DigitalOcean Virtual Tech Talk & QA Follow-Up Questions
On May 7th, PowerToFly hosted a live webinar with the women tech leaders at DigitalOcean.
We're sorry that we weren't able to address all of your questions during the event (with over 180 attendees asking great questions, it gets tough!), but the DigitalOcean panelists graciously took the time to write responses to all of the questions we couldn't get to.
So if you attended the event and your question wasn't answered, take a look at the Q&A below to find your question and read the panelists' response! Still not seeing the information you're looking for? You can reach out to Limor directly with your question.
What kind of information do you need? Jump to the section you're looking for:
- Career Advice + Panelists' Personal Work Experiences
- Applying to DigitalOcean
- Working at DigitalOcean
- Webinar-Specific Questions & Feedback
- Engineering/Cloud-Computing-Specific Question
Career Advice + Panelists' Personal Work Experiences
1. Early in your career, how did you navigate the technical interview process in terms of preparation?
Jenni: I'm not sure I did much differently then than I do now. Which is to say, find out what you can about the company and what they're looking for. Lookup anything in the job listing you're unfamiliar with, and then be honest during your interview that you did that, but it goes a long way to being able to talk about what they are looking for and your willingness to learn. I never pretend to know things I don't, but I do offer educated guesses.
Sneha: One of the most important things for me is talking to individuals at the company (and those who might be in a similar role). I'd also agree with Jenni in that this is something I still do and something I did earlier in my career as well! I typically reach out to people at the company via Twitter and ask how the interview process is, what I might need to prep, etc. I also like checking Glassdoor
2. How do you build a network in your early career?
Limor: I built my network mainly though LinkedIn. When I moved to the US I had no connections and did not know anybody. I grew my network and improved, and it really paid off, as this is how DigitalOcean found me.
I also recommend attending local meetups, that can help you as well in expanding your network.
Sneha: So for me, I actually rarely use LinkedIn! After graduating, I started going to a lot of tech meetups, conferences, and reaching out to individuals at companies that I found interesting and asking if they'd like to grab coffee. I also leveraged the alumni network at my company. And one other thing is Twitter! Tech twitter - especially in the infrastructure space, can be quite friendly and helpful. I've met people who I pair program with, individuals who've suggested I apply to jobs, and others who've even suggested interesting conferences I attend via the platform.
3. What advice would you give to a new grad who is interested in tech but doesn't have that much experience?
Volunteer, contribute to open source, do your own side projects and put them on Github.
4. If You Have Been In Technology Sales/Account Management But Are Ready To Grow Within Marketing, Product Management, Channel Management. Do You Have Any Recommendations To Better Qualify For Those Positions?
The best way to get into roles such as Product Management, is to start building qualifications related to those roles. As an example, for Product Management, one can start by talking to customers and users, understand how they use the product, understanding where they feel the gaps, and then communicating those with Product decision makers. Another thing to do is to read up on product related topics -- there are a plethora of blogs, articles and books on the subject. And finally, talk to the Product Managers at your organization, and let them know of your intentions, and they will be in the best position to guide you.
5. How do you manage the job search process? In terms of dealing with failure and bouncing back
My advice to you is never take it personally, many times you might have been a good fit, but there was someone slightly better than you. I also recommend trying to get feedback from the recruiter what were the reasons for rejection and if there is anything you can improve on.
6. Being A Recent Boot Camp Full Stack Web Developer Graduate, Do You Recommend Remote Work Or Should I Work On Site First? Thoughts?
In general, we recommend engineers that are at the beginning of their careers to work out of an office that makes it easier to start their career journey. But it is specific to the team and the hiring manager. We try not to have strict rules and leave this up to the individual. (this is a personal thing, do they feel like they need colleagues around? do they feel like they can be productive in their home (or in an non-office environment)? do they feel like they can have the level of social engagement on their own that they may miss outside of an office? And just like a programming language or framework, working remotely is a set of skills you develop and improve over time and DigitalOcean really works hard to support its remote workers.
7. How Did The Individual Panelist Find Their Way To DO? Were They Recruited From Outside Firms? Did They Submit Resumes? Did They Have Contacts From Within DO?
Limor: I was contacted by Digital Ocean
Jenni: I randomly submitted a resume based on seeing a job listing on stackoverflow. I had never heard of DigitalOcean before and had to ask around to make sure it was legit. :-)
Sneha: I had been a long-time customer of DigitalOcean but hadn't thought of applying. An old engineering director/friend of mine suggested I talk to her friend who worked here; she was convinced it would be an environment I'd really enjoy. After speaking to her friend and visiting the office, I was hooked! I then submitted my resume via referral and the rest is history.
8. What Are Pain Points About Working Remotely?
Limor: It is very personal; I love working remotely and do not have any pain points
Jenni: It depends a lot on the person. Given the fact that the majority of people I work with are also remote, the actual ability to be productive and communicate with coworkers is not an issue at all. You're more likely to run into life-work balance things like not turning off work when you should, going stir crazy being in your house too much, or just turning into a hermit. There are lots of ways to counteract these as long as you know yourself.
Sneha: I agree with Jenni. I've found that I'm actually more productive working from home than when I was in the office due to fewer interrupts. I also still do pair program frequently so don't necessarily lose out on anything by working remotely. The bigger concern is the fact that a) it is very easy to turn into a hermit, b) often it is hard to put down work at the end of the day!
9. What are some good questions to ask when interviewing to make sure the culture is a right fit?
At DO we look for people who will add to our culture rather than fit in! Ask questions about a company's values, and what it takes to be successful. Ask your interviewers about what they like most about their jobs and their company.
10. What are some symptoms you have personally seen or experienced of someone who is poorly handling remote work life?
Typically lack of communication and lack of transparency about what they are working on.
11. What type of experience did you have when you first started engineering?
Jenni: It's been over 15 years, but I went a relatively traditional route. I got a degree in computer engineering from UofIL (so not computer science), but my first jobs were on a test team, then a tier3 support team, a software build team, and finally into development. When I first graduated, the only software development courses I'd had in school were an intro to programming class in java, some c++ from a data structures class, and x86 assembly.
Sneha: I actually didn't study computer science in school. I was an electrical engineering and economics double major...but in my senior year, I did some neural networks projects that required some very basic programming. Upon graduating, however, I realized that a) I was very interested in startups. b) I didn't want to work in silicon fabrication or embedded systems at the time. I ended up discovering a startup that allowed me to apply the math and stats I learned as an EE while writing C++ for casino games. I ended up working for a few more startups as a software engineer and learned a lot more on the job, by working on side projects, studying some traditional compsci textbooks, and finding mentors who pair programmed with me.
Applying to Digital Ocean
1. Are Interviews Also Done Remotely?
Yes, in fact the majority of the interviews are done remotely
2. Are The Posted Positions Super Strict On Requirements?
Depends on the position, we typically do not expect that a candidate will have all of the required skills, it is a wish list and we make compromises.
3. Is It Ok To Apply If I Have A More Varied Background That Reaches Into Different Areas, E.G., A Front-end/Web Dev That Also Has Marketing Experience, As Well As Programming Experience In A Language Other Than The One Required (Rails)?
I will say it is always better to apply than to not apply, worst case, we will tell you you are not a fit for what we are looking for. If you have specific questions, you can feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com
4. Are There Any Positions For Recent Graduates?
Look at our careers page for current open positions. We do have summer internship program which is a great way to start at DO, we have hired several of our interns.
5. Are There Opportunities For Technical Writers?
In general yes, look at our careers page for current openings.
6. Are You Looking For UX Designers?
Yes, look at the current job description for a designer.
7. Are There Positions Available With Digital Ocean That Takes Experience Into Consideration Even If You Do Not Have A Typical College Degree?
