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Category: jobs

There are 3 posts published under jobs.

Minimize Culture Shock: Corporate to Tech Startup

The decision to leave the white picket fences of Corporate America and enter the proverbial startup garage is never made on a whim. There are the obvious pros and cons that everyone takes into consideration: lack of structure, creative freedom, more flexibility, and risk. However, simply being aware of the startup world’s reputation hardly prepares someone for life as a tech entrepreneur.


Take my co-founder, for instance: She was extremely goal-oriented and ambitious, which, on the surface, seemed like a recipe for success as a startup founder. However, the culture shock of an unstructured environment with a high degree of uncertainty eventually motivated her to return to Corporate America.


The tech entrepreneurial world is full of risk and constant change. And, as I saw, firsthand,when founding Noomii, those traits can be especially hard to adapt to when you’re fresh out of the 9-to-5 lifestyle. Still, there are a few ways to remedy this sudden shift from structure to chaos. Below are some tips to ease the transition from Corporate America to the tech startup world.


3 Tips for Transitioning to the Startup World


1. Communicate with friends and family. Plan out your expectations for your new venture and communicate those expectations to loved ones. Your family members may have their own expectations or fears during this transition. Trading the guaranteed salary and hours of a 9-to-5 job for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship can be hard on spouses and children.


Remedy their doubt by clearly explaining how long you have to take a swing at it, and tell supporters what you want to achieve during this time — preferably measurable outcomes. As an added bonus to laying out clear expectations, you wind up improving your own personal accountability for the next few months or years.


2. Find a collaborative working environment. Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator, is a huge fan of tech hubs. And, although you don’t necessarily need to move to Silicon Valley to find this type of environment, it’s important that you find those small (or large) pockets of tech people that every city is bound to have.


Once you find those techies, find a way to work near them, such as in an incubator or co-working space. Working in an atmosphere of tech collaboration and innovation allows you to bounce ideas off other like-minded people and, perhaps most importantly, helps you stay motivated during those inevitable downturns.


3. Get a mentor or coach. Leaving the structure of a corporate job and moving to a place of personal accountability can often be the biggest challenge. However, finding a mentor or business coach can help you get the most out of each day, ensuring you don’t get emotionally overwhelmed by the challenges of running a startup.


Whomever you turn to, make sure it’s someone who has your best interests at heart and can help you plan, track, and optimize your short- and long-term goals. Seeking the counsel of someone who has done it before can help you avoid the pitfalls of first-time entrepreneurs and help you gain perspective when things get rocky.


Call it a culture shock, a tough transition, or simply the trials that come with starting your own business — no matter how great your idea is or how ambitious you are, any tech entrepreneur transitioning from the corporate world is bound to hit a few bumps in the road. But by communicating with your family, finding a collaborative work environment, and seeking help from someone who can advise you, you can focus on growing your business.


Dos and Don'ts of Hiring on Github

If you’re a developer or involved in hiring at a startup, you’re almost certainly using Github. Over the past couple of years, the popular code sharing platform has become the unofficial resumé of developers. But recently, the practice of requesting Github profiles as a hiring filter has come under fire in the startup community.


Github hosts source code using the git version control system. It’s free for public, open source projects and paid for private repositories. Along with the normal git features, Github also adds social features like issue tracking, Twitter-like following, and activity feeds.


While Github makes code social, it doesn’t inherently make developers more social. This is where the hiring controversy begins. In essence, Github creates a bigger cafeteria for social coders to be social, but don’t expect to find the more introverted developers through Github. And don’t expect to easily find women or other tech minorities since the vast majority of the most prolific Github contributors are white males.


So why do startups use Github to pre-filter technical candidates?


The short answer is that hiring developers is notoriously difficult. Technical, communication, and cultural skills are all key variables in the process. Finding the right balance is more art than science, and when time is of the essence, technical founders turn to what they know best: code reviews.


The best candidates come through referrals from friends or employees who have previously worked with the candidate at another job. The next best candidates come from chance meetings at conferences, meet ups, or other in-person gatherings. Just like in romantic dating, an in-person meeting can quickly sum up the candidate’s ability to communicate and interact with others. This establishes “culture fit,” but the follow-up is often to refer back to the candidate’s Github account if it wasn’t completely clear if he or she is strong enough to proceed to a more formal interview.


A quick look at a developer’s Github account can reveal if the person is an active open source contributor. However, using open source activity as a hiring indicator will most likely filter out better candidates for a startup by prematurely narrowing the search.


So how should Github be used to hire developers?


Let’s start with The Don’ts:


1. Don’t look at a candidate’s Github account until after he or she has passed some other hiring threshold: referral, cultural fit, etc.


2. Don’t browse a candidate’s public repositories without some additional context; developers use public repos for many reasons, most of which have nothing to do with officially releasing open source software.


