One of the things that sets Gun.io apart from other job marketplaces is our personal connection with every developer and every client. Your resume isn’t just another one thrown into the ether, and your job description isn’t just another post to a scrolling list. With that in mind, we want to introduce you to some of the bright minds behind the scenes here at Gun.io.
This week, Cal Evans dives in with our Technical Talent Advocates: the team responsible for finding (and choosing) the best candidates for each job shared on Gun.io.
Transcript of Conversation:
Cal Evans: Welcome to the Frontier, a podcast produced by Gun.io. Today, my guest is the Developer Relations team. This is the team that’s responsible for taking the job ads that customers come in with and matching them up with developers, and today my goal is to give a little peek behind the curtain on how that process works. But before we do that, let’s introduce–or let each of the members introduce–our team. Deividi, introduce yourself.
Deividi Silva: Hey, my name is Deivid, and I’m Director of Developer Relations here at Gun.io. And when I’m having fun doing coding stuff, I usually do AWS modern web applications, usually using Python on the back end and React on the front end.
Cal: Very cool. Francois, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Cal: Very cool. Jason, tell us a little about yourself.
Jason Hall: I’m Jason. I started when Francois started, and I guess my favorite stack is .NET stack, really. AWS.
Cal: Very cool. Okay. Carl, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Carl Garcia: Yes, my name is Carl. I’ve been with this group since December, a couple months now. My background is in development–mostly a Java stack–and it’s been a very interesting time working here.
Cal: Very cool. I did Java way back in the day, but my therapist says I don’t have to talk about that anymore, so…no (laughs) Ben, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Ben Hornedo: Hey, sure. My name is Ben. I’m a Solutions Architect, technical team lead, Agile advocate, mostly. I like working on the web stack, you know, on single page applications, APIs in the cloud, things like that. And yeah, I’m glad to be here. I’m really happy to be part of this team, making a change.
Cal: Very cool, and I did not ask you how to pronounce your name, so I’m just gonna wing it and hope I get it right. Julio, did I say that right?
Júlio Vidal: I’m from Brazil, and there we say zhu-lio, but I’m totally fine with Julio, so no problem!
Cal: Júlio. Okay. No, I’ll try to pronounce it that way. Cool. Okay. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Júlio: Yeah, so I am also new to the team and have been around for only one week as well. And when I’m not doing this talent advocate stuff, I am a lead engineer in another company, and I am also on the Java side of the spectrum. Still can do it, but most of the time recently I’m doing more like management and solutions architecture too.
Cal: Yep. You’ve been promoted up and bumped up the line. That’s your punishment for doing your job well. Christian, bring us home. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Cal: Oh, Tailwind. Yes. Now Christian, you’re into security. Maybe you can help me with this problem. Can you help me reset my password on Gun? No, I’m kidding. Always love playing that joke. Anyhow, I’m the only one, but I love that. Okay, so I’m gonna throw this question out, and like I have told you before, if nobody answers, I’m just gonna start calling on people. Your job is to read and understand what a customer is looking for to build their next product and then match the developers up based on the developer’s profile that we build on the Gun.io platform. What is the number one metric that you’re looking for when you select a candidate for a position?
Deividi: Of course, it’s interesting to try to put it in just a single metric, because when I’m looking at things, I’m looking at lots of different dimensions, right? So it depends on what the job is looking for. Let’s say we’re looking for someone more senior. Of course, the years of experience is gonna play a huge difference in there, but there are always the other dimensions you’re looking for. What kind of background they worked with, what kind of jobs they’ve done before, what kind of even if there’s some industries that they already are similar to what the client is looking for, we try to create the perfect match on different dimensions. I would say the one metric is kind of difficult, it’s more of putting together a lot of different metrics and trying to create the best match score, I’d say. In my head, it’s kind of difficult to try to explain everything that you’re looking at in the same place, but think about this: You create a big table of things that you’re looking for and start crossing the things that–okay, this looks right, this looks right. I know he or she is missing this one, but it’s okay. Maybe something that he can work with. So that’s how I try to create something that is a perfect match for what the client’s looking for.
Cal: See, the one thing I didn’t say in my opening was back when it was just Deividi, he had to rely on me to actually help him do some of this–relying on me is never a good idea, and your answer is much better than mine on that, which was a lot of gut feeling. You know, this person just feels like the right one. And once you started looking at the–and making rubrics of we do this and we do this, and we do this, I started to understand why my gut feelings were like that, but that was a lot of how I went about it. Anybody else want to chime in?
Ben: Yeah. You know, Cal, I wanted to kind of expand on what you were saying. It’s a combination of what Deividi was saying and what you’re saying, like that gut feeling thing is also something that I tend to use. Like, what I’d like to do is have that conversation, if possible, like when it’s possible to have a conversation with somebody and understand their personality, right? Because a lot of times that interview process is based on that. It’s about that fit, right? Sometimes, somebody might not fit. Technically, they might have a little, you know, might not really have all the technical expertise their client might be looking for, but they fit the client’s culture. They fit the client. The client feels comfortable working with that person. And I think that’s one of those metrics, we don’t always have the option to see that or to use that.
