Getting & Filling
(Tech) Jobs

Ron DuPlain
ron.duplain@gmail.com
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
2014-2015

slides.com/rduplain/getting-filling-jobs

I would like to share my experience growing (tech) teams, to promote better jobs for everyone and encourage a more human approach to getting & filling jobs. The talent gap is getting bigger, and we can rethink the talent pool.

Ron DuPlain
ron.duplain@gmail.com
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

I would like to share my experience growing (tech) teams, to promote better jobs for everyone and encourage a more human approach to getting & filling jobs. The talent gap is getting bigger, and we can rethink the talent pool.

Maternity Neighborhood, Inc. -- CTO & Co-Founder -- 2010-present

Founding engineer to bootstrap electronic health record for midwives.

15-20 employees & contractors. Series A funding started March 2013.

Perform full stack of jobs: CTO, VP Engineering, Software Developer, Ops Engineer.

WillowTree Apps, Inc. -- Lead Android Developer & VP Engineering -- 2010-2012

Team member from 3 to 50 employees; champion for large internship program.

Original Android developer, first VP Engineering in company history.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory -- Engineer -- 2004-2010

Founding member of GUPPI pulsar instrument team; big data before "big data."

Hiring Experience -- Interviewed O(100) candidate, reviewed O(1000) resumes.

Community -- Former beCamp organizer, started beSwarm, started Python meetup.

Observations: My Background/Bias

I don't work at large companies.

I am an engineer before I'm a hiring manager.

Early projects, small budgets: points for enthusiasm.

Candidate

You want to get a job.

Hiring Manager

You want to fill a job.

Common Hiring Process

Common Hiring Process

Network

Listing

Introduction

Interviews

Negotiation

Offer

Fulfillment

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Common Hiring Process

Network - Who is your community?

Listing - Resumes & jobs on career pages & public sites.

Introduction - All relationships start somewhere.

Interviews - One or many; determine job fitness.

Negotiation - Mostly compensation, but all things really.

Offer - We are ready to have you on the team.

Fulfillment - Accept offer, sign on, show up for first day.

Pessimist: Each phase is an opportunity to get rejected.

Optimist: Each phase is an opportunity to add value.

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Observations

Suggestions

My Approach

It's not what you know;
it's how you network.

Many jobs are never listed.

It's not a "top of the funnel" problem; you have the wrong funnel.

Seek out people with whom you'd like to work.

Invest in relationships.

Don't just post your job;
find candidates in your community.

Cover letters are infinitely easier if you've talked with the person before.

Build community first; hire out of that community second.

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Observations

Suggestions

My Approach

Jobs are listed by people. (Find them.)

Job listings are lost in the noise. It's not enough to just post the job.

State your objective.

Keep resume to one page.

Write custom resume.

Clear roles,
ambiguous tasks.

What makes you, you?

Save details for the interview.

Let candidate demonstrate her/his "figure it out" button.

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Observations

Suggestions

My Approach

You only need to make first contact.

You may already know candidates who don't have your listing.

Keep it brief, much easier if you can reason about what they want.

Don't spam mailing lists; engage your community.

Send 1-3 sentences by email, setting yourself up for a discussion.

Convert to first contact, and save the discussion for then.

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Observations

Suggestions

My Approach

Interviewers can be introverted, too.

Every person has their own cognitive style & personality.

Apply CAR:

Context, Action, Result.

Share your work.

Don't ask canned questions.

Figure out what gets the candidate excited.

Flow. Anticipate questions by figuring out what the interviewer really wants.

Flow. Get past the awkward part, get the person talking about what's exciting.

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Observations

Suggestions

My Approach

You have to represent your own interests. (Negotiate!)

Negotiations add value.

Salary is just one objective.
Tension is natural.
Responsibility: be equitable.

Know your numbers.
Know benefits & other compensation.

Pitch value in joining the team, including total compensation.

Let employer make first move, or mark up your numbers. Ask questions.

Understand employee objectives, know market numbers, be equitable.

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Observations

Suggestions

My Approach

Nothing is official until you have it in writing.

Employers are connected.

Send simple note of thanks between interview & offer.

No radio silence.

Celebrate accepted offers, send a note of thanks.

Be responsive to offer,
ask questions instead of rejecting offer.

Build teams.
Shift roles within team to optimize new additions.

Creating jobs is awesome.

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Observations

Suggestions

My Approach

Now is the time to take vacation, runway permitting.

