Tag Archives: recruiting

Working remotely – how much does it cost

People work for many reasons. For me the workaholic journey started from the idea of covering the basic resource needs. I just wanted to pay for the food. Later it became mostly self-realization thingy.

Work is not the only thing needed for a healthy being. Spending quality time with family, side projects, working out etc is also important. For all of that we need some spare resources: time, attention, willpower. Working from home is an incredible setup allowing to boost all of the areas having a more productive employee as a result.

This post was inspired by a recent offering to work on the other side of the city (no remoting), so I’ve decided to evaluate the benefits involved. By the way, you can also check out my story of starting to work remotely.

Time

Whenever I commute in Kiev, it takes 1 hour regardless of where I go to. If something takes more than that, I consider the thing to be outside of Kiev : )

5 times a week an hour to the work plus an hour to return makes 10 hours total. Thus I will spent 10 more hours not on my side projects: 40 + 10 = 50 hrs.

More time

The place I currently live in has everything I need in walking distance: groceries, gym, a few cafes for when we don’t feel like cooking, farmer’s market, my driving school, self-government.

When the infrastructure at work goes down and I exhaust all the ways to make that live again, I just go ahead and do something from my personal task list.

Having to commute somewhere in such cases makes mental barrier higher so just slacking off in the office seems like an easier strategy. I don’t like life setups encouraging things which are not effective long term.

Leveraging the productive time

There are hours when our bodies tell us we’re ready for something in particular and there are hours we feel otherwise.

If I feel like working during the commute time – that productive urge is being lost. The advantage of having the ability to work from home is just that. I can do productive work whenever I feel tike that.

Similarly, when I feel bad, I can have a short nap, work without leaving my bed or do all of that in my favorite pajama in the midst of the day.

Stable energy supply

A few years ago I’ve discovered that eating regularly is very important for my wellbeing. Whenever I’m hungry, I’m more reactive (prone to screaming at people) and less productive.

I guess some of the companies have food catered just because of this reason (yay google with their supplies).

Apart from the feeling good at work, eating regularly allows me to feel good after the work, in my spare time – this is not visible on the time sheets but allows me to sustain a good pace in the long run.

At home place it’s much easier for me to arrange steady supply of foods.

Health

Whenever flu season comes, the public transportation is filled with infected people. Similarly are the offices (especially if your company does not allow working from home while urging the employees to meet deadlines and client commitments).

This year I’m spending a lot of time at home and I didn’t had any of that yet. Last year I’ve been sick at least 2 times while having only once per week office volunteering gig (tutoring kids).

Infrastructure investments are easier to make

From the stuff I’ve observed it is common for companies (yay outsourcing) to put their offices on the outskirts and / or put off installing improved AC’s.

I even have a story in my past where I was not very fond of our AC equipment, found a system to fix that but the thing never happened because of the difficulties involved with the building owner and stuff.

At my home I can do much more with much less hustle. Also it’s rather cool to upgrade both my home and working environment with the same actions (yay standing desk made of cardboard!). Me being happy in this respect too are a direct result of being interested and having this control in the same time.

By the way, me not being in the office means somebody else can be there, in the end less space rented more moneys saved.

Better control over reachability / interruptions

Open space offices are also full of distractions. I can ask my teammates to give me a break for a few hours but that does not prevent people from other teams from reaching out for something.

Working from home is just like having my own personal office in this respect: I turn the Skype off once decided to have some productive time et voila – I can code up a decent chunk of something even in the middle of a day.

Traveling

Ability to work from home also allows us to change bases. Grabbing the whole team to chill at a beach bar is awesome bonding experience as well as a nice refresher for a tired brain.

The other side of the table

I know that allowing people to work remotely feels dangerous as you have much less control over people.

I’ve been in team leading positions with people being on the other side the Earth a few times. Some people tend to work well in such circumstances, other tend to slack off. Herding people to the offices doesn’t solve this problem completely too (especially if you have Xbox there).

