Written by Graydon Klassen, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring NYC.
I get it. The idea of starting a new job can certainly be scary.
I have been working in the staffing industry for most of my professional career, and this potentially daunting experience is something that I discuss with both my active & passive candidates on a regular basis. Couple that with the fact that my family moved around frequently while I was growing up, and I have built up quite an informed perspective (if I do say so myself) of what the move should be when you walk through the doors on your first day. If you will, we can call it “Graydon’s Guide to Being the New Guy.” This tried and true guide has three critical components: Listen first, be yourself, and don’t jump to conclusions.
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Now it is important to note that these three stages are in chronological order and should be implemented as so. Listen First. You might be saying “Graydon, I know how to listen. What do you mean?” I know that the act of listening seems obvious but when you first start a job, sometimes its importance can be overlooked. More specifically, one of the most common errors a “New Guy” commits is not a lack of listening but as I like to call it just “waiting in line for your chance to talk.” Typically when you first start, you are eager to impress, share knowledge and stories, and as a result, can sometimes interject these already pre-packaged anecdotes with little to no relevance to the conversation at hand. Sometimes this works. But sometimes these interjections can leave your new coworkers with a poor taste in their mouths. This is especially a tough thing to get over during that initial first impression stage. Diving into it a little more, after several off topic comments, or even worse long winded responses, your colleagues might not come back to you with their water cooler banter, or even worse, their professional insights and responsibilities. You need to demonstrate that you not only have the knowledge to be viewed as a worthwhile colleague, but that you know when to apply that knowledge. Listening to your co-workers is the best—and really your only—way to position yourself advantageously in those early conversations. Trust that you are better than a Rolodex of go-to sayings.
Now that you are listening, it is equally as important to be yourself. I sometimes hear people talking about starting fresh by pressing the reset button, and while I think that this transformative presentation of yourself can be done in a real way, I see this backfiring more often than not. A valued employee is someone who is consistent. Consistency is one of those golden attributes that every employer looks for. The unfortunate fact is that most people who start off trying to be someone they are not cannot maintain this new persona. In hopes of avoiding this flip flop, it is important to be yourself from the beginning. Be honest with your abilities and desires. Starting off on a genuine note sets the proper dynamic for you and your employer and colleagues.
The “coup de grâce” of this guide is the oft-difficult mastery of not jumping to conclusions. Just as you might be feeling anxious to present yourself in the right way, your colleagues are going through the same thing. You need to find your place in the office, so it is important to come up with a realistic timeframe for seeing the true picture. It is easy to hop on a bandwagon at work just because everyone else is but that might not be the best play. You might be blinded by the initial bells and whistles and then next thing you know, you are somewhere you don’t want to be. So the only way to truly find your spot is by owning the first two steps. Now if you are listening and being genuine, the appropriate method of how to conduct your business and how you fit in will reveal itself.
There is a reason that the notion of things “falling into place” is a popular one, and it’s because that’s how the universe works. It applies to people too, but only if you are listening to the people around you and responding in a genuine fashion. So please take my guide to heart while you walk through the front doors of your new company, and get ready to climb that corporate ladder.
Written by Melissa Tobia, Practice Manager in Jobspring San Francisco.
The world of coding camps has been expanding, especially in this booming market where everyone in San Francisco is looking to hire a Software Engineer. Coding Camps are a great way to get a foot in the door and not only learn about software development, but to also expand a skill set.
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In my previous blogs for Jobspring I spoke on the benefits of enrolling in coding academies and how they can benefit a tech career. Today, I am looking into the bootcamp experience on a personal level. I represent many candidates who went to coding camps and they all possess similar qualities; they’re passionate about development, eager to learn more and excited to pursue new opportunities. I helped Brian Kang who went to a coding academy called Hack Reactor in finding a new role about a year ago. I wanted to get his insight on his overall experience and where he is at today. Here is what he had to say:
1. Why did you decide to go to a coding camp?
I decided to go to a coding bootcamp because I wanted to build software for a living. I wanted excellent instructors and structure to my learning, but I didn't want to go through another four years of college.
2. What was the most valuable thing you learned at Hack Reactor?
The most valuable thing I learned at Hack Reactor is that nothing is out of reach. I had never been in an environment with so many smart and driven individuals. The enthusiasm to learn and build amazing projects is infectious, and my frame of mind quickly shifted from assessing my ability to accomplish a seemingly impossible task to diving in and figuring out how to do it.
3. What was the hardest part about Hack Reactor?
The hardest part about Hack Reactor is the initial adjustment to the pace of learning and the amount of work involved. The first two weeks were tiring, but the program is very well structured and by weeks 3+ I felt comfortable with the pace.
4. How long did it take to get a job after graduation, and what did the process of getting a job look like?
My job search experience was different than most of my cohort. I decided to stay at Hack Reactor for three more months as part of the Hacker in Residence program where I conducted technical interviews and assisted students with projects part-time. The rest of my time was free, so I decided to build a project with a friend and also contracted for a startup. Towards the end of the contract, I began my search and was contacted by Melissa at Jobspring. Melissa quickly found a few companies that were a good match, and I talked with engineers from one of the companies a few days later. The week after, I went in for an onsite interview and accepted an offer that night. It took roughly two weeks from beginning my search to accepting an offer. I decided to end my search early because I found a company with an amazing team, culture, and opportunity for personal growth.
5. What is some advice you would give to someone who is looking to get their first job as a software developer?
I would advise engineers looking for their first job to pursue personal projects while searching for jobs. You will learn, gain experience, and have something to talk about.
From what Brian has said, his experience going to Hack Reactor was very rewarding. It gave him an opportunity to expand his skill set and grow while offering an alternative to four more years of college. If you are trying to pursue a career in software development, I would highly recommend signing up for a development bootcamp.