As a result of the pandemic, many technologists are unexpectedly job searching. The process of seeking a new role can be unsettling and anxiety-inducing. The recruiting process is often opaque to job seekers.
- How can you get noticed by a technical recruiter or hiring manager?
- What can you do to increase your chances of lining up an interview?
- How should you prepare for a technical interview in an Agile shop?
- What do you need to know in order to negotiate a fair offer?
Whether you are job searching for the first time (or the first time in a long while) or even if you’re just looking for some fresh perspective, this session gathers experts in hiring and job seeking to provide guidance and different perspectives on how to find and secure the right role in the right (and hopefully Agile!) atmosphere.
Cat Swetel, Ryan Latta, Swift Burch III, Ellen Grove
Ellen Grove 00:10
Before we get going, I just want to say a quick Hello to everybody who’s joining us. My name is Ellen Grove, I’m the managing director of Agile Alliance. And I am really thrilled to welcome everybody to today’s deliver agile live session. Today’s topic about you know, starting and sustaining your career in a pandemic, I think is clearly a really timely topic. 2020 has been a year of a lot of ups and downs for a lot of people. And, you know, I know that there are a lot of people who are suddenly finding themselves needing to find new work opportunities. And I am delighted that we’ve been able to assemble this panel of people of experts and people with considerable expertise, who are going to help us by sharing ideas and tips about how to make yourself visible, how to increase,your chances of not only getting a gig, but getting the gig you want on the terms that you want. Because while 2020 has been a tough year, there’s still lots of opportunities out there. And helping helping people take advantage of them is something that I am really, really passionate about doing. I just want to remind people, before we get started that you did sign the Agile lines Code of Conduct as part of your registration process for this, the long story short on that is be kind and be professional. 2020 has been a tough year. And you know, when you’re asking a question or making a comment, keep that in mind. On that note, I am going to get out of the way and pass the floor to today’s today’s panelists. So over to you, Cat.
Cat Swetel 01:58
Hello, everybody. I am Cat Swetel, and I guess I’m the person that’s been putting together this deliver agile live content. And what gave me the idea for this session was unfortunately, when I started to see a lot of my friends get furloughed or laid off and start looking for a new job. And I also have some connections with the university that’s here and my city in the Phoenix area and talking to those folks who are still in college. And you know, dealing with like a lot of internship programs being shut down and are looking for a job for the first time starting their career in the middle of a pandemic. So I was kind of seeing the two ends of the spectrum, people that hadn’t been looking for a job for a long time suddenly looking for one and people who have literally never looked before looking for one. And it just seemed like I guess a really emotionally fraught time and I thought, Hey, we can get together some experts to talk about that. So then I went about finding my experts. And the first person I thought of was Ryan, because he wrote a book about this topic. It’s called land the job. So I’m sure we’ll hear some interesting things from him. Ryan, I don’t know if you want to take a couple minutes to introduce yourself.
Ryan Latta 03:39
A mute. Um, thanks. So yeah, my name is Ryan. And so kind of by day, I work as a consultant helping companies do break stuff in software. And eventually, that led me to working with developers who had questions about what they really wanted in their career was this the job, they wanted to do the right company, all that stuff. And I, I just started helping. And that turned into sort of my, my superhero job at night, which is mentoring developers, whether they’re new or at it for a while just trying to find the career and lifestyle they want. And that led me to making the biggest mistake ever writing a book and doing all that stuff. But I really want to make sure developers have what they need in their career, because it should take care of them and give them the lifestyle they want. So that’s one of the things I care about trying to help every developer do.
Cat Swetel 04:31
Well, thank you. I so I have, I guess tried to be involved in the local Phoenix tech scene for years now because I am regularly hiring and an engineering manager and hire lots of people and I got to know lots of different recruiters and people who do Talent Search and all those things and someone who I really respect and admire in that space who was a technical Executive for a long time, I was talking to her about this panel and I said, Who is the best technical recruiter that you know, and she didn’t even skip a beat. And she said Swift Burch is the person and he is not just focused on the Phoenix area, he has a good idea of the market across the US and kind of beyond in certain cases. And I said, Please, can I have an intro because I would love to get the recruiter perspective on this topic. And so that’s how Swift came to join us. I don’t know if you want to take a couple minutes to introduce yourself.
Swift Burch III 05:41
Thank you, is my pleasure to be here. And I hope I could provide some information that can help some people when it’s all said and done. So my name is Swift Burch III, and I’m the owner of blockchain talent, which is a contract staffing direct tie recruiting firm, focused in emerging emerging tech, primarily focused on software engineers, developers and architects. I’ve been in the recruiting industry since 2004, where it started off with careerbuilder, where I was a director, and selling our services to the staffing and recruiting industry. And initially, when I moved into recruiting, after leaving, they’re focused in insurance, and then moved into technology. And that’s really my my love is tech and tech recruiting. So I’m happy to be here.
Cat Swetel 06:47
Well, thank you both so much for being here. And for all of the attendees, you’ll notice that there’s a q&a button. So I have I’ve been talking to lots of people. And I have a big long list of questions that kept coming up over and over again. But if you have a question, you can submit that through the q&a. And I’ll get that and all of the panelists will see it so that we can address whatever your specific questions are. But I think we can start off with just the ones from the list while folks start to think of their own questions. So as I was preparing for this section, and talking to a lot of people, the first and probably biggest grouping of questions that I got, they were all around, how do I actually get noticed by a hiring manager or by a recruiter? So there were lots of questions like, is LinkedIn still a thing? Like, what should my GitHub look like? And those kinds of things, I don’t know, if either of you have any sage words of wisdom on how to actually get noticed, I in order to be considered for position?
Ryan Latta 08:08
Why do you want to take some firms?
Swift Burch III 08:11
Dark? And I’ll go okay.
