Sadie Evans posted an articleInterview tips from a FreshWorks developer see more
Author: Rachit Khare
My name is Rachit and I’m a developer at FreshWorks Studio working from our offices in Victoria, BC (we actually have three offices now - the others are in Vancouver and Seattle, so sometimes I’m there too). If you’ve never heard of us before, we’re software developers specializing in iOS and Android apps (follow us on Facebook and Twitter!). We’re constantly growing, and always in search of passionate developers to join our team, but sometimes some really amazing people come in for a tech interview and don’t really know what to expect. Since I’ll be the one testing your technical know-how from a developer perspective, I thought I’d share what we’re looking for in candidates, so that when you get the call, you’ll already have an idea about how to wow us. Ready to learn the inside secrets to how we‘re making a kick-ass team with some of the best and brightest in the business? Here’s where it starts:
The FreshWorks Hiring Process
Like most companies that want to make sure they’re hiring the right people for the job, FreshWorks has 4 hiring rounds: a pre-screening call, a technical interview, a take home selection test and then a final interview with our HR Manager and one (if not both) of the founders. We take the time to really get to know those who interview with us, and we really try to make sure a potential new member is introduced to a few team members during the interview process because we want you to be as excited about us as we are about you, and we want to make sure both parties feel the fit is right before any contracts get drawn up.
I personally tend to jump in at the technical interview stage to provide feedback and decide if you’re ready to be sent a technical project for a web application.
And since you need to impress me in order to show off your skills on a technical project, I thought I’d share how I, a developer, approach tech interviews along with some tips on how you can really shine during the process:
1. Show That You’re Ready to Become Part of a Team
We’ll be spending a lot of time together on some really cool projects, so I always ask myself this question during the interview: are you someone I can work with?
Collaboration is key at FreshWorks, and that starts right in the tech interview. Don’t turn our time together into a Q&A! Rather, ask for clarity on questions, follow up and expand on ideas, and get engaged. Think of the interview as a conversation with lots of back and forth.
Also, show you are malleable and humble. There may come a time when you and your interviewer might disagree (sometimes passionately) on a topic. Different perspectives are always encouraged (in the end, seeing things from different angles end up helping us solve problems and find innovative solutions), but keep an open mind that humility is a core value at FreshWorks.
If you are a technical candidate, don’t forget to put a link to a sample repository on GitHub/Bitbucket on your resume. I will get a copy and I will look for this! I’ll work to validate what you’ve written in the interview and I prefer to do as much pre-research on you as you’ve done on us. It will give me a good idea of where to start and what questions to ask, and you’ll know coming in that your sample repository will be part of the conversation, which will take some pressure off of wondering where the interview will go and what might be covered.
Another core value at FreshWorks is excellence. Whatever you give us, whether it’s a resume or a project, make it easy for us to absorb. If your resume is targeted more towards the pre-screening with HR (as it should be) your Github repo is the chance to make an impression on your tech interviewer. Clear instructions in the README.md and comments on your code will go a long way. In fact, if you just do those 2 things, I’m personally 70% of the way there to recommending you to the next round. Now, how easy was that?
2. Know What Your Role Entails
I’m typically involved in hiring Junior and Intermediate developers. If you come across 2 job postings, one for each of those positions for full stack development, and don’t know where you quite fit in, keep in mind this is what I end up looking for:
I look for enthusiasm in junior programmers. Show me you’re inquisitive. If I bring up a technology you haven’t heard of before, ask me about it. I’d love to tell you more. We’re passionate about tech at FreshWorks and we’re specifically looking for people who are excited about technology and ready to ask questions (and collaborate!) as they learn and grow.
When it comes to intermediate developers I’m looking for both breadth and depth of knowledge. At the intermediate level, I’m looking for you to know your stuff across the software development cycle. I may not be expecting you to know specific technologies or stacks but I will expect you to know which realm they’re in. For example: If you don’t know much about docker, you should at least know about virtual machines. You don’t need to know anything about Laravel and Eloquent but you need to know what an MVC framework or an Object Relational Mapper (ORM) is and you should have used one before. On the front-end side of things, if you haven’t worked with one of React/Angular/VueJS, get ready for an uphill battle.
3. Know How to Answer Questions
Interviews can be stressful, and sometimes interviewees try to hurry through, or don’t take the time to expand on their knowledge to give me insight into how they think or what they know.
I learned something valuable from our HR manager that I think interviewees can really benefit from when stepping into any interview: always answer questions using the STAR approach. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. For example, if I ask if you have developed a full MVC application before, you could answer with a simple “Yes”. But a better answer might be: “Yes, I built a blog app using a MEANstack”.
If you really want to impress me, try for a STAR answer:
“Yes. When I was applying for jobs and writing my resume, I took the time out to make a sample project to showcase my abilities and stand out from the competition. I chose a blogging application which captures the basics of what I wanted to demonstrate like CRUD operations, authentication, and authorization. I used a LAMP stack and deployed it on AWS. My MVC Framework was Laravel with VueJS and Bootstrap 4 on the front-end. I began by defining the data model with associations and then incrementally built up the Controllers and Views as I went along. The project includes RESTful API’s along with Unit Tests using PHP Unit. You can view it on Github — the link is there in my resume.”
