Recap: HR Maverick recruitment training

This Saturday I’ve participated in a recruitment training by Vika Prydatko(also known for her HR-Maverick blog). I was lucky enough to join them just for half of the time(day 2) and as one of the two developer guinea pigs(I can’t remember a single other IT HR event advertising live devs being invited so it was kind of special already).

Disclaimer: I like her as a personality so that well be an influencing factor : )

TLDR: I can summarize the thing as “Recruitment with purpose”.

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For a long time I felt like most of the recruitment contacts reaching out to me did that with the pipeline model in their head(e.g. mindlessly spamming more people –> more candidates respond –> more offers accepted –> more bonuses –> more Goa trips).

The training makes me think the situation is not that hopeless – identifying and matching candidates(and companies) needs and core values were the cornerstone of everything. I can confirm that surprisingly this works in longterm – I’m more willing to talk and try projects suggested by recruiters respecting my interests.

Apart from having alive devs(us) to validate / elaborate on the points being made, Vika prepared a few nice practical games : ) Overall it was more of a facilitated discussion with lots of real life cases, so spending the whole day there was easy as a pie(why I never had that in my university? :’( ).

It also made sense to take notes as people were sharing lots of ideas, tricks and models. I loved the training a lot!

A few field notes:

  • The simplest way to make candidate feel better about the company is to suggest a nice sandwich — I never had that experience and imagining that makes me agree 110%
  • Psychotests are ~20-30% valid so relying just on them(or making people spend an hour filling them) is not the most efficient strategy
  • Myers Briggs tests are kind of nice – you can have fun applying that to yourself : )
  • Herzberg motivation theory
  • Spiral dynamics
  • Money dust cartoon
  • Funky “Forgot to feed the cat” notebook
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  • Standard hackneyed interview questions can be reframed into something of a higher meaning: “Why you’d like to work for our company?” –> “From the things I’ve told you about the company so far, which were the most interesting to you?”
  • <3 Some people/companies do propagate interview feedback meaningfully back to a candidate

Learning how to learn :: Bar alone report

Learning how to learn is a funky(and free) course I’ve started recently. Being lean and easy to digest, it doubled number of tricks I know to succeed with new stuff : )

Coursework did not lower my level of excitement, I feel exactly the opposite. I’ll be reporting my experiments to the people as well as will be discovering what are they learning themselves – that naturally fits into my favorite paradigm of project-oriented relationships(or basically doing useful stuff together).

In my most awesome peer assignment ever, I’ll be describing concepts from the course using my Bar Alone Project: I was improving my fluency with having conversations with people I never seen before and here I’ll reflect on the experience.

Stick with a supporting mindset

“Life begins at forty” (c) proverb

You’ve probably seen people being super-easy going and having super nice conversations. Some time ago I’ve learned about introverts and thought I never will be able to talk to people smoothly(at least until I’m forty according to the proverb).

It’s better to have a supporting mindset and the course told me a one. Deliberate learning says that most of the things can be learned by practicing enough(and I think by making enough mistakes).

social skills

My first day was super important in terms of kicking off with the whole adventure. As an engineer, I’ve started with researching existing studies in the field. I was reading a lot about what people can do in a bar, what types of bars are there, movie scenes etc. Although, this strategy helped me a lot in the past, it just delayed me from entering a bar now. Welcome to einstellung - a type of mind trap where by having a particular hammer in my head, I was seeing nails everywhere.

Beat procrastination with something simple

I could have spent ages in this known and pleasant state(you’ve probably heard about the procrastination), but then I’ve decided to kick start myself with something real simple. I was just supposed to get into a bar and just buy myself a drink. No expectations, no strings attached – nothing to worry about. That helped a lot. Generalizing the idea – it’s easier(and more pleasant) to be focused on small step(one at a time) and thus a process. The end product of the multitude of steps will come naturally.

Rinse and repeat

Although, my first experience was really exciting(making me feel like I should party 7 days in a row), better results in learning(and in this case in preserving state of my liver) can be achieved by spacing repetitions of a thing you’re trying to master. Neural pathways take time to be formed and the more you use your newly formed connections, the more persistent they will be. Probably that’s why I remember just nothing from my university – everything was learned just the last moment ^_^

TL;DR: Learning is fun and easy

Spending <10 hours for the course(yay 2x video replay speed!), I learned how to be more productive with learning. I already have 4 additional learnings activities 3 of which(driving, sailing, French) are nicely covered by AnkiWeb / AnkiDroid(basically cards in your phone for spaced repetitions) and time sponsored by the public transit system ^_^

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P.S. Yes, I’ve found a date, though that’s a completely different story : )

Bar alone project :: Day 4 – Visit a bar during a working day

So today(Thursday) I visited Uptown, highly recommended by one of my friends. Uptown is a dive bar(meaning for neighbors mostly).

A few bar guides were suggesting that on a working day bars are empty and you can have a nice chat with a bartender. It was not the case for me, maybe Thursday is a day off in San Francisco – who knows?