Ryan Latta 08:13
So, um, I mean, that’s, that is the question, right? Like, how do you how do you attract attention to get an interview? It’s, that’s the one, and then it’s how to get through it. And then what do you do with an offer, those are the big three. So to get to get noticed, to get considered for an interview. The best the best way is through someone, you know, if you know someone at a company, and you say, hey, you’re hiring, here’s my resume, and they slide it in, that’s, I think I was reading somewhere 52% of all hire still come from internal referrals. So that’s still your best bet. Broadly speaking, and this gets into a lot of other topics. Your resume is still your primary currency, people look at it. First, they make the first decision about whether they’ll look at anything else, whether it’s LinkedIn, a portfolio, GitHub, hacker rank, whatever you want to add as flair. Resume comes first. And so I would generally recommend, get that resume in really good working order. And you differentiate yourself not by saying, I’m a coder, who codes stuff, because that’s table stakes, you have to show them that when you code, good things happen, real results happen, outcomes are achieved more than more than you use react, like money was made, customers are happy, you have to show them that who you are. And 60 to 90 seconds, they’ll say I want to talk to this person, I want to see more. And that’s what all those other things start to help. So number one, useful, you know and number two, make sure that resume is getting a yes from them.
Cat Swetel 09:48
Swift I have to imagine that you have a different perspective on this seeing as you’re usually brought in by the employer right to go search for the right candidate. So how do you first Notice people that should be considered.
Swift Burch III 10:04
Yeah, our approaches is, is definitely more strategic. You know, so my company is a third party recruiting firm, as opposed to an internal recruiting a recruiter that you may speak with. And so our clients will give us a job description, which is probably what you see on most of these company websites. But they also, what we do to take that, above and beyond is we really ask a lot of questions of exactly what they feel an ideal, ideal fit would be. And then based off of that information that’s provided to us, first of all, I can tell you LinkedIn is where you want to be. If you’re not on LinkedIn, you are, you are hurting yourself. Recruiters love LinkedIn. So yes, it is still the place you want to hang your hat on, if you want to go to other places, that’s fine. But But recruiters live on LinkedIn. Secondly, definitely you want to your profile really, really should be your resume. You know, some people just put highlighted information. And, and it really doesn’t benefit them to do that. So you really should make your profile your resume, the more information that you can put in your in that profile, the better because technical recruiters successful recruiters, we do searches, we do real detailed searches. So if I have a specific requirement or requirements that my client is looking for, I literally will search for those requirements. In in, in my search it on LinkedIn, and candidates will be pulled up based off of those based off of those requirements. So So if, if everything that you do you I really love seeing resumes, technical, within an obviously in my space, I love seeing resumes where the each job at the bottom of you know, they have they were they worked and in a year, two years that they work there and city and then they’ll talk about what they did. And then under that they put the technical, all the technical specs that they used and work with for that job, as opposed to putting it at the bottom. Whereas the list of technologies, this way, you know exactly when they were doing this kind of technology. And you’ll know if they’re up to date or not. So, so I love seeing resumes that way really helps us to make a quick decision. Is this some somebody that we want to reach out to? Or ? Um, you know, I mean, I’m sure we’ll get into a lot of more detailed type of things. So I’ll leave it at that I could talk all night, all day about what we look for. So
Ryan Latta 13:42
tonight, can I maybe add one more little thing there. So. So I mean, when you want to get noticed there is a there is a unique thing that, you know, I get my position about your resume really does a lot of the first talking for you. The only thing I would put out is even if you’re using your network, even if you’re applying through all kinds of sites, recruiters have an interesting position that they often have kind of exclusive knowledge of some positions because companies only work with recruiters, they don’t post postings. So if you want to cast your net as wide as possible, do do search out recruiting agencies. And that’s actually pretty easy because like Swift said, they are on LinkedIn, they are looking and they often do post positions and engage with people that way. If you have a friend that used a good recruiter call him up, recruiters will be in love with that, but they have access to positions no one else knows about.
Cat Swetel 14:38
So this is a question. Sorry, switch this schema.
Swift Burch III 14:44
Okay, go ahead.
Cat Swetel 14:45
I think you’re gonna like this one. What is the difference between an internal recruiter and a third party recruiter and a lot of the people that I talked to were noticing that like an internal recruiter that works for the employer is employed by the employer, you know, sometimes didn’t always have like the technical knowledge and some of those things. Whereas it seemed like external third party recruiters tended to know a bit more about this specific space, which I think makes sense, right as an internal recruiters probably recruiting for a bazillion different positions across all different business units and things like that. And a third party is probably focused, you know, like in the technology space or something like that. But a lot of the people that I talked to you we’re not clear on the difference between an internal recruiter that works is employed by the employer, and a third party recruiter. So Swift, I don’t know if you want to answer that.
Swift Burch III 15:48
Yes, it is definitely a huge difference between a third party recruiter versus a internal recruiter. First off, regarding an internal recruiter, if you speak to an internal recruiter, they’re probably more of a generalist. So as you stated, Cat, they’re recruiting for HR, it for sales, they doing everything. But are you definitely if you talk to a recruiter internally, you have started your interviewing process, it the clock has started. So everything you say, they will type into this ers CRM system. And if you make it to the next step, to me with a supervisor, or whatever it may be, they will see all the information that you provided in that first conversation. So so definitely be aware of that. With a third party recruiter. We, the goal of third party, recruiters should be to be a trusted advisor for you. And so here at blockchain talent, my team, we focus on motivational methodology. And so, which is a five point methodology. First, we want to be your trusted advisor. Second, we want to understand what’s important to you, and what are your motivators. Third, we would find the best fit job opportunities for you for when we do get you into an opportunity that you’re interested in and get you submitted, and get you to the point of interview, we would then prep you, and guide you and advise you throughout the interviewing process, who you’re going to meet with some of the questions that they may ask, you know, especially clients that we do a lot of business with, where we know personalities, we can even tell you, you know, they don’t like certain you know, this, they like this and, and so on. And then fourth, fourth is, is really trying to, you know, check, check your, your, your temperature, throughout, in your motivation through throughout each interview. What’s your interest level now, you know, one to 10. Now that you’ve you’ve talked to someone, you have a better understanding of the job description of the company, the culture, where are you at this stage? Is this still something that you’re interested in? And, and if you are great if you’re not, and we’ll find out why, and decide if this is something that you want to continue with, or if you want to pass on the opportunity. And then fifth, is when we get to that point where you’ve gone through the interviewing process, you love them, they love you, and they make an offer, we really advise that, that that offer come through us. This way, we can tell you, okay, this is what they’re looking at offering you Is this something that you like or not, you know, it’s hard to negotiate for yourself, if this is not what you do day in and day out. That’s what we’re here for we are, are we get paid based off of you, we get paid a percentage of your first year base salary. So the more you make, the more we make. So it’s in our best interest to put you in the best position for success when it comes to that. And so this gives us that ability to tweak things if we need to go back and say, well, they’re really looking for this because, you know, they learn more about the opportunity and realize that, you know, it’s going to entail X, Y and Z. Or, you know, the bonus package that you have, maybe something That maybe we can negotiate that is things that we can do that sometimes when you’re doing it yourself, you just don’t think of. So that so that that’s the difference. And a third party recruiter, a good third party, third party recruiter, or recruiting firm, as opposed to internal internal definitely do all that for you.
