I recently had the honor of talking with Jonathan Freeman, host of the Building You Podcast. The podcast covers “everything beyond the code,” and one topic that’s come up frequently is hiring.
Not only did I talk about hiring in my one-on-one chat with Jon, but I also participated in a roundtable with other thought leaders in the hiring space. I’ve always been interested in getting other people’s perspective in this newsletter (which, if you’re interested, please let me know!). So, the roundtable gave me a lot to think about.
Today, I want to share some interesting insights from my sessions on the Building You Podcast. I highly recommend watching both sessions, because we talk about more than just hiring, but if you’re interested in specific topics, I’ll link to those sections.
My thoughts on hiring
(Link to full episode.)
At 5:09, I talk about evaluating boot camp graduates. “The big thing I would look for in somebody who has gone to a bootcamp is their ability to learn. […] That willingness to learn is really important because that’s how they’re gonna catch up to somebody who has a lot of experience already.”
At 12:24, I talk about a project-based approach to interviewing. “At the first startup I went to I was hired using a process where I came in and I basically did a little project for about 2-3 hours with different interviewers coming in, but it was one continuous problem using whatever tools I wanted, access to the internet, no problem, like I would normally.”
At 16:08, I talk about hiring inexperienced vs. experienced candidates. “When you ask somebody to show what they know, it is contingent on what they actually know. […] If someone is coming out of a four-year degree, where they have been learning algorithms, the best thing might be to quiz them on algorithms because that is something you know they know, and it’s something that should be fresh in their minds.”
There’s a lot more, whether about hiring or about how to succeed in tech, so please do listen to the episode. Other topics include handling inbound recruiter messages and resume filters.
A roundtable with Bertram and Ned
(Link to full episode.)
In this episode, I talked with Bertram Lansiquot and Ned Rockson. Bertram is a recruiter and the host of the #AskARecruiter video series. Ned is a software engineer who’s been hiring for a while and has written about the topic (I featured his article in my second edition of this newsletter.
At 12:23, we talked about the order in which candidates are interviewed. Ned mentions that, in his experience, “Whenever a new role opens up, there is is an extraordinary disadvantage for people who interview early in a pipeline, even if that candidate is great.” To avoid this problem, Bertram follows up with, “if you’re looking for people with five years of experience, all of these [technologies], lives in this area, you don’t need twenty [candidates]. If you have three, or four, let’s go ahead and put them through the process.”
At 21:25, we talked about the effect of COVID-19 on hiring.. I talked about how being forced to hire remotely may cause the industry to realize that much more of the hiring process can be done this way: “maybe most of the process can be done remotely for somebody who is not in the area, instead of flying them out, and if people get used to that, it’ll be great to have a lot more of a remote component.” Bertram gave a great example of a time when schedules were not working, so he got the candidate and the hiring manager on a Skype call, and they were able to connect. “There have been so many times we lost really good candidates because we weren’t utilizing average technology.”
At 32:55, we talked about resume filters again! All three of us were on the same page: automated resume filters don’t hire the best candidates. I talked about tailoring the interview process to each candidate, Bertram said how important it is for the right people to look at incoming applicants, and Ned talked about how resume filters filter for the wrong qualities.
As before, this is by no means a comprehensive list of interesting topics in this episode, so definitely give the whole thing a listen. A second part is coming out soon!
Many of the topics brought up in the above episodes are ones that have been on my mind, or were brought to my attention by the fantastic insights Bertram, Ned and Jon shared with me. I’ll be talking about these topics in future editions of this newsletter, but you can get a sense of where I stand on them based on what I said in the podcast.