Michael Abbott On The Fine Art Of Firing

Riviera Partners recently invited a group of up and coming industry directors to an intimate fireside chat with Michael Abbott about the crucial components needed to build a winning engineering culture. We covered some key takeaways from Michael Abbott’s insight in a three part series, and feature part two below:

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Hiring Wisdom From Kleiner Perkins’ Michael Abbott

Riviera Partners recently invited a group of up and coming industry directors to an intimate fireside chat with Michael Abbott about the crucial components needed to build a winning engineering culture. We covered some key takeaways from Michael Abbott's insight in a three part series, and feature part one below:

Read the full article here...

CCTV America - Bay Area Engineering Job Market

CCTV America paid a visit to the Riviera office to get a little color on the state of all things engineering in the Bay Area these days. Recruiters Joseph Yeh and Richard Huang spent time speaking with CCTV correspondents and shared their take on the latest trends, hiring statistics and salary figures. Check out the full interview below:

CCTV America - Interview with Riviera Partners

Hiring Tips for Engineers: Sell Yourself!

Now that you know how to beef up your resume and how to sell yourself, it’s time for the hard part: actually selling yourself. And by that, we mean the interview. There’s no denying that the interview process itself is generally the most stressful part of the job search process for candidates, but plenty of practice and preparation can go a long way. Here is some of our expert advice on how to prep, what to avoid and what to do when it’s all over.

Prepare and Practice

Studying isn’t just for students. It’s a good idea to read technical interview prep books such as The Google Resume and Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell. Also, Brush up on algorithms and other computer science fundamentals. Be familiar with different questions about design architecture, front-end coding (e.g. HTML5 and CC), backend-coding (e.g. Java and Ruby) and general problem solving questions. Additionally, we’ve seen many software engineers tripped up in the by being unable to think about software in a macro level. To help with this, really take the time to think about software design architecture, understand the problems faced by companies like Twitter or Uber, and try to come up with ways to solve those problems.

In addition to being able to sell yourself on a high level, be sure to practice skills you may be tested on. Examples include white boarding your thought process and explaining your code to others; pair program with a buddy and practice coding without online/physical references; and coding with a timer, and force yourself to code certain features within a defined time constraint. Hackathons put on by AngelHack, StartupWeekend and TopCoder are great places to practicing coding in a new environment, in front of unfamiliar people, while working in new development environments with less familiar tools.

Identify Good Weaknesses

One of the toughest questions to confront in an interview is identifying your weaknesses, but it’s a popular question so it’s important to be prepared for it. There are two key steps to answering this question. The first is to choose a genuine and specific answer. Take the time to think about all the things you aren’t the best at, and stay away from cheesy weaknesses like “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist.” The second step is explaining what actions you are taking to alleviate that weakness. This step is even more important than the first one because it shows the interviewer that you trying to improve yourself.

Another tack is to explain recent weaknesses that you have already improved upon. For example, if you used to write lengthy code, and then improved your ability to write more efficient code, mention how you improved in being a better craftsman. For a lead software engineer, it might be that you used to overcommit yourself and/or your team and missed internal deadlines, but now you know how to focus on the core features and get things done on time.

Avoid Common (and Not So Common) Pitfalls

There are some obvious pitfalls that always bear repeating: don’t be late, don’t have bad hygiene and don’t show up to an interview with no understanding of the company’s products and vision.

Also, be aware that not having clear goals might suggest that you aren’t very motivated, and not having questions to ask interviewers or just passively answering questions without engaging in conversation may show a lack of interest. On the flip side, being too verbose, being condescending to your interviewers, or badmouthing past employers or coworkers can indicate that you are a bad team player who is unwilling to listen to other people’s opinions.

Some other less obvious pitfalls are coming across as being too focused or dogmatic about one technical language. Companies use different tools to solve problems, and you don’t want to come across as too rigid in your thinking. Also, not having hobbies can be a red flag for many startups, who are all about having a strong technical team and culture.

Follow Up

A good rule of thumb is to send a thank you email with highlights of your conversation with 24 hours of an interview, and really insert your personality as much as possible. In most cases, it’s not going to make or break your interview, but a good follow-up could get you the job it the company is trying to decide between you and a similarly qualified candidate.

If it’s a job you really want, send handwritten thank you notes to your interviewers. Handwritten notes are a rarity these days, so this will really make you stand out and could be what ends up landing you your dream job!

SF Biz Times - Twitter Hosts Female-Driven Hackathon

(San Francisco Business Times) - Twitter Hosts Female-Driven Hackathon

Reminding the world that there are female coders, a group of tech-savvy women are taking on the hackathon today with a competition to develop mobile apps that will help solve pressing issues affecting women and girls around the world.

Organized by the nonprofit Women Who Code, Gucci’s Chime for Change campaign and Twitter, the hackathon will award a total of $50,000 in cash to the female teams that build the best app to support a number of international NGOs.

The event is a first for Women Who Code, a San Francisco-based nonprofit with just under 6,000 members that aims to promote more women in tech and provides career services to advance women already working in tech-related fields.

Read the full article here...

Nibletz - How To Snatch Up The Best Tech Talent

In a marketplace dense with competition for engineers, hiring the talent needed to scale is a crucial component to any startup's growth. If you've constructed your company roadmap and are garnering interest and support from the community, you're in a great position to attract talent. However, many companies find themselves falling short when it comes to actually hiring the people who have expressed interest in partnering up. Our recruiters, Mike Bearden and Mike Tumasian, share a few tips with the startup website Nibletz about how companies can optimize their hiring processes to land the talent they need.

(Nibletz) - How To Snatch Up The Best Tech Talent

When it comes to hiring the right talent, some startups excel at attracting and closing great engineers, while others run into trouble in this area. If you find yourself falling into the latter category, don’t fret–our recruiters are here to help with some advice.

Our team specializes in the technology sector (specifically within emerging markets), so we understand what it takes for startups to land in-demand engineers. We do it every day and we put together the following tips to help you get those positions filled.

Have a good understanding of where your company stands–and hire accordingly

Most startups can’t compete with the compensation packages from–or the reputations of–companies like NetFlix, Google and Facebook. The good news is that most engineers understand this. Great engineers with degrees from the likes of MIT, Stanford and Berkeley will come to the startup world for the challenge, collaboration and impact. If you’re one of 10,000 engineers at a huge company, moving to a smaller team of ten where you can provide input on architectural decisions and strategy can have huge appeal.

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