Hiring & Getting Hired in Tech
How do you stand out when applying for jobs? Is there such thing as a "good" tech interview? What questions should you be asking? 😫 Join this Q&A with Sarah Drasner to get your questions answered!
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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Learn With Jason. Today on the show, we're bringing back one of my favorite people in the world, Sarah Drasner. Sarah, thank you so much for being here today.
Yeah, thank you for having me, Jason. This is really great. You and I have talked a lot about this, so I'm so excited to be here with you.
I think this is going to be so much fun and I'm really looking forward to how we can hopefully help some people find that first shot, or if you're trying to hire, how to find great people for your team, so today we are talking specifically about hiring, and there are a few people in this industry with more qualifications to do hiring than Sarah Drasner. Sarah, for those who are not familiar with your work, do you want to give us a little background?
Sure. So, I am VP of Developer Experience at Netlify. I actually hired Jason. I'm doing the wrong way. This way. Jason. And I manage a pretty big team there. It's about 10% of the company, and then before that, I've been a Manager of Engineering at Zillow. I've also been a Manager or Lead at other companies like Distributed Systems Companies, Fauna, who is a sponsor here. I've also interviewed at a lot of places. We've been hiring a lot lately. Sometimes people are really good candidates and there are things that go a certain way towards us saying yes versus saying no and we wanted to be, you know, transparent about things that can really get you further along in the process.
And get you set up for success, and also to share some of the things that, like, we've both done poorly in interviewing processes so that you know that you're not alone because, like, I will caveat --
This is gonna be a productive episode. ( Laughter ) Okay, so you'll caveat with some Corgis and
I'll caveat with Corgis, always. And also just state, like, this is our opinions and from our point of view.
And we're not everybody, and everybody's a little bit different, so things that worked for us might not work for you in not every case, so I don't want it to sound like, oh, just do it our way and everything is that way. Flappy birds of Jason agree.
Yeah, I think the chat's gonna find all the games today. So, that flappy Jason is -- that's courtesy of Cassidy, who Sarah also hired on to the Netlify team. So I know that hiring me maybe calls Sarah's judgement in question. Hiring Cassidy, though, redeem it is.
I have no regrets. ( Laughter )
Okay. So, I want to jump right in and take questions. Chat, this is going to be an AMA, so we are very much going to drive all the content of this episode with your question, so please post those in the chat. If you are looking for a job, if you are trying to hire someone, if you want to goad us into talking about burgers, yeah, all of that, it's fair game. So, drop it in the chat right now. While we are waiting for you to get your questions in, I'm going to do a quick shout-out to our sponsors. So, let me slip over to this view for a second. And first and foremost, make sure if you are not already doing so, go and follow Sarah on Twitter. She is a wonderful stream full of jokes and tech content and just, you know, bright Rays of sunshine. Also, today, we are going to do a giveaway of this amazing Drasner T-Shirt that I am wearing right now. You can see it here. Look how good this is. I'm gonna start this now. I don't know how many I'm gonna give away, so I'm just gonna let this run for the whole stream.
Cap we talk about firing in in tech or --? ( Laughter )
So, we have live captioning going on right now. It is made possible by Jordan at White Coat Captioning, who is with us today. Thank you, Jordan, for hanging out and helping make the show accessible. The captioning is made possible by sponsorships from Netlify, Fauna, Auth0 and Hasura. Why did all my images disappear? That's no fun. Cool. That's a fun bug I'm gonna have to figure out later. In the meantime, yeah, look at this. Look how great this is. We have live captioning going on. With that being said, I'm gonna flip back over to the chat, and let's start answering some questions. All right. Your very own Drasnerd raffle. Here we go. Questions, questions, questions. Whiteboarding coding questions have fallen out of favor. What gets a better signal?
Yeah, actually, that's a great one. So, what we have been doing on the team -- so, a lot of people ask these questions of do we even do technical interviews? Technical interviews do tend to be quite broken. I completely understand and agree with that. The only caveat being that, like, you do have to kind of test someone's skills a little bit before they jump on a team, especially if you're going to be moving really fast and building things, so there are different ways of approaching that, right? Like, there are ways that you can do it where you explore someone's GitHub, but that also means you're saying you have to do a bunch of work on the side of your normal work to show that you can do work, and that is rude, too, so the kind of in-between thing that we've decided to do -- since one of the problems with whiteboarding is that it's very performative, and coding isn't really performative, right? You don't spend a ton of time showing people -- unless your job is live coding, which very few jobs are, really, you're coding by yourself with Google and things like that at your disposal.
So what we decided to do was write up a list of questions we were going to ask in the technical interview, and then give it to people a few days in advance so that they could prepare and practice and Google and try to find the answers on their own, and then, you know, I asked Jason to sometimes do the technical interviews, too, and a bunch of other members of the team, so we kind of all, you know, have different roles, you know, like --
We work out who the technical interview is, but we keep the questions the same every time, and this is really important. The reason why it's important to keep the questions the same and standard every single time is it eliminates -- it doesn't eliminate -- you can't eliminate bias, but, like, it reduces bias because let's say you just like someone a little, right?
Studies show that you like someone a little if they're like you.
So, that's where bias breeds. So you might, if you're switching questions around, you might be easier on someone who you like more.
And you might only be easier on them because they look like you. So if you keep the questions standardized, there's less of a chance that things are moving around for every candidate.
So, with the questions standardized, they see it beforehand, and the big deal when we're doing those technical interviews and what I would, you know, kind of encourage everybody to do is to think through how you're talking about what you're doing because a big part of the interview process isn't really the solution. That's not what we're looking for. What we're looking for is how are you thinking about the code? How are you reasoning about what's in front of you? There's plenty of times where people don't provide the real answer or, like, the correct answer or they don't solve the thing, but the way that they talked about, reasoned about, the questions that they asked that were really intelligent, that nails the interview.
So, hopefully you're interviewing with teams that have a similar approach. I've heard a lot of hiring managers say the same thing. What they're looking for is your ability to communicate about the code that you're writing.
One of the things we've been doing to structure our technical interviews that I really like is we do our technical interviews in two parts right now, where we have a first part which is we're coming up with a coding challenge and sending that to the applicant before the interview. Where we tell you ahead of time this is what you're gonna work on. And then you're gonna build it live with us and kind of walk us through what you're doing, why, and then the second half is show and tell. Bring us some code that you're proud of. Talk to us about why. And I think both of those are brilliant because the thing I've always disliked about tech interviews is they felt like pop quizzes and it felt like you were assessing someone's test anxiety more than you were assessing their technical skill, and so by giving these things in advance, letting someone sit with the problem and look at the code ahead of time, it's not going to remove that initial anxiety. You're not removing that fear, okay, I'm going into a room full of strangers and I have to write some code, oh, my God, what am I gonna do? It at least relieves that element of surprise. What if they spring something on me I haven't seen before? That can't happen. You are going to know what's coming, and I really like that. And also, I found, since we've started doing that has led to way better conversations about the code. Because you're not, like, putting somebody on the spot. They get to come in after looking at it a little bit, letting it sit in their brain. I think that's so -- that's so nice and really does seem to mean a lot.
Yeah, and that second part of the interview where they talk about what thing that they're proud of, I love that part. Like, I mean, you can be proud of any piece of anything, right? Like, you can be -- and sometimes it's something that's proprietary, and so they can only share their screen for a moment, and sometimes it's something they made on GitHub, and it doesn't have to be something they built as a side project or anything. We do even give the option if it is super proprietary and can't share their screen, they can talk us through what the code was and did.
Again, because we're interested in hearing about how people think through those problems, but you, you know, first of all, seeing people light up and talk through, like, this gnarly challenge that they had. Some people bring refactoring things. Some people bring a thing that they wrote from scratch. I feel that's a really fun part of the interview because it's more guided by them to talk through what -- and you can kind of sense, like, what they think is challenging. Is really interesting, too, because it kind of does denote what level they are a little bit.
