3374Tech Jobs

A Year in Austin: One graduate’s journey from Singapore to Texas

Clarence Chee is a software engineer. He started his Indeed career in Singapore, and is currently in Austin, Texas since January 2020 for a year-long rotation. 

Clarence Chee is a software engineer. He started his Indeed career in Singapore, and is currently in Austin, Texas since January 2020 for a year-long rotation. 

I’m currently working in the Small and Medium Business (SMB) Growth organization, specifically, the SMB Spender Team where we primarily manage the job posting and sponsorship funnel for SMBs worldwide. 

Our mission is to enable SMBs to quickly create high quality job listings which effectively attract qualified candidates for a clear and transparent price.

The SMB Spender team comprises a promotions team which I am a part of, where we build, experiment, and iterate, upon promotional offers regarding SMB job sponsorships. My general day to day involves building, optimizing, and maintaining fullstack products for the team.

I joined Indeed through the New College Graduate (NCG) program in July 2019, and have received a lot of support throughout the journey so far at Indeed. What’s great here is that Ideas are solely valued for what they are – a newcomer has the potential to contribute just as much as a full timer, which feels quite empowering.

As part of the first NCG cohort, we were split into two groups, working on separate projects. Through friendly competition and challenges, the two groups were working towards the end goal of being picked to spend a year working at our Indeed head office in Austin, Texas. 

Clarence, third from right, with this NCG cohort at the Indeed Singapore office

Quite frankly, when I found out my team had “won”, I was initially in disbelief because the other talented participants did very well too; I was not expecting to pull out ahead. (Well, we did only barely win so my disbelief makes some sense!)

I was excited to relocate to Austin in January this year because I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn and experience what it’s like working at the headquarters of a large tech company, and then contrasting that with how it’s like at a smaller office like Singapore.

I am pretty accustomed to working in the states due to my prior experience working in the Bay Area for a similar duration. 

However, what I was not expecting was the whole pandemic situation. 

Being able to work from our Austin office has been great in learning how things work at scale from a different organization than what we have in Singapore.

Largely, I would say the culture at Indeed is pretty homogenous, even across different continents, but being able to contrast this domain knowledge against how things are done in other Indeed organizations can reduce the friction that might often come with cross-organization work.

Career aside, the Austin Domain office has utterly ruined my expectations of what an office should be like. 

There’s constantly free food and drinks everywhere, game rooms (game consoles/table tennis/pool tables), baristas, sandwich bars etc. There’s even a full fledged gym in the office which I frequent after hours. One can quite literally live in the Austin office… it’s pretty crazy.

Unfortunately though, Indeed moved all employees to work from home in March this year. Having to work from home, especially in a foreign land where your usual support structures like family and friends are missing, can be quite interesting.

Regular exercise is shown to be extremely beneficial in a time like this, so I generally try to do that as much as possible. Also, I am constantly trying to make the most out of my time here, doing all the usual touristy stuff, experiencing Austin and Texas in general, while staying safe from the virus whenever I can.

Clarence at Big Bend National Park, about six hours out of Austin

That said – and I know this sounds cheesy – but being away from home does make me miss my family, friends, and my girlfriend. 

I guess when you’re sort of away from home for a long time, you start to appreciate the things that you take for granted in Singapore – like good cheap food anytime, anywhere; functional public transport; safety etc.

Also, being in the Austin office may be nice and all, but sometimes I miss the smaller, closer knit community the Singapore office had, which just felt cozier to some extent.

 

It’s nice being able to see familiar faces everyday, which is quite a rarity in the Austin office where you see completely new faces almost everyday.

Even though I started as a new grad and am now a software developer in the SMB organization, I think one thing that has helped me is having a general curiosity about how things work and having the drive to see things through; it can go a long way. 

Especially in software engineering, finding a healthy balance between being a pragmatist and a purist, can help in making better, quicker decisions in the long run.

For anyone who is starting out in their engineering career, at this experience level, I think they should try to look for ways to display leadership potential, since that’s the next step up after joining as an NCG – a tech lead. 

I think most engineers at Indeed already do this, but try to “own” the products that you build rather than just getting things done. This means constantly thinking of ways to be futureproof, and responding to product issues/bugs as a first responder with executable action items or solutions. 

Engineers with this experience level at Indeed are probably also fresh college graduates who did very well in school, so I would say it’s important to drop the ego and always listen and value ideas no matter where they come from. 