It is hard to answer that question generally, but I can tell you that we do have some engineers without a college degree
8. Digital Ocean Technologies Are Infrastructure Cloud Storage. How Does Someone With Software Engineering Background Fit In The Organization?
Absolutely! We have multiple software engineering positions. Take a look at our careers page.
9. Do designers also work remotely? We have hired designers to work remotely. Our career page is the best place to look for open roles in Product Design or Web Design.
10. Do You Have Any Opportunities In "Sales" Department?
11. Do You Have Any Part Time-freelance Opportunities In Design/Graphics Or Entry Level Product Manager?
We don't hire part time designers at this time. Look at our careers page for current openings on our Product Team.
12. Do You Have Tech Support Jobs Here Too?
We have several tech support positions at our careers
13. Does DO sponsor work visas for people who are in USA?
If you have applied to a position and need immigration assistance, please discuss with your recruiter. For specific questions about your particular visa needs, email firstname.lastname@example.org .
14. Does DigitalOcean offer any internships or mentor programs?
We do have summer internships every summer.
15. Does DO recognize and consider employing parents who have been out of job market due to parenting etc.?
16. Does DO Provide Training For Their Open Positions?
I am not sure what training you refer to specifically. Every new hire is going through an on-boarding for their specific team. The team provides all the guidance and information the new hire needs in order to be successful at their job.13.
17. How Much Experience Does One Need To Have In Open Source And Linux Environments To Be A Do Customer Success Manager?
DigitalOcean's Customer Success team has a wide range of technical experience. Generally speaking, our Customer Success Managers are primarily responsible for understanding the ecosystem and being able to pull in the right people across the organization to help customers overcome their challenges. Direct experience working with open source or Linux itself is not necessarily a requirement, but you should be able to work very closely with people who are passionate about both these things, and willing to learn!"
18. I Am Canadian, Planning To Apply For Remote Jobs In The Near Future, Including For Companies Based In The Us. Not Sure Of About The Jurisdiction. I Was Wondering What Are Your Policies Regarding Non-American Workers.
We do have a legal entity in Canada, and our Canadian employees are employed by the Canadian entity.
19. I Am Nearing The End Of My Career, Hoping To Work For Another 6-7 Years Before I Retire. I Have Worked In The Same Industry For 35 Years. My Skills Are Dated But I Am Enthusiastic About Learning Something New And Contributing In Some Fashion. I Have Started Learning Python... Does D.O. Have Positions For Displaced Workers Who Feel They Can Still Contribute?
It is hard for me to answer; we do not have something official for displaced workers. You can contact me directly at email@example.com and I will try to help.
20. I Noticed That Most Of The Posted Positions Are Technical. Do You Hire Functional Pms (Pmo)? Those That Generally Work In Concert W/The Technical Pm Doing Resourcing, Earned Value, Scheduling, Budgets/Forecasting, Metrics, Reporting, Etc.?
Not that I am aware of. You can look at our careers page for all open positions.
21. I See A Lot Of Engineer Positions. Do You Have To Know Actual Coding?
Each open position list the set of requirements from a candidate. Typically an engineer position would require to know actual coding.
22. I'm Making A Career Shift From A Very Different Industry, But Have Transferable Skills. Is DO Looking More At The Specific Skills Vs. The Industry?
It is hard for me to answer that genetically because that is depending on the specific team and what the hiring manager think his/her team needs.
You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can try to help.
23. I Have Only One Year Programming Experience And That Was Over 3 Years Ago As I Did Not Work Because I Was Raising My Kids. I Am Looking For Remote Job. What Advice Or Tips Can You Give On How To Land A Job Digital Ocean. Overall I Have 9 Years Of Experience In It.
Depending on which specific area you are interested in.
Volunteer, contribute to open source, do your own side projects and put them on Github.
24. Interested In Hearing About What DO Is Looking For In Terms Of Coming In With Experience In Their Specific Tools Vs Training
Typically we do not look for knowledge in specific tools or a specific programming language we are using and we expect a learning curve.
25. My Experience Is Mis, Finance, And Project Management. I Do Not Currently Hold An Engineering Degree, However, I Am Interested In Several Other Positions, Such As The Associate Customer Success Account Manager Position.
I recommend you apply directly. If you need any help or advice, email email@example.com and a recruiter will respond to you!
26. What types of side projects would DO be interested in seeing by potential candidates?
It very much depends on the team.
27. What key qualities does DO look for in employees?
"We want people to have opinions and to express them, however we are looking for humility, ability to listen to others and consider that you might not always be right." - Limor
"I look for someone who is passionate about what they work on and get excited about new technical challenges." - Alexis
Working at Digital Ocean
1. Are all of the positions at DigitalOcean remote?
No, not of our jobs are remote. If you look at our careers page you will see location information listed under each job title. While the majority of our positions are open to remote applicants, some are specific to a particular office location. DigitalOcean headquarters is located in NYC in the heart of Soho. We also have offices in Cambridge, MA and Palo Alto, CA.
2. What are the typical/expected working hours at Digital Ocean? Do you need to be available at certain times/in a particular timezone? How Do You Handle Balance Between Work And Life, Especially For People Who Have Children?
We are pretty flexible, we do not have a specific time frame in a day you have to be working, however we do want to make sure every team member gets face time with the team on a daily basis, so as long as there is daily overlap we are good.
We do have a lot of flexibility with the working hours. Therefore, if I need to pick up my kids from school, take them to the dr. or anything else that pops up, I make sure to either block my calendar or notify my teammates.
3. What Support Do You Receive From Digital Ocean To Make Sure You Are Able To Work Remotely In A Successful Manner?
We each get a workstation sent to our home that includes a monitor, mouse and keyboard.
We have the right tools we need to get the job done and keep the communication channel, some of the tools we use extensively are slack and google suite. In our offices each meeting room is equipped with a TV and a chrome box so you can connect to the google meet from the office as well.
4. Are There Any DigitalOcean Employees Who Work Remotely Outside Of The Us?
Yes, we have employees around the world, mostly in the US and Canada, but also in Europe and India.
5. Does The Company Have A "Slack Code Of Conduct"? Haha For Example: Only Use @Channel If Something Is On Fire.
We do not have a Slack Code Of Conduct. Best practices are using @channel for emergencies.
6. How About Career Tracks? Do You Have An Engineer Track That Takes You To Staff Or One For Managers?
We do have Individual Contributor vs Management career tracks. Also we do allow a move from one career track to another.
7. How Are New Remote Employees Trained? Describe Your On-boarding Process. What Kind Of Mentorship Does DO Provide? ....What does the on-boarding, training, and integration of new people look like?
New hire on-boarding sessions are held every Tuesdays at our HQ in NYC. New hires spend their first week in NY learning about how to navigate DigitalOcean. After general on-boarding, new hires begin team specific on-boarding. Checkout my article on DO's employee experience.
Each team has their own on-boarding process, we have a lot of documentation for each team to make it easier for a new hire to get up to speed. In addition to that each team will make sure the new hire is paired by someone from the team to help him/her getting up to speed quickly.
8. How Do Engineers Work Together Remotely? Do They Pair Program Or Mostly Work Independently?
It depends on the team. We do use slack quite intensively for daily communications. Teams meets via google meet on a daily or weekly basis depending on the team. And there are ad-hoc google meet depending on the need.
9. How Does Digital Ocean Determine If A Position Should Be Remote Or Not? I See A Data Scientist Position Listed As Not Remote But A Data Engineering As Remote. Is That Team Specific Or Does Any Listing Have The Opportunity To Be Remote?
It depends on the team and their needs. It is a decision the hiring manager makes.
10. How Does Engineering Work With Creatives, Product Designers?
For each project we have a designer assigned and the designer is working closely with the engineering team as well as with the product team.