Also I’ve been there with the intention of trying a formalized(ha-ha, I’m a nerd) socializing process I’ve picked up somewhere on youtube:

  1. Walk around the place
  2. Have eye contacts with people in the bar
  3. Use conversation starters
  4. Don’t stick with the same set of people for too long(you can always return later)

So the log:

  1. Entered and had a walk
  2. No eye contacts at all – everybody in tight groups doing something
  3. $8 tequilla + cider + tip
  4. $1 -> pinball, yay!
  5. 3 newjoiners at the pool -> I can bee 4th
  6. A game, nice chat -> mission accomplished

A few conversation starters:

  1. Off-the-wall stuff(e.g. do you need 4th person for the pool game)
  2. Where are you from(I hear that in first 30 seconds during 99% conversations)
  3. What’s your name / my name is xxx (I’m xxx for some reason does not work well for me – have to reiterate :) )
  4. What you’ve seen so far / what can you recommend
  5. How you’ve met / where do you know each other from

Total: $9

P.S. Uptown itself was the most pleasant experience for me so far – cheap, relaxed people, pool/pinball, music does not interfere with conversations.

uptown

Photo credit goes to noisejockey.

Bar alone project :: Day 3 – Stay at home and do nothing

Although some of my excitement about going to bars alone is related to experimentation, a large enough part is just fear of staying alone. So this particularly promising Friday I’ve stayed at home and did NOTHING: no music, no reading, just sitting and observing my thoughts and feelings.

Recently read Illusions by R. Bach is probably the most contributing factor to blame : ) I particularly loved idea of human magnets, which suggests to:

  1. Stop doing common nonsense(in my case it’s going to bars as I’m yet to discover what do I love about them)
  2. Be selfish: do stuff you’d like to do
  3. Enjoy some loneliness, knowing that ‘my’ people gonna appear around at some point
  4. . . .
  5. Profit !

P.S. As it’s bar alone project, I had a nice collections of drinks in my apartment, which all survived through the night untouched – not every visit to a bar is about getting wasted, that’s probably the next thing to try : )

Bar alone project :: Day 2 – Hang out with people sharing similar interests

I’ve done some CouchSurfing in the past so today I’ve been to Noc Noc at Lower Haight with CouchSurfers(thanks Olga for the idea ^_^ ).

Briefly:

  • Nice chat with a bartender before the start(I traditionally arrived 10 minutes earlier)
  • There were close to 15 people all over the world
  • As a result, this weekend I’m gonna be hiking, what’s unusual for US(at least from the words of the people I knew before), that’s gonna be overnight stay  : )
  • Also I’m fed up with drinking and smoking
  • Bonus: now I know how to get from the office to home with no BART whatsoever

Total: 3 hours, ~$30.

Just do it(tm)

One of the first books I’ve bought[1] told me about two axises in goal achievement: decisiveness(ability to start) and persistence(having enough resources to accomplish the thing).

I think GTD[2] success is in part attributed to improving decisiveness. Doing something a few times develops a habit, so we keep doing same thing less consciously. By quickly relaying messages in your Inbox to appropriate queues you take a decision already, it’s small, but starting small is the easiest way to start. Branson’s autobiographical one[3] also stuffed with quick decision making.

I’m still afraid of making mistakes but when I’m starting to act, that’s all gone.

Exercise for the reader

Keep your inboxes empty for a week.

  • If you don’t feel like saying ‘yes’ to something – say no
  • If you know when you’re going to do something – add a reminder and drop the e-mail, if you don’t know – say no
  • Unsubscribe link in marketing e-mails helps a lot : )

 

Bar Alone project :: Day 1 – Get myself a drink on Friday

What can you do on a Friday night if you’re a nerd? Probably blog about that. That’s what I’m doing. Another option is to find a place with a low entrance barrier for people with nerdy guys. Or pack a few less nerdy people to form a group with an acceptable average nerdyness level. I’m alone here so that won’t work. It’s 3 more weeks in San Francisco(and I live just in the heart of the Mission!), so I can’t sit idle. I’ve read a few articles about the topic and uhm… they lack stories. It’s kind of scary to kick of in Clint Eastwood fashion(given I left my horse in Europe). So I’ll start easy: go and get myself a drink.

If you’re read till this line, you’ll know that I’m doing this for sake of science – I love learning new things ^_^

Checklist
  1. White whine just observing people, meditate if you can
  2. $20 bill and $6 wine resulted in no change
  3. Another barmen approached
  4. Ask if that’s a deposit or I’ve used any trigger words saying that’s all –> you should get the change in any case
  5. One drink on the house, tip it all over
  6. Dance the shit out of my body
  7. Get a few puffs hash as a reward for the lighter, complemented my dancing
  8. Tip it all over and get a few more drinks
  9. Outside hysterical girl and a guy, yay, justice!
  10. More drinks
  11. Girls 30+ flirting
  12. Dance, dance, mingle with the crowd
  13. On my way home spotted by some Carols saying he’s gay and suggesting to have some fun
  14. Blog about the thing
  15. Now I know a DJ, bouncer and a few patrons = profit!

Overall: $35.