I've had people not at Netlify but in companies past bring something that I was like, okay, that isn't super challenging, so they're probably at a lower level. And somebody bring in something I'm like, wow, I can't believe you figured that out. ( Laughter ) So, that can also give people a sense of that, too, so if somebody asks you that question, know that they're kind of thinking in the back of their mind what level you might be considering what thing you're bringing as well
Yeah. Yeah, I definitely think -- I mean, like, the tech interview is a really bad proxy for getting a sense of what someone values, what someone has seen before, what someone is capable of adapting to on the fly. There's so many, like, we can't figure those things out. We don't have time to go talk to all of your previous co-workers and ask those types of questions, so basically we're having a tech interview to see whether or not you project the -- do you give us confidence that you're going to be able to do that stuff when you show up in this job? I think that's what makes tech interviews suck, they're a poor proxy for so much information. The best we can do is try to set people up to give the best version of themselves, right?
And to Jason's point, you're interviewing them, too, right?
If they're giving you a technical interview with a bunch of red flags, that's something to take into consideration. One interview I was in was, like, trick question after trick question and kind of like this weird vibes the whole time that we were doing the thing. I did know the answer to the trick questions because I had happened to run into it, but I was thinking to myself, like, well, this is just by chance that I ran into this thing. Why are you trying to trick your candidates?
And some of the ways that people conduct themselves in those processes, keep an eye out on that. Because that's gonna be your team, right?
If you feel there is some weird or bad JuJu going on even in that technical interview, that might not be the job that you want either.
Right. And to flip that around, if you are on a technical interviewing panel, remember that it is not the place to show everybody how smart you are. That is the wrong venue. ( Laughter ) Okay, so, we have a million questions, so I'm gonna move us on to another one here. Cohort Code asks what profiles and pages need to be in place? So, specifically what they're asking is, when you find out about a new candidate, where are you looking first to get a sense of who they are?
Yeah, we're definitely looking at their resume, number one. Sometimes if there are so many candidates, we're not even getting to the cover letter, but I will say the cover letter has made or broken applicants before, so don't pass up the cover letter. Just know that, like, some -- if you get -- if you have one role and you have 400 candidates, sometimes people are going really quickly through those things, so you do want to do some things that make your application stand out. Some of the, like, kind of basic things to not do are, like, don't have a bunch of spelling and grammar mistakes because, again, think about it this way, the team that you are applying for has very limited time. Imagine you're trying to push a feature, you realize that you're short staffed, you've got to get someone in there right away, it's because of that short staffedness that they're even looking for someone, so they're going through 400 applicants. They know that everybody in that pool are probably great. There are very few people we take out of the run because they're just not a fit. There's a lot of stuff that we have to do to kind of filter and sort really quickly, and so for that reason, one, don't get too disgruntled if you get passed up a couple times. Sometimes it's not personal. Sometimes there is a huge influx of candidates.
The other thing is, if you can do things that make your application stand out a bit, like, I mean, formatting does help, actually.
Showing that you give, you know, that you care about details and stuff, that can be really good. Likewise, if you haven't put the time and energy in your application and your resume, people are probably going to throw it out because you're not -- they have all of these other applicants. Why would they spend more time on someone who, you know, hasn't put a lot of time into the resume? So, thinking about it from the perspective of these people are probably engineers just like me, running around just like me, have limited time and bandwidth. What would I want to see that would jump out at me to get this job? One thing that I really do like is when there's a lot of the information's just in that one page of the resume, and --
There is a small description for the last three jobs you had of what you did that was impactful there. So, like, if you say -- if we say, like, we are at Netlify. Jason and I had a horrible burger-off and beat him, that's, like, the impact I need at Netlify. But just a short sentence or two of, like, you moved some OKR. You reconfigured their entire Webpack system. What did you do that helped company goals? It should be less about yourself versus what you did for the company. It shouldn't be, like, I'm the best.
You know --
The company is really great because of this thing I did.
Yeah, and Zander asked a question that I think ties really well into this, and I think you made so many good points already, but he asked, how do you make your cover letter sound and feel genuine? Because words are hard. Like, how do you say something in a way that feels like it's connected? And you've already said so much to that point. One thing that I've noticed that has really been beneficial for me is to make my cover letter not about me. I am really uncomfortable selling myself. I don't like to walk up and say, like, hello, I am awesome, I am great, you should hire me because I am the best. It feels weird to say that, but if instead I go up and I say, hey, I like your company, I see opportunities for your company. Here are some things that I could do that would help your company reach the next level. Now I feel really comfortable doing that. And that also, I think, is more impactful because you're not saying look at me, look at me, you're saying I see opportunities and I see -- like, I can draw connections between an opportunity that exists and a solution that would benefit -- that would benefit all of us.
Yeah, I mean, to Jason's point, too, if you do write a cover letter and spend the time on that, just make double sure that you read the job description.
Because people have taken themselves out of the running by writing a cover letter that's like life we're like, that's not what the job is.
So make sure if you're writing something. It's okay if it's a bit form letter-esque. Some things you did for previous companies and maybe a sentence or two for that company in specific. You don't have to rewrite the entire thing top-down every single time. You can if you want to. I'm sure that people would appreciate that, but if you are doing a lot of resumes, I don't want you to feel like you have to write a brand-new cover letter every single time, but just a sentence or two about, like, why you think you're a good fit for that company and it should be the company first and then stuff about yourself is usually kind of helpful. I mean, there's no real rule for this, but, like, that would be my suggestion.
Well, and, you know, what you just said about that actually, there is no real rule. This is so much like any relationship. You are putting yourself out there as yourself. And you're looking for somebody who values what you value. So, there's no formula that's gonna work where you're just like, I would like a job and I've put this perfectly so that everybody will appreciate it. The things that Sarah's looking for and the things that I'm looking for and the things that a hiring manager at Amazon are looking for are all gonna be slightly different and we all have, like, certain things that align with our values more. Part of what you're doing, as Sarah said, you're interviewing the company as well. Being your full authentic self when you interview, write about what you're passionate about, when you share the code that you're interested in, do that because you want to find the company that is interested in -- that shares that passion and those values. Because if you find a company that is aligned, like, if you're super excited about building great frontends and not excited about building Node back ends and write a bunch of Node code for the interview, you're gonna be sad when your job is writing mostly Node code. Do the job where you get to write frontend.
That's a great thing to say and note. And we actually have brought people into final rounds of interviews just based on their cover letter, too, so just letting you know that, like, that's not always what we do --
But it has happened. Just want to be transparent about that. Someone mentioned, like, I'm confused what a cover letter is, some part of an email or another document together with your resume?
Yeah, basically most companies if you upload, they'll have you upload a resume and a cover letter, or if you have to email them, I would do both, right?
The cover letter doesn't have to be a long letter. It can just be a paragraph or so.
Yeah. So, in the spirit of, like, what people are seeing before they ever talk to you, do you look at portfolios, GitHub, blogs, any other sources when you're evaluating candidates and how does that play into your evaluation?
I do. I try not to bank too much on that, though, because I do feel like it's tough for people to sometimes get the time to spend on rebuilding a whole brand-new portfolio site. I definitely look. If it's fantastic, they get escalated. So it's another one of those things where it's like if you haven't done it, I don't personally think you should be out of the running. However, if you have an amazing one, chances are I'm going to be like, oh, we should meet with this person. If you're trying to do everything that you can, that's a good thing to do, is to kind of, like, pay attention to that. I would at least, like, if you can,, like, clean up your GitHub. Just, like, make sure the things that are pinned are the things that you want pinned and stuff.
I take a look at that. I will also look at people's Twitter accounts just to see if there is anything -- it's more to see if there's red flags.
It's not like be like our team. It's more like to see if, you know, they have been rude to people or something like that. I think other employers do do that, too, so I'm just trying to be transparent, that if people start to see kind of weird red flags on your Twitter account, that is something that they look at.