But when I have the option to do that, I like to. I like to use that as one of the higher priors. That’s that gut feeling thing you were talking about, where you kind of see this person has excitement, and how he or she talks about their profession or what they do, that they’re communicating in a way that’s positive and things like that, that lets you know that the client would be comfortable working with a person like that. And if we’re talking about the hard side, the hard skills, one thing that I look for is some level of consistency over time, which is why on our platform we have our resume view, right? We have our work history, and we’re putting an emphasis on work history where we can see some consistency–Clients can see consistency over time of the technologies that someone’s used, what they’ve done with that technology, and how they’ve grown over time. For me, that’s one of the things that I try to look for to know that this person has really had some solid experience.
That’s valid. Anybody else wanna chime in?
Zbigniew Mastylo: Yeah, I’ll add something to the conversation. So the way I do that– right now, we’re using Hunter UI, which is an evolving product with quite a bit of shortcomings and whatnot. I already had a conversation with the product owner of that and made a few suggestions. But in my opinion, Hunter UI is crucial for TTA, and given the time when we go forward and we have all these improvements incorporated, it will speed up–exponentially–our workflow. Aside from that, the way I do it, yes. I mean, I go on Hunter UI, I see people that apply for it now to have an idea of who these guys are. You have to click on each single one individually, gather the information. The way I really like doing that, my first take is I look at notes.
Is there any negative comments in there? If it is, it’s a red flag. If it’s not, comments are great. That’s a green sign for me. Next thing: What I really like to do–I like to look at the resume–the actual attached resume, not the one that they put in the Gun.io. The reason I do, because looking at the resume, you already have an idea of a person. It is a very simplistic thing as the resume. But the question is, did they put enough time to make the resume shine? It is not that hard. Do they have any grammatical errors? Come on. If you put a freaking resume out in the world and you have grammatical errors, dude, come on. It means when you’re gonna come to my company, write your code, your code’s gonna suck! This is a reality. I know that.
It is not that hard. All you have to do is install a Grammarly, free Grammarly plugin, and it’ll get rid of all these errors for you. Simple enough, ok? So that’s the first sign for me. And I know if it’s there because I have Grammarly everywhere on my Mac. The second thing is, I mean, it’s not like I create the matrix. I tend to remember if I go through a job description, I read what they want, then I look at, you know, the skills they know. I’m very visual. So I have a second tab open on my right hand side with the job description. I don’t have to navigate back and forth. Now I look at the Hunter UI, the guy, his resume. I do a quick, you know, scan with my eyes. It’s matching pretty nice. You know, the next thing I look at, Hey, obviously somebody working at Google, you know, all this big tech fanciness for 10 years, it’s hard to get in there. So they’re already kind of standing out of the competition. Okay. Now I also look at the portfolio. I like when the candidate lists their portfolios on the resume. Whatever, if it’s a UI/UX product, fine, list it. If you just do stuff on the back end, tell me a little paragraph, what did you do? It takes two sentences. Oh, I improved the system performance by 150% because blah, blah. That’s a win for me, right? So I do believe that profile completeness, a very good resume–if we stress to the talent on that, it would be much, much easier for us to garnish these candidates and present them the best way we can.
I also agree with Ben’s comment, you know, reach out to the candidate, talk with them. On the contrary, if we do that with every candidate, it will take us infinity to present candidates, okay? So there is a very fine vertical line where I would reach out to the candidate versus where I will not. If his resume is perfected, everything, you know, adds up properly on a profile, he’s a client there. Even if his rate is up– let’s say his rate is up 10%–I’m usually gonna push a candidate like that. If it’s more, I’ll go reach out to Jess and say, ‘Hey, Jessi what do you think if the candidate, you know, is running about 50 bucks an hour over the upper range for the client?’ Jessi says, ‘How many other candidates do we have? Do they look good?’ I said, ‘Not really. Let’s push him up.’ This is the process I’m using when I’m selecting the candidates.
Cal: And I’m so glad you did not hold back on that, you know? I appreciate that. Okay, let’s move on to our next question. What if a candidate has some, but not all of the technologies that the client requests? What’s our process at that point? Do you still present them? Do you talk to them? What?
Zbigniew: So this depends Cal, right? I mean, if you, if you temp a CS experience and say, they asking you to be a polyglot, they want you to–’Hey, I want Python from you. I want Ruby. I want Go. I also want C++.’ When you look at the resume, say, Hey, [this] guy has been doing C for eight years. He’s been also doing some Python. He’s touched a little bit about Ruby. Okay. Then, you know, for me, it’s a go, because if you have been so many years in, hands on, especially when you did C++ hard code, you can pick up any freaking language in a week. That’s not a problem. Okay. And most of the the hiring managers that I’ve worked with in the past, they understand that if you’re very good, you understand object, documentation–language is a tool, man, honestly, and it’ll take you a week. Happened for me, you know, multiple times, you know, I got a job at the trading company in Chicago, and I had no experience with C#, none, zero, but they knew I’ve been coding C++ for 10 years doing transaction systems. They hired me on the spot. (Cool.) Yeah. Yeah. So, it’s a fine line you have to draw, but on a contract, Hey, they asking you for front-end experience, but you’re only a back-end guy. That doesn’t work, you cannot push those people because it’s a totally different mentality. Okay.