I also recognize WFH is not a silver bullet. What I would like to say here is that value of allowing to work from home is tremendous. Use it discreetly to win / reward talent.

Bad, good and the unexpected

This week I had a conversation with another company who seems like a good cultural fit. They have a work from home policy but encourage people to work from the office.

I love the style: instead of putting regulations which enforce your presence, the environment is just built in a way where it feels good to visit the office.

Interestingly enough, I feel compelled with the thing. Let’s see where will I be in a year from now : )

Recap: HR PechaKucha

Yesterday I’ve used another opportunity to hang out with something other than my laptop at HR PechaKucha organized by Impact HUB.

Audience was mostly HR’s / recruiters from IT.

A few highlights below:

  1. Oleg suggested to scale a business as a number of types of services it provides rather than volume. It should keep customer relationships warm and people employed where the fit is the rightest
  2. Mariya from Bavarish House
    • surprised me that they actually teach people to talk English. She was also the one to break the PechaKucha rules by starting her speech with 2.5 mins long video
  3. Kateryna from Luxoft
    • among other things shared an interesting case where a priest attended their training center interviews and was actually the best in that batch               IMG_20150530_205031
  4. Konstantin revealed to me that:
    • there are people which actually enjoy 2.5 hour long personality tests even before talking to a company representative
    • there are companies sacking people based on personality tests                                          IMG_20150530_213011
    • + bunch of funky tests: Thomas test, Keirsey, Motivation by Gerchikov, Burnout by Rukavishnikov
  5. Julia from NetPeak sold their company’s idea to me
    • I’m amazed by anyone who know what is the need for corporate values (naming all of them for your company makes you an evangelist in my eyes).
    • she also had awesome slides                                                                  IMG_20150530_220511 IMG_20150530_220424
    • Chatting with her afterwards I’ve also learned that the internal processes are developed and maintained by the employees, not evasive manageme
  6. Olga confirmed that Lohika does have training labs as well as a mysterious development center in Romania (yay, vampires!)
  7. I was ranting about the recruiters misconduct in “Recruiters guide on how to properly repel candidate developers”
    • Tinder meat scroll
    • was invited to speak for a company (so others can line up, please!)
  8. Sasha was closing the event and shared a few tricks HUB Volunteer Service NGO uses to motivate people:
    • I loved the most the idea of paying with celebrities time
    • although there was a guy eager to do work in exchange of a bike (so Sasha lent him a one just to make the world better)
  9. Before the event we had a chat with Max and he shared an awesome strategy for aspiring yet-to-be-developers: create a Djinni profile

Special thanks to Svetlana Bugay and her soft skills training which inspired me to challenge my chicken-hearted developer soul with some public speaking.

What the recruiting Bible says about resumes before having a chit-chat?

Today is a big day for the Ukrainian economy: our currency reclaimed a bit of it’s past value and I’m officially giving up on updating my resume when some random people ask. Hours saved will be donated to charity and occasional exposures to Xbox.

Below are a few reasons (including one true story, bro) on why you might want to do the same.

LinkedIn and some reading skills to the rescue

During the latest 30 days I’ve received 16 invitations and none (0) of them bothered to follow the instruction linked from the profile.

Or, to give them a benefit of the doubt: nobody from the contacting people was brave enough to try any of the suggestions on how to cheaply earn some reputation with me.

And as economists say – it’s all about the incentives: given somebody does not bother to read my LinkedIn profile while they don’t have my resume, what the chances are if I’ll whip up a one for them?

Not everybody is a fit – why bother?

nonono

I’ve had a magnificent chat just recently which saved me a few hours from preparing a resume.


A manager: Hi there
A manager: I’ve got your contact from Xxxx, as a candidate for a DevOps position

Me: yup
Me: let’s talk?

A manager: ask urgent questions first – might be you’ll get them answered now
A manager: )

Me: Who DevOps will work for? Who are they delivering value to / who are their clients? Who will manage / work with the DevOps? Who is the Ansible fan there?