11. How Does The Friday Chat accommodate Different Time Zones?
The Friday chat we have in Compute is mostly accommodating US time zone, as it is happening typically Friday afternoons.
12. How many employees does DigitalOcean have?
We have just reached 500!
13. Is it harder to assimilate into a company when working 100% remotely? What are some tips you have for someone going into a remote role for the first time?
I personally do not think so. You can read an article I wrote where I provide tips for working remotely.
14. Is remote work an option for early career <5 years for engineering? Or do you prefer experienced people for remote work?
Absolutely possible. If you do not have any experience at all, it will be easier for you to start working from an office than starting to work remotely.
15. Is Digital Ocean remote worldwide or just US based?
We hire remotely in the United States and Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands.
16. Many Companies That Are All Remote Or Have A Significant Number Of Remote Positions Have An Annual Retreat For Everyone To Get Together In Person. Does Do Have Anything Like That?
Yes, we do have an annual all company event called "Shark Week" when the entire company meets for a week. We also have team offsite meetings from time to time where teams meet up in NY or other locations to collaborate, plan and create.
17. Specifically how does everyone set-up times that work for everyone to work together at specific hours? Or do you work by yourself most of the time?
We trust our people to manage their time, we do not micromanage working hours. The only thing that is important for us is that there will overlap with the team.
The question about working by yourself most of the time depends on the position.
Someone at a leadership role will have more interactions than an individual contributor. Although we do have a lot of engagement between team members and no one works completely by themselves.
18. The current company I work for (remotely) 200-250 hours a month, what is a typical amount of work time a month?
Generally speaking, we don't have a typical amount of work time per month but most of my colleagues work around 45 - 50 hours per week.
19. What about training programs or courses? Are there learning resources available? What about tuition reimbursement?
We do support learning and career growth. We do have an education budget for training, conferences and higher education.
20. What do you love best about the company products and vision of the company since you've been there for +3yrs?
I love our engagement with the developer community and the passion about helping developers and shipping products which make their life simpler.
21. What is the male/female ratio...roles wise? Equal distribution on the teams...with the same roles? 50\50 engineers on a team?
We wish we had 50% representation in terms of gender diversity in engineering and across the company! We are still very much a work in progress when it comes to increasing representation from all under-represented groups.
22. What is the ratio of remote workers to office workers for DO as a whole?
Almost 50% of our employees are remote.
23. What is the turnover rate at DO?
We don't publicly disclose our attrition rate but it's consistent with other tech companies of our size and age!
24. What kind of clients do you have?
Our customers vary from single developers, such as students, hobbyists, indie developers, to startups and SMBs, and development teams in larger enterprises and Fortune 500 companies.
25. What resources do you get for setting up your home work environment?
We have a workstation program which includes a monitor, keyboard and mouse of your choice sent to your home, we also have a headphone program, you can purchase headphones of your choice and expense up to $100
Webinar-Specific Questions & Responses to Feedback
1. Are All Of The Panelists From Strictly Engineering/Programming Backgrounds?
Specifically, for this webinar all the panelists were from engineering background
2. Will Any Follow Ups Be Made to Invite Webinar Attendees to Apply or Interview for Roles?
We received the list of webinar attendees from PowerToFly and our recruiting team will look at the list and contact any attendees they find relevant to our open positions. In addition to that, feel free to contact us directly. You can reach out to me also at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Can YouShow An Example Of What The Client Side Sees As A Product Of Ui Ux, Or How We Deal With The Client Side Protocols As Far As Product Base And What It Particularly Does?
I am not sure I understand the question. Feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com and I will try to help
4. Do.Co/Candidates Has Lots Of Resources For How We Evaluate Candidates, How To Prepare For Interviews At Do, And More. Not Tech Specific But A Good Resource Nonetheless!
I am not sure exactly what you are looking for, feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Does Digital Ocean Have A Returning Mom Program? I Was an IT Manager For A Trading Firm And Took A Break For Some Time And Thinking Of Returning Back To Work. There Are Lot Of Companies That Have This Program, But Looking For Something Remote.
We do not currently have a specific program for returning mom, you can look at our careers page and if there is any open position that you feel like can be a fit for you, please reach out to us. Feel free to email me directly at email@example.com
6. Excellent And Impressive Information, Overview, Panelists. What Are The Top 3 Open Remote Non-tech/Non-engineering Positions At DigitalOcean?
Look at our careers page for details on all of our open positions.
7. Good Morning Beautiful Sisters ~ Great Information! What About Project Management Positions?
Look at our careers page for details on all of our open positions.
8. Hearing From These Ladies Have Sparked My Interest In The Company. I Appreciate Their Time And Candor.
Thank you for your feedback, we appreciate your participation at the webinar.
9. Hi! I'm A Quantitative Researcher And Analyst Who Is Looking To Transition From A More Academic Context To A Business Context. I See That DO Says They Hire For Potential And Raw Talent. How Are Things Like Career Transitions Or Shifts From Academia Handled At Do?
It is hard for me to answer without specific information about you, feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to help you.
10. How Did You Know The Abuse Blacklist That Was Faulty Handle The Client That Was Not Really Abusive And Blacklisted
I am not sure I understand what's being asked here. Feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com and I will try to get your questions answered by our security team.
Sneha: Was this in reference to the tech-talk?
11. I Can Imagine How Big The Blessing Is If You Have Infant And You Can Work Remote
12. I Have Worked Remotely For 2 Years At A Non-remote Friendly Company. Hearing This Is Refreshing.
We are happy to hear that!
13. Is the reason the tech talk was about monitoring, is this the type of roles do is currently looking for?
There was no specific reason, we felt it is an interesting topic that the audience will be interested in hearing about.
Sneha: Yep! I thought this is simply an interesting topic given the sheer volume of services we have powering the cloud.
Engineering/Cloud Computing Specific Questions
1. Does DigitalOcean's Observability Team Offer A Federated Logging Product? (For Example, If A Company Is Sitting On DigitalOcean Products For Infrastructure, Is There A Place To Access A Global Log That Contains Everyone's Logging Across All Applications And Apis? :) If Not, Do You Think You Will See Such A Product In The Pipeline?
We do not offer a logging product.
2. Does The Load Balancer Consider Types Of Users Or It Is User Agnostic?
Load Balancer is user agnostic.
3. How Do Your Products Differ From AWS Offerings?
AWS offerings dozens of IaaS and PaaS offerings, and DigitalOcean offers a subset of those, primarily - Droplets (VMs) and related storage, networking offerings, Spaces (object storage), DBaaS PostgreSQL, Kubernetes, etc. The primary differentiator DigitalOcean provides is the simplicity of its packaging and pricing, ease of use (both UI and APIs), supported by a strong community of tutorials, articles and excellent support.
4. I Know The Company Is Still Relatively Young, But Have Any Of Your Teams Experienced An Aging Tech Stack? How Have You Seen The Organization Respond To How Quickly Tech Changes. (I.E. New Front End Frameworks Every Few Years)
As in any company, we do have technical debt which we are constantly working on improving. We do have some "legacy" code in production that has served us for many years. In recent years we have made a pretty aggressive transition from ruby/rails monolith to a Golang microservice approach. And now we're also looking at our frontend tech stack and evaluating what our next steps will be to modernize how we deliver client experiences. As we already have such an established (and large) product we are not planning a big rewrite but will continue to extract and update functionality where it makes sense and deliver our new product experiences using modern tools and tech. I think the key is to create architectures that enable us to bring along the "legacy" as we move forward with the new.