Cal: Okay, Francois, what do you think?
Francois Planet: I would say, I agree with most of what was just said, but once again, I think each candidate is different and we have to take a different approach every time. And I think the main point is–what is the main required skill for the job? And even if somebody that has 10 years of experience can pick up another language in a week is true, but there are also an increasing number of different frameworks, different approaches to the way we develop the web. And even if I know, I don’t know, if I’m an expert in Vue JS, it doesn’t mean that in a week, I’m gonna become an expert in Angular JS, which has a different approach, and it requires a different way of thinking. So I guess if it’s a secondary, a secondary skill, required experience is gonna be enough to push a candidate. If not, I’m always gonna go for the face-to-face interview with the candidate. ‘Cause like what was said, the energy and the way the candidate is, is the most important for me. Definitely.
Cal: Good point. Anybody else wanna chime in?
Jason: Yeah I pretty much completely agree with what was just said. I mean, there’s like a primary technology that’s being requested generally. This might be like a few different technologies that are like a primary skill for those. I pretty much see that as kinda like a mandate. For like secondary skills then, I’m a little bit more lenient on that. I mean, like was said previously, if you’re a good C# developer or C++ developer, you can pick up other things that are object-oriented fairly easily. I mean, I look at the primary and the primary is kind of, you know, you have to have that. Secondary may or may not be important. It kind of depends on the other experience that they have.
Cal: Yeah. And I’ve actually had to talk to Jessi, if the client has requested several primaries, I’m like ‘can we narrow it down to one must-have, and then the rest of ’em are really nice to have?’ because sometimes the client can be so specific, you know: you gotta be a carpenter that is capable of using a purple hammer. You know, at that point, you’re just kind of out there.
Hey I skipped one and I wanna go back to it ‘cause Zbigniew talked about resumes. And in our platform, which is what we use, we have a view of, your candidate profile–you, the audience–that includes several pieces that nobody else can see, but one of those is we can see your work history and I think that’s available to everybody, but we’re focusing on that over the resume these days. Given that, and understanding that Zbigniew already said it is important to him, what are the rest of y’all’s–is resume important these days, or is the work history more important? And Carl, you’re raising your hand, so speak up.
Carl: Yeah, so to me they’re both important, but most important to me is the resume because it’s always gonna be there. You know, people, if there’s anything they’re going to review it’s gonna be that resume. And also you can use the resume to find some inside information, not only on the skillset, but also on the accomplishments of the candidate. I think that’s very important. So I feel that that is really what’s the most important to me is that resume. You know, when you don’t have that, then certainly you wanna reach out to the candidate. And also let’s not forget that the client may not be perfect in what they need. And sometimes you do need to go back to the client and sort of get some more feedback, get some more information as to what their needs really are. Sometimes they’ll just put something just to fill in, you know, just fill in the spot. And it may not be quite clear what they’re looking for. So most recently we are working on making sure that those are well specified, but yes, resumes are very important and I’m not really in Brazil.
Zbigniew: Yeah. Okay. Can I add one more thing, Cal?
Zbigniew: So one of the ideas I had, I had a conversation one time with Deividi. I said, since we [are] growing, maybe we can look at partnering with the resume writing services. You can have your resume be done for $200-300, depending on your budget. I’m gonna tell you quickly, I had mine done. I hired a company. I think it was a year ago. Cause my resume–I mean, I wrote it, okay? I’m not a writer. I paid them $600. They did my profile on LinkedIn, they did my resume. After I published it, I could not get rid of the calls and messages on LinkedIn. I would be getting six to seven, you know, requests every day. It makes a freaking difference. So if we can do that, not only we can bring extra revenue, the candidates could possibly get a discount to trades. And you know, with that, the resume would be perfected. You cannot honestly write a fantastic resume if you are a coder. You cannot, trust me. I’ve tried it many times. You need a real writer to do that for you. That’s it. That’s how it works. That’s my 5 cents in here.
Ben: It’s basically talking about investment, right? [inaudible]
Zbigniew: If you don’t invest in you, then who will? I mean, you need to have this, the resume is just presenting you to the outside world. And I can tell you, I work with many hiring managers. They pay close attention to the resume. Their span is three seconds, or five. If the resume is trash, just put it in a trashcan. It makes a difference.
Cal: And I’m gonna call you Julio because I’ve forgotten your name already. You raised your hand, you’ve got something to say and pronounce your name again for me.
Júlio: You know, I work with a Spanish company. I’m totally used to Julio.
