Stripe's Sunday test and my Sunday test are slightly different: "Would you come into the office to hack on a Sunday even if the servers weren't on fire?"
If the answer is yes, you know you've got a burnout risk.
All that to say, as a developer who has been burned one too many times by the "oh yes we have lives outside of work" story (not so much), the question itself put me off a little, and I'm wondering if there is a way to measure this likability factor without a scenario that may immediately ping the sixth sense of a developer with certain past experiences. Just wanted to throw that out there.
If this person left Stripe to setup on their own, would you ask to join them? And would they have you?
Kinda like there are a lot of girls I'd go dancing with but that doesn't mean I've proposed to all of them.
You are not at work to "enjoy working with" a person (at least as far as Stripes' hiring policy goes) - you are at work to be inspired, create a gelled team, push each other further.
To use your analogy, there may be many women(!) you would enjoy dancing with, but you should focus on the ones you could reach the finals of Strictly Come Dancing with.
I think calling likability and cultural-fit "silly" puts you in a minority opinion amongst hiring managers.
And I'm curious how many interviews you must have been on to have gotten "dozens" of "cultural fit" denials? Are you just out of school?
Look, I know I'm just talking in anecdotes. And I'm parsing a lot because I don't want to offend you. But if you have "dozens" or even just a lot of people telling you they can't hire you because you're not a good fit, that should be a red flag to you. Sure, some of the problem is probably some of the companies. But you could probably see results by taking ownership of part of the problem for yourself. What I mean is, it's easy for an engineer to just try to wash his hands of things like "networking" and "cultural fits" but a better way is to just treat it like any other engineering problem and optimize for it.
My problems are two fold. First, I'm located in Ohio. If I were in NYC or San Francisco, it would be a different story. Secondly, I am very confident in my abilities, and I have a lot of integrity. "B player boses" are scared of people like me.
My biggest problem is that I'm not really capable of working at a company as an employee. I need to be either a CTO level person, or as part of a team where there is no "boss". A lot of companies claim that they are a true "collaborative environment", but rarely do companies ever actually operate this way. My first engineering job was on a team where there was no boss. Everyone was equal in terms of influence over the direction of the technology. I was a perfect fit there. I contributed more than anyone else at that job.
I think it boils down to the face that I care more about software than I do about the company. I care more about the quality of the software than I do about my boss's feelings. I care more about the software than I do about my own well being. I guess I could start caring less. I could just spend all day small talking with co-workers and generally not giving a shit like everyone else...
On the off chance you don't realize it, this probably affects your employability more than the rest of the factors you mentioned.
You should relocate. I can tell you this without a shred of reservation. I first went to a payment processing startup in Boca. Lots of money in South Florida, wonderful weather, quite a few more startups than you'd guess. Then to the bay area for a wider range of work.
If you're good, you will get flown out for interviews and given an offer with relocation. You should seriously consider this.
As for your other concerns, when I was younger, I was less of a collaborator and more of a "screw this, i'll do it myself, you'll see, it'll be great." And I'm talented, and often it was great, so i got by. But I eventually realized that for me, being more humble, reaching out more, it just makes life easier. And if you want to be humbled, go to where the best and brightest in your industry are.
As Greg points out in a sibling comment, it's not that we expect people to work on Sunday. We don't.
The point is setting a higher threshold for likability than "would you be ok working with this person". Instead, it's would you go out of your way to be around them?
It's easy to let small things slide. "Oh, it's a big office; I guess I won't need to hang out with them that much." It's harder to fool yourself with this test.
"Did she continue talking to you once you'd fixed her computer?"
Just rephrase this to "would you be around this person if you weren't paid to?"
Does anyone here (besides Stripe) do this? Systematically meet with team members to get lists of recruiting targets? What does "go after them with crazy intensity" mean?
This is Stripe's most successful recruiting channel so I'd definitely like to understand it better!
I got to work with one of the guys who was hired this way... ohh boy was he something. The most important lesson I got out of that was there are students in B-tier schools that easily are more capable than A-tier schools any day of the week -- I suspect the reason the founder of the company took this approach was that you'd get workers who're extremely capable, but would accept a lower salary than MIT grads are expected to (because, yes, at some point I asked the guy how much he was making and I remember my jaw just dropped on the floor at how little the amount he said was).
When you combine this with investing time in candidates via a good internship or apprenticeship program the results can be spectacular. When you are outside SV it doesn't take much to make your internship program stand out by letting your interns do full stack development on actual applications that ship.
You need to invest the time on training/mentoring/pairing to make it work though.
I went to a B-tier school. Interestingly, I recently learned that one of my smartest friends only applied to one school (Stanford) and got rejected, and afterward applied to the school I went to because it was only 10 miles away from where he lived.
While we're on the subject, one other thing --
There's a lot of Russians, Indians etc. who recently came here and have poor English, and so a lot of people just look past them. But a lot of them are the most persevering and focused folks you'll ever meet, and in my experiences they learn English quickly enough anyway (considering they got to America before they were 15 years old or so).
A-Tier: International reputation for engineering
B-Tier: The school is known internationally (or nationally in the U.S.) but not specifically for engineering
If you're at a B-Tier school you'll probably notice a lot of your professors did their PhD at an A-Tier school.
I say this with the caveat that obviously all manners of university ranking are highly contentious, fluid, and usually say more about the ranker than the ranked.
I would never underestimate the skills of anyone based on where they were from....
Also, don't overestimate the skills of someone either...
Trust me going to a big school is as much about having rich parents, exposure and massive social/financial push from people around you as much it is about personal genius and hard work.
I would say big schools only act as a hub for smart people to gather learn from each other and become more smart.
Despite many people who go to big schools never make it big, and many people who go to small school make it big.
