Eventbrite VP of Engineering Pat Poels spoke with CourseReport recently about hiring non-traditional engineering candidates from places like Hackbright Academy.
Here are the top five questions we hear from prospective hiring partners – and his answers:
1.) HOW DO CODING BOOTCAMP GRADS DIFFER FROM COMPUTER SCIENCE COLLEGE GRADS?
There’s an element of fearlessness that exists for people who have self-selected into a bootcamp like Hackbright Academy. Hackbright grads haven’t all necessarily had traditional schooling or backgrounds. I know about having nontraditional backgrounds because I have one myself, and I think that developers who have shown fearlessness tend to be really strong. They tend to be really great at learning and working through whatever problems they may have.”
2.) WHEN HIRING FOR ENGINEERS, HOW DO YOU THINK ABOUT TEAM COMPOSITION?
“It’s really the lifeblood of a company like Eventbrite to have/find great engineers creating innovative solutions. We don’t want to do the same things that other companies have done in ticketing. We really try to exhaust every potential channel for hiring. That means having connections to universities, connecting with friends and personal referrals, past coworkers who our team knows are really brilliant, etc. Those are still our biggest channel for new hires, but we love interesting programs like Hackbright Academy as well.
I don’t want to hire only very senior people who’ve been in the industry for 10 or 15 years. I want to have a mix of new ideas and new developers as well. Hackbright is a great channel for that.”
3.) WHAT DOES THE HACKBRIGHT / EVENTBRITE PARTNERSHIP LOOK LIKE?
We try to attend all of the Hackbright Academy recruiting events. We also have engineers from our office mentoring in the Hackbright classroom. We have at least one engineer from our team who has mentored for pretty much every Hackbright class so far. I’ve also been over to
talk with the students and do longer Q&As. Hackbright is a terrific program, and it’s something that we want to be attached to and help further, regardless of whether or not we’re hiring engineers.”
4.) WHAT IS YOUR TECHNICAL INTERVIEW PROCESS LIKE?
You have to find ways to get answers to the right questions: How well will this candidate do at Eventbrite? What kind of potential do they have? How hungry are they to learn? Are they somebody you want to work with? You have to figure those things out in different ways based on different levels of experience. I’m not going to say that we’ve perfected it, but
tailoring interviews is something that we’ve spent a long time learning how to do.”
5.) HOW DO YOU SUCCESSFULLY ONBOARD NEW ENGINEERS?
“This is something we’ll continue to get better at over time, but it starts with having a mentor assigned to work with you on your first day. That person is there to answer your questions. The environment is important as well. On a team of 145 engineers, we all know that we’re successful based on the success of the rest of the team. It’s not a competitive environment where you have to step on somebody else in order to get to the next rung of the ladder. We’re all here to answer each other’s questions. We use Slack channels very well, so those questions get surfaced out to everyone, and you have a strong ecosystem of great engineers to help with those questions. Also, we’ve found documentation of our products and our engineering environments and processes very important. Finally, we do internal bootcamps and training pretty often on particular technologies. For example, right now we have 25 people in a room down the hall learning React, which is a technology that we’re pushing into. All of these things help our existing engineers get better, and also help new engineers to onboard faster.”
“Where you start is a moment in time and the future is all up to you.”
Eventbrite VP Engineering Pat Poels
Hiring engineers? See you at the next Hackbright Demo Night!
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