Always needing one more person means that you are over-extended.

Commit. Be reassuring. Know your availability from beginning of the process.

Be patient. Starting a new job can be stressful.
Delegate. Set goals.

Start solving problems on day 1. Make self-plans to build skills.

Set up the right person, set goals, get out of the way.

One minute manager.

Lessons

These lessons apply to both candidates and hiring managers.


Look for this in the other person.

Unlearn & ignore "industry standards."

There's a word for listing every technology you've ever touched on your resume: mediocrity.

 

Employers don't want N years experience.
They want to solve problems.

 

Write your resume and introduction for the job that you want. (Blanket resume is spam.) Write job listings for the problems that you want to solve, not the solutions. (Not Ruby on Rails, but a specific web experience.)

 

Experienced professionals say less.

Find (and build) your community.

Professionals value sharing their work with others, and generally are excited by articulate new entrants.

 

Meetups are great for new opportunities.

 

New to a discipline? Ask around to meet/shadow.

You don't want to work at Google.

You want to work at a place where you can solve problems in a collaborative environment with smart people and real problems.

 

Having this environment is the best thing an employer can do to attract talent.

 

Maybe you do want to work at Google.

Say what you want.

Write an objective on the resume. A real one.

 

If you want to to work on X -- a specific approach or technology, a certain problem space, ... -- then say so.

 

Be specific about your needs for working on a team.

 

You will invariably learn more about the job during the discussion/interviews.

Know what you want.

Perhaps the most important thing.

 

What are your research interests?

 

Looking for a specific culture?

 

Seeking interesting problems or technologies?

Know what the other person wants.

What problem do you need to /
are you going to solve?

 

Is this a new team or the Nth team member?

 

Existing teams come with a lot of culture.

 

New teams come with a lot of accountability.

Act like you just got/filled the job.

When was the last time you asked a teammate
a canned question or gave a vacant response
(and got away with it)?

 

One year into the job, have you looked back at the resume or job listing? Probably not. Get real when writing these.

 

Assume you just got/filled the job.
What questions do you have?

Know the real purpose of the interview.

Steps to success in an interview:

1. Present yourself comfortably & professionally.

2. Convince team that you'll solve more problems
     than you create (risk == problem).

3. Convince team that you are top-tier.

0. Confirm that you want the job.

Determine if the job is a good fit for the candidate.

(Everything else is just fluff.)

Job: role/responsibility within the organization.

Be professional. This is your client.

Communicate clearly.

 

Respect each other's time. Show up on time. Write concise notes instead of long paragraphs.

 

Dress as you would if you had the job.

(Wear a suit only if you expect to wear one daily.)

 

Meet expectations. Ask questions if you need to understand what the other person is expecting. It really is that easy.

Everything is negotiable.

Salary, dates, & equipment are all up for discussion.

 

But you need to defend your proposal.

 

Do you need more to make your decision? Ask.

e.g. Need more health benefits?

e.g. Want to meet more of the team?

 

If the hiring manager wants the candidate, he/she will do what it takes within the budget (or ask for more budget).

Don't be afraid to keep looking.

Any reservation is enough to avoid the candidate/job.

 

Nothing is committed until the job offer is signed.

 

You can always come back, if you were professional.

Don't be too transparent.

Nobody wants to be Plan B.

 

Better to say "I'll follow up in 2 weeks."
than "I'm interviewing with Microsoft."

Get experience.

You have a computer. You can find projects at home which demonstrate value. These are legit for resumes.

 

Want to be a programmer? Read code. Write code.

 

Want to hire a programmer? Read code. Write code.

World View

If you can hang at a meetup,
you can probably work together.

 

If you think that the job search starts at the job listing,
you are doing it wrong.

 

Need more experience? Get some.

 

These are big ideas; find a mentor to guide you.

Network | Listing | Introduction | Interviews | Negotiation | Offer | Fullfillment

Unlearn & ignore "industry standards."
Find (and build) your community.
Say what you want.
Know what you want.
Know what the other person wants.
Act like you just got/filled the job.
Know the real purpose of the interview (find fitness).
Be professional. This is your client.
Everything is negotiable.
Don't be afraid to keep looking.
Don't be too transparent.
Get experience (at home).

Demo: Show me your resume.

Getting & Filling (Tech) Jobs

By Ron DuPlain

Getting & Filling (Tech) Jobs

Encourage a more human approach to getting & filling (tech) jobs.

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