the process improved for me. That was how I started applying for jobs. I will say I had more than 80 interviews from where I was looking to relocate. At the end, it was a competition between three companies, right. Who will be the first to offer me a job because they asked me, are you currently… I was a finalist in three different jobs. They were asking me, are you currently a finalist in another job? So I have always liked to… My dream city was Toronto. The other two jobs I was being considered for one was in Montreal and one was in Vancouver, so I chose the Toronto job. And that’s why we are here today.

Ilya: Nice. So did you get three offers or three final rounds?

Evaristus: Three final rounds at the same time.

Ilya: Okay. And then the one offer that you accepted.

Evaristus: Yes.

Ilya: Nice. Well, congrats. That’s exciting. Yeah. I think Toronto is a fantastic city. I think it’s the most diverse multicultural city in the world. There’s people from all over. More people from outside of Toronto than actually were born there. So it’s a pretty unique place. Anyway, that’s really great. So how about before? Did you look for jobs before VanHack? How was that experience? With just international job hunting without VanHack?

Evaristus: I would say there was absolutely no results. Yeah. Let me just say this, we have great developers in Nigeria, those coming out of Africa. We are lot. We are growing. We pretty much are wonderful and experienced developers. On the flip side, we have this negative reputation, generally for Nigeria and especially for Nigeria. So employers worry, right of employing from Nigeria. So you see a lot of young people, including myself, putting in a lot of job applications and it just seems that nothing is coming back. No response or you get response, once they know you are from Nigeria, nobody wants to even go for that, right. So that was my experience before VanHack. When I joined VanHack, there was no discrimination. There was no criteria that you have to be from US or you have to be from this specific city.

Evaristus: Everybody was given the same opportunity. You just need to know how to code, right. So that was my experience. Like I mentioned while looking for job to relocate, I had done more than 80 interviews, right. And most of the 80 interviews, or rather applications none panned out. But when I followed the VanHack pattern, when I joined VanHack, I did my resume like VanHack said I should do it. I did the code tests, right. I did English tests. It opened up a world of possibilities.

Evaristus: I had more interviews than I could even entertain. I had more… It was just different. It was easier, right. And not just for only me, I know we are talking about my success case now, but not just for only me, but for a lot of people I know from Nigeria, for a lot of people I know from Africa that are getting jobs through VanHack today. So VanHack make the process so easy. I have a lot of people contact me, sending me on LinkedIn, on Twitter asking me how you got the job. I’m always saying, “Go to VanHack, follow the process.” It’s becomes easier than you doing it on yourself.

Ilya: Yeah and it costs you a lot of money too, right?

Evaristus: It was absolutely free. VanHack didn’t take any money from me until I decided to say, okay, let me apply for premium, which was just a few dollars, right. I applied for three months premium. I attended the English class. I attended the resume building class. I attended the interview class. And those were very helpful, right. When I was applying, when I was applying for jobs, excuse me and when I was interviewing for jobs. I remember classes like behavioral questions, I had to answer behavioral questions, I had to think like a recruiter, a Canadian recruiter and all that. They were very much helpful and they contributed to my getting a job.

Ilya: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. Yeah. So just too for everyone, VanHack it’s free to apply for jobs and we have a lot of free content and resources, but if you want some extra kind of interview preparation help, we have the premium, which is soon going to be called VanHack Academy. So just depending on when you’re watching this, it’s probably going to be changed to Academy and it’s like a school for you to learn. And anyway, just wanted to mention that. How did you feel when you got the offer? Bring me to that moment. Were you at home? Did you get an email? What was the moment like?

Evaristus: Let me tell you how this interview went. I had the interview with my current boss, right. There was also scheduled another interview with the CEO, but he just decided at that point, okay, let me take my laptop to the CEO, discuss with the CEO. At that point, I had my… I was very hopeful because I spoke with the CEO and the CEO said he liked me during the interview. And so it didn’t take a day later for me to get the offer. And I didn’t get the offer in my email as yet. You had a staff called Bruna. Bruna was the one that contacted me and say, the client is ready to give you an offer, how much do you want?

Evaristus: Yeah. I’ve never had a job offer that asked you how much you want. And I was in my room, I was screaming. My wife ran in and we were just jumping around, I had not even replied to your staff then, we’re just jumping around, we’re just screaming. And it was awesome. That experience to where your dream, you know your dream has come true. This is what you’ve been pushing for the past two, three years. And it finally came through.

Ilya: Yeah.

Evaristus: I can’t explain it, but it was the best feeling ever.

Ilya: Yeah. Yeah. I can relate a little bit. I remember when I was in university, I got my first work job offer and it was… I won’t talk through all the details, but basically I was super happy, so I kind of can relate a little bit there and it’s always great to get some good news, right.

Evaristus: Yeah, yeah. Good news.

Ilya: Awesome. And then let’s talk about, so you have this, your relocation, your immigration process, because it was a little bit delayed with COVID and things like that. So you work remotely for a little while, actually not a little while, like almost a year, right? And then, now you’ve moved. So how was that process?

