It's safe to say that Jeff McConathy is a loyal Trulian. Having spent 11 years at the company, Jeff currently serves as the VP of Engineering for Consumer Services. Read on to learn how he interviews for culture fit and the impact a "no jerks" policy has had on the technical team.
In my role at Trulia, I manage a team of 100 developers. My day-to-day shifts around quite a bit, but you’ll generally find me engaged with the executive team or with our engineers, and helping to plan the architecture for a new product or service (which is something I really enjoy).
I am also passionate about creating opportunities for my teams to build skills that further their careers and lead to new products and innovations for our company. I think it is critical for a manager to be open and available to the team at all times, so anyone can drop by my desk at any time to ask a question or simply chat. I also have weekly one-on-one sessions with team leads, and career development is always a topic of discussion. I have even cancelled meetings with our president in order to grab coffee with a new team member, or meet with someone trying to work through a problem.
The interview process varies with each team at Trulia. We tend to have a phone screen first, followed by a light coding project when candidates come in in-person. It is typically a problem solving project. Most of the technical interviewing is done in person. We do pre-interview meetings internally, where we divvy up who will ask what, and then do a post-interview meeting to share feedback. Typically, we’ll ask questions related to the exact job they’ll do. We might explain a real problem we just had – or are currently having – so they get a real feel for what it’s like to work at Trulia. We look at the interview process as a mutual opportunity, it’s just as important for the potential hire to interview us as it for us to interview them.
Primarily, we want to ensure an applicant understands the job, and that they have a strong foundation of the skills we’re looking for and need in an employee. We also make sure they’re a cultural fit.
Our culture is something that defines us here at Trulia – so while different skills are required for each role – being a team player, and someone who can collaborate is always our number one priority. The ideal candidate will leave us with a clear impression that they are able to pick up new technology quickly, and have an innate passion for always learning; we want growth minded individuals joining our team.
We treat all potential hires as members of our family, and we try to focus on their potential as much as on their past accomplishments when considering someone. Plus, we’re huge advocates for employee growth, so we invest in training and encourage employees to try new things, which we ask them about during the hiring process. We are also known for our “no jerks” policy, where we strive to weed out pretentious engineers who are more focused on their own accomplishments than the team’s goals.
We have a team-focused approach to work, and within the engineering group, we tend to have different teams working together across various projects, which ensures continuity with how we are using and improving our code base. So, when hiring, we want to evaluate how potential hires can collaborate with other engineers, designers, and product managers. We welcome new hires with team lunches on their first day, and hold a monthly “lunch roulette,” where we randomly assign engineers, designers, and product managers to a group to simply spend time together and get to know each other.
Being based in Silicon Valley, Trulia is competing with so many startups and the big players, like Facebook, Google, Apple, and others, so it can be challenging. I often compare the experience of being in this area to being in Disneyland for the first time and having to figure out which ride you want to go on first. But, we do attract top talent through our culture of innovation at Trulia, the events we hold at our office, our investments in training, and the events and conferences we attend. Plus, our quarterly Innovation Weeks – or hack weeks – where we encourage people to do what we know they want to do, all help attract tech talent.
The fact that candidates are actively applying and telling us the blend of culture and technology is something they crave means we’re doing things right. I’m very proud of the tenure on my team, with consistently low turnover and many veterans who have been a part of Trulia for six, seven, and even eight years.