5. Internally Does The Company Itself Use Its Own Observability Products?
Internal observability is not handed by customer facing products. We have four main internal observability systems that cover metrics, logging, distributed tracing and error management. Three of these services (metrics, logging, and error management) are a combination of open source software and internally developed software. Distributed tracing is a combination of in house developed software and a third-party service (Lightstep).
6. Is agile methodology followed in the software development process at DigitalOcean?
Yes, Agile is the primary development methodology used at DigitalOcean, although there is variance from team to team as to the maturity of the implementation/usage.
7. What's the advantage/difference of DigitalOcean Droplet & Virtual Machine if any?
DigitalOcean Droplets have multiple advantages over competing IaaS providers. DigitalOcean is well known for its ease of use, with a simple UI and easy to understand pricing and packaging of its offerings, excellent documentation and an extremely large supporting set of tutorials and community articles. Additionally, DigitalOcean Droplets all comes with SSD storage as standard, and in various 3rd party benchmark testing, they achieve industry leading price-performance in many categories (CPU-Memory performance, read speeds, etc.)
According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.
That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.
As we reflect on recent events and how they fit into a much larger history of discrimination, we're also taking time to celebrate and acknowledge the many achievements of the AAPI community.
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor AAPI Heritage Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses, covering everything from campaigns to #StopAsianHate to educational events on AAPI history.
Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
Empowering authenticity - LogMeIn
"Our theme this year is AIM to Be Real. We are embracing our new company values and celebrating those who bring their authentic selves to work, who help create space to celebrate diversity of thought, and who give back to the API community. Our Asian ERG, Asians in Motion (AIM), is hosting several events: a discussion about bringing your authentic self to work with Jerry Won (Dear Asian Americans podcast); a refugee-led virtual cooking class; ERG Movie Club discussions featuring Bollywood films, and a virtual volunteer event where we will offer career development mentoring for young women across Asia."
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Educating on current events — Raytheon Technologies
"Raytheon Technologies is honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with an enterprise-wide global town hall event – Real Talk: Building CommUNITY Together. Organized by the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) employee resource groups across the company, employees will share their personal experiences and discuss ways to support Asian American Pacific Islander communities. The event will also feature prominent leading advocates from renowned civil rights organizations to provide insight into the national context surrounding recent events. We will also feature AAPI employees internally and on our social media channels."
Learn more about Raytheon Technologies here.
Encouraging awareness, growth, and learning — Moody's
"Moody's is encouraging awareness, growth, and learning during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with the following activities, led by our Multicultural Business Resource Group and DE&I team:
- Weekly newsletters featuring AAPI employee profiles and cultural resources
- Video screening and small-group discussions supporting #StopAsianHate
- Cultural panel discussion featuring employee stories
- Professional development activities
- External speakers speaking about Asian leadership"
Supporting professional development — Freddie Mac
"Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Freddie Mac – Together, We Are Stronger
Freddie Mac supports the professional development of Asian and Pacific Islander employees while promoting an increased awareness of the value they bring to the organization and our local communities. Our InspirASIAN Business Resource Group is hosting various activities throughout the month such as:
- Personal development session on empowerment led by a coach from our Employee Assistance Program.
- "Stop Asian Hate" lunch and learn geared toward discussing the hurdles facing the AAPI community.
- Fireside chat about racial injustice with leaders from our InspirASIAN and ARISE (employees of the African diaspora) BRGs."
Fostering inclusion, learning, and belonging – Nestlé USA
"At Nestlé USA, the Pan Asian Network (PAN), one of our many employee resource groups that support our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives, will host a variety of events to honor and acknowledge Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. These activities will foster greater inclusion, enhanced learning, and belonging for the AAPI community. PAN will highlight women's development in Asian cultures, Asian leadership and what their culture means to them, culinary innovation of Asian cuisine, intersectionality of LGBTQ+ and Pan Asian community, as well as an enhanced learning watch party of the PBS movie 'Asian American.'"
Learn more about Nestlé USA here.
Promoting cultural literacy – Relativity
The Community Resource Group at Relativity
"For Relativity, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is an opportune time to not only celebrate the rich AAPI cultures represented within our company, but to also foster awareness and allyship amidst the current rise of AAPI hate. RelAsians, our internal community resource group, has organized a few activities for May: a book club focused on AAPI heritage—because we feel it's never too early to gain cultural literacy, a weekly spotlight on AAPI Relativians, and a virtual event that takes attendees on a tour through an Asian grocery store, introducing native vegetables and staple ingredients for traditional home-cooked Asian recipes."
- Contribution from Neha Pant, Sr. Performance Engineer & Angie Ocasek, Sr. Specialist, Partner Enablement – Co-Chairs of the RelAsians Community Resource Group at Relativity
Learn more about Relativity here.
Creating transformative experiences – Facebook
"At Facebook, our APIs employee resource group's mission is to create transformative experiences for all APIs at Facebook, Inc through key cultural awareness and engagement highlighting the API community. To kick off APIHM, we will host a series of events and conversations for the community and its allies designed to support the API community around the theme, The SUM of Us, including:
- Letting Others In: a mindful discussion series that privileges intersectional voices, storytelling, feedback, and vulnerability as tools for building empathy and inclusion amongst organizations.
- Racial Healing Learning Session: specific to the API Experience focused on naming of experiences and emotional responses, understanding the body's responses to racial trauma, what the audience can do in the moment for self-care, and long-term strategies to overcome the effect of the traumatic experience.
- Bystander Training/self Defense Workshop"
Learn more about Facebook here.
Extensive and exciting programming — 2U
"At 2U, Inc. we'll be honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with extensive and exciting programming coordinated by our employee-led Asian Pacific Islander Network (APIN). In a year marred by exceptional challenges APIN has centered activities around the ameliorating themes of joy, culture and wellness. Be it delighting in a ukulele mini concert, reading an interview highlighting an API coworker, winding down after too much screen time with a somatic healing session or engaging in a panel discussion with API tattoo artists, we have a packed month ahead with opportunities to support oneself and the API culture! Follow along @Lifeat2U on Instagram for more!"
Learn more about 2U here.
Amplifying voices and educating others – Smartsheet
"During APAHM, the API at Smartsheet community will be hosting several events and activities to educate others, amplify AAPI voices, and celebrate the AAPI community! We plan to kick off the month with a documentary viewing and discussion to learn about AAPI history, and hope to share personal stories from our AAPI employees throughout the month. We'll end with an opportunity for the community to celebrate itself by gathering together for fun and games, while eating food from local Asian-owned restaurants."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Rising together in sports and culture – NBA
"For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, APEX is proud to present a multitude of celebratory activities, headlined by an NBA Family Virtual Town Hall and, with the NFL and MLB, an Asians in Sports & Culture Symposium themed "Together We Rise" featuring prominent Asian personalities from the sports world. We are also launching a PSA with an NBA star, honoring Eid-al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, offering a bystander intervention training led by AAJC, and – because the celebration wouldn't be complete without food – hosting a sushi making class for our members."
Learn more about the NBA here.
Creating courageous conversations – Commvault
"This May, we are celebrating all our Asian/Pacific Islander employees, not just Asian Americans. We will spend the month learning about and celebrating the diverse cultures of Asia through weekly events and activities led by our Multi-Culture ERG. Vaulters and external guests will teach us the history of practices such as yoga, origami, and Asian cuisines. We will also discuss topics like the rise of hate crimes against Asian people and the recent spike in COVID-19 in India. These activities and courageous conversations will engage our workforce and create support for our Asian and Pacific Islander communities around the world."
Learn more about Commvault here.
Honoring history through virtual events – Collins Aerospace
"Collins Aerospace supports our AAPI colleagues not only in May, but all year. Our parent company Raytheon Technologies hosted a virtual Town Hall last month to provide a safe space for open dialogue about recent events targeting Asian Americans in the U.S. In addition to this entity-wide event, our Asia Pacific ERG at Collins is hosting events that educate and honor the importance of Asian Pacific American history such as virtual Lunch & Tours spotlighting South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, and India; and Thoughts & Support sessions. Site-specific events include virtual cooking class, and viewing PBS docuseries Asian Americans."
