HackerOne's Mårten Mickos on finding the perfect job

HackerOne CEO Mårten Mickos has seen no shortage of success in his business career. Mickos was CEO of MySQL when the company sold to Sun for $1 billion, and later was CEO of Eucalyptus when HP came calling. When looking to leave HP for a new challenge, Mickos evaluated 46 different opportunities, ultimately landing at HackerOne. That decision, as Mickos told TechRepublic, was a combination of several factors, including the opportunity "to learn something new" and to work on "something with a huge business potential and an intellectually intriguing model."

But that's Mickos, and he's not you (or me). I asked him to comment on how he advises others in their search for work-how they, too, can find their "HackerOne." His answer was interesting and potentially quite helpful.

SEE: 10 websites that can help you find your next job (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Inspiration is a product of information

The first rule of thumb, Mickos said, is to, "Always look at many alternatives, even if you think you know what you want to do." Why? Because "Without several opportunities to assess, you will not be able to figure out what's best for you." This means, unfortunately, that you should take your time when looking for work as "It is rare that you find the best opportunity quickly."

This may be easier said than done, given financial obligations, but the principle seems wise as a general principle.

The next step is to ensure you're getting good counsel along the way: "Have friends and mentors weigh in on opportunities you are considering. Also have them weigh in on your assessment of those opportunities. They may know things about you that you are yourself blind to."

At the same time, he continued, whether through outside counsel or our own experiences, we need to be willing to follow that insight: "Be ready to change your preferences. When I was contacted by Bill Gurley about HackerOne, I said, 'I don't want to work in cybersecurity because people seem cynical, negative, and nitpicky. They focus on problems and not opportunities.' I was a little right, but mostly wrong. HackerOne stood out as a constructive, positive, dynamic company that focuses on opportunities, not problems. I am thankful I didn't let my prejudice rule."

SEE: 19 words that don't belong in your resume (PDF download) (TechRepublic)

Once you've found what feels like the right opportunity, he suggested, it's time to really go for it:

One would think that Mickos, so successful in his career, wouldn't need to sell anyone on the idea of hiring him to run their company. I love that he does so both to demonstrate his commitment, but also to prepare for success in the role. In some ways, his process makes it unlikely that anyone would not hire him for a given role, since he has already started doing it. It becomes easier to just keep him moving along the track he has already started.

SEE: Hiring kit: Technical writer (Tech Pro Research)

What made HackerOne right for Mickos

Mickos is constantly asked why he chose to work at HackerOne (and why, of course, they chose him to lead it). So much so, in fact, that he authored an FAQ of sorts to give to prospective employees and others. Mickos shared this document with TechRepublic, which we republish (with his permission) below. It offers insight into the opportunity Mickos sees in HackerOne, of course, but goes further and gives deeper insight into how he thinks about work.

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