A manager:
> Who DevOps will work for?
a company with a foreign investments

> Who are they delivering value to / who are their clients?
No clients yet – we create product(s)

> Who will manage
There is an owner / investor with money – the company is managed by that person

> Who will work with the DevOps
developers

> Who is the Ansible fan there?
some teams do

Me:
>> Who DevOps will work for?
> a company with a foreign investments
what is famous about them? what can I learn from them?

>> Who are they delivering value to / who are their clients?
> No clients yet – we create product(s)
who are the potential clients? market \ domain?

>> Who will manage
> There is an owner / investor with money – the company is managed by that person
where I can read up on them?

>> Who will work with the DevOps
> developers
how many teams (products) is to be supported? what does an average working day looks like? what are the success criteria?

A manager: Ivan
A manager: sorry, you’re asking not correct questions with regards to the investors
can you read up on your investors at the current firm you’re working for?

A manager: ?
Me: yup

A manager: can I see a link please
Me: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/<my_favorite_employer_here>/investors

A manager: cool! sorry, I can’t give you that information
A manager: a good day
A manager: to you

    A manager removed me from Skype contact list here.

Me: is that an ending of the conversation?
A manager: from the context, I clearly stated that
yes – I bid you a good day again!

Me: what’s the reason? have I made you upset with something?
A manager: you’re working on a dream job, it seems, and we’re not matching the criteria in the asked questions. No, you haven’t upset anyone

Me: thanks – I’m always afraid of making people upset
Me: which criteria were not met? – I haven’t named a single one as of yet

    As of yet neither the manager, nor the recruiter have revealed what the problem was.


The End

So while most of people will be busy updating their resumes, me and you can get in front of the queue in this awesome game called life

P.S. There’s no recruiting bible I know of – maybe that’s the reason for all the funky things happening around? ^_^

competitive

How to talk to a potential recruit: A successful random recruiter’s guide

5735037Recruiters are not annoying! I’m just communicating with them in a wrong way (no sarcasm intended).

Yesterday I had an awesome chat with a recruiter who explained that I’m the one to be blamed for all the problems with mis-approaching me by recruiters. I basically provided no info on how to approach me and then just complained :| Let’s fix this!

The guide

If you’re trying to talk me into being hired, please:

  1. Tell me where you’ve got my contact from
  2. Be ready for a two-sided conversation to happen (“Please send me a resume if interested” = no-no)
  3. Prefer informal style chats (Russian/Ukrainian languages have whole bunch of words which have formal/informal forms, like we have ‘you’ word of two kinds, English speaking please refrain from using ‘mister’ etc)
  4. Prefer communication channels giving me the freedom of answering later (e.g. LinkedIn is much better than Skype)
  5. Describe the idea of the project / problem it solves
  6. Include as much details as possible (I’m still a lot better at reading than at chatting with people)
  7. Don’t ask ‘can I ask you a question?’ – life is short (and that thing is already a question asked without a permission)
  8. Don’t try to buy my soul with a relocation :P
  9. Don’t ask me about my salary expectations:
    1. I have experience offering my services / actually working for free where I liked the idea
    2. Best thing you can do: include your budget (surely can be a range) together with the rest of the information
  10. Think strategically: I probably won’t satisfy your query especially in asap mode (*wink*) but I will gladly provide some leads now and later if I remember who you are. Vika‘s trick revealed (:

P.S. If you’re reading this post you’re probably better of than many : )
P.S.S. +1 to your reputation if you’ll tell me this code anywhere during the introduction 0xcafebabe (I’m pretty serious btw)
P.S.S.S. If you never asked people what it feels like to receive your introduction letter – ask me, I’m always open to give some feedback

Relocation: benefit or a bait

It’s not uncommon for a developer to receive a linkedin spam. I have a few filters which direct most of the trendy ways to spam people to a special folder. 70% of linkedin spam letters I receive contain offerings from “international”, “successful” companies – filtering based on these words was a huge timesaver for me.