Cal: Okay. (laugh)
Júlio: That’s fine. Yeah, go ahead. Don’t worry. So what I would say, my take on this question, I think it kind of sums up also to the previous question and the answer would be pretty much, that’s why we exist as talent advocates. So we are here to gather all the information possible because some candidates, they will be able to present them some by on the resume. Other ones we’ll be able to do better in the work history or in the video presentation. So that’s why we are necessary. Otherwise we could just rely on some very good machine learning algorithm that would just, you know, select candidates based on the very objective points. But there is also this subjective part. So we all have strong technical backgrounds, we have lived with different people, different developers. Then we can look at some resume, some information and be able to try to understand a little bit more than what we’re just reading or listening. I think that’s the main point of us. So together, everything also have some sort of feelings, information, along with the objective points and then do a good decision.
Cal: Okay, I’m gonna throw this one out, but Christian, at some point you’re gonna have to answer one. So if you’re not comfortable with this one then you can hold off on that. But for those of you who have presented and the client has accepted an interview, what’s the one thing, or what’s the thing that impresses the client the most when a developer gets to that stage? And I’m not even gonna seed you with goofy ideas, I’m just gonna throw that out and say, what do you think?
Christian: Well, I think you have to demonstrate that you understand the client’s needs, and the best way to do that is by asking questions. If you’re not showing up to an interview with great questions and showing that you’ve done your research and that, you know, you’re thinking about their problems or, you know, even the, the questions that you ask demonstrate how sophisticated you are in that specific area or topic. And that’s how you demonstrate that you’re interested in the job. It’s how you demonstrate that you have some sophistication relative to the client. It demonstrates that you know, that you’re, you know, curious in general, that you’re gonna be attentive to their needs, and that you’re able to listen to them. And, and that’s how you really start to build trust and build a relationship. You know, without that, you might have a great resume; you might have a great portfolio, but you’re, you’re not engaging. And you know, if you just sit there and wait for questions to come to you and give yes, no answers, that’s not gonna work very well. So show up ready, ready to ask.
Cal: Good point. Deivid?
Deividi: Yeah. Earning trust is a big thing on this business. So to build up on what Christian say, so I’ve been to many client and talent calls. I know our talent, lots of them, lots of people already talk to me. And I’ve been talking to clients every day. It gets to a point which is amazing. That one instance, I was talking to a client, we were talking about what they needed, their exact needs. And I just had the right person in the back of my head. Okay, you need to talk to this person. And I talked a lot about what this person did and everything, how they were a perfect match. End of the conversation, the person was hired, no interview with the clients. Hired because I knew the person, and I knew the client and what they need. So it gets to that point of earning trust on both sides, which is amazing.
Cal: Excellent. Francois, you raised your hand?
Francois: Yes. If I can give another perspective, because I’m pretty new with Gun.io and I spent most of my career on the other side, on the client side, and I was hiring. And I spent a lot of time dealing with companies like Gun.io, companies that were sending me client candidates. And my point of view as an ex-client, I would say, is that the most important part–and that’s also why I joined Gun.io– is that technical approach to the hiring process. A lot, a lot of hiring companies send profiles that are sent by salespeople that have no idea what the profile is, what the person is capable of. They just cross-matched the skills that are on the resume and said, ‘okay, this guy has been working five years as a PHP developer, there you go.’ And what we’re doing at Gun.io, I feel is very important. And getting to know the candidates, getting to know their technical background and only pushing the right candidate. That’s maybe dumb to say, but just pushing the right candidate is actually something hard to find on the market right now.
Carl: Yeah. So I think there’s one key element here that we actually spend a lot of time on, and that’s the presentation statement to the client. You know, it really does need to be very compelling in order to get their attention about the candidate and, you know, in order for you to be compelling, you have to really do your research on the client, on the talent side.
Carl: You really gotta, you know, try and get that insight, you know, that would give ’em that extra punch for that particular individual. So I think that’s a very important element.
Cal: That’s a good point. When we present somebody to a client, we give them, we give the client a statement and ‘this is why we picked [inaudible]. And I was surprised, number one, at the time it actually took to locate them. I went in and, you know, and thinking ‘Deivid’s nuts, you know, I can knock 20 of these out in an hour and be done with it.’ And if I can get through four in an hour, four job requests an hour and present four good clients, I would be, to me, that was just a stellar effort on my part, because it takes a lot of time. You do have to research the client and look at all the candidates and find the one and then figure out why that’s the one and everything. And it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds. Okay. Hey– oh, go ahead–
Ben: Cal, I just wanted to, just a small comment. I think you can consider it like as a team effort, right? Where the team is the client, us, and the candidate are acting as a team because we need the clie–the candidates’ help to provide us with the right information and the clear information so that we can present them correctly and accurately, right? And we need the clients’ help to know exactly what they need and what their needs are, and what they really–what they think they need–what they really need, right? What they’re really looking for. And then we, you know, with that, with their help, we can put these things together and we can be more successful, right?
Cal: Yeah, very true.
Cal: Yep. Go ahead.