Cat Swetel 20:24
Yeah, you had such a great point. I know we have a bunch of questions later about how to negotiate the offer and things like that. But as a hiring manager, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past however many years negotiating offers, but the candidates I encounter have not right. And let it’s not like that’s my primary thing that I do every day. But I’ve done it a lot of times, and those candidates have not. Sometimes I’m like, come on, you should be asking him it. That’s right. Yeah, um, we got a lot of questions about so LinkedIn. We, clearly, LinkedIn seems like it’s an important thing to have up to date, we talked about having highlighting the results that you got at whatever position, and also which technology technologies used at that position. But we got a lot of questions about like, how much are recruiters and hiring managers? Looking at my GitHub should I be doing like coding challenges? I and I also got a lot of questions from folks who are interviewing for technical roles, but not coding roles. So like, should an architect be out there on hacker rank and some of these things, so I don’t know, Ryan, I know you have some hot takes on some of these things. So I don’t know, if you want to jump in there.
Ryan Latta 21:57
Cat Swetel 26:08
Swift Burch III 26:36
I think everything that Ryan talked about was was spot on. In my opinion, I think that you can hurt yourself more by putting out coding. And, you know, publicly. Because every opportunity, every company does things differently, just like Ryan talked about, it just depends on who the hiring manager is and how they, how they came up. And you know, what they feel is important, you might have a great game up, but it might be something about it that just didn’t rub right with that hiring manager. And normally, as Ryan stated, they wouldn’t get to that GitHub part to maybe the second interview, because they’re not going to look at it until later. And and that might be especially if you’ve got errors, you know, that might be the reason that they passed on. So I, you know, I don’t think it’s something that’s necessary. If you have it, and you’re, and you’re confident about it, and you want, and they mentioned it, then you should provide. But if you just put it out there, just like when I said folks in one, shred it up, you’re never going to look and see, you know, what’s wrong, and you really given them opportunity. Sometimes, especially if you have layers of interviews, where it’s different people, that first person might love you, then the next person who is all about checking people’s public persona, and they check you out before you even interview with them. Now, they already have an idea of what were they going to go with you? So you know, I’m kind of on the fence about it.
Ryan Latta 28:45
Yeah, it’s tough.
Cat Swetel 28:48
Yeah, I have like a million sock puppet GitHub accounts for all of my like, really embarrassing side projects.
Ryan Latta 28:57
Yeah. And I mean, since since GitHub, announced private repos. Like if you want to do it, move, all that incomplete stuff they’re not sure about make it private immediately, and then put those those test ones out there if you want to do it. And like swift said, they these things really are optional. A lot of new developers feel like if they don’t do it, they’re not they’re not a real candidate, or they won’t be considered and for my students and my own experience, that’s not true. And here’s a reason you can think about it is most the time when you get hired at a company, you’re not doing open source, you’re doing closed source. So when on Earth where you’re going to create a great GitHub thing when you were employed, like right, exactly, it’s it’s a it’s another thing they can use to judge you. It may not be a disqualifier to not show it but it very well can be if you do because you just don’t know what they’re going to look at like this monster use tabs instead of spaces. We’re done. Like you just don’t know
Cat Swetel 29:53
why it’s no us hiring managers. We don’t have opinions, you know that. Come on. Okay, so the next, like, big grouping of questions that I got was once you actually talk to a human being, how does that all go down? So the first thing you typically have to make it through is either a screening phone call, or a text screen. So first, I guess we can talk about the text screen. What How should people prepare for a text screen?
Ryan Latta 30:28
Cat Swetel 32:27
I have a lot of things that I feel like I as a hiring manager have to make up for how people have been scarred by technical phone screens before I started out every single one by saying there are no trick questions, because I feel like so many of them, I guess, must include trick questions. So I always have to start out by saying no trick questions. No gotchas. I’m genuinely curious about your technical experience. Swift, I don’t know how you coach people to get through that technical screen? Or if you do anything like that, or what suggestions do you have for folks? Well,
Swift Burch III 33:15
it’s, it really just depends on on the, on the client, because because every, every client has a different way of doing things, I have some clients where, you know, the first call or interview would be to see if their culture fit, culture really is starting to stand out more. It seems like and then the other thing, too, is everything is zoom or, or call these days. Because now because of remote work, you know, a lot of my clients now are open to looking at people all over the country. So for for for tech positions, and these are even in leadership roles. Um, you know, so So, so the landscape has changed a lot in the last, you know, eight, eight months or so, regarding that, when it gets real, you know, those real tech, we can we can, we can advise them, you know, there’s no way I could talk like Ryan gets all you know, on a technical advice, because that’s, I mean, we definitely have a good understanding, but we’re not, we’re not technicians. So so so we don’t you know, try to fake like we are, but we will have an understanding of how it would go. We have an understanding of the personality of that hiring manager that is doing technicals and and things like Like, would you just say cat of how you approach it? We really try to get an understanding of our clients and hiring managers to get an idea of what kind of person they are. Are they more genuine in the way you are? Or are they ones that that will do the trick questions. Um, and, and if we know that we will give them a heads up. Um, but we can’t get any any further to that.
