Simple like Whoa

Why yes, I am self important enough to think that y’all would want a little more info about why I’ve decided to choose Simple as my next home. That, and I’m literally so ecstatic about the move and am chomping at the bit to share!

The past few years I’ve definitely been searching for something in my career and it’s unintentionally left me feeling a bit like Goldilocks. The thing is, I won’t/don’t settle. I am 100% of the mindset that if a company is not treating you well or providing a mutually beneficial relationship then it’s time to leave. I’ve personally lent guidance to many employees at companies I’ve worked at regarding next steps (sometimes that’s within the company and sometimes it’s not). The thing is, if you *really* care about an employee you want the best for them, and sometimes you just can no longer provide that, and IT’S OKAY.

Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk more about Simple!

If y’all have read any of my blogs before you know I live for bulleted lists so let’s jump right in.

Why Simple:

  • The People: I’ve been fortunate enough to know Will Maier/Whilp, Simple’s VP Eng, through the community for a few years and we had a chance to cross paths again at this years Monitorama when I gave my ‘Open Source Lessons from Taylor Swift‘ lighting talk (I too have no clue why he spoke to me after that). A month or so later Will reached out to me on twitter. whilp.JPGI’m adding this DM because 1) this is the most ‘Jill’ response ever & 2) because having a VP reach out to you and say something that lovely will impact you (take note people trying to build teams!). From there I was introduced to more and more Simple employees and, I sh*t you not, each one was more impressive than the last. Sure, everyone was very smart and capable, but more than anything, every single person wanted to connect with me on a human level, which is something I have never experienced in any recruitment process.
  • The People Team: As y’all have probably come to realize, I’m a weird bird, both in life and work. I have a very difficult time fitting into a ‘traditional’ HR department, frankly, because I don’t belong in a traditional HR department. In order for me to be successful it’s critical that those on my greater People team have the same focus; the humans who work at the company, and that they are willing to go outside the box to ensure everyone is properly cared for and fostered at work. I strongly believe that recruitment/hiring doesn’t end with offer letter signed, it’s literally just the first step in an ongoing relationship with the individuals who work at the company. Simple’s People team is second to none. I am already smitten with every member and cannot wait to collaborate/learn from each other in the effort to make a great environment even better.
  • The Mission/Values: It’s very evident to me that Simple gives a sh*t (you know that’s my favorite) about the humans who work there AND their customers. Sounds ‘simple’ (I couldn’t help myself), but in reality most companies end up feeling like it has to be one or the other. Look, everyone at Simple screws up (I haven’t even started work there yet and I can 100% attest to this) BUT, what is different is that they have been able to create a space full of empathy and learning. They WANT to do good and when they aren’t doing something well (in anything from a feature they wish they could provide to their customers to a more diverse culture), they openly admit it and ask ‘how can we do better?’
  • Remote Friendly Culture: When looking for a new position, I had no intentions of moving, so remote was a prerequisite (as it is for MANY people searching for opportunities for one reason or another). Simple is headquartered in Portland, OR and has about 30% or so remote employees. This was important not only for me, but as someone who is well engrained in the market for technical talent I fundamentally believe that if you are not open to remote employees you are doing yourself a detriment. Additionally, having traveled *SO* much the past few years, it will be a nice change to have headquarters a mere train ride away.
  • The Opportunity: If you’re not familiar with Simple, they are in the business of, *buzzword alert*, disrupting the way traditional banking works with a dash of beautiful design, swoon. Simple.JPGIn my role as Technical Community Manager, I’ll not only be supported to do my ‘spreading the good word in the community’ spin on recruitment, but I’ll also be able to help their current recruitment team transition from more of an order taker role to one of a strategic partner within the teams they recruit for, double swoon.

As you can probably tell, I’m very excited to kick off this new phase in my career and I couldn’t have dreamt of a better team to do it with. That being said, I’ll be taking a few well earned weeks off before I get started in Mid October. Until then, I’ll just casually link to their career site as I know they are hiring like whoa.

Thanks to everyone for their continued support, well wishes and love. The feeling is so mutual <3

Becoming the Differentiator: Original Post – November 17, 2015

The profession of technical recruiting as we know it is dying. Yes, I said it, and not flippantly, this is my profession! Engineers and other tech types currently hold all the cards and frankly, they aren’t our biggest fans. I’m certainly not implying we should throw in the towel, but as the industry changes we have to as well.

In the current state most recruiters have been directed to focus on filling seats and being numbers driven in order to be successful. Unfortunately for us, a lot of this process (screening resumes, testing for tech talent, scheduling, sending offers) can all be automated. How can we change the way that recruitment works to ensure our position in the future of tech? We must realize that we can be the differentiator by focusing on being relationship builders instead of just seat fillers.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • Unemployment is around 2-3% for engineers
  • Technical salaries continue to skyrocket (remind me again why I went I to college for psychology?!)
  • The need for technical talent is the common thread between most companies

You may think, “All of these points should ensure job security for a recruiter.” It seems that way, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. The truth of the matter is 89% (okay, I made up that number, but it’s got to be close) of techies dislike recruiters and would probably prefer to have minimal interaction with them. Because of this, recruiters will soon need to prove their worth in onboarding talent in order to keep their jobs.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 2.42.10 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-16 at 2.47.38 PM

To remain relevant we need to consider what we know about potential candidates and how we can evolve to become a more strategic component of the hiring process.