Zbigniew: Again, I’m gonna revert back to Hunter UI, okay. And I do believe this is crucial for us. We have to push on product, okay. And the reason being is, think of Hunter UI as a proxy between us and the client. Now, when I present, when I present a talent and, in my opinion, he’s really good; has a fantastic portfolio, he has a very strong work, but then, you know, I’m finding out, hey, they didn’t even interview him. Okay. Now tell me why. I dunno why. So if they have access, let’s say to a system, or they can put, you know, a little bit more comments, ‘this is because blah, blah, blah’, maybe communication skill is not there. Something not, you know, adding up for me, then I can reach through it. I can make my own notes, then, you know, I can get better. But I don’t see those comments. That glue between the clients and us is not there yet. And I think it’s very crucial. Okay. We are technology people. We understand technology to the level that we have hands on. So, okay. In my opinion, if the client could come back, put a few comments, this means our process could improve dramatically. Okay. That’s what is missing. That is. What’s missing in my opinion.
Cal: And just so the audience knows–Hunter UI is what we call our interface that we use to combine clients and developers. And we have a custom UI, a custom view of the Gun.io app that is only available to us. And we just refer to it as hunter AI– or Hunter UI.
Okay, next question. What’s the, I said–I phrased this wrong. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever had a developer do during an interview? And I don’t mean, you know, bad-bad, and I’m more looking for bad- funny type thing, or ‘this is a deal killer’ type thing, and you just had to go, oh no. And Christian, why don’t we start off with you on this one?
Christian: Oh, well, this might be too bad relative to what you’re thinking. But a few weeks ago I actually had someone in an interview lie to me, straight up, lie to my face about their education and experience and (Wow.) their story didn’t quite add up. I’ve been around a lot of academics, and so I started asking questions about education. It became, you know, it was like a, you know, so what was the topic of your thesis? Complete silence. That kind of thing is really, really jarring because almost no one does it. I think, I think people, sometimes people exaggerate a little bit and, you know, there’s–being over confident is not a crime or a mortal sin, right? But that one really caught me off guard because I don’t think anyone has ever done that before. And so it’s a major trust thing.Like, if you’re stretching beyond the truth and, and somebody notices that, it’s gonna go really poorly for you in the future.
Cal: Yeah. Well I remember the discussion we had in the slack channel on that. And my first response to that in my head was ‘somebody actually does that?’ I mean, in all my years, and I’ve hired a lot of developers, but I’ve never had anybody just flat out lie to me. Yeah, I’ve had developers tell me they’re the best Java developer to ever walk the earth, but, you know, we all kind of fudge things.
Christian: Yeah. Usually, developers are terrible at selling themselves. And so if they’re too polished and everything is too good, that’s kind of a bad sign. Like you know…and yeah, that was, that actually hurt me afterward for a couple of days. I was, I was really sore about it. So.
Cal: Yeah. Okay. So folks don’t lie. Lying’s bad, mm-kay. Deivid, what you got?
Deividi: Yeah. Also I’d say, you know, not everyone is happy every day and with a nice smile and everything, but don’t, don’t show up to an interview with that low energy and not excited about what you’re talking about, that showing no interest about your–even about yourself. I’m asking you, tell me about yourself, you should be excited to tell me all the nice things you’ve done throughout your career And you start, okay, I’ve done this, this and that. And man it’s mortifying. And I can’t remember the number of times I told our talents like this: please, when you are showing up to an interview with one of our clients, try to pick the best day that you’re feeling more energetic. If it’s, I don’t know, a Friday or something like that, because it makes a complete difference to feel the kind of energy that you’re putting into it and interest you’re putting into that job. So the worst thing for me is someone showing up and just, like, feeling like it’s the worst day of their life. And it happened a couple of times already.
Cal: Wow. That’s rough.
Ben: I mean, adding to adding to that–sorry, Cal, I didn’t mean to cut you off.
Cal: No, go ahead.
Ben: But adding to that, it’s like, oh this is one of the things that I feel is important about our role. What we do as technical talent advocates is that we’re advocates for them. Right? For the talent, for the different–not just developers–we don’t just deal with developers. We’re also dealing with technical leads and project managers and things like that. But sometimes you don’t really have that skill set, or the ability, or the comfort, you know, with video interviews and things like that, what’s happening today. And they have the skill set, the technical skill set. So we’ve got the Cantina (Gun.io slack channel), we’ve got all these different tools set up that we’re here to help. Yeah. And, and a lot of times we offer that a lot of times we end up offering, not just help about how you fix your resume, how you put on your profile, but how you present yourself, like, you know, don’t wear pajamas when you’re going into an interview, you know, get the lighting right. Fix up your camera a little bit, make sure you have a good intent, just the simple little things.
But sometimes people just kind of don’t–they don’t realize that these little things need to be attended to. And we are not judging. It’s not a judgment thing, it’s that we want to succeed. We wanna help people to succeed. That’s the point. (Absolutely.) Adding this human, the human factor to help succeed. So you, the human factor. You’re not talking to a machine. Now you have people in the Cantina, people like that. You can talk to and ask advice. If you’re not comfortable with how, you know how your past interviews have gone? Talk about, let’s talk about it. Let’s get you, because we want you to succeed. That’s the point.