Ryan Latta 35:33
either. I mean, there’s a cool thing, though, that, I mean, I would, I would point out to, which is kind of a neat thing, when you work with a recruiter like Swift, an external third party recruiter, they do have those relationships. So they kind of know what what you can expect, they know the process, and they have a unique position to get feedback from other candidates that have gone through it. So they can give you a little bit inside pool sometimes. Whereas if you’re going in cold, you’re gonna, you’re gonna find out what happens as soon as the call starts, and you have no idea what’s about to happen. And that can be a huge benefit for you to know kind of that’s like, Alright, they’re gonna, they’re gonna grill you on some stuff Get ready, or they just want to talk to you, it’s fine, you’ll be okay. That can be a huge benefit.
Swift Burch III 36:18
That’s exactly what we do.
Cat Swetel 36:21
Swift, something that you said made me think about just the situation that we’re in right now. Right? In the pandemic, everyone’s working remotely. So what does a technical interview look like now? Like? I think all of us at one point or another, have been through a whiteboard interview, right? Are those still a thing during a pandemic? I think all of us have probably been through some form of like pairing interview. What does that look like in a pandemic? So have you to notice anything, any differences in the approach to technical interviews now that we can’t be in the same physical space? swift? I don’t know if you’ve noticed anything?
Swift Burch III 37:09
Um, yes, I’ve definitely noticed, um, I have a client that they still haven’t do whiteboards at home. Um, and, and what we’ll do as well, exactly what we’ll do as well, you know, give them a heads up at a time, you know, to tell them to maybe, and it doesn’t have to be, you know, that elaborate what you have, it could just be a small little hand one to take right on. Um, and then sometimes they’ll give them some coding to do that they can see on screen as well, too. So it buries most haven’t haven’t really taken it that far. Recently, I’ve been having come across that most are really basing it off of the questions that they ask, and, and maybe give an it but they are doing some tests. They haven’t do do tests as well. So so then finding other ways.
Cat Swetel 38:18
What kind of tests?
Swift Burch III 38:22
I couldn’t. These are tests that they’ve they’ve developed, where they would give them a maybe one or two, or two or three questions with guidelines, and then they would have to do some coding based off off of what they provide. So coding assignments. Yes, exactly. Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m not speaking. Yeah. No, no, it’s
Ryan Latta 38:53
just that I’ve seen more reliance
Swift Burch III 38:55
on exactly, yeah, yeah. Yeah, it’s really moved to that quite a bit.
Cat Swetel 39:01
So are those usually like a take home thing? Or it’s like, conducted during the interview with someone? Why would they do it on a
Swift Burch III 39:08
zoom call? They would do it on a zoom call. they’ll, they’ll send it to them during a zoom. And then they would do it literally. You know, just like Ryan is sitting, I’m sure his computers in front of, so he would just sit and do it right right there. And then when he’s done, he would, he would shoot it. So it’s almost like, like, I when people are on the whiteboards in person. You know, they would give him give him that, that same criteria, and then they would leave them in air in that room for an hour to do it. It’s the same thing, but it’s just one zone.
Cat Swetel 39:47
Right? That’s what you’ve seen.
Ryan Latta 39:50
So, um, I kind of you are all right. I know I know who who’s here. So all offense and people with this one, but I described kind of What you’re saying is is like the the loose pairing interview. It happens live, there’s multiple people seeing it, they’re talking as it happens. In my experience, I actually see that. I mean, it’s a growing trend. But it’s actually still fairly uncommon for me to see it in practice, what I, what I actually see more of is the, they will send you after your technical phone screen, they’ll send you an assignment, and usually say something like, hey, it’d be great if you could just do this problem, it shouldn’t take any more than three days, send it back to us. And then the rest of the interviews, they may go over some of that with you what you presented what you submitted. But you you have to bake a full solution as like homework. That’s what I see still more of today is the homework assignment. And there’s, I mean, there’s strategies for both right? Like, you just want to get them in a dialogue, whether it’s doing it live or post assignment, you want to get them talking in engaging with you instead of just judging.
Swift Burch III 41:02
Alright, we saw that even prior to COVID. Mm hmm. Yep.
Cat Swetel 41:10
Interesting. Yeah. Are there any, like, technical requirements for when you have to do one of those exercises within the space of the interview? Are there usually like a typical set of technical requirements? Or how do they? I guess, do they send you those that ahead of time or anything like that?
Ryan Latta 41:39
So my, my, so when I see this go down, whether it was all remote or not, when you get the instructions, like all good instructions, they’re like, 80%, right, and 20%. confusing. So I think it’s generally a good idea. Like, even if you’re going in person to a place, you know, pretty COVID, it’s always good to ask a couple questions like, Where do I park? How do I get in the building who I talked to when I get in because people forget this stuff. And then you spend 15 minutes in the parking lot, you’re getting late for your interview, and everything’s terrible. You do the same thing with these coding assignments? Are there any particular tools? Are there any particular this? Would it be better if I did X, Y, or Z? It shows engagement, it shows your thinking, it shows you’re thoughtful, plus, you can avoid certain surprises like oh, you used intelligent, we only use Eclipse there like you can skip that stuff. So ask questions. Even if you’re not worried about the answer, it kind of helps. Because usually they have an assumption and you have one and rarely do they match. Yeah, lock it down right out of the gate.