I also think it’s worth keeping yourself up to date with software engineering news in general by reading engineering articles/blogs about how different companies solve problems, and doing some light reading about engineering technologies after hours.

To learn more about Indeed’s New College Graduate program, click here

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3319Events

A look back: 2019/2020 University Recruiting events with Indeed Dublin

Recapping a year like no other with the University Recruiting team at Indeed in Dublin
People in Indeed shirts pose near a sign

Indeed visiting University College Cork

Recapping a year like no other

This has certainly been a year like no other and with restrictions, social distancing and adhering to government guidelines, as a University Recruiting team, we’ve had to revise and adjust our university engagement activities more than ever before.

As we move into a new academic season, it has been important to look back and take stock of the exciting events we ran this past year but also the new challenges we faced.  

As the University College Cork NetSoc sponsor, we were really excited to visit the campus back in February and meet, not only the members, but also the NetSoc Management Committee, a team of driven and passionate students who dedicate so much of their time to the society’s success.

While there, it was truly humbling to hear them express the importance of their partnership with Indeed and what it meant to them. Colm, a Site Reliability Engineer II at Indeed and UCC alumnus, ran a tech talk offering tips on code reviews, communication tools and engineering team structures gained from his own personal experiences. 

Hear Colm talk about being an SRE at Indeed in this video.

College Students codingFollowing on from the talk, we ran a Coding Competition for students and awarded prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Let’s not forget the pizza, sweets and drinks we also enjoyed in order to keep sugar levels high for the competition.

A couple of months later, we were delighted to hear that our event in partnership with NetSoc was nominated for the ‘Best Social Event’ at the UCC Society Awards!

One of the first events we took part in for the 2019/2020 university recruiting season was in collaboration with our Job Squad volunteers. Indeed’s Job Squad program engages employees to help bring our mission of “Helping People Get Jobs” to life in the communities where we work.

As part of the program, Job Squad volunteers educate job seekers on how to use Indeed to find their next job opportunity through partnerships with unemployment centres, universities and other groups. We accepted an invitation from the Trinity College Business School to present to their post grad students and our university recruiting team as well as Job Squad collaborated on this event.

As part of the talk, our team ran a live demo exploring the Indeed platform, showing students how to optimise their job search as well as running 1 on 1 resume review sessions after the presentation. It was an incredibly worthwhile experience and one we plan to move online and in partnership with other Irish universities over the next few months.

We frequently host student visits to our Indeed office in Dublin and earlier this year we were thrilled when students from the EDHEC Business School in France came to Ireland as part of their Career Trek and took time to pop into us. The visit included a tour of our building, including our rooftop terrace overlooking the River Liffey and presentations from members of our Sales and Recruitment teams. 

Since Covid-19 and in the interest of health and safety for our employees, we’ve been working from home since March, limiting our ability to host these kinds of visits. Thankfully, we have been able to pivot to online talks thanks to our dedicated IT Team who have been a huge support in organising webinars so that we can remain connected to students.

We held a webinar with students from Euridis Business School in September sharing personal stories of the highs and lows of working from home as well as how we’ve overcome many challenges and how our work has adapted to these new circumstances. 

Despite the talk being online, students are still able to experience what our office environment is like by watching this fantastic video of our new office opening earlier this year

 

We look forward to running similar online talks over the coming months and reaching a wider group of students we may not have otherwise had an opportunity to meet.

 

 

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3310Tech Internships

Internships: How to score one and succeed from the start

Alan Lim, a university recruiter at Indeed Singapore, knows how stressful internships can be. He shares advice on how to seek out a good internship opportunity, as well as some secrets to success. 

Alan Lim, a university recruiter at Indeed Singapore, knows how stressful internships can be. He shares advice on how to seek out a good internship opportunity, as well as some secrets to success. 

At Indeed, we know that finding an internship isn’t easy and for some, it may even be daunting. I have come across many situations where I’ve been asked how students can find a successful first internship opportunity, despite the lack of experience and as a freshman or sophomore in university.

Internships are quite a challenge to navigate especially when it comes to finding your first one during the freshman year. Before you embark on your first internship, you should understand what you want to achieve out of the internship. 

It could be anything from exploring and learning more about that career you are dreaming of, to trying to figure out what job suits you best or just finding out if the company culture is what you were looking for. 

