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What would you like to do?
Team: Sean Breyer (ESRI), Sarah Cordiviano (Azavea), Leo Dillon (State Dept), Martin Gamache (NatGeo), Andrew Hill (CartoDB)
Question 1: "Candidates" - Skills and characteristics, value of hard v soft skills, importance of previous work, process of evaluation - demonstration necessary?
Sean - high value of hard skills, proven work is almost necessary. soft skills still necessary, and used. portfolio is initial window to hiree - even basic coding skills have value as you can converse fluently with teams.
Sarah - some academic background in related fields, but higher value on desire to improve and grow. want you to feel empowered. provide assignment to hiree and watch your design sense and workflow
Leo - design heavily, strong favoring of willingness to take on leadership roles and learn new skills. previous work ex not as crucial. specific examples of how skills are applied the most valued answers
Martin - strong portfolio necessary, source of material varies upon experience. soft skills absolute requirement (no asshole policy). internships used as screening oftentimes, seen as almost on-site interview
Andrew - evaluate hard skills, usually related to work experience with variance in responsibilities. more interested in projects rather than specifics, want to dig in and see thought process that develops a process. ability to teach is one of his top soft skills, patience and seeing the problem. also do an assignment to evaluate
Question 2: "Materials" - what is asked for, how are they reviewed
Sarah - resume, portfolio, statement of interest or series of questions. reviewed portfolio with eye for design, variance in print/digital. what questions are asked by the map, how is the data explored. how do people want to move on within the field. passion for project
Leo - comfortable knowing the person can do the job. known of reputation, provision of portfolio. applicant who can express how they are using their skills in the projects. newer skills valued higher
Martin - strong portfolio, varies for print v online. essay requirement occasionally. what are the references saying about the person. comb through the cv, and ask about 'knowledge' of skill
Andrew - hired often through connections. interns hired often by reaching out to professors. smaller company makes this feasible, unlike larger companies. really enjoys personal story, and maybe draws in to creating a role based on skills talked about rather than ones trumpeted
Sean - fairly standard, read resume/cv, look over portfolio. spend time in-depth discussion of portfolio that leads to good data analysis. internships often become track to company.
resume clarification - usually a quick scan, used more as a backup. do NOT design poorly, make it look damn good - especially since often applying for a design job, it's an easy elimination.
portfolio clarification - annotated portfolio, describing process and collaboration (crediting others shows humility, honesty on what was accomplished), quality over quantity.
Question 3: "Interviews" - preparation, different approach on in person v digital, first round v follow-up, process, favorite questions to ask, number of rounds, who is involved in the process
Leo - soft skills so important so it becomes a challenge to do this not in person. questions that are meant to see how well someone knows the software or have skills. look damn good when showing up, be interested in the office
Martin - second interviews are much more of a conversation (avoid interrogation), have done homework and have questions for the interviewer. just answering questions conveys you aren't really interested in working there
Andrew - have you used the product? why are they excited about working for a company, how does this fit into your development of the skills and improve their own lives, helps find the passion. technical roles are grilled need to show understanding, lots of people involved
Sean - 3 rounds usually (HR is first), second would be more conversation oriented to dig into who you are and why you want to be here. third is on site and means they are open to you, but are looking to find where you may be able to fit in the company
Sarah - mixture of exec team and professionals on interview. comfort with discussing skills extremely impressive - ability to explain concepts in an understandable fashion (layman explanations). fav question "what is your approach to learning new tech" - actually looking for desire to build skills rather than process, feel comfortable trying new things and diving in
What's the final push when you've come to the final cut? - sometimes it's the personality, who's bright and teachable - other times skills are desired. self sufficiency, diversity, demeanor.
Advice for someone wanting to transition from other areas of work world? - not coming to big places to learn on job unless applying for internship. rather would have good designer learn cartography than gis person with no design sense
Question 4: "Education" - what can candidates do to prep for market, can educators prepare students for market, what role does educational ex play in hiring decisions
Martin - most programs are teaching gis, not cartography. giving students rote experience rather than teaching decision-making processes and questioning decisions
Andrew - some experience with programming, even if the base knowledge is low, have they shown the ability to learn on their own. classes themselves are not important, how did you apply these
Sean - want students who have pushed known boundaries, have skills that are just breaking if possible. projects more valuable than school or classes
Sarah - educators who can build partnerships with the industry. guest lectures, reaching out to find internships, helping students find jobs. solicit curriculum advice from the industry
Leo - pay grades are geared towards education level, experience can substitute for education, but usually not for starting. gis is a tool, how are they prepared or applied is important
importance of interdisciplinary background? how much should it be played up? - found interesting and flagged as positive, variance shows curiosity and lower fear. languages show things such as immersion in culture. abilities of public speaking is valued.
how do you determine professional consistency? - ehhhh
Question 5: "Culture" - advice for deciding which opportunities to pursue, how important is cultural fit, how do you assess this?