Cat Swetel 42:43
Yeah, I got rads pretty hard in a slack that Ryan and I are both in the other day for my combo of vs. code. And VI, I think it’s perfectly reasonable. But apparently, some people have issues with it. Not good people. But anyway, I What about technical interviews for non coding or like coding light type roles, like positions that technical leadership or architecture, or whatever the case may be? I know, there’s even a lot of companies that are moving towards a technical portion of the interview for Scrum masters and technical project managers and stuff like that. Do you have any suggestions on how to prepare for those
Swift Burch III 43:38
One of the one of the things that, that we’re getting a lot of right now, because of the existing relationships, we’re getting a lot of product management roles. I’m seeing senior product management roles for mobile senior product manager platform, senior product manager integration. And in in those roles, you know, obviously, it’s, it’s a, it’s a different space, but they do integrate with the, with the engineering, you know, departments. And in those roles is it is nowhere near as technical is just more trying to get a better understanding of there was some cases, you know, like the platform, Product Manager, we have a client that he likes, if they came from being an engineer, prior, you know, that’s a benefit. Just so they can understand, you know, they speak more that language. You know, so it really just depends. I mean, what all of these things. It’s all Based off the client clients are so different in what they want. Um, it could be the exact same titles, you know, with two separate companies and, and and what they focus on. But, you know, if the hiring managers have a certain way of doing certain things, it could be a completely different than from the, you know, company across the street. You know, so it really just depends on, on on on the company, and how they and how they work.
Cat Swetel 45:33
Yeah, Product Management, I’ve, I have certainly seen that trends were especially like, lower in the stack, whether it’s like basically anything that says Enterprise Service and the name of the team like Kubernetes, as an enterprise service, or Kafka is an enterprise service, like some enterprise offering of this thing. It seems like the expectation there is that product managers should at least have enough technical expertise to articulate trade offs within whatever their spaces. Yeah, I’ve certainly noticed that Ryan, I don’t know if you have any thoughts on what a technical interview looks like, for a less than coding role?
Ryan Latta 46:21
Yeah, I’ve unfortunately seen it vary so much, it’s really hard to nail it down. Because it really comes like so everything you and swift have said they’re spot on, like maybe maybe it’s a technical product role for data science. Now, they expect you to know Python, you don’t know how far down they want you to go. And it depends on what the previous person did or what their peers did, and you don’t know it. You don’t know what that’s going to be unless you know someone on the inside or you just get in the room. In an ideal world, like it’s, you know, the domain you can have, you can make those trade offs. You can say this or that. Here’s a good reason why. And there are technical factors that you can weigh in on. You don’t have to be the expert. That’s ideal. But I have a friend who’s a development manager and been one for 10 years, and I had to coach him on micro services and AWS cloud stuff, because that’s all he would get interviewed on. No one asked him about being a leader, they all asked him hardcore technical stuff, to be a manager. And it’s part of it is the people that are viewing we’re also technical people. And part of it is I think those questions are easier to ask than the other ones, which is, are you a good person? Are you capable or whatever, it’s easier to say, you know, tell me what easy to is and the pricing models and see if they get it right. So it’s it just varies so much, unfortunately. So I think for those people, the best thing you can do is tell stories, like, Don’t dodge questions, but if face try to pin you down to like, tell me how you configure JIRA. So teams perform better. Tell a story about how you did help a team perform better. So the JIRA thing is not the hill you died on. Right? It’s you still overcame the same kind of problems. And that can go a long way to to not necessarily being boxed in to being a certified Oracle person when you shouldn’t be.
Cat Swetel 48:22
Yeah, it’s just so tough. I guys, this is several years ago now. But I got invited to sit in on an interview for director of engineering. And I was just flabbergasted when the person asking the questions started, you know, saying, Okay, well, we’re going to create a class diagram together for like, well, this person is going to manage multiple teams. And that seems like not perhaps the place I would start, although certainly like, think about architecture is important, I think at the director level, but yeah, it was, like, I felt thrown off. I wasn’t even the person being interviewed. Yeah. All right. I, so I don’t know do we do either of you. I want to give you plenty of time to talk about interviews. Do either of you have any final words on interviews before we kind of move into the post interview offer negotiation type stuff?
Swift Burch III 49:31
No, I think I think we touched on. Oh,
Ryan Latta 49:33
I might add one thing. Yeah. So interviews are really, really intimidating. They’re, I mean, people go in like, shaking, right? It’s super stressful. And one of the reasons is because there’s a person that you’re going to be talking to who knows what they want and knows everything and you basically have to walk through them almost knowing nothing, so it’s completely imbalanced. And so a lot of what you want, right recommend people do is think about how you can kind of work in that scenario where you know, they have all the information. They know what they want, they know what they’ll pay, they know, they know the traps, they know all that stuff and you don’t? What can you do to give yourself just that tiny, tiny edge that 1% better? Because that’s how you weather that storm. So the main thing I would recommend is, before you go into interviews, have take time to instead of focusing 100% your time on being like, technically, I know all the things, because you can’t know all the things and you can’t know what they’re going to ask you. So you can’t learn all that. Instead, do spend a lot more time practicing. Being comfortable talking about your past experiences in a way that shows you are ready for them be very targeted on what they need, and how your previous experiences got you to the point that you’re the right fit. That goes a long way to covering the you didn’t know this specific fiddly bit that we had a problem with six years ago. And like you don’t you just don’t want that to be the how people remember you. They want them to remember you as someone they want to work with. And yeah, you’ve had a lot of stuff in your past, but you’re ready for them. So spend time getting comfortable with those stories, and seeing the opportunities and the questions they ask to tell those stories. That goes a long way to getting through interviews favorably.