Learn more about Collins Aerospace here.
Highlighting new perspectives – MongoDB
"MongoDB will share daily historical facts, highlights of Asian American pioneers, and perspectives from our AAPI employees in a dedicated Slack channel. We will also be providing access to an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month webinar, organizing a trivia night, and holding Processing Together sessions for our internal AAPI community due to recent hate crimes happening across the globe. These sessions are a safe space for employees to share their stories and sentiments of what it is like as an Asian American in America today. (Read MongoDB employee Monica Lu's story about being an Asian American woman in tech here.)"
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Spotlighting diverse communities – Bumble
"At Bumble, moments like heritage month celebrations are often our anchor to ensure we are spotlighting diverse communities. In alignment with AAPI Heritage Month in May, Bumble is rolling out a series of thoughtful programming to encourage internal education and around how to support the Stop Asian Hate movement and better serve the Asian community globally. The lineup of initiatives include:
- BuzzWord DEI Discussion Series with featured guest speakers: This conversation will focus on the Asian community within the context of larger cultural issues such as dating app experiences, fetishization, masculinity, and representation.
- Bumble will be inviting employees to join a virtual Vietnamese coffee-making class. Created in partnership with Phin Bar, an urban brew-bar that offers Vietnamese-style steeped coffee combined with house-made ingredients, Bumble hopes to facilitate a deeper cultural learning and community bonding experience for the team.
- Bumble will also be activating channels across social media and our product to educate our community about bystander intervention and raise awareness around the importance of supporting the Stop Asian Hate movement."
Engaging in daring conversations – Procore
"In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in May, Procore recently organized an internal event to recognize and support the AAPI community. The event was hosted as part of our ongoing internal speaker series, 'Daring Conversations & Allyship,' to create space for an open dialogue around diversity, inclusion, and belonging. All employees were invited to tune in as employees from our AAPI communities shared their unique experiences, addressed anti-Asian hate, and discussed actionable ways to support our AAPI community."
Learn more about Procore here.
Taking action to foster change – SeatGeek
"This month the POC ERG will be meeting and hosting different activities to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This includes creating a safe space to discuss current events, and what actions our communities can take to foster change, sending out a newsletter which will highlight the Asian community in every aspect, and lastly, we will be hosting a guest speaker.
We hope with these planned activities and meetings, we can highlight, and uplift the Asian/Pacific American community, as well as bring awareness to the horrible ongoing attacks they are facing."
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Uplifting and inspiring the community – Okta
"Okta's People of Color (POC@Okta) ERG is planning to commemorate AAPI Month with a series of fireside chats and iconographical facts posted internally in the #poc and #all diversity Slack channels! These chats will feature Dion Lim of ABC7 News and Comedian/Actor, Ronny Chieng. We will conclude the series with a partnership with Pride@Okta featuring supermodel, TED speaker, and transgender advocate Geena Rocero. The goal of this series is to educate, uplift, support, and inspire! The Okta leadership supports its AAPI employees, customers, and community."
Learn more about Okta here.
Empowering cultural diversity and leadership – Quip
"Salesforce will be celebrating through multiple virtual events, such as a leadership panel on the power of cultural diversity, a tea tasting, a tai chi class, a haka workshop, and more! Members of the Quip team have also compiled an extensive list of resources to support AAPI communities, including ways to donate, take action, and learn more."
Learn more about Quip here.
Focusing on lived experiences – Mindbody
"The Mindbody United ERG focuses on a different heritage or history each month, with May devoted to Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This ERG seeks to provide a platform to both celebrate and learn together. This will manifest in two ways: As a newsletter and a Zoom meeting. The newsletter will feature contributions directly from team members, while the meeting will feature Assembly member Evan Low as our speaker. It is our goal to focus on the lived experiences of the AAPI community, address discrimination, and how to chase after the part of the world we can make better."
Learn more about Mindbody here.
Promoting harmony and unity – T. Rowe Price
"T. Rowe Price is aware and appalled at the recent spike in hate crimes against the Asian community. In response, the firm will center Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month efforts around harmony and unity, in alignment with the Hawaiian value, Lōkahi – Forward as One. To share best practices, successes and areas of opportunities, T. Rowe Price will co-host a Leadership Panel on Asian Leadership Challenges with Baltimore Asian Connect, a consortium of Asian business resource group leaders at local corporations. The firm will also host a book club and restorative listening circles for Asian American associates and their allies."
Learn more about T. Rowe Price here.
Celebrating Asians globally
"May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. Although traditionally a US celebration, at Autodesk we are celebrating Asians globally. The Autodesk Asian Network is hosting Innovative Leaders, including Lori Mukoyama and Jonathan Zee. Lori Mukoyama is redefining experience-driven design globally at Gensler. Jonathan Zee has an extensive portfolio of buildings that are helping to shape cities around the world at Goettsch Partners. Lori and her husband Jonathan combine design, architecture and engineering in their work while simultaneously manage a family together during this pandemic. This event is hosted by AAN, as part of a monthlong series of APA Heritage Month events."
Learn more about AutoDesk here.
📼 Watch the video to get super valuable interview tips from Suzanna Earle, lead recruiter and DEI co-lead at Helix—the leading population genomics company working at the intersection of clinical care, research, and genomics.
📼 Wondering what the application process at Helix looks like? Get ready for three steps: first, a recruiter screen, second, a hiring manager screen that can include a technical challenge for tech roles, and third, a virtual onsite where you'll meet various stakeholders at the organization and get a feel for the role. For senior and sales roles, candidates will go through a fourth step consisting of a presentation. What kinds of skills is Helix looking for in candidates? Watch the video and you'll find out!
📼 In this day and age, virtual interviewing has become a part of the new normal. Listen to Suzanna's advice on the most common challenges of virtual interviews and how to deal with them. She even shares a great tool for answering behavioral questions: have you heard about the SAR acronym? Watch the video and learn how to use it!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Helix? They have open roles! To learn more about them, click here.
You're perfectly qualified, you've arrived on time, and you're ready for your technical interview. What could possibly go wrong?
Technical interviews can be a mind wracking experience for job seekers. Everyone makes mistakes, but according to interviewers, candidates for tech positions are prone to a number of common interview blunders. To avoid them, it's helpful to know what they are.
Keep reading to see what our partner companies had to say about the most common mistakes interviewees make during tech interviews (and what to do instead).
Not asking clarifying questions - Facebook
"The mistake: Not asking clarifying questions.
What to do instead: Instead of jumping into coding immediately after being presented with a problem, ask clarifying questions to ensure you've understood the problem correctly before you begin building a solution. For example, you may want to understand input requirements or ask about edge cases. When you do begin to code, think out loud as you go—and keep asking questions. Hearing your thought process helps give your interviewer insight into your problem-solving skills and can provide opportunities for them to offer additional points of clarification or share hints, if needed."
Learn more about Facebook here.
Making assumptions without calling them out - Uber
"Making assumptions without calling them out and jumping into a solution without asking questions or calling out your approach. It's important to take things slow and help us really understand how you think through problems. So make sure that you really understand the question that's being asked by your interviewer. That you ask clarifying questions. And that call out your approach."
Learn more about Uber here.
Not explaining your thought process - Def Method
"For me, the most frustrating thing an interviewee can do is not explain their thought process to me. As an interviewer I want to see how someone approaches problems in general so I can decide how successful they will be at solving different problems. When I ask a question and get an answer without hearing how the interviewee arrived at it, I cannot extrapolate on their problem-solving abilities. An interviewee should show me their thought process—explain their thinking so I can decide how well they will be able to apply those skills as an employee."