As a first step, I always recommend thinking of skills you want to hone and what you seek out of mentorship during the stint. Ultimately, your expectations will shape the type of internship that you want and can look for. These will help determine stints that align with your career goals and narrow down your search range considerably.

A good place to start would be your school’s career portal, which should have internships listed. However, if you don’t find what you are looking for there, deep dive into the postings and read through the descriptions and requirements. 

Sometimes, the job title may not be exactly what you are looking for but the role might be. Our job search engine, www.indeed.com, is also another option. Try playing around with the search parameters to expand or narrow your search accordingly. The key is to keep exploring and not give up. It is always tough initially but focus on the process and the results will come eventually.

For those who already have their internship opportunities, the next step would be understanding how you can prepare for it, and ideally get a return offer. 

As an intern, understand that you are still learning the ropes and there are things you may not be aware of. Reading up on what you’ve learnt and practising your technical skills would help to some degree. 

You can also ask your line manager or recruiter to get more details about the project and if there’s anything you can do to get ready for it. Most would be happy to provide the information required. 

Often, I’ve come across situations when an intern does not seek help when they face a challenge. 

You should know that it is okay to ask for help and it is perfectly normal to not know everything! 

The key here is to be open-minded and have a mindset of learning during the internship. No one is expecting you to know everything when you join as an intern (or even as a full-time employee!) so don’t be afraid to ask when you don’t know something and always be receptive to any form of feedback. 

Additionally, you may be given a project to work on and a set of tasks to do. Try to go the extra mile from there. Ask for more things to do, ask questions on what else can be done, participate in company activities like talks or stand-ups… anything that gets you out there. 

Learn to juggle multiple tasks and manage your time efficiently. Being out there with your peers outside of your team and comfort zone while still excelling in your routine tasks helps people to understand you better as a person and the more comfortable people are with you, the higher chances of you landing a return offer too.

Recently, a few of my colleagues and I were invited to speak at a dialogue session with the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore. 

During the session, we heard from recent graduate hires who are now full-time engineers with us, as well as two line managers, on what makes a successful internship.

You can view the dialogue session below, or click this link.

 

To learn more about how Indeed supports interns and graduate hires, read our University blog here. You can also read more about life #insideindeed on our culture blog

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2158Indeed University

New college graduate bootcamp: Building products the Indeed way

“It was quite intense! When you’re given a project to set up by yourself and discuss features with your peers, who are also just as new to the environment, it’s kind of cool to...

Being part of the New College Graduate Bootcamp gave Kenneth the opportunity to design products as part of a diverse team.

Kenneth Loh is a Software Developer at Indeed in Singapore. He graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a Bachelor of Computing (Computer Science) and is part of our first cohorts of the New College Graduate (NCG) Bootcamp. He is one of a kind and loves writing (both code and stories), singing and playing the guitar!

If you’re an aspiring Software Engineer or Software Developer, this may be an interesting read for you. Indeed Singapore launched the New College Graduate (NCG) Bootcamp in July 2019 to help fresh graduates learn how to create software and products the Indeed way.

The NCG Bootcamp is a six-week program that begins with workshops where Senior Software Engineers and Technical Leaders will guide new graduates through some of Indeed’s technologies. It will also give them a hand in setting up their development environment, while working on product challenges to give them hands-on experience designing products. 

Kenneth Loh was part of our inaugural NCG batch, and one of the projects he worked on was building a salary calculator. This product was targeted at job seekers and people who want to know if their employers are paying them fairly. 

“It was quite intense! When you’re given a project to set up by yourself and discuss features with your peers, who are also just as new to the environment, it’s kind of cool to get into something and be able to be put in a product manager role,” Kenneth said. 

“It was very open ended in a sense that we could come up with the user experience, what kind of website we wanted to board, what information to ask for… We had to organise the code at the backend as well. This was where we really touched on Indeed’s internal tools. There’s a lot to learn!”

Kenneth’s biggest takeaway?

“Sounds cliche but you have to learn how to work in a team when you have a task like that where there are so many parts involved. Everyone will have something to say. It’s important that people work together to come up with a product that’s good and that the entire team can get behind.”

In addition to the technical aspect of the program, new graduates also get to experience life inside Indeed. Indeed provides flexibility to its employees, so they can bring their best selves to work. With that, Kenneth can continue to enjoy his passion while pursuing a career.