Evaristus: Yeah, I would say this, it was a blessing in disguise. Yeah, of course, we were in a hurry or we’re anxious to get to Canada. We’re anxious to get our papers in order. COVID-19 delayed everything, but I worked for 10 months remotely before I relocated to Canada. Why I say it was a blessing in disguise is this, during that period of 10 months, while I was working, I got to know the team pretty well. We got to be very familiar and thus, we knew each other very well.

Evaristus: We knew our style of working. So it made it very easy to transition to this role. That’s when I arrived in Canada to transition to… How do I put it? It made it easy to settle down.

Ilya: Yeah.

Evaristus: It’s tough. One of my colleagues promised to pick me up from the airport. When I got here, one of my colleague got me groceries. I was in quarantine for 14 days. He got me enough groceries to last me for the 14 days.

Ilya: Wow.

Evaristus: Right? And they linked me with different services. So it made it very easier to transition. So I would recommend if you have opportunity to do remote first before relocating, it’s a blessing in disguise. You will never regret that.

Ilya: I think most people are doing that now, right. With COVID, everyone’s working remotely anyway. So most people just start remote for, maybe not 10 months, but let’s say three, four, five, and then yeah. And you still work remote now, right? You’re still working from home in Toronto.

Evaristus: Yeah. We work remotely and I was made aware that we might be transitioning to permanently remote. So, yeah but it’s different working from your home country [crosstalk 00:14:10] and working in Toronto. The infrastructure is so much better. You are within the right time zone and you won’t believe the view from the floor I have.

Ilya: You can show us. I mean, this is a video interview. People watching on YouTube. Maybe if you… I don’t know if you’re able to move your computer.

Evaristus: Okay. Let me see if I can move my computer.

Ilya: Yeah. We’re having a live, how you say… Not live, I guess. During the VanHack interview kind of an improvisation here.

Evaristus: Yeah, I think it works.

Ilya: Yeah. And if you’re listening to this on the podcast, just go to the VanHack YouTube channel,, you can find this video. If you want to see the view. So, you’re on the 45th floor, right? You were saying before.

Evaristus: Yes on the 45th floor, close to the waterfront, take a look, take a look at that view.

Ilya: Oh, wow. Look at that. You can see the lake and-

Evaristus: Yeah.

Ilya: I know where that is. Yeah. Sun Life Financial. I know exactly where you are. It’s like York street, right? Something like that.

Evaristus: Yeah, York Street. Exactly. York street.

Ilya: Yeah.

Evaristus: That’s how amazing it is.

Ilya: That’s awesome. Cool. Cool. Well, how about any tips you have for other VanHackers, especially VanHackers from Nigeria, from Africa who might be watching this and thinking, man, that guy got lucky, or like, I want to be like him. What can you share with them for them to become a success?

Evaristus: The first advice I will give you is know your craft, right. Employers are not looking for [inaudible 00:15:54] for juniors, because they have pretty much a lot of juniors in their country. If you are going for relocation, know what you’re doing, have the experience. But just beyond the experience, follow VanHack pattern. There’s a pattern VanHack introduce that makes it easy. Reformat your resume using the VanHack templates, right. That’s what they call the Canada resume. So employers, it passes automatic [inaudible 00:16:26] systems. It passes when the employer manually review it, that will help you. Secondly, do the English test, complete your profile. These are very important steps. And then do the technical test. Nobody would recommend you for interview without passing the technical tests, because they want to be sure that you can actually do this job, right.

Evaristus: Above all, VanHack will introduce you to Slack, right. Participate. There’s a lot of things you can learn from your colleagues, especially those that have already gotten a job and relocated. Participate in Slack, make the community vibrant, join the community and then relate a lot with VanHack staff. They don’t have preference. They won’t give you preference but if you always in their mind, if you always relating with them, if there’s a job that fits your skills, they will always remember to say, apply for this job. They will always promote you. So these are some of the skills that worked for me, and I know it will definitely work for you because I told some of my friends and it’s already working for them.

Ilya: Nice. Nice. So you had other friends who are getting interviews or maybe got hired already?

Evaristus: Yep. They’ve gotten hired. I know Iyk. Iyk has already been located. [inaudible 00:17:54] is coming in February, so a lot of my friends from Nigeria, from outside Nigeria, they’re coming to Canada to resume their jobs.

Ilya: Fantastic. That’s great. Yeah, two other great VanHack success cases. I think Iyk already recorded his success case video. So if you want to check that one out. I think it’s also on the podcast and YouTube, so you can go there and listen to his story. Awesome. Evaristus, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with everyone. Again, super proud to have you part of VanHack. And I don’t know when I’ll be in Toronto, but I’m sure we’ll have a big VanHack meetup and you and I will be able to have a chat in person.

Evaristus: I look forward to that. And once again, thank you to you and to your staff and to the entire VanHack family, for the great job you are doing. Many dreams, right, more than 8,000 people have gotten relocation jobs across the world because you started this journey and you’re making dreams come true. Thank you very much.

Ilya: Yeah. It means a lot to us. So thank you for sharing that. Yeah. It gives us fuel and motivation to keep going for the next thousand or more. Yeah. And if you’re listening to this and if you haven’t subscribed to YouTube channel or the podcast just hit subscribe there for many more interviews, like success case interviews like this and other helpful content. And of course create a profile at it’s free and it could end up changing your life.

Evaristus: Absolutely.

Ilya: Awesome. Cool. All right.

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