Yeah. I mean, I definitely Google everybody that I'm about to interview because, you know, if the first thing I find when I Google is you being mean to a bunch of people, I'm kind of like, no, I don't even know if I want to have this interview. If that's your primary brand, is starting fights on the internet, that doesn't bode well for teamwork, right?
And also, again, keep in mind that if we go into an interview process with you, basically what we're saying is we're okay with dunking the team's productivity for many hours that week on you.
So, it's an investment of time that we're taking. If you can think about it that way, like, they're trying to do due diligence on their side to not, you know, have -- Jason is very valuable to our team. I know it doesn't seem like that on this chat -- no, I'm just kidding. ( Laughter ) Jason's incredibly valuable to our team, so I don't want to have him spend a lot of time in interviews if the person is going to be mean to him, right? That doesn't make any sense. I don't want to put my staff through that. So that's also what they're checking for
Absolutely. So, here's a question that I think is a really good one and probably top of mind for a lot of folks. For people who are looking for their first job, they're not gonna have those three previous jobs on their resume, they're not gonna be able to tell you stories about how they made impact. How does somebody stand out? How do they tell those sometimes of stories that get your attention?
I actually wrote an critical about this on CSS-Tricks. Let me see if I can pull it up really quick. Talk amongst yourselves.
Is it the Learning to Learn one?
No, it is -- let me see if I can -- ah, I'm full of pressure right now and I can't find it really fast. I will look it up in the show notes, but basically I went through -- so, Marco Rodgers, who is a great person for follow on Twitter had this question asked to him. He was walking through it and asked other people, you know, what their feelings about the thing was. There are a couple of things that you can do. So, like, a couple of people mentioned, you know, GitHub profiles and things like that. Again, that's tough if you're a newer programmer to necessarily have. It helps, for sure. One thing that you can do is talk through what you've learned so far and what your experience with that has been, right? So, if you went to a coding boot camp or something -- I'm not saying you need to, but if you did, talk through that experience. Say, like, I went to a coding boot camp. I was really interested in this and this. Okay, yeah, so, there's the article.
When you said Marco Rogers, I was like, ooh, I can find this.
So, like, that's one thing that I would kind of suggest. I have wrote down just a bunch of suggestions through this entire article, so formatting is important. That was one that we covered already. You can throw in open-source projects, if you have them.
Call out your contributions in your work experience. I think I mentioned that. Like, how did it change things? If your experience is limited, talk through whatever experience you have. You learned on Code Academy, what was that like.
What were the things you found interested on there and problems you're excited about solving -- or not excited, what are you willing to solve at a big company? You know, don't pad your resume with a bunch of experience you don't have and/or stuff you think is -- like, a few jobs back, I had this one candidate put in quotes from his mom -- ( Laughter ) It was really cute, but it wasn't helpful in terms of understanding what the job would be.
Cassidy's feeling called out right now. ( Laughter ) No, I think -- I mean, I think that those are all great points, and maybe one thing that's also worth pointing out is, like, I don't know -- and you can confirm this, but in my experience, when you're hiring somebody junior, what you're looking for is capacity. You're looking for potential. Like, is this person showing that they're capable of learning, that they're interested in learning, that they're willing to put the work in to gain new knowledge? So, it's not so much what do you know, but are you interested, willing and excited about doing the work to know? And that tends to be, like, when I'm looking at somebody who is new in the industry, the people I go to bat for are the ones that I consistently see showing up, trying things, improving every day, and those are the folks that I'm always gonna, like, give a nod to or a referral to because I'm like, they're doing the work. Every day they're showing up, they're doing the work, and I can see progress. Like, this person's gonna be a star.
Yeah, and likewise, I would say this doesn't work as well now, but in the olden days, I have hired juniors from meeting them at meet-ups and they were lovely people. So, we got to talking and it was, like, a good conversation about where they wanted to learn and grow from. So, like, that human connection bit, don't ever underestimate the human connection bit. If somebody's reading through a million resumes and they know one of them, they might look at that one a little bit more carefully than others because that's how humans work. Oh, I know that person. They were great. So, if you're more junior, that is definitely something like especially when we get into post-pandemic times, only hope, or maybe show up at a virtual meet-up and talk with people. I know that networking kind of sucks and it sucks to, like, come in and Da Da Da, but you don't have to make it networky, right? You can have a normal conversation with somebody and talk through things.
Yeah, for sure. I think that is such a, like, the network is an incredible thing. I'm going to post a link to a video -- an interview I did with Cassidy on the Free Code Camp channel where Cassidy shares at length the way she made a network, built connections and got in touch with people, and all the incredible opportunities that opened up for her. So I think that is definitely something that is very undervalued, I think, especially when you're new in your career. I just need to do the work. No, do the work, but meet people. Put it into the universe. Like, tell everybody that you're looking for a job. Show them what work you're doing. Tell them what you're excited about. You're never gonna feel ready. I'm 20 years into this career and I'm always like, well, I'm not quite ready to apply for that job. You have to throw yourself at it and say, look, I'm throwing this out to the universe. A lot of sometimes you get told no and somebody hears that and says, I know someone looking for someone just like you. When I put on Twitter I want to be on a podcast or whatever, I don't know anybody who reaches out to me, but because somebody else does, the connection gets made. You got to make that known, reach out to people, make those friends, show people that you're doing the work and they'll make connections. The network is incredibly effective.
Laurie's absolutely right. Twitter is a great way of remote connecting with people. Even sharing what you know publicly on Twitter can open a lot of doors if you don't have a lot of experience there. So, you know, I'm always sensitive to recommend Twitter because it's got good parts and bad parts, right? Yes, it's opened so many doors. It's also, like, very stressful sometimes.
But it does allow for a lot of those kind of promote connections that people are referring to. Someone asked the question actually that was quite good that was, like, how much should you exaggerate on your resume? I would say, like --
So, there are companies where if they -- if you get all the way to the end, they do a background check, and if you lied about anything, even a month, like, by a month you said you worked at a company a little bit longer than you did, they will not let you pass go and collect $200. Like, they won't allow you to join. Microsoft is like that. I think Apple's like that. There's a bunch of companies. Salesforce is like that. So, I wouldn't lie on your resume. What I would do is talk through with exuberance the things that you've done well while you were there. So, be a little careful about flat-out lies for dates, but it's okay to say, like, we did this and this was really great and the outcomes were spectacular. So, I guess I'm not giving you, like, a great answer for that. Basically just, like, be super careful that you don't shoot yourself in the foot there.
Yeah, I think hyperbole is not necessarily a bad thing. Like, being excited, saying that something was amazing when somebody else might say it was just okay, that's all right because you're stating your own excitement. Yeah, I would never -- I would never recommend flat-out lying. Like, misrepresenting a fact is gonna get you in trouble. Playing up the coolness of a thing or playing up the impact of a thing without changing any numbers, I think, is perfectly normal. That's just sales, you know? And a lot of getting hired is learning how to sell yourself and, you know, again, like, the way I sell myself at least is I talk about the way that a company benefitted through projects that we did, and, you know, because I'm really uncomfortable talking about my own value because it's hard to just talk about that in a vacuum. You've got to frame it through, here's an impact, and sometimes, you know, playing up the impact is a good thing. It gets somebody to pay attention and ask you questions about it as opposed to being, like, well, I was on a team and I did a thing and it was okay. If I read that I'm like, okay, good. Glad that you had a job. If you tell me you blew somebody away, I want to hear more about that. What did you do in this project? And then you get to tell me instead of me reading it.
Yeah, exactly. There is one piece in here only tangentially related, but it's related to the networking thing a little bit. Understand and remember that everyone that you're talking to in the entire process, they all know each other.