Cal: Yep. Excellent point. And you know, you don’t have to do lighting. Like I spent time figuring out the right lights there and I’ve got lights in front of me and all this. You don’t have to spend 15 minutes tweaking lighting. But if all you’ve got is a laptop and your camera’s on your laptop and you’re in a dark room, bring up a white screen on your laptop and just leave it there. That’ll give enough light so that you look presentable, you know, and that’s all people are looking for. They don’t want be talking–they don’t want you to look like an FBI informant, okay? Where you’re dark and everything is bright behind you. So that’s an excellent point, Ben. Anybody else? Okay. Oh, go ahead.
Zbigniew: Quick one. So yeah, one time, some one, one guy didn’t show up to my interview. Right. and then he sent me a message later and he says, ‘Hey, I have not received an invite from you. I didn’t see the link.’ Well, obviously that was a lie, okay? And I remember I was kind of debating and I think I even reach out to Deiv and say, ‘Hey man, what you think?’ And he says, ‘I trust you what you’re gonna do.’ So I give him a second chance. And he showed up, and I started talking to the guy, but eventually, you know, I’m curious. And I asked him, ‘So what happened with that first meeting? Okay. And, and I know you’re not telling me the truth.’ So he says he just ditched me, okay, because he wasn’t ready. I say, ‘So next time, my advice to you is just don’t lie. Tell me straight. Okay? If you tell me straight, you wanna ditch me because this, this, this, I’m fine with it, but don’t try to be creative and try to make it that you didn’t get something from me. Because Google email tells me that I did send it to you. Okay. So these kind of things. So, as Ben said, yeah, we advocate for them. So anything that happens like that, maybe give them little advice and, and go from there. Okay. But I also believe in giving second chances to candidates when something like that occurs. Okay.
Cal: That’s a good point. Second chances. Francois, close this one out for us.
Francois: Yeah. I had one and it’s pretty closely related to what we said about the setting behind the camera. And I had a candidate that was showing on the camera and behind him was a couple of his friends playing PlayStation on the couch, and actually asking him questions about the game during the interview. (That’s not good.) And I mean, I know we all have different situations and everything, but it’s a minimum to at least tell people around you, I’m gonna have an interview, please at least move the couch or something else.
Cal: Yeah, and you know, all of us have had to adjust. A lot of us have had to adjust to working from home. I’ve been working from home for 15 years, so I didn’t have to adjust, but a lot of people did have to adjust, but yeah. You know, there’s some basic decorum. If nothing else put up a nice background, like Carl’s got or something like that.
Hey, okay. Let’s balance this out, okay? Without naming any names of clients or developers, tell me about one interview that you’ve conducted, where you really thought the developer just knocked it out of the park. When, in the interview, you know, they just did so good. And Carl, since you’re on the beach, go ahead. Kick us off.
Carl: Yeah. So one of the most, one of the most interesting ones that I’ve had is when somebody actually had the guts to tell me that I was wrong in one of my assumptions. And so I actually really enjoyed the finesse and how he elaborated on his disagreement with me. And so I think that really stood out because it shows character, and it shows knowledge, right? You know, I wouldn’t purposely throw in something cuz I actually think that it’s kind of a negative thing on my part to do that, just to find out. I do want him to feel comfortable with me, but every once in a while, you know, you’ll get behind on something. I’m over time, when you get this cute little question, you throw it in and it just gets out of date, for instance. And so I really do appreciate that they correct me and that they feel comfortable doing that. And at the same time, you know, how they manage it is important.
Cal: Very good. Somebody else?
Júlio: Yeah, I can quickly tell about the recent experience that I had. I was interviewing for a senior Java developer, engineer, whatever role. And then I had a nice candidate who was a lady and she did like so well, input so much effort into explaining every little detail of what she had done before of her previous experiences. It felt a lot like she was, how do I put this? I think women, sometimes in, in our environments, they have to prove themselves more than we do. And sometimes they don’t really understand how good they can be because there is this kind of, I dunno… So at the end I told HR, I said, look, I don’t think she did well for software senior software engineer. I think she’s perfect for a leading position. ‘Cause she did very well. She was very humble all the time. She had such great experiences, but still saying it in a very nice tone, you know, not being arrogant at all. So the attitude is also really important.
Cal: Very good. Excellent. Okay. Next question. Throwing it out to whoever wants to answer, what’s the most unusual role that you’ve worked on?
Carl: Being a TTA. (laughter)
Cal: TTA is DevRel, for those of you who don’t know, internally our team is known as TTA.
Carl: Yes. It’s technical talent advocate.