Learn more about Def Method here.
Not saying "I don't know" - Clyde
"A common mistake that we see is candidates not knowing an answer to a question and making up fake technical answers, spitballing at length, or just remaining quiet. It's much better for you to say "I don't know" and talk through the process that you would use to figure out the answer. A part of the interview is understanding how someone works through a problem they haven't seen before, if you have a good process for figuring the answer out, that's often enough to pass. Even if you know the answer, talk us through your process!"
–Josh and Josh
Learn more about Clyde here.
Not explaining how you got to your answer - Automattic
"Being so focused on the answer that they don't explain how they got there. Explaining their thought process in detail helps us determine how they approach problems. As a result, it's important to "think out loud," and ask for more context if needed. The problems we solve at Automattic are so varied and unique that we care less about someone's answer to a specific question, and more about how they approach it. Knowing that lets us evaluate if their problem-solving process is robust enough for us to feel confident that they could solve anything that comes their way."
–Jerry Jones, Hiring Expert
Learn more about Automattic here.
Not asking clarifying questions from go - Kensho
"One of the simplest mistakes you can make during a technical interview is to not ask clarifying questions early or check in regularly. Remember that the interviewer wants you to succeed, but cannot read your mind. If you don't understand the question, become stuck, or feel like you may be veering off course, it's time to check in! Explaining your thought process opens a dialogue between yourself and the interviewer, and you may even discover the solution just by saying what you're thinking (see "rubber duck debugging")."
Learn more about Kensho here.
Not discussing your specific contributions - LogMeIn
"Developing software at scale requires a team effort. Throughout each step of the SDLC, each team member provides individual contributions of various scope and complexity. From Planning, Analysis and Design to Implementation, Testing/Integration and Maintenance, each individual contribution is important to overall outcomes. Too often, candidates answer interview questions in terms of the team's contributions, (e.g., "we did X"). Oftentimes, post-interview feedback cites a candidate's answers being too general or vague. This leads to skepticism. I advise candidates prepare to discuss their specific contributions within the context of overall outcomes, (Incl., SDLC steps, role within team, deliverables, impacts, lessons-learned, etc.)."
–Ryan Jane, Principal Talent Acquisition Partner
Learn more about LogMeIn here.
Not doing your homework on the company - Waters
"In our industry, we're used to seeing a multitude of acronyms and initialisms used in an interview. To demonstrate your knowledge and experience it's always best to talk through a brief summary – that can be very impactful.
Even though we are interviewing people for their technical capabilities, we still want to see that they are prepared and know about the company. As tempting as it may be to read the website whilst on a virtual interview, being prepared in advance and able to describe in your own words gives a much better impression of your research and interest."
Learn more about Waters here.
Miscommunication - Afterpay
"I think one of the most inhibiting mistakes interviewees make is miscommunication. Even though for the one hour we are sitting at different sides of the table, I see you as my potential future teammate. I'm not here to judge but to understand your thinking process and work out a solution together. Asking questions when you are in doubt and letting the interviewer know your thoughts and concerns is very important. Having different opinions with an open mind to suggestions is totally fine. "
–Greta Shi, Senior Software Engineer
Learn more about Afterpay here.
Not clearly stating which programming language you're comfortable with live coding in - Mural
"Not showing up to the interview is always #1
#2 is related to candidates not making clear which programming language they are comfortable with for live coding during the interview.
And finally, #3. Candidates not making sure they have a suitable environment (laptop with camera, text editor, tools, etc) for the interview.
So remember to show up on time, be honest with your interviewer and test your environment before joining!"
Learn more about Mural here.
Being unprepared to discuss examples of your technical expertise - Bristol Myers Squibb
"One of the most frustrating mistake that interviewee's make is that they do not come prepared to explain their technical experience/ projects with examples.
Interviewees must come prepared with the following:
- Thoroughly read the job description.
- Be prepared to explain your experience as it relates to the job.
- Always share examples.
- Explain and share details of your experience on an application.
- Communicate effectively, be explicit and to the point (articulate).
- Do not be afraid or shy away from accepting, if you do not know the answer. (no one knows it all)
- Read about the company to understand cultural fit, display skills including how you do Time Management, Organizational skills, Trouble-shooting approach, and Interpersonal skills.
- Come prepared to ask questions."
Learn more about Bristol Myers Squibb here.
Not tailoring your experience to the role you're applying to - Clarus Commerce
"The biggest mistake all interviewees make is not tailoring their experiences to the job they're applying to. My advice for your interview prep is to rely on the job description. Go line by line and jot down the experiences you have that align with what the job description is asking for. Make it obvious for the interviewer why you'd be best for the position. Be sure to share your experience using the Company's tech stack with examples as the 'proof behind your responses'. Be prepared, be excited, and ask questions!"
Learn more about Clarus Commerce here.
Answering a question you don't fully understand - Collins Aerospace
"One of the biggest opportunities for mistakes comes from trying to answer a question you don't fully understand. Don't assume– ask clarifying questions so you know what's expected. Also, be concise so there will be time for follow-up questions and conversation."
Learn more about Collins Aerospacehere.
Not taking a collaborative approach - Netskope
"Certain technical interviews are structured to intentionally be open-ended to invite questions and a deeper discussion between interviewer and candidate. Although candidates have the right background, some may not be used to collaborating in solution design and explaining their thought processes, thus leading to a roadblock. Without the explanation of a thought process, it's difficult for the interviewer to guide the candidate and evaluate their analytical skills and strengths.
Instead, candidates should take a collaborative approach and seek feedback as they work toward a solution. Selecting a challenging problem and solving it with a friend by thinking aloud and collaborating could be useful practice in preparation for the interview"
–Mohan Doraiswamy, Sr. Manager, Engineering
Learn more about Netskope here.
Rushing into problem-solving mode - SeatGeek
"One of the frustrating mistakes I see candidates make during technical interviews is when they dive into solving the prompt without taking some time to size up and digest the question. Oftentimes, a candidate's first instinct is not the most optimal, which poses more of a challenge when they must backtrack, and ask retrospective questions to change their solution.
My best advice here is to first pause, review your resources, and ask clarifying questions before you start writing code. The way you think through a problem and work towards a solution can be just as important as the solution itself!"
–Josh Mordkoff, Senior Technical Recruiter
Learn more about SeatGeek here.
Not articulating your thought process - MongoDB
"During a technical interview, focus on verbally communicating your thought process. This could show that you approach a problem in a new and unique way. At MongoDB, we highly value diversity of thought, different backgrounds and sets of experiences, as well as different perspectives on how to approach solving problems. Adding another perspective to solving the questions we face will only help us build better products for our customers."
–Jason Gorsky, Manager, Technical Recruiting
Learn more about MongoDB here.
Not testing out equipment ahead of time - GameChanger
"One of the more frustrating mistakes interviewees make during technical interviews is not testing out equipment ahead of time. As more companies move to remote work, most, if not all, interviews are taking place over tools like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. Making sure ahead of time that your computer is able to run these applications without technical issues goes a long way in showing us that you're prepared. The last thing an interviewer wants is to spend the first 15 minutes dealing with technical difficulties because now it delays getting to know you more."
Learn more about GameChanger here.
Not providing applicable examples - CAPCO
"Tips to Bring into an Interview:
Carly Finnegan, Technical Recruiters says:
- Do research on the company where you're interviewing and come prepared with at least 2 questions
- Be able to explain, or give an example of, a project that you were on, the importance of the project and how you worked with other members of your team (i.e. developers, QA, Scrum Masters, Tech BA's, etc.)