So if you're working with a recruiter, they work with the people that you interview. They're not on such different teams that they're never gonna talk to each other. In fact, they're talking to each other a lot during that process, so don't be mean to recruiters. Please don't be mean to recruiters. Even if it's like you will shoot yourself in the foot if you get a really good interview and then I hear back from the recruiter that you treated them poorly, I'm probably not going to move forward with you as a teammate because that's who -- that's who you are when you don't think that somebody is, like, worth your while or something. That's not cool.
Yeah, if -- how respectful you are is dependent on how valuable you think the person you're talking to is, I'm hard out. Like, if I am out with somebody and I see them treat, like, a waiter rude, like, it's over. I'm done.
Yeah. I mean, we're really looking for people who are gonna be able to talk to multiple people across the entire company and be a good fit for the team and stuff. But also, like, treating people like there is some sort of hierarchy is just not the best.
Yeah. Yeah and, like, you know, you can think hierarchically -- and I think that is always the thing that means a lot to me. Do you show that you find everybody to be a valuable human, even if their role isn't something that you would consider to be an exalted roll? To me, that's where you start to see character shine through.
And, for me --
Do you check for bias a little bit on the team, too?
You're in a room with Jason and Cassidy. Are you only talking to Jason and you're ignoring Cassidy? Like, that's not good. So, like, I think other teams do have that kind of process, too, where we're kind of just checking a little if you're a little bit ruder to the other, you know, to the non-white man --
We are not the only ones that look for that.
Yeah, absolutely. So, I want to turn a little bit to the other side of this because a few people have asked questions about trying to hire, and we were just talking about bias, so this is actually I think a good one. After you've exhausted your own personal network, asks Roberttables, how do you go about going further and finding more people? I'm going to add a question to that, which is, how do you make sure you're not only finding more people just like you?
Yeah, that's a great question. We actually post to a newsletter, the Diversified Tech one. I think we were working on posting People of Color in Tech. Women in Tech slacks. We're not always just working off of our own, you know, network either. I mean, we do definitely tweet out from accounts when we have a job opening open, but I would say that's not necessarily just like people I know all the time either. Netlify account tweets out we have job openings, too, and then there is a whole thing that the recruiting team does with Linkedin that I won't pretend to understand because it's very nuanced and I know they put a ton of work into it, and I really don't want to misrepresent because I don't know what it is. They do a lot of that kind of, like, using Linkedin groups and things like that. So, those are a couple of ways of reaching out.
Yeah, absolutely. I think, like, that's one thing that always confused me when I was younger and now confuses me in the opposite direction. Because when I was younger I felt like, well, if you put the job out into the world, people will see it. What I didn't realize is that me putting a job out into the world if all the people that I follow and interact with on Twitter or, like, white men, that means that only the people in my network see that. If all the people they follow are white men, that means that when they share it, only more white men see it. I didn't understand the impact of network effects and the impact of not reaching out to where communities are. You know, it was easy for me as a young guy to say, well, if somebody doesn't see the job, that's on them. Of course it's not. If I, you know, put something in my closet, I can't get mad at you for not knowing it's there. I got to put it in front of you so that you have an opportunity. Yeah, go ahead.
Sorry. There is also putting out posts that are about the work that you're doing to entice people to -- like at Zillow a couple of times, we kind of documented an entire process that, like, moving over to GraphQL and things like that because we were trying to entice people who were GraphQL experts to want to join the team.
If that kind of moving of an infrastructure to GraphQL was interesting to people, that's a really -- so, we put links to, like, if you're excited about this, you know, and that's actually -- that's a kind of nice one because it gathers people with the same interests in that group. Like, people are literally going, like, I love this article.
I love GraphQL. Oh, wait, I can apply for a job here. So, that can be a good way, too.
Yeah. I think, I mean, I guess I feel very much if you're hiring that you've got -- you've got to put this out in as many places as possible, right? Like, find discord groups where you can post the job. Find friends who have big networks who are, like, in touch with people that are doing the kind of work that you're looking to hire for. Pay for placement on, you know, there's Black Tech Pipeline. There is the People of Color in Tech. Diversify Tech, code 2040. There's all these places that work to place in front of people you may not necessarily talk to. That investment is totally worth it. If you do that work, network effects are compounding. If you only talk to people like you, eventually your network gets pretty small. You only know people who know each other. If you make the effort to reach out into new networks, your network is continually expanding. Every time you hire someone out of your network, your network just doubled because that person has their own network.
You can actually look into -- Twitter, for instance, you can look to see who other people follow and follow some of them.
I follow a tons of people that I think are super cool and interesting in a diverse group. Like, you can follow the people I follow or follow the people Jason follows. So on and so forth. If somebody is really interesting to you then chances are the people they've chosen to follow are gonna be fairly interesting as well. So, that's a way to kind of go beyond, like, what your normal thing is or just like who Twitter is shoving at your face. ( Laughter )
Yeah. Yeah, so, okay, let's see what other questions we have here. Let's see. More questions about posting jobs. I'm gonna -- I'm gonna make questions about where you should go an exercise for the reader because I don't want to make this like a list post. Let's see. And there's also great recommendations in the chat.
Why are they saying the Drasnerd shirt so often?
Because it's a raffle. Don't forget, we're giving away this Drasnerd shirt. Look at this thing. It's beautiful. You could also be a Drasnerd. There is a raffle for anybody who hasn't seen it. If you're a subscriber to this channel, you get double tickets, so, hint, hint, nudge, nudge. Wittypants, is that Joseph Wittington? What's up? Somebody suggested a Jasonerd shirt to complete the collection, but I don't see anybody out here trolling. Thank you for the subs, y'all. Enjoy your extra tickets.
He clearly wants this shirt, so we got to figure out something that is, like, truly horrible for him.
But it's not gonna work because I am very much -- I feel very much that all attention is good attention, and I just bask in it. Me, me.
I can do something with that.
Lane's dork. Oh, Prince, come on. Please. All right. Let's get back to some questions, y'all. What's up? What do you want to know? What's left? I have a question about -- wait, somebody actually asked a question that was better than mine, so let me find it. It was, if you are not qualified for a role, should you -- when should you consider applying for it? When is enough qualification there?
I would say you should still if it's your dream job, you should still apply, but understand that if you don't get it, it's okay. Like, so apply knowing with, like, optimism but, like, understanding that if it doesn't work out, you're gonna keep trying. You're not just gonna take that and run away and say I'll never try again. I think you should always go out for the job. A lot of times job descriptions are things really they would like and they're willing to bend on things. I've definitely put job postings out where I said I wanted a certain thing. A candidate comes along and says, you know, I don't have that, but I have something else. I didn't even think through that thing. You know, people are more flexible than they seem to be in the job description. Also, they've done studies that show some people apply anyway and still get it. Some people will not and then they, you know, won't, and things like that, so there are things like that that have, you know, have to do with, like, confidence and bias and things like that. Just apply anyway and understand that if you didn't get it, just keep shooting those shots. Like, don't take it personally and keep going. I never look at somebody who applied who doesn't have the qualifications and go, oh, they should not have applied. I go like, ah, I wish I could take this candidate, but I don't think that it's right.
Yeah. I think that's a hugely important thing. Like, there are very, very few situations where I have seen a resume and thought to myself "why?" You know? Like, that will happen. Especially if you post the job on Linkedin where people spam their resume. A CPA will apply for a web developer role and it's like what happened here? But I think the general thing is, like, I have found that if you have any of the skills that are listed, it's worth a shot. Like, you know, especially if you're interested in everything that's being talked about and the responsibilities for the job. I think, you know, that -- and, actually, that adds -- that dovetails nicely with a question from KV that I love. What if your current or first job doesn't develop the same skills that you want to develop, like, where you want to go in your career? How do you make sure that you don't get pushed away from where you want to go?