Carl: In some ways you’re switching roles, right? You know, I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years and you know, I’ve been on both sides of the table, but here I’m actually an advocate. Right? And it’s sort of a thin line between, you know, just choosing anyone versus choosing the perfect candidate for this particular job and, you know, getting all the requirements just right from the client is also something that we need to work hard on and make sure that that’s pretty much in there. So yeah. So I’m actually trying to be honest here. I’m here as a way to sort of pay back to my industry and there’s a lot to learn. And so here we are trying to do that.
Cal: Very cool. Júlio?
Júlio: Yeah. So I joined computer science at 17 and I’ve always pretty much doing something related to IT, software development. So I’ve been a teacher, I’ve been back end, I’ve been front end, I’ve been a manager, but there was a year when I thought I would like to do something different. And then I became a franchising owner for this advertising industry. And what I had to do was to sell spaces on bread bag, you know, in Brazil, it’s normal that we have these paper bags for breads. And I used to, I had to sell spaces for ads in these bags. I did so bad. It was one entire year trying to do it. And I had only two sales. It was–at the time it was not very good also because social media was rising and people just wanted to add ads on Instagram and Google, stuff like that. But it was a good experience in terms of learning, selling, you know, other kinds of skills that I did not have very good.
Cal: Okay, the last two questions we have are very similar. We’ll start with developers. What’s the one thing you wish developers knew going into an interview? Christian, go ahead.
Christian: Well, don’t just recite your resume and your skills. Like people have already seen that before you get there. And I’ve had so many interviews, especially here and, you know, in the freelancing world, where people show up and, you know, the sum of what they have to say about themselves is ‘I know React and PHP and I did a little bit of Java’ and so on. And this doesn’t tell us anything and you’re wasting a great opportunity to sell yourself because you know, this is where you get to make that impression. And the thing that you should know going into an interview is that you have a story to tell about you, and there are pivotal events in your career that help people to understand who you are and what you’re about. And if you know which one, which of those events will really resonate with a specific client, you need to be ready to tell that and tell it well and tell it concisely, ‘cause it’s a great way to kickstart a better conversation.
Cal: Very good. Jason, you got something to add?
Jason: Yeah, I would say I just wish that, you know, when you’re going into an interview, just make sure that you’re ready to speak about what you have done on your resume. What I used to do–you know, I’ve been in the industry for 20, over 22 years, primarily consulting–and what I used to do whenever I would go to a new client or whenever I’d go on a technical interview is, I would actually have my resume with me so I can kind of trace back on where they were at, and kind of get back in my mind of, ‘oh, okay, this is what I was doing at that point in time.’ And then I can go into a little bit more detail because, I mean, I I’ve worked at dozens of companies, dozens of clients in the past. And just being able to speak to a specific question that the client may have about an experience you had in the past. I think that’s very important.
Cal: Very good. Ben, what you got to add?
Ben: Yeah, I think it’s also around what Christian said and what Jason said, is to understand that you’re talking to people, right? You’re gonna be talking to people, and they’re humans just like you, you know? They wanna hear your story. They wanna know who you are. It isn’t always all about tech, right? It’s not always all about tech. You wanna be able to speak to what you’ve done intelligently and concisely and maybe even, you know, give references to what the client’s specific problem or goals might be, right? But a lot of that conversation, a lot of that process is around the dialogue, the human factor. Right. And a lot of it –it hurts sometimes because I know that a lot of times candidates are not used to that. And in today’s day and age that we’re doing these video interviews, sometimes clients are really sensitive about that because you have to, on a day-to- day, be on some video calls and communicating with people. More so even than it might have been in a live face-to-face environment where you might even close yourself off in a room or a cubicle, do some work and nobody will bother you. Yeah.
But today there’s more sensitivity about that communication factor, the ability to communicate ideas and communicate things. So understand that you’re coming into an interview talking to people, right? And they wanna hear who you are. Or most of the time we’ve done some groundwork beforehand to kind of help out, some prep work beforehand, to help out. But understanding, you’re talking to people, you wanna be able to speak to the technology, but understand you’re talking to people and take that into consideration. Right?
Cal: Yeah. And I’m gonna close this question out. I wanna follow on with what Christian said in that, no, you don’t just read your resume cause the client’s already done that. Comedians have the concept of a ‘tight ten’. And back in the day when Johnny Carson was running, The Tonight Show, Johnny would have on comedians and they got 10 minutes to do their act. So you had to be on spot and have your best material ready to go. So all year comedians would try out new jokes and throw away jokes and try out new stuff. And if they made the cut, they’d go in, but then they would start practicing this routine and practicing this routine until they had it down. So they could go out and they have the timing right and everything. Now, I don’t think that developers should have to develop a tight ten, but when asked about your experience, or tell me about you, when somebody says, tell me about you, you should have an answer that you have already practiced. And if that means you have to write it down so that you have thought it through, then that’s what it should take. It should be, you know, a minute or two, mine runs a bit long, but as you can see, I’m a bit wordy, but I can tell you about my career in five minutes. And I, you know, when somebody asked me, I’ve got it in my head, I start the tape playing and I just run through it. We are all freelance developers. We’re gonna have to go through a lot more interviews than somebody who is at one company for a very long time. So you should have this material already ready and it should be the stuff that’s not in your resume. The things you want people to really understand about you.