We at least know it's not A tier (Harvard Princeton Stanford MIT, I think I'm missing a few). Or if you want to get even more resolution, it's not necessarily A- tier either (Berkeley, "lower" Ivies, etc.)
A-tier: MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, CMU (in no particular order)
Yes, without any doubt.
Not everyone can afford (or is willing to fork out the $$) places like Stanford.
Stanford students from families with income below $60,000 pay no tuition, room or board. Those from families with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000 pay no tuition."
I realize this isn't exactly what jmspring meant, but it is still true, in a certain sense, that not everyone can afford a top school. The difference is that the costs come before you even send out your applications.
* Fill out your profile
* List your interesting projects
* Have interesting projects
* Expect to be asked in a job interview, "so, what's your username on hacker news/stack overflow/whatever else" and post accordingly. (statements that are dumb in retrospect are fine; being an asshole all the time isn't).
Again, in no way aimed at you specifically; but I'm constantly reading comments about job search and thinking, "I wonder what he/she is all about", click on their profile and... nothing.
(The sad thing is when this was then passed on to a clueless HR/recruiting drone later, and the people were spammed.)
At bigger companies I've seen "recommend 2 friends" and all the standard bonuses (it's hilarious how some places offer $500 referral bonus but will pay a recruiter $25k; OTOH I know someone at Palantir who ended up making more on his $10-15k referral bonuses than he did in salary. One interesting fact is that giving an outside referrer a $500-1500 item, like an iPad or MacBook Air, is a lot more effective than the same small amount of cash. But, real ($5-25k) amounts of cash work best.)
We did at Microsoft. Honestly, for very experienced and senior people in dev tools, "crazy intensity" were usually not needed. Great engineers tend to also have friends who are great engineers, who are being paid at/near the top of their current company, might have been there for the decade, and you might be the first person to contact them in a few years, since they also filter out all LinkedIn or blind recruiter mails.
YMMV outside of dev tools, of course. RoR folks are probably getting recruited for all sorts of random places, but there really aren't a lot of dev tools shops, particularly that are building large enough projects to challenge people (e.g. have their own compiler, as opposed to just IDE bits. No offense towards IDE bits intended).
Most of the people who work directly on the user-facing parts of Stripe have managed products before, and enjoy the process of figuring out how they should work and what they should do. Before Stripe, Saikat and Sheena built Mockingbird. Alex built Taskforce and a number of open source projects. Amber had a long list of products under her belt. Ross founded 280 North, built 280 Slides, and co-created the Cappuccino web framework. Ludwig single-handedly designed and built Observer, a real-time web analytics tool. Ben started Kickoff. (As it happens, many people who don’t work directly on the user-facing parts of Stripe also have similar experience.)
When done by someone who understands people, it looks easy.
We do bonus for new hires (a few $K), which helps get everybody more 'engaged' - but the main drive is to get to work with folks you respect on work you think is awesome. Our team is up to 8 new folks in the last year or so, and so far, everything has been working fantastic.
Stripe making its workers write out a list of all the engineers they know seems a bit extreme -- I mean, generally you can just name the top 5 smartest people you know of without much thinking. That's how the company I worked for went about this. Interestingly, it made us talk to our friends, and let them know the company was looking for workers and to expect to hear from them soon, because 'I referred you to them'.
Partially ordered sets can have greatest elements -- you don't need total ordering (although you do need to have at least one element which is comparable to every other element, of course).
Yes, thx for clarifying. Mentioned FRC as they published the article.
some of them are definitely svelte :) but then, when you incorporate in boulder,co, the fitness capital of usa, svelte is a given. So also switzerland, where typesafe originates from.
I think the answer is no and no. The benefits of college education are widely underestimated.
For your argument to work, you'd need to find someone who's below average, lacks passion and under achieves on a regular basis. Then they enter "Stanford, Harvard, MIT" and become a highly regarded passionate professional.
The truth is that most of people who enter top-notch institutions are so far ahead of averages on a bunch of levels, that you could pull a bunch of them out during freshmen year, and they would still do well.
On my part, I dropped out of school almost immediately (I was an Econ student at Suffolk in Boston). I joined Stripe right after graduating from Hacker School batch.
The fact that you went to Hacker School is also indicative of superior financial position and accreditation. Hacker School is a very well known and respected program that is (anecdotally) incredibly hard to get into. Moreover, since it is in NYC and is effectively equivalent to a full-time job, doing it necessitates a large amount of savings or a really generous network.
Hacker School is about as close as a training program can get to emulating the inhibiting factors of "top colleges."
If the answer is yes, then it seems like your assertion is incorrect.
The average quality of engineering talent in the bay area is much higher than the average quality elsewhere in my experience.
1) we hire mostlty through referrals, which includes intense stalking
2) we've had reasonable luck w/ people who approach us
3) most people we contact via LinkedIn don't get back to us
4) once we hired someone through a recruiter
Points one through four are unique to Stripe. If they were an unsexy company in the boonies, point one would be "we hire mostly through recruiters". Point for would be "we once literally found someone under a rock".
This article reminded of an analysis on Tyra Bank's tips for becoming a model -- (mildy NSFW, bikinis) http://www.cracked.com/funny-2185-americas-next-to/funny-218...
A lot of companies completely miss the point of referrals. They say 'X% of our hires last year were referrals, so let's force everyone to blindly scrape their Linkedin networks and refer all of those people.' The highest quality referrals come when employees have actually worked with the people they're referring.
So my question is how do you attract talent and build great teams when you're not the prettiest girl at the dance?
This sounds like an interesting wrinkle on the more typical whiteboard programming puzzle.
Any proof for this bold statement?
Though, at the end of the day, if referrals work better for a company then that is where the focus should be placed.
Trust your instincts.
It turns out that when you think that someone's not good, you're almost always right.