That's a really good question. It dovetails on the last one nicely. What I was gonna say is if the one that you're going for and you're applying for and you don't have those skills, take those skills and be like, okay, this is what I need to focus on for the future job that I want. Likewise, for some of that, there are ways -- so, like, it's two-fold. Try to build the skills that you need for the job that you want, as much as you can, but there is another piece that's, like, were there parts of the job that you have that you can highlight more on a resume? So, like, let's say my job technically was this and I want to do this other thing, there were maybe parts of something I did here that I can -- so, like, if I applied for a job over here, I would say, like, I did this role. Here are the things that I did that are around that area that I can kind of focus on highlighting in the resume. You're not lying, you're just highlighting the stuff that --
-- is most applicable for that role. And, likewise, if you have any GitHub projects or you have any other kind of pieces that you've done that are kind of like that role-centric, I've definitely seen -- so, I used to be an engineering manager. Like product engineer. In those role, some groups I manage are engineering. Some of them are more, you know, have hybrid advocacy and engineering. We get resumes sometimes from people who aren't an advocate but want to be an advocate. Sometimes what they do that is really effective is say all the things they do for their normal job and say here are the times I've spoken at tech conferences. Here are the articles I've written. I don't have an advocate role now, but I want to break in. That's awesome. That's great. That's something that we do want to see. So, that's just one example, right? The GraphQL is another one. You can say, well, I don't work 100% on GraphQL, but here's what I did do on a project at the company where I did use GraphQL or here's another side project where I used -- [ Inaudible ]
Yeah, so that's actually -- so, a follow-up that I've seen in a couple different forms here is how do you keep -- like, what are the right steps or helpful steps if you get rejected from a job to help turn that into your next opportunity?
Yeah, that's a great question. What I would say is it depends how far along in the process you got. If you got into any kind of interview stage, you're well within bounds to ask for feedback. I would say if you do ask for feedback, do not get defensive. Like --
-- you asked for feedback, so that was -- and they took time out of their -- again, remember, by the time they're hiring someone, they needed someone yesterday. They're taking time out of their busy schedule to try to think through what you can improve on. Don't take that and then yell back at them or post elsewhere that they were rude to you for giving feedback. Don't do that. So, like, if you go through the interview process, you get rejected, you can say, like, what could I have done better? I'm really earring to find another role. Sometimes when people ask those questions, they have gone on to get the job later. Like, we have somebody on our team that we passed up not because he was bad, but because there was someone else who was also really good, and then another role came up and he had asked for feedback, so we brought him -- I was like let's just skip past the interview stage, you can just take the job, and part of that is because of the open conversation we had about how the interviewing went right after. I mean --
He is lovely and wonderful.
You actually bring up a really good point. A lot of times if you don't get a job, it's not because you weren't great. I've been on multiple hiring panels where we've got four people we love. We want all four of them and got one rec. Ultimately, okay, everyone, put your heads down and let's do a vote. Who should we put on this team because we like them all? We just pick somebody. That means three people we'd love to work with did not get an offer.
Likewise, if you didn't get an offer, sometimes we're like front end needs somebody. Pass the candidate over there and see if that's aligned with what they want. If we really like you, we'll ask you if maybe you'll be open in six months when we get another rec or something. That works out for you and the team because then the team doesn't go, you know, have to go and find -- go through the whole search process again. So don't ever see the end of the interview as, like, the end of everything. Keep in touch. Write people thank you letters. I really remember if people write me a thank you letter after an interview.
Oh, good. It wasn't a bad process for them. That's awesome. Because we're stressed, too. Like, we want to have -- we want you to have a good experience. We're not, like, trying to, you know, bully people or anything. So, like, that's relieving to hear. And then the other piece of this is, like, if you didn't get to the interview process and people are just reviewing resumes, you can ask for feedback on a resume, but understand that if they do have 400 candidates, they are running super fast, they have a million things. If they don't respond to you, it doesn't mean that they are cruel and mean and things like that. They're probably just super busy and they don't have --
And some companies have policies where we can't give feedback. Where, you know, because there is -- there are issues with legal exposure. If you give somebody feedback and they don't like that feedback and you say it in the wrong way, you can get sued. So some companies just say you cannot give feedback because it's an unnecessary legal risk, in their eyes, which I disagree with that policy. I think that we should always be able to give some feedback, but I understand where it comes from, and I try not to take it personally if, you know, in the past when I've applied and asked for feedback and didn't get any. You know, I'm bummed. I would have loved to have gotten some feedback, but I also know that that is a policy that exists. There are so many good questions that I'm trying not to miss them. If you asked a question a long time ago that we didn't answer, maybe ask it again because there are so many questions in here. Oh, here we go. Is -- Linda asks, is there a good way to follow up if you liked a role and the interviews went well but you weren't chosen? I'm going to assume that you mean, like, if you wanted to see if there's another opportunity later or if you were trying to get feedback -- actually, let's go from both ways.
Yeah, I mean, we've definitely had that for sure. Like, in that last piece where we were talking through sending people a thank you note is one way. Asking people for feedback. Doing both also works. Like, thank you so much for your time and energy. I really appreciated our time together. Would you consider doing, you know, us, like, would you consider me in the future or something like that? Or do you have feedback for me or something like that? Those things are all within bounds, especially if you get to the interview process -- by the time you do the interview process, you're both investing in each other quite a bit, so you're within bounds to keep the door open. You can also say, like, things like let's keep in touch and, you know, you can keep in touch, too. There have also been applicants who don't just -- I'm the hiring manager, but a lot of other people are invested in that process, Jason being one. You don't have to just send it to me either. You can send it to someone who did a different part of the interview. You could send it to somebody who, you know, did a technical interview. Like, keeping people in the forefront of their minds like that can help you for sure.
Try not to put too much pressure on them, too, because it's -- I know that this sounds weird, but, like, it really sucks to reject -- candidates and you're like, oh, man, I really want all of them and we can only hire one of them. So, asking if for feedback's great. If you're like, no, no, I need better feedback than there was just another really good candidate, sometimes there is not a better answer than that.
So, that's a thing, too.
Badtime100 asks, do you have any thoughts on a first job seeker -- first tech job seeker with industry experience. I truly think the soft skills I learned are invaluable. I'm always unsure how I should try to leverage that in the hiring process. Listing coffee shop on a resume doesn't sound that appealing. How would you approach that?
I think if you can talk through -- so, you can list coffee shop if the description underneath talks through those soft skills that you have.
So if you're saying, like -- here are the skills that I developed that are absolutely going to help me in this role. That's totally great. It's just write everyone coffee shop and having that be the end of that is like, okay, I don't know what to do with that. It's not like they're going to be -- hopefully -- oh, I worked at a coffee shop. I'm sure a lot of other people worked at coffee shops before they got into tech. That's pretty normal. Make it relevant to the work experience.
A good example of this is I know when I was younger, I worked all sorts of service jobs. I worked in pizza places. I worked back of house, like stocking shelves in Target. Every single one of those jobs I had taught me something that has made me better at my job now, and I think the thing that we've got to flip is that feeling of, like, any skill that we have not being good enough because of how we got it. If you learned a skill, you learned a skill. It doesn't matter if you feel like working at a McDonald's isn't a glamorous job. You're going to have to try so much harder, chat, to bury us in boops. I made it much smaller and the time-out shorter, so you got to put in work. Oh, jeez, well, never dare the chat. What did I learn? Okay.
And what did we learn today?
Okay, nicely done. Okay. Okay. ( Laughter )
Go on Learn With Jason next for no reason.
We should have known when Cassidy showed up. I saw that subscription and knew that was gonna happen. It is lagging. We're overlading. This is probably, what, 1,000 boops at this point. Good. Good, good, good. [�Corgi barking�]
Let's see if this tiny shuts down the browser.
We were being serious for far too long.
Okay. All right, y'all. Okay. Good, good, good. Okay, so, we -- let's see, we lost some questions here.
Oh, you can do it. Come on, little compooper.