Cat Swetel 51:33
I totally agree it for me as a hiring manager, when someone tells me a story about something that they’ve done in their career, that’s much more helpful. I think, because of the reason swift was talking about earlier, right? It puts their skills in a context, you know, so you could say, Yeah, I know about Kaka Okay. Sure. Are you using it to like, it’s the next gen ETL or using it for some wild IoT thing, right. So putting it in context and telling a story about that super important for me. The one thing that I would add to that is that when folks have been in a certain role, or in a certain context for a while, and they tell me a story, and it’s full of jargon from that context, that I don’t understand, I spend like only about half of my mental energy actually listening to them. And the other half is like googling the really jargony words. So I love the idea of stories. And I definitely think you should practice, because then you’ll be able to catch some of those jargony things or like acronyms that only in your old context. Does anyone use and all of that kind of stuff? Yeah. All right. No other words on interviews. Okay, so now you Ace your interview, you’re amazing. All of the things you told great stories, and you were totally prepared and all of these things. Now you get an offer. There were tons of questions about now that I have an offer. What the heck do I do? And I think the first question that came up very frequently is when they say to me, oh, what were your salary expectations for this role? or What was your previous salary? What do I say to them? swift want to take that one first. You know,
Swift Burch III 53:58
when you’re doing it, where you’re working directly, directly to where you’re not working with a recruiter. It really depends on what it is that you’re looking for, for the position. If If you’re looking for, say 20,000 more than what you were making before. You might not want to tell them what you were making before. You know, it really, really depends. But the beauty of working with a third party recruiter is we would we would negotiate that side for you. Normally, we don’t even get that question. Rarely do we get that question. What did they make before we normally get when we get that early is what are they? What are they looking for? We tend to provide that up front. That’s why it’s important cost to go through that that five step methodology where it’s where With that said, I apologize. Where we would find out what it is that you’re looking for, financially? And why, what did you make prior dope This is when you’re talking to third party recruiters, that’s when you really want to, you know, be truthful, tell us exactly what you were making. And then tell us why you want to, you’re asking for what you’re asking for today. And if we can see justification in that, then we would have no problems in presenting that to to the client, especially if it fits within the salary range that the client had given us. But if it’s something as a huge jump, you know, cuz some people, they’ll, they’ll look at their total compensation, their bonus that they that they will get, and, and they’ll add it all in to their, what they’re looking for salary wise. And that makes sense. If you pretty much you know, last five years, you got the exact same bonus every year. It makes sense. If you’re maybe coming from a company or coming from the government that has an amazing healthcare, and you’re going to accompany this has a good healthcare, but it’s not as, as as compass as the government is, then you want that in compensation. You know, so it’s things like that, that we can, we can figure out and we can talk through, and and put together a number that you would be extremely happy with, that would also fit within, you know, what the client is open to paying for that position as well. hope that makes sense.
Cat Swetel 57:19
Yeah, definitely. And, Ryan, I know, you have no opinions on this question whatsoever.
Ryan Latta 57:27
No less than 100. So okay, so numbers in negotiation, I think the first thing I would say is number saying a number about a salary, whether it’s expected or past affects your interviews in two ways pre offer, if you say a number that’s too high, they might get gunshot because they can’t afford you. If you say a number outrageously low, you might be inviting the question, what’s wrong with them. So a number early in the process, if it’s not within range, and you can figure this stuff out through Glassdoor and a couple of other things, you can kind of figure out where it is. Generally, you should say what you want to target, never once you’ve made, but it can affect getting an offer, if it’s way outside of what a company is looking to do. So you want to keep that in mind when you when you do a number and a recruiter can help with that, because they usually do know what a company will pay. So if you have a number that is outside, they don’t want to risk you getting an offer by blurting that out like they will be smart about positioning that number the way it needs to be. Post offer negotiation with a number. Basically, whatever number they’ve heard is, is you don’t really know how a company is going to give you an offer. But there is an anchoring effect, a number they hear is going to have an effect if it’s in the salary band, unless they’re like, desperate for you, they’re probably going to give you a bump past because they do want you and they don’t want you to feel like you’re losing because they want you to stay. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t have gotten more if you didn’t anchor differently. But once it’s there, once you have an offer, you can then use that to negotiate. If you’re working with recruiter, you can ask them to do it for you. But I mean, negotiation is crazy. Getting an offer is crazy. So you want to have a really good partnership with a recruiter. By the time you get to this point. Because you don’t want that to be the time you find out that you’re working with a recruiter that’s really nervous about negotiating an offer because they want you to take it or they may not have actually negotiated many times in the past because they’re new to it. You don’t want to find that out them. Because negotiation can be scary, especially if you’re going to do it by yourself. So have that partial partnership in advance and if you are going to have to do it by yourself, I recommend you look at a ask everything about the entire offer. A lot of times an offer letter says we want you to come work for us. Here’s the pay, but they don’t actually give you like Your PTO, they don’t tell you necessarily about all the medical benefits or any other perks, stipends or bonuses, they may not be included in the offer letter. So ask, ask immediately, you want to know what the whole picture is to decide if that gets you a step closer to the lifestyle you want. And if he does, and you’re going to be happy, you’re not going to regret it in six months, you’re good to go. And if it’s your first job, I mean, take it you can, you can usually, usually, as a developer, your career is somewhat liquid, you can bounce quickly, even. It’s hard during COVID. But it’s generally true. There’s, if you know what you’re doing, you can bounce jobs quickly. So you can quickly rebound from a poor offer, generally. So it’s not forever. So take what you can get if it’s your first job, it gives you experience, you can start catapulting. If it’s not quite the lifestyle you want. Well, what’s missing? Is it less stress about health care? Is it a travel stipend? Is it going to conferences is it whatever, and then negotiate. When I recommend that happens post offer, I do not recommend negotiating before you have an offer. Some people do. But I find that to be an odd fit. But it’s terrifying to do it. It’s hard to do it. But many, many companies are willing to negotiate with you. And I think Kat said earlier like come on, negotiate with me ask for something, let’s do this. I’ve met a lot of hiring managers that feel the same. And it’s money you never make. Again, it’s compensation or get to have again. So if you have the fortitude to go through it. And you know what’s been put on the table, and you know what you’re looking for, have a conversation, I usually find it helps early in the process. Like when they ask me a number. I usually don’t disclose one, not ever, not about anything. If they have a standard form that I have to fill out, I put down I made a million dollars just to get it out of the way like you know, I’m joking. So let’s keep going. And when they ask, I tell them, Look, if if we both want to work together, we will figure something out. It’s totally fine. Like, let’s, let’s keep going. Neither of us are Sure. Let’s keep going. And that usually works out pretty well. So wait for the offer if you want to negotiate. Otherwise be aware of what a number can do to prevent you from getting an offer. But a recruiter can help with both sides if you have the right partnership.