What we know about techs:

  • They want details. Techs want to speak with individuals at their potential company that know the intricacies of the future job. Most of the time, a recruiter can only tell them surface level details so they see us as an unimportant step.
  • They hate wasting time. Interviewing can be a long and drawn out process and since we “control” it, we look like the bad guys blocking them from being hired sooner.
  • They are all special snowflakes.  I’m sure you’ve noticed the hate out there for mass emailing potential candidates and this stems from the desire to be treated as an individual. For instance, having “python” on your LinkedIn profile doesn’t mean you are qualified for every python developer role and it certainly doesn’t qualify you for every developer role ever.
  • They expect you to be bad at your job. Look no further than

How recruiters can counteract those points:

  • They want details.  Sure, you might not be able to fill in all the details about a technical role, but this is when you sell them on the intangibles (IMHO these can be more important than the job itself). Does your company have great benefits? Do they actually value work/life balance? Is there an amazing mentor program you think they’d be a great fit for? TELL THEM ABOUT IT! Make your company real. Candidates want to know the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m not saying to focus on the negative, but overselling something that isn’t a reality will only come back to bite you. Also, creating an honest bond with your candidate from the beginning will help you gain trust, a key component to a good relationship.
  • They hate wasting time.  The #1 job of an effective recruiter is to ensure a candidate has the most streamlined experience. Unfortunately, hiring process length can sometimes be out of your hands (hello, I work for a *large* company, I feel this pain). When stuff hits the fan you control what you can: candidate communication. Make sure to keep candidates abreast of the situation/timeline and be as honest as you can about what’s happening and what’s to come (being “in the loop” will make any candidate feel more secure). In the effort to not waste time, it’s important to talk about salary early and be honest with candidates about what you can offer. A recruiter’s role is to be an advocate for a candidate. If you help them find the right role that fits all of their needs I assure you they will forget if the process was a bit longer than they originally hoped.
  • They are all special snowflakes.  This one is easy, treat them like special snowflakes! The churn and burn of our industry has led recruiting to become a numbers game (i.e. how many seats can you fill how quickly). I’m not implying that “fills” are not important but what’s most important is candidate happiness. Happy candidates = happy new hires = happy employees who already feel a attached to the company because of YOU.
  • They expect you to be bad at your job. Let’s face it; most techs have worked with a sub par recruiter at some point, so they expect you’ll be no different. Is it fair? Not at all, but what is? Change this by blowing them away! I find candidates love it when I not only treat them as a human being, but I act like one too! Being your genuine self and showing them you care about their well-being will lay a great foundation for your relationship. In the end recruiting is working with a candidate to get them hired.

The only way I see technical recruiting sticking around for the long haul is if we can shift focus from numbers to relationships. Showing your candidates the real you and the real heart of your company is a key differentiator that no automated process or paper pushing recruiter will ever be able to bring to the table. Be yourself, demand respect (recruiter isn’t a bad word), and show candidates how amazing your company is!

What Even is Technical Recruiting at OpenStack Summit (Or in General)?: Original Post – October 27, 2015

Before you read this post there are a few key things you must know about me:

  1. I just hit my 4-year mark of recruiting for OpenStack roles.
  2. I don’t believe in the recruiting practices of 91.5% of technical recruiters.
  3. I admittedly refuse to be someone I’m not (i.e. I’m not a coder, I’m not going to pretend to be a coder).
  4. My greatest love in life is not technology, but people.

Having been a technical recruiter for many years and running the ‘conference circuit’ for most of my tenure, people ask me all the time how to recruit for talent at these large events. It seems like a complicated answer, but it’s actually not…….DON’T.

I know it seems completely out of sorts for a recruiter to tell you to not recruit, and maybe that’s why I’m not *actually* a recruiter. Or maybe it’s because I don’t believe in what recruiting has become these days, so it sways my opinion of how these practices should be carried out. OpenStack, and most of the other conferences I attend, are based in the principles of Open Source, Community, and the greater good, so, why should recruiting be any different?

Sure, companies need to bring on talent in order to make/build/ship product, but I assure you that finding the right talent to do these things is equally crucial. Bringing on a candidate who you have to convince to take the role with money/stock/vacation/etc (all great perks, but not the ultimate issue) is a short term win to a losing battle. The goal of a recruiter should be to find the right person for the the right role.

‘But this sounds hard, and tedious’—rang the choir of recruiters who have been assimilated to believe that recruiting is a numbers game. ‘Trust me, it’s’—my snarky but charming response.

At this point you may be wondering why you’d even send recruiters to an event like the Summit if they aren’t going to traditionally recruit. As it turns out, the right kind of recruiter will easily stay super busy with the following:

  1. Learning: holy snap, these sessions are full of smart people who can teach me so much.
  2. Engaging: holy snap, these sessions are full of smart people with great personalities who want to know what my company is up to.
  3. Laughing: holy snap, these sessions are full of smart people who are so funny.
  4. Honest Conversation: holy snap, these sessions are full of smart people who are a great fit for a particular position I have at my company and because of 1 – 3 I’ve been able to bond with them and now they’re letting me talk to them about x/y/x roles!

The tldr of this diatribe is that recruiting, for any role, is a long game. We all are at the Summit because we are or are building successful companies that we want to last the long haul and we can’t do this without employees who are excited to be a part of these dreams.

What I love about the Summit is that it’s our community coming together to be supportive and improve. In my opinion recruiting is a large part of this effort. Everyone deserves to be in a job they love and where they feel appreciated. If that role is at Blue Box, an IBM Company, I’m OVERJOYED to tell you about it, and if it’s not, I’ll be honest with you that it’s not, (and then may try to hire you at IBM, lol) because at the end of the day the best code gets written by people who are happy. I feel exceptionally blessed to be a part of this community and to help play a small role in advancing OpenStack and making people happy.

All of this being said, Blue Box is hiring for a plethora of challenging roles throughout all parts of the OpenStack ecosystem that I’d love to chat more about if you’re interested, or feel free to just say hi and grab a hug 🙂