Craig Jackson, Tech Recruiter says:
- Be able to articulate technical experience and provide an applicable example of when and how tech was used
- Be able to articulate what your individual contribution has been (not TEAM's contributions)
Matt Markham, Partner in the Technology Domain
- Demonstrate awareness of HOW things are meant to work instead of merely providing the code / answer
- Show problem solving ability
Ken Pritchard, Principal Consultant, Technology
- A big mistake many technical interviewees make is trying to dive right into a solution when given a technical problem to solve. Taking the time to ask some clarifying questions not only leads to a better solution, but also more clearly demonstrates higher level thinking."
Learn more about CAPCO here.
Overexplaining responses - Autodesk
"Avoid overexplaining your responses. Keeping your answers clear and concise will show that you have a strong understanding of what you're describing. Try to remember that if your recruiter wants more detail, they will ask for it. Next, avoid exaggerating your skillset. Recruiters would much rather take a chance on a candidate who is willing to learn than one who can't demonstrate a skill they claimed to have. Finally, be able to explain your thought process behind any decisions you have had to make. Doing this, even in failure, can show how you learn and adapt."
Learn more about Autodesk here.
Developing a solution without communicating your thought process - Guru
"In technical pair programming interviews, the biggest frustration I have is candidates developing their solution without communicating their thought process. Regardless of whether the code works or not, this makes it more challenging to gauge the candidate's technical aptitude, problem-solving skills, and reception to feedback. Instead, I suggest interviewees think out loud as much as possible. Consider rereading the problem statement and validating the requirements, asking clarifying questions, vocalizing potential approaches, explaining tradeoffs while coding, and sharing ideas on optimization. This may not come naturally at first, but practice makes perfect!"
–Maggie Lin, Back End Software Engineer
Learn more about Guru here.
Giving answers that are too short - PagerDuty
"Sometimes candidates make the mistake of giving one or two word answers to questions in the recruiter screen. That makes it tough to make a case to the hiring manager about why they would want to hire you.
Successful candidates prepare. Learn about the company and the role. Ask about the interview process and what you should expect. Communicate why you would want to work here.
Remember, an interview is a conversation! As a recruiter, I love when candidates display enthusiasm about PagerDuty and have researched it."
–Dick Hartshorne, Lead Recruiting Business Partner
Learn more about PagerDuty here.
Responding without thinking - Healthfirst
"One of the biggest mistakes interviewees make is not answering the question. They try to respond immediately without taking the time to tell their story in a succinct way. This can lead to a few things: a rambling, long-winded answer; a confused recruiter; and/ or an unanswered question.
Instead, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts, and answer using the STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result) method. Describe the situation, explain the task you had to complete, describe the action(s) you took to complete the task, and describe the results of your efforts."
Learn more about Healthfirst here.
Not voicing your thought process - BlackRock
"No one knows everything, so you don't have to act like it. Interviewees should be genuine and honest. That means voicing your thought process, even if you're still coming up with a better solution.
As a technologist at BlackRock, the challenges you'll tackle will be complex and the impact you'll have will be vast – you'll help move markets, build economies and support the retirement of millions of people around the globe. To best serve our clients, we need people with diverse perspectives, talents and ways of thinking.
That's why demonstrating what you know and how you think is way more important than the "right" answer."
Learn more about BlackRock here.
Trying to bluff your way through the interview - Elastic
"The psychology around not saying "I don't know" is that we as humans don't like to say that about anything, ever. It shows weakness. But it can take strength to demonstrate weakness, and such an admission is often viewed in a positive light. I don't think most candidates realize this though, and try to bluff their way through instead. This typically leads to long-winded answers that go nowhere. On those occasions when candidates ask for advice, I try to coach them to not be afraid to own up to when they don't know something."
–Tucker Wolfe, Recruiter
Learn more about Elastic here.
Not asking for pre-interview guidance - Procore
"There are three frequent mistakes that many candidates make during their technical coding interviews.
First, candidates generally jump straight into coding before understanding the problem holistically. Similar to how we build products at Procore, coding challenges are designed to build from one section to the next, so it's important to understand the entire problem as presented, not just the first section. We see candidates lose valuable time as they progress through a challenge if they have to continually go back and rewrite code to make future sections work.
Secondly, candidates tend to be more 'heads down' while coding. Communication is key during a coding challenge—this will allow an interviewer to understand a candidate's thought process to help steer them in the right direction if needed. Procore is a highly collaborative environment where teams across the company work together to design and develop best-in-class software solutions successfully. Open lines of communication are both appreciated and required for success within our Product & Technology organization.
Lastly, and the most important—ask your recruiter for pre-interview guidance to help prepare for the interview! We are your biggest ally internally and want to ensure you're prepped with resources, tips, and insights that empower you to have a confident and successful interview."
–Garrett Wilson, Staff Technical Recruiter
Learn more about Procore here.
Not clarifying your thoughts before analyzing your code - VTS
"At VTS, we focus on pair programming for technical challenges and the number one mistake we see is candidates not sharing their thought process. Not only do we want to see how interviewees collaborate with members of our team, but it makes it difficult for the interviewers to help remove blockers or make suggestions when they don't know where or why you are getting stuck. Also, ask questions! The earlier you clarify your thoughts, the easier it is to plan and analyze your code."
Learn more about VTS here.
Not preparing for behavioral interview questions - Unstoppable Domains
"One frustrating mistake that many interviewees make is not preparing for behavioral interview questions and not clearly or concisely communicating the depth of their technical experience. Almost all companies ask behavioral questions, but many candidates feel blindsided by these. Before the interview, we recommend reflecting on your biggest achievements and areas of opportunity over the last 5 years, then rehearsing answers in the STAR format - Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Be specific. Why were those achievements important? What was the measurable impact? What did you learn as a result? It's not just about knowing the programming language, it's about being able to discuss real-life situations and how you were able to problem solve, collaborate, and add value. Bonus points if you research the company mission, values and tech stack beforehand so that you can tailor your response to each company."
Learn more about Unstoppable Domains here.
Not familiarizing yourself with the product - Smartsheet
"Many interviewees don't take the time to familiarize themselves with the Smartsheet product before their interview. Aside from reflecting poorly on their interest in our company, it makes it harder for them to understand where technical questions are coming from and then answer appropriately. Establishing even a basic understanding of our product gives candidates valuable context when thinking through responses to our questions (and asking meaningful questions of their own!). Our website is a great first stop, or candidates can even sign up for a free trial account to try out the product for themselves."
Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Weak communication - Veracode
"One of the most common mistakes interviewees make during a technical interview is having long-winded answers which can take time away from additional questions the interviewer may have. If you recognize this in yourself, practice breathing between sentences, or jot down some key points you want to share to reference during the interview. Strong communication begins with being an active listener then giving an answer that is clearly articulated, confident, and shows empathy. If you worry about being not detailed enough, remember the interview can always ask you to elaborate further. Demonstrating these communication skills during an interview will put your candidacy on the top of the list, as technical hiring managers are always seeking strong communicators on their teams."
Learn more about Veracode here.
Insight from Rain Hu, RVP of Sales at Elastic
One of Rain Hu's favorite moments of the day is her early morning run. "I run six kilometers minimum daily, rain or shine," she says. "I enjoy the time alone because it allows me to have time for self-reflection and self-conversation."
The discipline that it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle is carried throughout her life. As a wife, mother of two young boys, and sales leader, Rain optimizes her time so that she can show up fully and authentically in all aspects of her life.
We sat down with Rain, Regional Vice President of Sales (ASEAN and Hong Kong) for global tech company Elastic, to learn how she has built a career she loves. Read on to learn about how she grew her career in tech sales and what advice she has for others looking to do the same.