My little compooper stood up to the task today, at least. Questions, questions, questions. All boops. Okay, I lost your questions. If you've got questions, you better copy/paste those. How do you feel when a candidate initially said no and left the process, but afterwards asked again if the position is still available? Like somebody dropped out of an interview and then applied again? Is that the question? I'm gonna assume yes.
I don't think I've actually ever had that happen. So, I will just say what I think I would do in that scenario, which is to say that typically the interview process is a process of steps, and somebody -- if you waited too long in between saying that you wanted to drop out and re-engaging, other people probably went through a lot of steps in that time.
So, I mean, I think you can totally do that. It's just that they might be in a position where they're like, well, everyone else is now in technical interview and final stages, so we're not gonna kick it off again.
So, there's nothing wrong with that, I don't think. But companies do want people who are excited about the role, so if you -- if you dropped out because of, like, a family matter or something, I think most people would be super understanding about that, but if you said that you dropped out because you just weren't interested in the role and come back in and say, now I am, they probably have a bunch of other candidates and they're -- I mean, I'm just assuming they have other candidates.
If they have a bunch of other candidates, it probably puts you at the bottom of the pile.
Yeah, I definitely think there is a -- there is a signal that gets sent. Like, if you're only halfway in on a job and you, like, leave because you think you can do better and then you come back and say, well, actually, I'll settle for you, that's not a -- that doesn't send me a strong signal that you're super invested in this job. So, typically speaking, I think if that was the case -- if it was, like -- and there's a difference between, you know, like I'm in three hiring pipelines and this one just made me an offer and you're a month out on getting an offer. That's different. If you need to eat, you need to eat. There is, you know, I think you should play offers against each other, but there is also a signal sent when you get a company to play the offer up because you're obviously trying to get the other job at a higher salary. You know, we can feel when people play those games, and it doesn't feel good to be the pawn in that game.
There are companies that will just make the hiring manager walk away. Literally won't even be the hiring manager's decision if they start to hear that there is, like, a competitive salary thing. Some people will just be like, we're not playing that game. Move on to the next candidate and the hiring manager just has to follow suit. So, some of those won't even be up to the people who are interviewing you. They just don't want to get into a comp battle. That definitely does happen. The other thing is, it depends on where you are in your career, too. If you are doing something that's super specialized and a company needs your particular talents and you're one of a few who can do that job really well, you can totally do all of these things. If you're a junior developer and just starting in the industry and a lot of people have the skill set you do, they're probably not going to stand for it. Some of that has to do with scarcity things, right?
It's kind of a demand/surplus or whatever thing that applies to jobs, too.
Yeah, yeah, I think that's definitely like a -- actually, that brings up a question that I have. What would you say are the things that are, like, yellow to red flags? If you see somebody do this in an interview, you're almost immediately like, eh, that's probably someone I'm gonna pass on?
Yeah, great question. We covered a couple of them already. For your resume, if you have a bunch of grammatical and spelling errors and things, I'm going to assume you didn't care too much about your resume. That's an attention to detail thing that also isn't super good for your job either. The other thing is, we do do those, like, little bias tests of seeing if someone only talked to Jason and nobody else in the room. That's a -- that's a hard pass. Another hard pass is, yeah, being rude to recruiters is another hard pass thing. Being rude to anyone, probably. Like, you're not interviewing that long. If you can't not be rude for an hour, that's probably not a good sign. ( Laughter ) Let's see. There's not a lot of, like, super hard pass things, but they tend to be a little more human than anything else
I wouldn't say, like, oh, my God, you wrote your code with, you know, spaces versus tabs is not gonna get you the job. Gonna end up being something like, oh, you were not nice to my staff. I don't think so.
Mm-hmm. So, the chat built a little pyramid voting up salary negotiation. So, salary negotiation, it's a super sensitive topic, and there's a ton -- like a thousand nuanced points to this, but do you have some general guidelines how to do it without getting yourself into trouble?
I have a really good suggestion for this one because I was always really bad at this. I went to this seminar where we talked about this a few years back and it's really helped. So, what I try to do is pretend I'm negotiating for my friend, instead of me. What I noticed was when Val and I were doing web animation workshops, I was better at doing negotiation because I didn't want to screw her over. And when I did it just for myself, I was having a hard time because I'm like, ooh, am I really worth that and stuff? And, like, oh, maybe I'm not that good and things like that. So, like, pretending that you're advocating for someone else and, like, based on their experience, what would you suggest that they, you know, that they negotiate for? A lot of companies will use things like pay scale or Linkedin has one. GitLab has one. There are a bunch of pay calculators. This is another thing that the hiring manager will not necessarily have control over. Sometimes they do, but a lot of times they don't. Like at Microsoft, I didn't even -- when I was hiring at Microsoft, unless it was a whole new band that was just being invented on the spot, which is not typical. It happens, but it's not typical. I didn't even see what the salary negotiation was. I wasn't even involved in that process. I would level them, and they'd pick that band and then they'd negotiate elsewhere for me and let me know if it went okay or not.
Sometimes people are against a rock for those, looking at that pay scale piece, and it does change depending on if you're at a FANG company versus a small start-up. You can expect to be paid a little bit more if you're going to a Microsoft or Amazon or something like that than if you are at a start-up. The other piece of start-up, though, is if you go down in salary, consider equity. Like, if you -- if you're going into a start-up that has a lot of potential, that equity can be worth a lot of money eventually some day, so if they can't match your salary bands for, like, what you want, that's something to negotiate. Also, remember you can negotiate for things other than money.
So, if a company has a hard thing on vacation time, you might negotiate for vacation time if they can't meet your salary requirements. If you have a thing, like you want certain equipment to do your job. That's something that you could potentially negotiate. Something like -- what was the other one? Oh, one time at Zillow -- so, at Zillow they had a hard no remote work thing. I negotiated that I got remote work because I wanted to go to conferences sometimes.
So, that was a piece of my negotiation at that company. I would say that most -- and this is not a hard and fast rule, so do -- take this with the largest grain of salt in the world. A lot of companies are going to expect that you might negotiate one round and not more than one round.
A lot of companies will also walk away if you start to negotiate beyond that one round. So, that's not a hard and fast rule. Do not write that down and say, like, that is the key to everything, and every company's a little bit different, and, again, that scarcity thing, if you do a job that no one else does, you have more leeway than anybody else. But that's kind of where that usually is at.
Yeah. You can negotiate. Like, there are also all these things that aren't salary that companies provide. Like, a good example of this is, you know, a 401(k) match. If a company is willing to match you 5% on your 401(k), that's a 5% salary increase because they're giving you free money. Yeah, you don't get it until you're 65. That's maybe not the worst thing in the world if you're like me and you like to buy expensive cheeseburgers. There is that. There is gym allowances. There is childcare. There's all these things that companies are sometimes flexible on. And so if they can't give you -- as Sarah said, pay bands can be rigid, you know? They might say, well, you can pay somebody between this amount and this amount and we cannot exceed this amount. Okay. Find other ways to get that extra value.
And you can usually look -- there are companies that will post company handbooks online. You might be able to do some research about what they do provide and where those things are. You can ask those questions, too. Oh, I remember the most important thing about salary negotiation that helped me the most the most. You can listen to a number that they say and then leave the call. You can absolutely -- you do not have to answer. You can just say, thank you, okay, let me think about it and then hang up the phone and go talk to all your friends and gather a good consensus. Is that really in your range? Is it -- always have them say the first number, too, because you don't want to, like, get into a thing where -- a good recruiter will ask you what your general salary expectations are. That's totally okay, but typically what they'll do is they'll call you with a specific thing of giving you the offer. They'll say the offer. You can say then I'll think about it. Let me get back to you within 24 hours. Usually give them a time you're going to get back to them by.
Hang up the phone and then think about it. It's really stressful in that moment to decide your entire future. It's super hard to negotiate if you haven't thought through what you're going to say and you don't know what they said.
