Give a Shit, Get Hired.
I’ve spent the past 10 years of my life interviewing, managing teams and building product. Interviewing is a precursor to managing and building product. You need teams to build product and you need to interview to get people on your team. Interviewing can be a drawn out, laborious and soul sucking experience.
Sometimes you’re sitting across from someone asking yourself, “did they really just say that”?
It’s not all bad though, sometimes you get a diamond in the rough, and every current team member at Breather fills that requirement. There is something special about all of them, they all did or said something during an interview that made them stand out. When I think about it, passion was the common element. I can remember interviewing each of them and thinking;
“wow, these people really give a shit.”
When you find that awesome candidate who you want to give the job to, it’s all worth it.
Standing out can be a double edged sword though, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people in my career ranging from PM’s, engineers, designers, analysts, QA’s and customer service reps. There are two groups of people I remember, the best and the worst. Middle of the pack is irrelevant because you get forgotten. So, how do you get noticed and remembered…in a good way? It’s actually pretty simple. These rules apply to every position from a customer service rep to an executive.
1. Research: You think this would be blatantly obvious; nope. Show me you want this job and don’t waste my time or yours. Doing your research is very simple. Here are some key things to look out for:
Who’s on the team, what market are we trying to serve, what’s the history of the company, what’s our culture who are our competitors?
Want to really impress me, put it down on paper or make a small presentation. Show me you prepared for this. I remember our first city manager, Packy. The dude wanted the job bad. He sent unsolicited research and pretty much stalked us for a few months. He helped lay the foundation for NYC. I love working with this guy because he cares so damn much.
2. Use the Product: I can’t emphasize this enough.
You don’t have to be a habitual user, but try it, at least once. Tell me what you liked and what you didn’t like. Where and how did you get stuck? Don’t blow smoke up my ass. Be honest and thorough.
Did we fall short of what we promise to our customers or were your expectations exceeded? Give me some feedback and tell me how you would fix the issue if you were hired. I remember interviewing our UX designer, Christine. She had used the product several times before coming into interview and gave us tons of thoughtful feedback.
3. Confidence not Cockiness: There is a thin line between confidence and cockiness, and you don’t want to cross it. If I say something you disagree with in the interview, tell me! More importantly, tell me why!
At Breather we don’t hire tyrants or lemmings. We hire independent, creative, intelligent and driven individuals. I’m willing to be proven wrong, are you? If not, best look elsewhere.
I remember meeting Ben, our CTO for the first time. It was what he didn’t say. He had this calm, composed sense of confidence in his abilities. He understood what Breather was all about before we had truly put a well developed product into market.
When you come in and interview realize that you and I may spend hours a day together. Some of those times are going to be stressful, hard or annoying. Show me that you’re a person who during those times can come closer together and perform. A company or product is nothing without a team who really cares. Show me you care.