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Greet a new resident!

How to get into a more supportive environment

During the last month, I’ve seen a few people(infobusinessmen) bullshitting about getting support out of your relatives and environment overall. In my experience IB-people are real sensitive to fears and needs of people, the only thing which is missing is selling the resolution, not some information(thus you can deduct I love people doing psychological counseling more).

Not a single one of them told about one simple thing(basically TLDR of the article):

to make others support you, you need to let them know you’re doing something valuable to them.

I hope that is at least sold as a part of premium package. By analyzing this sentence even more you can derive the steps:

1. Do something

No actions – nothing to support.

2. Do something valuable to yourself

Although, many screw up with this, supporting yourself is still the simplest thing possible.

2a. Identify what are your needs / next steps

Lots of people around you(especially relatives) will be really glad to help someone for free, by having your list of needs in hand, you lower the barrier for potential backers.

2b. Share

People are not able to support you unless they know about your adventures. Include a few words about your obsession to your elevator pitch. Write one if you don’t have it yet.

3. Do something valuable to your environment

As supporting yourself is the easiest thing, by doing something valuable to the your surrounding, you automatically give them the opportunity to support you. Don’t forget to share.

3a. Learn

Value of anything is something is a result of an evaluation. Learn which facets people around you see the world through and use that knowledge to show how they’re gonna win.

4. Expand your environment

Abandoning everyone seem to be a nice idea, though burning the bridges is not my style. Slurp more people into your environment and the least supportive gonna be crowded out automatically.

Also by following the advice from above, in long term you can get your surrounding educated and supportive as well – why dump them? : )

4a. Use media to hang out with remote people

Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Stephen Hawking — whoever is your hero probably won’t get much time for you first, but media makes it really easy to translate more of their presence in your daily life. Blogs, podcasts, books, social media are the things I use. Mb Instagram will save the day for you.

5. You’re still in charge of your personal growth

The IB-people often quote Jim Rohn “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”.

As I understand this suggests what you get from the environment is more important than what you give. Which kind of denies the value of being proactive.

I strongly support the other point of view, by Victor Frankl. Between a stimulus from the environment and your response to that resides your personal choice.

Have fun!

Warfare redefined

We have lots of people fighting for something all around the world. I was thinking about this for a while now I’ve arrived on my own position about this. That’s a hypothesis based on a few axioms I’ll be verifying in the nearest future.

My axioms

  1. I fight for the future of all the people(call that humanity?), not ordinary structures(e.g. America, Iraq, Russia, Novorussia, Ukraine, whatever)
  2. I can be influenced by propaganda, thus relying even on my perceptions of the situation is not something wise
  3. Winning is a consequence of long term strategic thinking, not a matter of tactical advantage
  4. Killing people is not an efficient long term strategy for me, converting people is

killconverted Just imagine the difference between dealing with N more pissed people rather than with N more(even partially) converted ones.

 

Step 1: Boost learning by being open 

Iterative methodologies proved their worth in modern world. Scrum and kanban are taking over even the most conservative parts of the companies life – finance planning. Building an agile feedback loop is important to react quickly to the changing world, but it’s even more important to speedup the learning which leads to strategic advantages.

Openness has been one of my core values for a long. I guess consciously I arrived by that somewhere in 2012. Since that time I realized that apart from being a thing I just like, it’s an awesome way to get feedback on my thoughts quicker.

Note: I still don’t think that sharing my dietary habits on e.g. Instagram has good signal-to-noise ratio, so this should be applied consciously.

 

More feedback –> better learning –> improved strategies.

Step 2: Transform the battlefield by sharing stuff

head attackHead-full attacks do not work well. Storming a fortification requires 3 to 5 times more resources than defending that.

Plus, it’s always tricky to understand if we’re storming/defending the right fortification in the information space. And what to storm in your mind if you’re not defending a thing? : )

Sharing stuff you like works differently. In places where there’s a need for it, it will be accepted without any battles.

Basically, propaganda works like this: “You’re different”. Now we have induced differences and the whole information front separating us.

  • Saying ‘I agree’ with it means you’re on ‘positive’ side of the induced effect
  • Saying ‘I disagree’ means you’re on ‘negative side of the induced effect and you still support the whole machine
  • Not minding it and working on your own strategy is the thing which kinda works to your own advantage and moves you closer to the bright future you imagine

unite
Unity is my future. What do you imagine?

Implementation details

I’m buying portable projector and will be sharing the awesome ideas I’ve seen. And let the people choose what they’d like to see around.

II Pause. Get more by doing less

I’m not exactly sure why it works this way, but sometimes the easiest way to achieve something is to stop moving towards that and just wait for a while.

A few examples from my life include:

  • When having a seemingly intractable problem 3 to 6 month after quitting a relationship for me is just enough time to figure out how to adapt myself to the thing
  • A few tricky programming problems were resolved when I’ve returned to them by accident in a month
  • Convincing people about their model not matching the situation by letting them surface the problems seemingly obvious to me

Let got of whatever you’re struggling with right now and have a nice pause, it’s weekend after all :)

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