I would highly suggest that. Try to get back to them sooner than 24 hours. Because it's stressful for them, too.
Yeah, I mean, as a recruiter, you're up against a wall, and typically you're kind of playing the go-between between a team that really wants to be done interviewing and a candidate who really wants, you know, a job that means a lot to them, and everybody's impatient. And, again, that kind of comes down to that respectfulness, right? If you show that empathy and compassion for everybody in the process and, you know, that means a lot. If you're kind of off doing your own thing and we're like, hey, we need an answer and you're like, yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll get back to you. Okay, you're showing us something we didn't want to see here.
Also, you -- if you wait too long, they will start prepping another candidate.
Yes. I --
So, don't sit on that forever.
Another thing that I think is useful, typically if you're talking to a recruiter, if they are hiring for a position really early in the conversation, you can ask what the range -- like, the salary range is for a position. And they know. They know that answer and, like, unless the company's doing something shifting, they're probably down to talk about salary ranges because they don't want to waste your time either. If I know for sure I need to make this amount and the company's only willing to pay 50% of that amount, we should stop talking right now. Like, I don't want to waste your time. You don't want to waste mine. You should interview somebody who doesn't have, like, misaligned expectations, and so that, you know, it's -- and also if you're someone who typically undervalues yourself and, you know, you're going to walk into a job and say, like, I don't know, I'd work for, like, 50 grand but the salary range is 75 to 100, you might sell yourself significantly short by not knowing what the range is. So, it's -- it does everybody a favor. It's a very good question to ask and honestly shows me some maturity in your career if that's a question that I see, because it shows that you're thinking about it. You're not just going like, I don't know, I'll see if I like the job and reason myself into taking whatever the salary is.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. There is a question in here that was, like, do the Dev rels do an interview at Netlify? I wrote an article about our team. We have this, like, hybrid engineering developer advocate role. There are three teams in developer experience. One is the developer experience engineer. They're the hybrid advocate engineers. One is integrations. So, that's kind of, like, Next JS integration, making sure that that framework works really well. Platform, right now we're hiring for a lead for that team. Then there is the documentation team. They just moved under us recently. I wrote this whole article about the whole team and what we do, and so the answer to that question -- sorry, it's long winded. The answer to that question is, yes, the Dev experience engineers participate in interviews for those groups within that wider org.
So, like Jason, even though he's on the Developer Experience Team has participated in integration engineering interviews as well.
Yeah. It's -- and I think somebody asked earlier if, like, everybody on the team interviews new candidates -- and that used to be true, but the team's big enough now that that's not always true. It doesn't make sense for somebody to have to have 15 interviews to get a job. You should have a limit of interviews, and maybe that's a good question. So, for somebody who is actually hiring, what is the right number of interviews? Should you have, like, an interview and a tech interview and then you make an offer or is it, you know, a bunch?
Yeah, it's a great question. So, the things that are immovable is the hiring manager interview, the recruiter interview, which the recruiter interview is more like a screen, so that usually happens before my hiring manager one. And then there is a technical interview. If you pass all of those then we put you into team interviews. We don't do everyone on the team now that the team is too big to do that. We used to do that, but now the team is quite large. You'd be in interviews forever. So, what we do is we pick the people who you're gonna be working the closest with, and also secret door two, people who are really honest. So, I will sometimes put someone on an interview panel who I know will give me very direct feedback about a candidate, especially if we get into a round where everyone's really good. Then I kind of count on that person to be the person who is like, yeah, but -- and that can be kind of a Clincher. So, that's kind of, like, I don't think every team does it that way, but, like, hopefully you're in the, like, five or six interview realm. If what you're doing is super pivotal. If you are hiring for a lead role or a VP role or a CPO role, it gets much more complicated from there. You're going to interview with more people. If you're at, like, a VPC level role thing, you might even have to meet with board members and stuff.
Absolutely. Okay. So, let's see. Ooh, Linda has a great question. How do you go about figuring out what type of companies and roles you want to work for? So, this is one that has been really near and dear to my heart because I started out as a freelance web developer. I've worked as an application engineer. I've worked in Dev rel. I've worked in writing. I've done management. And all time I was like, is this the right place -- is this the role that I want? Is this the thing that's good for me? So how have you -- you've done the same thing. You've worked in, like, every role in engineering. How do you -- how did you decide what was the right role for you and kind of identify the things that you should and shouldn't do?
Yeah, I mean, I would say sometimes it came to me and sometimes I came to them. Like, the engineering manager role for Zillow, they approached me for that one. Same with Microsoft. And, you know, there have been a couple of things like that, but for Netlify, I asked Netlify if I could work for them. And I filled out --
We have this, like, "your dream job" applicant thing. I filled that out. So, I think sometimes people are like, do people really look at these? Yeah, I got my job that way. That one in particular was really interesting because I was thinking, like, what is the thing I really want to be doing now and who is doing this the best? And what I came up with was Netlify. Like, Netlify is this -- and I'm sounding salesy, but this is true. I really believe in Netlify's product, which makes it easy to work for them. I really think it has great developer experience. They walk the walk in that way. They try to make that experience as smooth as possible. I've just thought to myself, like, rather than trying to convince every other company to care about the things that I care about, I'd like to work at a company where that's my core function, is working with people who, like, that's their bread and butter, that's where their values are.
That part excited me so much. You know, for that one in particular, the founders were really great. They allowed me to kind of sculpt the department and things, so that might be a little unique, but I definitely did apply to Netlify because I felt like our values must be aligned. Look at this product. This is the thing that I think is one of the most interesting things in tech right now. I want to work on that.
Yeah. And if you are in a position where you're just trying to figure out where you should focus your energy, an exercise that I've done that's been really, really helpful for me is to write down all of the things that I do, and that's gonna be everything from, like, email to writing code to, you know, getting on phone calls with people, and I put those in a list and then I make a matrix. That matrix is four squares. And from left to right, I go --
Ask you to do the -- is this the values one?
It's similar. Left to right, it's I hate this to I love this. Bottom to top is I'm bad at this to I'm good at this. I start plotting out the tasks, and I look for what falls most in the I'm good at this and enjoy this square. If I can find jobs that mostly keep me in that square, I know that's a role that I'm gonna enjoy. When I'm looking at how I should grow and advance, I start looking at I really liked this, but I'm not very good at it. Maybe some of my role can be getting better at these things that I enjoy. That help me plot out a growth path. Don't write coding. What kind of coding? Because there are types of writing code that feel really good to me, and there are types of writing code that drain me of energy. So, you know, was I creating something? Was I, like, looking at a blank canvas and trying to come up with a new idea? Was I diving into legacy code and trying to untangle this really complicated problem? We get energy from different types of work. If you can identify which ones leave you feeling like, man, I did so much today, what a great day and eliminate the ones that are like I can't believe I lost this much time. If you can differentiate, you can start to plot a path forward.
This is really similar to what I made Jason and everyone on the team do, too. Not exactly the same, but similar. Writing down all the things you do every day. You write four quadrants and decide what your highest values are, right? Like, connecting with the community is a value. Making money is a value. Building one-on-one things with folks is a value. Getting better at programming is a value. So, you decide what those are, and you plot the things that you're doing into those squares, and the things that are in multiple squares, like, the things that are covering all of the bases are the things that you should be double downing on. Sometimes you might be like, this doesn't go in any box. It's not making me money. It's not helping the community. I'm not getting better at programming. Why am I doing this? And then you can kind of go from there. I did this exercise a few years back and realized, like, wow, doing staff writing for CSS-Tricks fits all of my values, and I hadn't really, like, prioritized that at that point and thought, like, I need to make sure that I always leave space for that activity because it means a lot to me. So, it kind of, like, just like what Jason's saying, if you think of a framework where you can kind of sort through and, like, tell yourself those pieces, that can actually help you a lot. I really agree with everything Jason said. I'm pointing the wrong way again.