Cat Swetel 1:02:20
Yes, I usually say well, can you tell me what the range is for the position? And I’ll tell you if I’m comfortable with it. Just I don’t like putting a number out there. Like for exactly the reasons you said, because it’s more than for me at least more than just that number, right. And also something that I personally have to be conscious of is the fact that I am from a group that has been historically marginalized in technology. Right. And I understand that that plays into the way that people negotiate with me or their expectations that they have around negotiation. So I don’t know, it is such an uncomfortable thing. Yeah, I So another question that we got that sort of related. Right now, most everyone working remotely right in the technology, space, and a lot of people so I talked to some recent grads or folks who will be graduating, like in December or something like that. And they said, Well, I don’t have a home office, I’m not properly equipped to work remotely, my plan was to go in an office, and then I talk to you a lot of other people, but they do have a home office, but all of the equipment was provided by their previous employer. And so now they’re kind of like, I don’t have any of the tools that I need to work remotely. How do you approach that? When you’re they like you, they’re, they’re going to extend you an offer? And how do you either ask them about that? Or say like, Look, you got to give me some cash now so that I can go buy a couple monitors and, or whatever the case may be any tips there from either of you. So
Ryan Latta 1:04:27
yeah, so there’s a there’s a thing a lot of new developers may not quite realize about when you sign an offer with a company, it usually comes with a number of really fascinating legal documents that I’m pretty sure no one ever reads. And one of them talks about their rights to your property, with their equipment, and their time. So if they expect you to do work, but they’re not going to give you the equipment to do work, they’re essentially getting access to everything you have in your personal life for free. If you have the coolest life anymore, Silicon Valley, there’s a whole episode about this exact thing. But if you have a side project, it’s theirs. And so there’s a, there’s a bunch of legal reasons that they’ve already put in place. That gives you a platform to say, look, I, if you want me to do work for you, that’s your work, you need to give me a laptop that is yours and secure the way you want all that good stuff. So it is yours. You do not want my trashy stuff personally affecting any of your stuff. That gets you the baseline stuff out of the way. And I mean, I can I’ve even negotiated a phone. Like, you don’t get to email me on my phone, you have to give me your phone. Because it’s their property, it’s their client information. It’s all that stuff. And usually they don’t. Most companies I work with don’t actually think about that that often. So they’re a little surprised I care. But it does actually start that conversation off, I think in a an aboveboard way, you know, like, I want three monitors, I want two monitors, there’s probably a couple of norms that you can say, Hey, you know, I’d love a dual monitor thing. And by now people have kind of figured some of that out, if you work for a large company, they probably have a package, they figured out already smaller companies, smaller startups, everything is a conversation. But you know, laptops are usually on a lease program. So they’re not usually that big a deal to get. So there’s a lot of you should ask for the equipment to do your job, I think companies should pay for it. And if they asked you to do it on your personal stuff, then I think you should go back to your contracts and having strict like intellectual property stuff stricken out. Because that’s not their stuff. And that’s, I think, those kind of things are important for everyone getting a job to realize that that’s part of part of the deal. It’s a business arrangement.
Swift Burch III 1:06:52
Yeah, I definitely agree with you saying, Ryan. You know, most companies are gonna provide all the other tools that you would need to do your job. Missed ones that don’t provide that. I would question even working with them, to be honest with you. There’s certain things that that should be discussed throughout the interviewing process. If you’re doing this on your own. as you go along, and in your process and finding your job. If you are looking at companies that are more established companies that been around a little little while, then there’s certain things that they should definitely have in certain things that they should definitely do. as well. I talked about startups, you know, they they might not be able to do certain things. So you need to be able to to negotiate certain certain perks, and, and so on. When you if you work with a third party recruiter a good one. That’s again, part of that. Five, five step motivational methodology. You know, one, what kind of companies? Are you open to looking at? You know, are you open to? Do you have a full office? So if I presented a company where they don’t provide that that information, I mean, those tools, would you be okay with it? You know, a lot of these things, again, can be talked about and worked out from the beginning. And Ryan, you made a real good point. And you talked about the comfort level. I’m hoping that this compensation shows people what they should be looking for in a recruiter. If the recruiter is not asking you a lot of questions, and that all they want to know is if Are you interested? Is the job description? What do you What are you looking for? Okay, I’m gonna submit your resume, you, you probably don’t want to work for because because they don’t, they don’t care. The ones that take time to ask you questions to really get to understand what you want, and what do you what, what’s what’s important to you. They, they will only present opportunities that fit that cuz they don’t, they don’t want to waste your time and they don’t want to waste their time. So that’s why that first conversation, it should be have a lot of questions, a lot of information that they gather that they can put in their CRM system, and that every recruiter within that company if a new opportunity He opens up and you fit within that they can see exactly what it is that you’re looking for. And there and when they call you, they’re calling you because this is an opportunity that truly fits. And so all of these things that that that we’re talking about, that can be issues that Ryan talks about, there could be issues. If there are issues for you, you need to stay safe state that at the very beginning, at the very beginning with your conversation with the recruiter, and you would if it’s a good one, you would never have to deal with it, because they wouldn’t even present opportunities that would fit that would that would have those issues.
Ryan Latta 1:10:41
Yeah, so I guess I kind of two more things. So in regards to recruiters like, they have such a huge impact if you work with them on on how your hiring process goes. I mean, once once they engage you with a with one of their clients to put you in a position, they are tireless about making that move forward, they are tireless about making sure it never gets stuck, that things are moving, the questions are getting answered, they want it to happen. And that’s amazing. At the same time, this is a this is a life event. So it’s also really important to make sure that who you work with is someone you do want to work with and not just someone you’re suffering. So look up your recruiters go on LinkedIn and see who they are. Some of them it is their first job. They have no background in it. And so they might be figuring it out with a lot of support in the background. But if that’s the case, take time with them talk to their account manager who’s probably been through it a few more times. If it’s someone seasoned and really good. They lightened up on the reins a little bit and let them go. Don’t How do I put it, it’s such a big deal. Do the extra step of doing a homework on who you’re working with to make this happen. It’s worth the effort. Um, you don’t want to wind up with like a really horrible experience and a really horrible position and you don’t know what to do. It can happen. So learn about people. And then in terms of equipment, there is another thing I would bring up. So this is one of the things you can negotiate on. But I tend not to consider equipment negotiation thing, because it usually comes with a little How do I put it, they’ll give you equipment, if you agree to work there for two years, or they take it out of your paycheck. My position parkpass they have to they have to give me a minimum set of equipment to do my job. They don’t take it out of my paycheck. And I’m not saying a two year agreement for it. When you do get things like signing bonuses, relocation bonuses, or an equipment package, or even a will upgrade your equipment for you read that stuff. There’s usually a strings attached part to it. And you want to know what it is before you’re like, Oh, look, they’re gonna give me a new laptop every year. kind of know what that stuff is. Those are all things you can negotiate. Right? It’s a total package, not just a salary number.