Okay. Let’s go to the other side of that question. What’s the one thing that you wish clients understood going into an interview? Carl, start us off.
Carl: Yeah. So I think the client really, when they’re putting together the requirements for the resources they’re looking for, I think they should really understand what problem they’re solving. We get to deal with several startups and, you know, sometimes they don’t quite know, you know, their own customers. Right? And so to me that needs to be known just even before they talk to us. You know, they tend to focus on the technical side of things and, you know, like I would like to know where that comes from, you know? Where’s that, you know, like–I’ve been doing mostly Java, but I can do almost any stack ‘cause I’ve had to deal with not just one project, but multiple projects at once. And so, you know, how do they arrive to those technical requirements would be of interest to me. You know, so basically that’s kind of what I hope that they knew before going into an interview themselves.
Cal: Very good. Julio, you’ve got some thoughts?
Júlio: Yeah, I totally agree with Carl that the first thing is that they should know what they want. And I would say that the second thing very closely is, if possible, they should know the candidate also. Because I think when you’re hiring for a position, and I do that also, you want to help the guy to stand out at what they’re good at–the guy or the woman, the candidate. So if you just start asking questions about topics that they don’t really own, it’ll be hard for them to show what they’re good at. And the client should know that they will not find the perfect candidate that has all the qualifying technical stuff. So they have to look for other stuff along. And the best way to do that is to let the candidate talk about what they know. So you will learn the soft skills that they have, you’ll learn what they know that is similar to what you need, and that you can also absorb. That would be my take on this.
Cal: Good. Christian, you’ve got some thoughts?
Christian: Yes. I would really like for clients to know that developers are not salespeople, they’re not usually good at selling themselves. And so when, you know, when someone comes across your desk and they don’t fit the unicorn that you have in your mind don’t just, you know, push it away into the dust bin. You know, take a little extra time and, you know, turn a couple of pages in that book and see what’s there and maybe be more willing to talk to them and ask questions. Because, you know, there’s a lot of great talent that’s just, you know, it’s just–you have a different culture between you know, unless the client is also a developer, in which case they should have an easier time of it. But if they’re not you know, it’s really hard to make a good gut judgment about a developer when you’re not part of that culture. And so you need to look a little bit closer and be a little bit more open-minded because some of the best talent, you know, does not look very impressive from a business perspective.
Cal: Yep. I agree. Ben, talk to us.
Ben: Yeah. Just a quick note is to understand that the interview is a two way street, right? It isn’t just that you, the client, is interviewing the candidate, the candidate is interviewing the client.
Cal: That’s a good point.
Ben: This is part of the process, right? Me, as a candidate, I wanna know that I’m stepping into something that I’m going to enjoy and into a situation that understands what they’re doing, at least understands how the work process is. I wanna know what I’m stepping into. And if I’m–if the client is not prepared to answer questions also about those things, that’s also kind of a red flag as a developer, at least for the more experienced developers who are really looking for something specific and wanna be in the right situation. If you wanna land a good developer, then you have to understand that the interview process is a two-way street.
Cal: Excellent point. Deivid–let’s let the boss man close us out.
Deividi: I wanna close it out with expanding on a little bit on what Ben has just said. It’s a two way street. And as you are, if you are a startup or someone just getting started with your small team and trying to bring some more talented people in, maybe you already have a couple of talented people that came from great companies and you wanna tell the talent that you’re interviewing, that that’s where you are growing for, that you’re trying to build a great product. Something that is amazing, that’s going to change the market, get them excited about it because you know what? We have many great talents, and there’s a great chance that they’re not just talking to you. They’re interviewing lots of other clients as well, because they go by really fast. So if you don’t do a good sales pitch about your company to the people that you’re trying to bring in, the chances that you get to hire them are very small. So that’s one of the things that I would say to our clients: be really smart about selling your company. Like you would sell to a venture capital or an investor. Try to do that for your talents you’re trying to bring in as well.
Cal: Excellent. Gentlemen, I wanna thank you for taking the time to be with us here today. It’s been thoroughly enjoying, ‘cause there’s a lot of new faces on the team and it has been wonderful for me to be able to get to know and get some insight on how your thought process works, because we don’t all get to talk to each other that much. I’m much more in the marketing side of things these days. So I have to deal with those people. I usually tell people when I’m–you know I’m working on marketing because I’ve got my beanie on with the propeller and everything. But thank you so much for taking the time to be here today, to share with us your insights on how this process works. Audience, thank you for joining us today. I hope you found this both informative and interesting. Now do me a favor. If you enjoyed what you saw, go out to whatever your favorite podcast catcher is and leave us a review. Leave us five thumbs, five stars, whatever the rating is. If there was something that we can do better, please drop me an email [email protected] I’d love to hear from you and love to be able to make this podcast more meaningful to you. Thank you so much. We’ll see you right here next week on The Frontier.
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