3. Don’t pay any attention to a candidates followers count; it’s a useless metric.


Doing any of the don’ts is not only a waste of time, it will prematurely bias the hiring process to a narrower group of candidates. Startups thrive on diversity within the bounds of common goals, experience, and cultural fit. Don’t take diversity for granted.


The Dos:


1. Ask for a link to a specific repo on Github that the candidate has authored; only do this after pre-qualifying the candidate through some other means.


2. Open source as much of your startup’s code as you can justify; contributing value to the open source community is a great way to attract potential candidates.


3. Pay attention to any developers that submit pull requests to your open source projects; this pre-qualifies the candidate as being interested in your startup and likely having requisite technical skills.


4. Follow open source projects related to your startup and reach out to the contributors; if they like your startup, they might be interested in working with you or referring someone.


The one other “do” that’s worth mentioning is to take a look at a candidate’s contributions to other projects. It’s the author’s experience that every good developer runs into bugs with open source software, and pretty much every startup uses some amount of open source code. Contributing a bug fix is a great indicator of ability to understand other people’s code and solve problems. Unfortunately, Github currently limits viewing contributions to the past month.


In Summary


In conclusion, don’t use Github as a technical resumé. Use it as it was intended: a place to contribute and socialize around open source code. The best way to use Github to hire people is to write open source code that other developers want to use and contribute to.


Special thanks to Ashe Dryden and her article on the ethics of the open source community.


To Millennials, The Resume Is No More Valuable Than The Paper It’s Written On

The traditional resume helped millions land that “dream job,” or maybe simply “that job to pay the bills.” But, despite its pervasiveness, I have to wonder if it’s time for an overhaul. The traditional written resume simply cannot convey why a person gets out of bed in the morning and what gets him or her excited.

The inability of the resume to communicate this type information also leads to inefficiency in the qualification process and results in bad hires. Yet, ascertaining this data quickly and effectively is exactly how you find the ideal new employee for your company.


The decline of the resume coincides with the maturation of millennials who have come to be known as creative, resourceful, energetic, outgoing, and–unlike their baby-boomer parents–they do not plan to stay at one job for the next thirty years. They want to be employed by organizations that support their ambitions, share their passions and work toward shared goals. Most millennials hope to live to work, not work to live.


In order to attract this generation of new talent, companies must consider the entire person. It seems trite, but it speaks to the fact that more than 50 percent of professional placements fail. The truth is that, when employees are happy overall, they are more productive and have longer tenure at the company–maximizing a company’s success. But no part of a resume communicates the passions, aspirations, likes, dislikes and other personal dimensions of an applicant. That is why the recruiting process has so many tedious layers, including qualifying resumes, conducting a pre-screen and then holding the formal interview. A traditional interview can take anywhere from four to nine rounds. There has to be a better way to both streamline the process and ensure successful matches between employer and employee.


The good news is there are technologies coming to market that can solve this challenge by integrating video and big data analytics to communicate all the dimensions of a job-seeker and the hiring company. A ivdeo of a candidate brings that person to life in a way that a resume simply cannot. Rather than words on a page, with video the jobseeker is suddenly an actual person with facial expressions, cadence and a style. This vital information is impossible to communicate with a traditional resume–even a digital one. Obtaining a holistic view of the candidate prior to the first interview enables employers to determine if this person has the right attitude and energy to work for the company. As a result, it can effectively eliminate the “pre-screen” step in many instances. In addition to saving time, this is important, because phone screens rarely tell the full story considering up to 80 percent of communications comes through non-verbal queues. Such insight is simply not possible with a resume.


Additionally, many online tools enable recruiters to spam potential job seekers, which is counterproductive for everyone. A more prudent approach is to contact job-seekers only when they are ready to make a transition to a new opportunity. The same goes for companies looking to hire people.  The vast majority of responses companies get from a posting don’t meet the requirements clearly spelled out in a job description or posting. Candidates and companies should only engage when: 1) A candidate has expressed an interest in transitioning and has clearly articulated what they are looking for in their next opportunity, 2) A candidate meets the requirements the company needs and they represent a strong match based on mutual goals.  Again, this reduces the time associated with wading through and interviewing countless applicants that would never be a fit for the position.


This type of technology empowers businesses of all sizes and job-seekers at all levels to find the perfect match with one another. A resume may find a job or a new employee, but it rarely finds a “perfect match.”


If recruiters begin to look at all aspects of a candidate, they will attract talent that is a holistic fit for the company - resulting in longer employee tenures. This heightens productivity and maximizes investment. This is particularly important, considering that it can cost upwards of $18,000 to select a new employee. Even worse, the cost of losing an employee can be up to 213 percent of the employee’s salary. Recruiters and hiring managers must look to more robust technology than the resume in order to drill into a candidate’s passion and goals. And job seekers must employ these same tools to sell themselves in a more effective way and let companies know they are passionate not just about the work, but about their personal ambitions.