Andrew - culture is critical, especially for smaller companies. what are others in the company doing in their off time help you find fit. bad fits weed themselves out naturally
Sean - think about companies you are applying to, read their sites and blogs, do these things interest you, locations. assessed in on-site interview, what they have, they want, can you fit
Sarah - blog posts are a nice way to find out what a company cares about, who they are. candidates who have an interest in working in the field is important - past excursions help figure stuff out. pursue informational interviews, don't overthink it, do email or coffee dates - ask what it's like
Leo - interesting questions about human geography helps a lot
Martin - culture should be the top thing in job list, once you've mastered the work part of it in a year (tops) where you are means everything. pay attention to this the further you get in life does this person fit a need you already have
People tend to hire those like them, how do you go about diversifying? - super important
Question 6: "Search" - how should people search, how should communication be handled, how do you recruit, role of a network, job titles advertised
Sean - making connections in conferences and with professors will help raise your attention level. relationship built in first interview are crucial, allows you to show who you are as a person. easy to pass on a person you don't know, in a tight job market this makes applying a rat race
Sarah - highly favors networking and being in community. just talk to other folks in the industry (info interviews again!). job titles are tricky because carto/gis isn't always in even description many times, find a community dev corporation that you admire, put together some maps pro bono and share them as a value of the work for the organization
Leo - USAJobs.com, pump full of search words. keep on checking. networking is crucial because it puts you in their minds, if they paid attention to, it'll ring a bell
Martin - network is crucial, learning how to do it is a skill. any professional opportunities you can get, take. especially when you have some work to show. showing a piece of work makes you much more memorable than just your face
Andrew - NETWORKING (big surprise). are you presenting at conferences, showing off your work? this gives an idea of what roles you can fit into
Crowd advice - do not hang out all the time with the people you see day to day. force yourself out and break away, shows interest and self-sufficiency
Question 7: "Process" - general dos/don'ts, anything different you'd change next hiring process
Sarah - DOs: have portfolio you're proud of and is online so easily shareable, get involved in community, submit a presentation, practice discussing skills and communication, build your skills
Leo - DOs: be ready there's a tight window for the applications oftentimes and tailor your response. DON'Ts: plagarize GENERAL: cool it on the adverbs, less incredibly's
Martin - update your portfolio and cv every 6 months, strike a balance between humility and ambition
Andrew - prepare, prepare, prepare, you really want it. maps made with company tool. tweak your cv for each place maybe (judgement calls)
Sean - are you always working on the next project, continue to build your skills, and don't be afraid to show off what you're still developing (shows interest/passion), be real about where you're at
how do you put skills on a resume that you aren't an expert in? - make a graphic of how you rank. talk about how you use the skills in places that allow you to list/explain. don't be afraid to say beginner/intermediate/advanced. describe how you use your skills
cover letter or no cover letter? - no. rarely. non necessary for fellowships. sometimes... they can say something not on the resume - usually taken out by the HR dept
willingness to work with people off-site? - exceptions are made for talent and skill (ESRI), everyone else is almost overwhelming onsite
negotiation of offers with prospective candidates? - negotiate at every stage - why take the job if it's not what you want. try to give best offer up front because they want to avoid negotiating. ask for salary questions up front, makes you aware
necessity of deeper coding? - it's a plus, another tool, but not required (yet...), if you're not skilled, may be paired with someone who is. necessity (CartoDB)
Internships, GPA? - don't put it if it's bad, if it's good a boost. importance may vary for bosses/HR
Final Statements from Robin
went through this recently, found a kickass internship over this summer.
even if nothing is listed, reach out and show interest and they may remember you later
it's bullshit if you feel inferior reading job descriptions (Martin called them unicorns)
had a friend who would apply for a job every year and have interviews every year, just to keep in practice
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