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Daniel Doubrovkine

aka dB., @awscloud, former CTO @artsy, +@vestris, NYC

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“Wednesday night’s American Horror Story: Coven delivered an interesting theory on youth culture: Millennials are actually dead inside.” I’m quoting Bustle’s article, which quotes the show itself. “I am a millennial. Generation Y, born between the birth of aids and 9/11 give or take. They call us the Global Generation. We are known for our entitlement and narcissism. Some say it’s because we’re the first generation where every kid gets a trophy just for showing up.”

Why am I quoting this? In the recent months some non-trivial number of junior candidates have shown up to a second interview without really knowing what we actually do as a company. They have never been beyond the homepage of our website, have never even read the “about” section or landed on our Engineering blog. They have not even created an account on the website that offers you to create one the first time you visit.

They just showed up.

Small companies is where a lot of innovation happens and are much more selective about their junior candidates. We put tremendous effort into hiring and consider juniors a serious investment. Arriving without any preparation annihilates your chances. Unlike big corporations that hire armies of juniors, you are rarely judged on puzzles and whiteboard coding. You’re not a “brain on a stick”, to quote a big company manager. So, find out as much as you can from the website of the company you’re interviewing at, write down names and terms, then Google everything until you’re sure you’ve left no stone unturned. Finally, think about 3 smart and sufficiently varied questions that you would want to ask an Engineer, a Product Manager, a Business person and the CEO. These should demonstrate that you have done the prep work. Arrive with confidence and genuine desire to both do your best and learn something in the process.

I am, however, happy to say that the horror story mentioned above is a tiny minority. In the past few months I had the pleasure of interviewing some very smart kids. I am 37, so most were born the year I wrote my first commercial software. I felt that I was repeatedly talking to very bright individuals. I was inspired by the vast majority of these juniors and was thrilled to hear about their projects and aspirations. I have to also mention that I am extremely happy to see a growing number of minorities and women in their ranks, something that our industry has always struggled with.

I am excited about the future, let me know how I can help!