Now that’s an answer we can have a real conversation about! What I like about this is that it takes care of some of the other questions I would have asked such as “Have you worked with AWS before?” but more importantly now it’s a chance to dig deeper into your experience. A range of opportunities has presented itself for us to carry on from this point. I can talk about unit testing, or thoughts on VueJS. If I were to look at your repo right now I might have an idea of where I’m most likely to find bugs, and so much more.
It may take a bit more time and preparation, but get ready to answer questions in depth, with examples, so we can really dig into your knowledge sets. It will make things much more interesting for both of us.
4. Be Ready to Also Ask Questions. Lots of them.
I always give time at the end for an interviewee to ask me any questions they may have. This is your opportunity to make an impression; and if the interview went badly, to salvage things. But don’t feel you have to hold all of your questions until the end - also feel comfortable enough to ask questions along the way. For me, the best questions are those that are beneficial to the both of us. They also don’t have to be strictly technical in nature. I’ve had many people ask me about “how is it like working there?” or “what do you love most about working at FreshWorks?” These are good questions and I’ll answer them enthusiastically.
I love working at FreshWorks, and I want to continue to grow a team that’s as passionate about putting out the best work in the industry – and that starts with open communication and a readiness to grow and collaborate together in a supportive, fun environment. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you know absolutely everything about every program under the sun, I’ll be assessing if you have what it takes to be a part of our team – and if you’re excited about what we do.
In summary, if you’re reading this as a first step in prepping for your interview, don’t forget to:
Treat our meeting like a conversation,
Understand the role you’re applying for and approach our conversation accordingly,
Use questions as an opportunity to tell stories about your past work, and
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions yourself.
Good luck, and I’ll see you soon!
Tessa Bousfield posted an articleIn the high-tech sector, employers are always on the hunt for experienced senior talent. see more
Source: Times Colonist
Author: Carla Wilson
Victoria employers looking for new ways to attract and keep workers
Competition to snap up employees in the capital region and elsewhere on Vancouver Island is so stiff that employers are developing new strategies to attract workers.
Greater Victoria has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada; it was just five per cent in October, Statistics Canada said, behind only Guelph, Ont., and Vancouver.
Look around the region and you’ll see help wanted signs posted in many business windows. Opportunities are available in a range of sectors, such as public administration where 3,700 new jobs were created in the past year.
Construction, high-tech, and the restaurant sector are all mapping out plans to attract and retain more workers.
The Vancouver Island Construction Association is offering a free six-week program for young people to deliver basic training and certifications that will get them started on a work site.
Open to 15- to 19-year-olds, it has slots for a new government-funded Youth Constructing a Future program, starting Monday. Two more six-week programs will be offered after this one. It includes meeting with employers and visits to work sites.
This is the latest step in a years-long campaign to attract people to trades at a time when B.C.’s economy is growing. Jobs are driven by hundreds of millions of dollars worth of projects such as high-rise condominiums, B.C. Hydro projects, new up-Island hospitals and military construction.
The program is hoping to tap into unemployed young people between 15 and 24 years old in B.C. “We are still at a 14 per cent unemployment rate [in B.C. for young people], which is troubling,” said Greg Baynton, president of the Island Construction Association.
B.C. needs 17,000 new entrants to the trades over the next nine years, he said. Of those, 15 to 20 per cent will be required on the Island.
While the B.C. Construction Association said the average yearly wage of construction workers is $57,700, Baynton thinks that is a conservative figure.
Workers who have completed apprenticeships can earn $25 to $35 per hour, plus benefits. Baynton said some trades, such as mechanical and carpentry, earn in the $70,000 to $80,000 per year range as employers respond to the tight labour market.
Some workers have moved to B.C. from Alberta but while that helps the shortfall in employees, not all skills can be directly transferred, Baynton said. “It’s just a completely different environment.”
In the high-tech sector, with its estimated 23,000 workers in Greater Victoria, employers are always on the hunt for experienced senior talent. “It’s not a new story,” said Dan Gunn, executive director of the Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council.
Local post-secondary institutions funnel students and graduates to the tech sector. The capital region’s livability is among attractions that will pull experienced people here. And while locals complain about high housing prices, Victoria falls below other major cities, Gunn said. A lower cost of living, less commuting and lower health costs compared with the U.S. are among other advantages.
The council is working on additional human resources training for its members to help them attract workers, including ways to lure people from the Lower Mainland, he said. These programs will be rolled out in the new year.
At Victoria’s Latitude Geographics on Wharf Street, founder and CEO Steven Myhill-Jones said its latest job postings reflect company’s growth. The 17-year-old firm, supplying web-based maps for clients in Canada and internationally, has 130 employees.
It attracts staff and retains staff with competitive compensation. Latitude is dedicated to making a difference in the world, meaning employees can be proud of what they do, he said.
The other factor in retaining workers is a strong company culture. This includes company-supplied healthy snacks, a patio, yoga twice a week, continuing education, opportunities for advancement, and the chance to travel for work. As well, “we have a bottomless budget for books,” Myhill-Jones said.
The B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association is talking with provincial officials about how to attract and keep workers, with pilot programs also expected in the new year, said Ian Tostenson, the organization’s president and CEO.
A shortage of workers is “serious all throughout the province,” he said. The sector has 180,000 employees in B.C.
He anticipates projects will be launched early in 2017. This may mean the sector may have to rethink its business model by offering more stability in hours for workers and better benefits. It is smaller business that are affected the most, he said.