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Employer Spotlight: Eventbrite

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.”

Watch the full interview (or read the full transcript) with Pat Poels on CourseReport here!

 

“Where you start is a moment in time and the future is all up to you.”
Eventbrite VP Engineering Pat Poels

More from Pat Poels about non-traditional engineers.

Hiring engineers? See you at the next Hackbright Demo Night!

Hackbright Field Trip to the Eventbrite Office!

The Spring 2014 class of Hackbright Academy engineering fellows visited Eventbrite headquarters today in San Francisco’s SOMA district. We were welcomed by Eventbrite co-founder and president Julia Hartz who talked about the culture at Eventbrite.

Julia gave advice to the Hackbright engineering fellows about finding the right job:

“Make sure to evaluate all of your options and take some time before interview what is truly important to you – culture, opportunity, team you’re working with. There are lots of bright shiny objects but sometimes you go below the dermal level, you’ll see things not in line with your own values. Don’t jump in quickly just because it presents itself as being exciting. You are taking a leap, a risk, and you owe it to yourself to make sure your next move pays off.”

She stressed, “Find a company that holds learning as one of its core values. We learned a couple years ago is we do need to make a concerted effort in learning opportunities in our team. We have BriteCamps – created by Britelings – a brown bag lunch session where anyone at Eventbrite can teach anyone else a skill or give them insight into their business or have a discussion around the topic totally unrelated to the attendees but enlightening nonetheless.”

Next, Eventbrite VP of engineering Pat Poels talked to Hackbright engineering fellows about Eventbrite – “We try really hard to hire people you would want to work with.”

We also heard from Natalie Downe, a director at Eventbrite by way of acquisition of her startup Lanyrd. She talked about working in tech and being a Y Combinator company with her previous gig.

After the morning talks, Hackbright engineering fellows enjoyed lunch at Eventbrite’s cafeteria and sat with Eventbrite engineers.

After lunch, Hackbright alum who are now working at Eventbrite as software engineers spoke about the onboarding process as a junior software engineer at Eventbrite.

Nicole Zuckerman talked about her experience starting out as a new engineer at Eventbrite — “When I started, I just wanted to contribute and be useful. Goal-setting was good because I had something to shoot for – and you felt good when you did it.” She talked about failure, and how you should not fear failures in engineering because they are never as terrible as imagined.

Why Eventbrite?

One of the Hackbright engineering fellows asked the Eventbrite software engineers why they chose to work at Eventbrite.

Kathryn King said, “I could tell that these were people who were invested in learning and it’s the right size of company with talented senior engineers. Because we’re not so short staffed, people can give an hour of their week to help me with what I’m working on. There is a lot of casual mentoring through coworkers and managers. Looking back, that is the top reason to pick Eventbrite to work at.”

Nicole Zuckerman talked about the Eventbrite staff that interviewed her and how they took two minutes of their time to email her thanks for the email and a follow up about their discussion together. “The fact they took two minutes of their time to email” was impressive.

Tips for Interviewing

“I tried to think of interviewing as cooperative puzzle-solving. I get really nervous when people watch me screw up on a for loop,” said Nicole Zuckerman. Mica Swyers added, “A good question to ask your interviewer is ‘What does crunch time look like for your team?” – and hear if that type of work environment is the one for you.

Thanks to everyone at Eventbrite today for being so welcoming to Hackbright Academy engineering fellows today!

Hackbright Field Trip to the Eventbrite Office!

The Spring 2014 class of Hackbright Academy engineering fellows visited Eventbrite headquarters today in San Francisco’s SOMA district. We were welcomed by Eventbrite co-founder and president Julia Hartz who talked about the culture at Eventbrite.

Julia gave advice to the Hackbright engineering fellows about finding the right job:

“Make sure to evaluate all of your options and take some time before interview what is truly important to you – culture, opportunity, team you’re working with. There are lots of bright shiny objects but sometimes you go below the dermal level, you’ll see things not in line with your own values. Don’t jump in quickly just because it presents itself as being exciting. You are taking a leap, a risk, and you owe it to yourself to make sure your next move pays off.”

She stressed, “Find a company that holds learning as one of its core values. We learned a couple years ago is we do need to make a concerted effort in learning opportunities in our team. We have BriteCamps – created by Britelings – a brown bag lunch session where anyone at Eventbrite can teach anyone else a skill or give them insight into their business or have a discussion around the topic totally unrelated to the attendees but enlightening nonetheless.”

Next, Eventbrite VP of engineering Pat Poels talked to Hackbright engineering fellows about Eventbrite – “We try really hard to hire people you would want to work with.”

We also heard from Natalie Downe, a director at Eventbrite by way of acquisition of her startup Lanyrd. She talked about working in tech and being a Y Combinator company with her previous gig.

After the morning talks, Hackbright engineering fellows enjoyed lunch at Eventbrite’s cafeteria and sat with Eventbrite engineers.

After lunch, Hackbright alum who are now working at Eventbrite as software engineers spoke about the onboarding process as a junior software engineer at Eventbrite.

Nicole Zuckerman talked about her experience starting out as a new engineer at Eventbrite — “When I started, I just wanted to contribute and be useful. Goal-setting was good because I had something to shoot for – and you felt good when you did it.” She talked about failure, and how you should not fear failures in engineering because they are never as terrible as imagined.

Why Eventbrite?

One of the Hackbright engineering fellows asked the Eventbrite software engineers why they chose to work at Eventbrite.

Kathryn King said, “I could tell that these were people who were invested in learning and it’s the right size of company with talented senior engineers. Because we’re not so short staffed, people can give an hour of their week to help me with what I’m working on. There is a lot of casual mentoring through coworkers and managers. Looking back, that is the top reason to pick Eventbrite to work at.”

Nicole Zuckerman talked about the Eventbrite staff that interviewed her and how they took two minutes of their time to email her thanks for the email and a follow up about their discussion together. “The fact they took two minutes of their time to email” was impressive.

Tips for Interviewing

“I tried to think of interviewing as cooperative puzzle-solving. I get really nervous when people watch me screw up on a for loop,” said Nicole Zuckerman. Mica Swyers added, “A good question to ask your interviewer is ‘What does crunch time look like for your team?” – and hear if that type of work environment is the one for you.

Thanks to everyone at Eventbrite today for being so welcoming to Hackbright Academy engineering fellows today!