Launching a Career in Tech Sales
Shortly after graduating with her MBA, a headhunter contacted Rain about a position in sales. "When they pitched this sales job to me, I found it very interesting," she says. Although she didn't have any sales experience, she liked the idea of helping clients find solutions. "And at the same time they talked about the commission piece, and as a fresh grad, I also found that very attractive."
Over fifteen years later, Rain has earned her stripes in sales and team management. After holding executive positions at various well-known companies, Rain began to seek more opportunities for growth. "I wanted to join a growing company where I would be able to build and grow with the company," she says. And that's how she found Elastic.
Apart from the job description, Elastic's culture and values were what won her over when she decided to join three years ago. "Elastic's source code says we are not here to strive for perfection, so when I saw that, I immediately knew that this is the company that I would like to join, because we are not perfect — we are human."
As a salesperson, quality human connection at work is major for Rain. "[Sometimes] I see my colleagues more than I see my family, so liking the people I work with makes a big difference."
Equally important, however, is having the support required to maintain those connections at work and at home. "Elastic's culture gives us the flexibility to find that balance," says Rain.
Building and Growing Alongside Elastic
When Rain joined Elastic in 2018, there were only five employees in ASEAN and Hong Kong Singapore headquarters. She now manages over 10 countries with more than 10 languages spoken in the APJ and ASEAN regions. "It has been an amazing journey," says Rain.
Rain attributes this success to learning from her fellow colleagues. "I would say the secret recipe is being able to connect the dots and learn from other Elasticians." She makes sure her team has the opportunity to connect and learn from one another to accelerate growth and ensure optimal business outcomes: "Together, we make the difference."
How to grow your career in tech sales
Whether you're new to tech sales or are looking for ways to advance even further in the industry, here's Rain's advice for growing your career in tech sales.
1. Enjoy what you do. Being passionate about your career will give you an extra boost of motivation that could help take your career to the next level. "Today is the youngest you will ever be again, so that's why you should enjoy it to the fullest."
2. Get a mentor. "With a mentor, you will be able to bounce ideas, know your shortcomings, develop your strengths, and learn something new." Rain has personally benefited from mentorship and always encourages others to do so as well. "You need to be able to speak transparently to this person so that he or she will be able to give you the advice [you most need to hear]."
4. Be a team player. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." While sales may seem like an individual effort, success wouldn't be possible without the rest of the team. "People always say, 'Rain, you are number one', but to me this is just a name tag, because there is a full village behind the scenes and they are the heroes actually."
3. Get constructive feedback. Ask your supervisors, clients, and fellow team members to comment on your work. "Don't be afraid of asking for feedback," Rain says. "It might hurt sometimes, but that is what will help you to improve and become a better version of yourself."
5. Have resilience. Rain learned the value of resilience from her 7-year-old son who competes on Singapore's national chess team. "He started competing at a higher level and realized that he wouldn't always win," she explains. But he learns from his mistakes and that keeps him motivated to continue learning. "I see that [resilience] is very important when it comes to your career, because it's not always roses and rainbows, and you will hit roadblocks. But how do you overcome that? That's where resilience comes into the picture."
Want to be a part of the next phase of growth on Rain's team? Check out Elastic's open roles here.
Remember when, in movies from the late 1990s, characters who were looking for a job would leaf through a newspaper's classified section to see who was hiring?
Jess Scott has been running HR teams and talent acquisition teams since then. "You would circle in red pen the job they're going to go apply for. That's how you applied!" she says, laughing. "Sending emails, especially with attachments, was still a very new thing."
While the industry has changed a lot since then, especially with the data and technology that allows for more predictive control of the process, the fundamentals of how to build a solid team have remained the same. And Jess has been leaning on those fundamentals as she's helped scale VTS, a leasing and asset management platform for the commercial real estate market, from a couple hundred employees to more than 1,000.
We sat down with Jess, who is currently VP of Talent at VTS, to hear more on how she's done it, as well as how she got her start in the industry and what she's learned along the way.
Finding a "real career" in finding people
Jess was a theater major in college when she realized that she couldn't commit to pursuing a thespian's life.
"I dated an actor very seriously in college who was eight years my senior, and I saw his life, and I was like, 'I can't live that life.' Temping forever, not knowing where your next gig is going to come from, it just seemed too erratic for me," she says. So Jess added a sociology and education major and planned to teach, but that didn't quite work out, either.
"I student-taught and found out that I love kids, but I couldn't do that all day!" she says. She got an internship at a retained search firm and figured she'd be there for a little while—and was surprised when she found it really interesting.
"I didn't think 'finding people' was a real career," she says, smiling. "But I was learning how to build an org chart, how to interact with managing directors, how to woo people, how that whole process works."
Jess later joined a search firm, then went in-house at MTV to help build their first internet team. "I got the startup bug then, and really learned about all the moving parts of being an HR generalist," she says. She worked there while she got her master's in industrial and organizational psychology. From there, she went back and forth between agencies and startups before finding her way to VTS.
Jess first heard of VTS from a friend who suggested she come over and consult for the growing company. But Jess stayed because she really believes in the product and the people.
"What we're building makes so much sense. It's so intuitive," she says. "Real estate isn't going anywhere. It's actually a lot sexier than I thought it was going to be!"
The opportunity to run talent acquisition at VTS checked all of the boxes Jess was looking for in a job:
- An opportunity to make an impact
- The chance to work with founders she believes in ("our founders are really good people with really good moral compasses," she says)
- A formal commitment to DEI and ongoing learning and development
And since joining, her expectations have been met. "I've never worked somewhere where our values are truly who we are," says Jess. "We don't talk about culture fit. I think that's so subjective and kind of antiquated and has all sorts of unconscious bias and all sorts of things that creep in. We think about it as: are you a values fit? Are you going to be a good peer and member of our community? We've created a really wonderful work environment, and as we scale, we've been able to keep the things that make us special top of mind for everyone."
Embracing exponential growth: 3 tips for other managers doing the same
As the VP of Talent at VPS, Jess's days are filled managing her 14-person team, directly overseeing a few executive searches, and planning for the future of the company, from hitting next quarter's head count to building a production-driven environment that more systematically manages talent across the organization.
After seeing her team through the pandemic, says Jess, she's more focused than ever about building "true, deep, authentic relationships" and learning how to support and motivate her teammates, both at work and in their personal lives. "I really care about what I do, and I really care about my team, and I want to see us win," says Jess, who adds that her team now has even better unity and cohesion than they did pre-pandemic.
She's now able to channel that shared motivation and dedication into her biggest professional challenge to date: making sure that her team can meet the talent demands of a fast-growing company.
And she has three tips to share on how to do just that:
- Adopt new tools and techniques. Jess is an intuitive manager at heart, but she knew she'd have to step outside of her comfort zone to build something truly systematic and scalable. And now, "we use data to better predict capacity," says Jess. "We know how many jobs we're going to be able to fill based on past performance, broken down by product, engineering, and business, which take different amounts of time." She invested in cleaning up her team's data and building the infrastructure to better predict and track hiring needs. "We're very metrics-driven now. We had to totally rethink and reimagine how we were doing things, because what had worked wouldn't scale."
- Be vulnerable with your team. "Scaling is hard!" says Jess. "You're flying the plane and building the next version of it at the same time. As a leader, it's important to be vulnerable with your team, as it allows them to ask questions. It's about creating that space to make mistakes or to not know."
- Ask for the help you need. "If you don't know how to do it, it's okay to say, 'I don't know how to do it!' and get resources to help you," she says. "There are things that I just didn't don't know how to do, like how to assess whether assessment tests are going to make our top of funnel better." In that example, Jess got around that by partnering with an outside firm to come in and help lead a six-month process to restructure her team's processes and set them up with the metrics-based approach that's currently driving a 33% increase in capacity.