Recently, I’ve received a message from a recruiter “revealing” me as a person interested in relocation.

I recognize that kind of approach as another trend and apart from adding a new e-mail filter (“relocation”), I analyze why it should not work for the grown-ups.

You’re selling it wrong

nasty recruiter person

From sales perspective I can understand this move as a random value proposition. The guess is based on Ukrainian people generally feeling less secure than before and willing to do something about that (you probably know about Russia invading Ukraine).

This post is a clear objection and seeing an objection from a person you’re trying to sell something to is a clear sign you’re trying to sell to early. Meaning: ask about what is valuable first.

To save some time to all the sane future recruiters, I’m writing this opus. If you’re reading this and you’re a recruiter – let’s talk, I already like you for doing some homework ; )

What is in relocation for me

Case 1: US

Recently my company decided not to sponsor my H1B (for those who’re not knowledgeable: H1B is USA visa which is considered to be one of the ways to become a citizen in the end).

Given that we talked about this for a year, my feeling towards the news best can be approximated by childhood stuff: “I am no longer a beloved kid”.

Depending on circumstances, I would qualify that as a hit to one of the stages of Maslow’s pyramid:

  • Self-esteem
  • Love and belonging

WUT: Nothing about safety and security here! You’re selling it wrong!

Maslow pyramid wifi battery

Love and belonging theme in this case is related to a bunch of teammates from the US which I love to work with and seeing them in person would feel awesome.

Thus, if I’m not in love with your company – offering me to relocate is a clear bump in self-esteem. Unfortunately, telling me that you feel I am interested – is kind of doing stuff on my territory which has nothing to do with bumping my self-esteem ; )

Case 2: Poland

A few years ago I was offered to relocate to Poland (by the company I already worked for). It clearly affected my self-esteem at first.

I also perceived it as a growth opportunity, but then they’ve made me wait half a year and I’ve quit. As growth opportunities and illusions of such are different things : )

Case 3: Japan

A random approach by a recruiter. Salary after tax would be less than I earn and that’s given that Japan is more expensive.

Could have worked 5 years ago when I was huge Anime / Japanese fan.

Case 4: Self induced

I’ve just returned from 3.5 month long trip to south-east Asia. Changing location every month or so was a huge productivity boost for me. Budget was around $1000 per month per two of us.

Generalization of my relocation experience

It is often viewed as a value proposition by a [potential] employer.

From my experience when somebody believes, you’re receiving something of value, they’re asking for something in return. So most of the offers of relocation would assume lesser salary.

Exception to this rule will be a company which is already realizing a lot of value from your relationship so they are willing to go an extra mile to make you stay.

What is in relocation for other people

One fact is that I know a lot of people who move around south east Asia year round without selling their soul to any company.

There’s a famous psychological fallacy of considering actions of others to be directed by whatever selfishness they have and your actions to be directed by the sheer good intentions.

Thus, I won’t say a thing here. I don’t understand other people and all I can do is ask them to comment.

What to do if I am a a recruiter?

Uhm. Try to talk to me like I am a normal person?

I’ve suggested this to a few recruiters and they responded with a statement that they’re just playing the numbers game in match making. More tries meaning more hires.

Playing that numbers game in this way of cold-approaching as many people as possible makes you less godlike!

As I have said so many times, God doesn’t play dice with the world. (c) Einstein

einstein

Every pick up artist knows that cold approaching people is less efficient than having some warm up (like eye contact). You can try the same approach with engineers.

warm leads recruiting

What if I would like to relocate?

Go for it. All the experiences, actions and changes count towards becoming a better version of yourself.

If you’re relocating to Ukraine – talk to me : )

TLDR

In the age of connectedness and free floating ideas location is just a tiny detail which can be easily tuned on your own.

Think twice: if you are concerned about changing the location of your body – who will be changing the world?

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”.

mrr

 

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
    блокноты_лицо
  • 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