It's hard, isn't it? I do this all the time. I want to point at -- nope, this way. You can't see, like, we're not mirrored to ourselves. When you're on Zoom, you're mirrored, so it's like, oh, I want to touch my right ear. Wait, no, that's not it. But so with that, I think -- I mean, like, I don't think the specifics to the exercise matters. What matters is you are thinking critically about where you get value. And making sure that, like, if you're doing work on stuff that you just -- you're like ugh, don't do that. Try to find ways to move yourself in another direction. If you're not doing work and you're learning, kind of the same rules apply. Like, what types of learning when you get done learning that thing are you just like, dang, I feel great that I was able to get that thing working? Versus the things that leave you just feeling like, ugh, I hate learning stuff, you know? And hopefully as you get better, more and more things are fun to learn, but, like, I definitely found that, you know, in my career, curiosity has been the number one driver of me developing. I make a joke all the time, like, play until it pays. I really do think finding ways to be playful while you're learning, it helps you identify areas where you just you clearly have an interest and you're gonna go grow.
Yeah, absolutely. And, like, that can also go for communication aspects, too, right? Like, there are probably -- like teams where they value similar types of communication that you do.
Looking out for those things as well. Any time you can kind of sort through what your values are, that helps you understand if people are aligned or not aligned with you, and can probably save you some heartbreak, headache things down the road. If the company's values are similar to yours, then you're probably going to have a much better time than if you're at a company where -- like, some demoralization, some burnout doesn't come from -- not all, but some burnout doesn't come from a huge amount of work, it comes from misalignment. If you're working on something like, I don't know why I'm doing this. I don't get the value. I don't feel valued. Like, those kind of things. Those pieces can impact you over time, and it's really important to land at a company where you're kind of swimming in the same direction there.
Absolutely. Well, yeah, so -- and that, I think, is -- like, you don't necessarily need to get a new job, too. If you're at a big company and realize you want to be somewhere else, that helps you inform, like, talk to your manager about what -- how could you modify your role? How could you maybe transfer to another team? How could you help on take different types of projects to take you in another direction? A great manager is going to do that. I know this is going to sound like pandering, but Sarah is my manager, and one of the things that I really value about this job is that when I have an idea, I'll go to Sarah and say, I have this idea, I think it works, I'm not sure why, and then she'll just support it. She's like, okay, well, how can we tie this to goals? How can we make sure you get the opportunity to try this? How do we measure whether or not it was successful? She creates an environment to try things and learn and grow. That, to me, you know, that's why I work at Netlify. You can work a lot of places, and as you get further in your career, you'll start to find there are opportunity all over the place, right? You get to be choosey. Which is the best, most fortunate feeling in the world, you crossed that level where you get to pick. So then you just got to start -- you pick for your heart, for your long term, for your happiness and health and, you know, you'll -- you can find that company. And it's, you know, there are more companies than just Netlify. I think Netlify is very, very good at this, but I know a lot of people who are super happy in their roles because they have leadership structures like these where they get these opportunities to grow and expand and try new things, and I think that's where we see a lot of innovation and serious growth for both companies and people come from.
Jason's going to make me cry and I spent the entire episode saying, like, I was going to beat him at burgers.
Don't worry. Okay. So, here's what I will say. If you go ahead and maybe for somebody who is -- let me look and see if there is another question here that we can answer. Ooh, this is good. Okay. So, there is a -- kind of an implicit differentiation between introverts and extroverts. Extroverts can go out and network. I know you're a bit of an introvert. Which you might not believe. So, I'm going to take my headphones off and get something to troll you with while you talk about introversion versus extroversion and I will be right back.
No. Okay. As Jason mentioned, you probably wouldn't know this from speaking and things like that, but I am an introvert. I can do things like this, but they drain all of my energy, right? Some people get their energy from feeding off other people, and some people get their energy from being alone. I get my energy from being alone. So, like, once we do this, I have a few other meetings today, but then I'll probably go in a hole by myself and code so that I can recharge and get some juices back. And, like, people have even called that out to me at conferences that, like, I'm also quite small. Like you can't tell because no one else is here. Jason is, like, way taller than me. If at conferences there is a lot of large people around me, I can start to feel like the walls are closing in on me. Like, okay, I have to go sit in a bathroom stall for a little while now. So, for those interview -- like, the way that this relates to those interview processes, it's not that introverts can't interview, it's that you have to -- I would highly suggest scheduling yourself some time before and afterwards to decompress and, like, gather yourself. I usually need a little bit of time before I'm going to be performative in any way or talking to people in any way to kind of just, like, pre-emptively charge up so that I'm okay during the interview. It's probably much easier for someone like Jason who is obviously very extroverted and, like, lovely all the time to chat with. So, I would say that you can absolutely do a great job as an interview and introvert in interview processes, but it might just need a little bit more self-care and baking in some time to, like, prep and focus yourself.
Yeah. So, with that, I'm going to put an end to the questions because we got to do this T-Shirt giveaway. And also I just want to remind Sarah that while she's talking all of that crap about burgers, she is the one who chickened out of the burger battle, which means that I still hold the belt.
I did not chicken out of the burger battle. I did not make COVID happen. He keeps saying that I chickened out and made a pandemic so I wouldn't have to -- that belt is beautiful and it will be mine.
This belt, I made this belt ostensibly for the winner, but, really, I thought it was going to look really good on me, so, you know, it's fine. Whenever you -- whenever you're not scared anymore, you can come bring your -- you can come bring your burger game and we'll see who gets to keep this belt. ( Laughter )
All of your trolling is going to come back to smack you when you lose.
I did also -- there is a spatula, but I have to get the spatula remade because I put a year on it. I thought we were doing it in 2020. The spatula says the loser of the burger battle.
You've been using the loser spatula?
No, I haven't been using it. I have to get a new one made because it's got the 2020 on it. But, yeah, so with that, I'm gonna do another quick shout-out to the sponsors, and then we're gonna pick some T-Shirt winners. So, remember, this show is live captioned. We've had Jordan with us all day today helping us out. Thank you so much for that. Jordan's here from White Coat Captioning. And our live captions is made possible by Netlify, fauna, Auth0 and Hasura, all of whom kick in to make the show more accessible to more people, which I very much appreciate. I'm sure the moment you've all been waiting for, we're going to give away some Drasnerd T-Shirts. Remember, if you don't win one of these T-Shirts, you can go ahead and purchase one over these right here on custom ink. Thank you so much to Dizzy for putting this together.
My husband did that to me like two years ago and it's like the troll that will never die.
Never again will this die. So, now I'm going to start picking winners if Streamlabs stops fighting me on it. Come on. Here we go. We're gonna pick some winners. Our first winner is Alexis Nostromo. Congratulations. Let's do -- I'm going to do five of these. Let's put five Drasnerd T-Shirts out into the world. Our next winner is arrowice7. We're gonna give one to El Pedro Latigre. I like that name. One more. UnmarkedEvans. Dig it. Okay. Last one, Natenorberg. All right, y'all, I'm super excited to get these out. Please reach out to me in a whisper on Twitch or in a DM on Twitter so I can get your information to send these to you. If you did not win today, go buy these T-Shirts anyways. And, remember, we have so much good stuff coming up on the show. We have -- Emma is coming up on Tuesday. I think Emma might be sick, so if Emma's sick, we'll do a solo stream, do something fun. Probably work on the overlays or something like that. Then we've got Laurie Barth, who has been in the chat today, talking about building Babel plug-ins. Colby and next JS. That's going to be really fun. We're going to do serverless marketing automation. It's going to be such a great next few weeks on the show. Go add the schedule to your Google calendar to follow all the fun. Make sure to join us live. It's more fun when you can drop boops all over the place and cover us in Corgis. Thank you everyone for hanging out with us today. Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us about this today. It was so much fun
Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure.
Chat, stay tuned. We're going to go find somebody to raid. We will see you all next time.
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