Cat Swetel 1:13:01
Cool. All right, I think we covered a lot of ground in this session. And you know, it’s being recorded, it’s going to be posted so you can rewatch it. And I believe we’re going to try to do some sort of summary of some of the things. I’m so thankful for Ryan and swift joining me today because I feel like they are just two experts in this area. And such a different perspective even than I have as a hiring manager. And I will point out that through my agile Alliance profile, you can contact me if you’re looking for like, Oh, hey, can you take a quick peek at my LinkedIn and point out anything that looks a little wonky or anything that’s super awesome. I would be more than happy to do that. Right? Like all of you who are interested in agile and lean and, you know, making the work that we do more human like I of course want you to get great jobs, because that’s what makes our industry better. So I mean, happy to chat with anyone or help out anyone. I’ll pass it to Swift. Do you have any closing remarks or anything like that?
Swift Burch III 1:14:26
No, it’s definitely been my pleasure to talk with everyone here. definitely enjoy the conversation, join different, different perspectives. And I hope is helpful to all the people that are currently watching and hopefully will watch it in the future. You know, definitely, look, try to look at third party recruiters in a different light. You definitely want to do your homework on them. I agree 100% that you should check out, I checked out everybody on LinkedIn, even if you were referred to me. And I just, and I, and you gave me a call, and I talked to you, and it was a great conversation, I took all the information. So as I get off the phone, I’m gonna check you out on LinkedIn, I’m gonna send you a an invite on LinkedIn, saying it was a pleasure to speak with. And, and you should do the same thing with anyone that any recruiter that reaches out to you. And, and talks to you as well. So you so you know, and have an understanding of who you’re working with. And, and feel comfortable about it, because it’s all about building that relationship. And the stronger relationship you can have with that recruiter, the better off you will be in it. And it’s a long relationship. I mean, I’ve worked with some people for years. I have one guy every five years, he’s like, 12, I’m ready. Like, okay, and, you know, and, and some that are shorter, some that, you know, maybe placed in because of COVID. I log in again. So this is, you know, once you find that right recruiter, you want to stay with them. Because the good ones will be there for the long haul. And they will have those relationships. And you know, one last thing, Ryan, you talked about recruiters known about jobs, we had 20 jobs right now, none of them, we post, we don’t post any, and and and our clients don’t post so a good recruiters get great jobs. And that no one knows about. So there’s value. Again, thank you.
Cat Swetel 1:16:54
I just want to say one extra thing about Swift, but my, my friend that introduced us, another thing that she said about Swift is like he truly advocates for marginalized people in technology spaces and make sure that you’re not going to get a substandard offer or anything like that. And I feel like that’s something so important that you are entering into a partnership with someone, you need to know that they appreciate the unique things about you and the unique challenges that you could face in the space. So I would just point that out. But I think swift just kind of a humble guy and wouldn’t say that about himself. But Fine, I’ll say it. Yeah. Ryan, you want to say goodbye?
Ryan Latta 1:17:48
Thanks for the lead up. Um, yeah, I, I want, I hope everyone got something out of this, that they can maybe use to demystify what it takes to get a job that that they feel a little more like, okay, I can do this, that they know, they know, there are incredible recruiters that exist. And there’s a path and there are ways to navigate all this stuff to get to a, you know, a better career that you want with a one step closer to your lifestyle. That’s, that’s what it’s about. And now you know who we are. And I know Kat said she’d help. But that’s what I do behind the scenes. After my day job, I help developers figure this out. So you can always reach out to me as well. This stuff is all at all doable. It’s it doesn’t have to be mysterious, or, like I say hard, it’s hard, but you can do it.
Cat Swetel 1:18:41
And if you talk to Ryan, one on one, he will allow more of his heartaches without interviews to kind of leak out. So I highly encourage that experience. And with that, I think I’ll pass it back to you. Right, Ellen?
Ellen Grove 1:18:56
Excellent. Thank you. First of all, I want to say thank you so much, to Swift, and to Ryan, and to Kat, for coming and sharing your experience with us today. So much great information in this conversation, we will be publishing this recording to the Agile Alliance website. We will also hopefully be publishing a transcript. And I’m hearing there’s a demand for a blog post or a cheat sheet or a handout to capture, you know, some of the great morsels of wisdom. And I’ll see what I can do about that. The other request that came up and I just want to mention this as there were a couple of people who had questions. I’m not coming at this from a technical point of view, but I’m looking at how do I get a job in an agile space. And I’m going to add that to our backlog of other events that we want to offer. Because it seems that there’s some demand for that. The other two things that I just want to draw everybody’s attention to as we wrap up today is so this session has been part of our deliver agile live series have online sessions and deliver agile live is is our is our technical is our technical stream of programming. The next deliver agile live session will be on November 17. We’re going to talk about how to navigate a code freeze because tis the season. One thing I want to draw everybody’s attention to though is that session is going to be open for agile Alliance members. Agile Alliance is a membership driven organization. We rely on our members to support our ability to deliver great sessions like this. And if you want to come to the next session, you will have to join agile Alliance as a member, you can go to agile alliance.org membership and find out how to do that and find out about all of the other benefits that come with being being a member of Agile Alliance. So on that note, I just want to say thank you once again to everybody involved in pulling today’s session together, cat Ryan Swift, fantastic backstage crew who helped make it happen. And to all of the people who came and asked great questions to provide us with the conversation we had today. Thank you. Hope to see you again at the next event. Take care.