“I tell people I am a writer. In the day I write code and by night I write stories. It’s nice to have a job that respects your time in that sense and lets you be your own person.”

For those who want to get into tech, Kenneth advises to ask the right questions during your interview. One tip he has shared is to get context; ask interviewers how long they’ve been working at the company, if they enjoy it, and get them to share more about their job and the team.

“It’s important to ask questions,” he shared. “If you don’t ask, you won’t know. There’s so much more to a job than the pay, the job scope, the stack or the backend. I think that this is something very important to find out. Do some self discovery and find out what you want.”

Want to hear more about Kenneth’s experience? Check out our Culture Matters podcast here or visit indeed.jobs for Engineering roles in Singapore.

Learn more about life at Indeed on our new #insideindeed culture blog and our University Recruiting site for more on starting your tech career at Indeed.

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1664Indeed University

Indeed University: How to Launch 13 Products in 12 Weeks

Moving fast isn’t about mindlessly zipping through tasks or striving for high velocity or completing a large number of code commits. It’s true that...

Indeed University (IU) is a 12-week program for new and recent college grads joining our product development teams. The program’s goal is to instill data-driven, rapid-iteration, impact-focused mindsets to the new employees. I was fortunate to support Indeed University as a mentor and manager in 2018 in Seattle.

We believe that the best classroom is the real world. We quickly ramp up the new employees, then help them brainstorm ideas they feel passionate about solving. The participants form teams around problems that job seekers and employers face, then attempt to build products to solve those problems.

We had 13 teams form during the 2018 Seattle IU cohort. Teams in every cohort address a variety of issues, from improving job search to automating reference checks to improving job descriptions. Senior leadership staff members meet weekly with teams, challenging them to use data to show their products’ value for users.

Leads act as facilitators and mentors, not traditional team leads. As leads, we need to help teams move fast during Indeed University to take advantage of the 12 weeks they have to work on these products.

Lesson #1: What does it mean to move fast?

Moving fast isn’t about mindlessly zipping through tasks or striving for high velocity or completing a large number of code commits. It’s true that these measures can lead to quicker delivery, but they miss what’s important. We want every code commit to make a difference.

What’s the direct impact of a code commit? Nothing, unless it’s helping people get jobs or showing us how not to help people get jobs.

 

So how do we know what helps people get jobs?

“The greatest enemy of innovation is certainty,” Indeed CEO Chris Hyams says frequently to IU participants and leads. How do we strike down certainty? We identify our assumptions about our users, job searching, and hiring. We lay out an assumption as a hypothesis we can test. For example, we hypothesize that we can increase employer response rates by creating an email add-on, or we hypothesize that we can increase application rates if job seekers use our Chrome extension.
We encourage participants to generate hypotheses by looking at existing user data and also by listening to users. We bring job seekers and employers onsite where IU teams can ask questions. Some IU participants visit local businesses or attended job fairs.

Our goal is to be fast at learning which of our assumptions are true, and which are false. Those assumptions are sometimes conventional, but often they are unconventional. It’s the great equalizer of ideas. We can try more ideas because we know that sometimes they turn out to surprise us.

Chris Hyams famously invites IU participants to “prove him wrong.” Not because he likes being wrong but when we’re proved wrong, we have the opportunity to learn. That culture of learning leads to moving fast. Not only are participants allowed to make their own product decisions — they also are expected to actively try to prove our conventional wisdom wrong.

A hypothesis has one big constraint: It must be falsifiable. IU participants have the freedom to choose their hypothesis for experimentation, but like everyone else, they must prove it’s true by measuring user behavior.

Lesson #2: Money doesn’t grow on trees … and neither does time

Every IU team starts with a limited amount of time. When we ask participants, “What is one thing you would want to tell future participants?” they often say, “You have less time than you think.” To be successful in proving or disproving a hypothesis, IU teams need to maximize the resources they have available.
First, we stress the need to be focused. It’s easy to get distracted. As Lucas observes in The Mature Startup, even on our Incubator team product managers need to be resistant to “shiny thing syndrome.” The same is true for Indeed University products. We help teams break down each primary hypothesis into smaller, more incremental hypotheses: Can we get users to sign up for our site or install our extension? Can we get them to perform one action? Can they complete our sign-up funnel?

The smaller hypotheses that each team poses over the course of IU lead up to the challenge of proving the team’s one overarching hypothesis, indicating the potential success of their product. This keeps the team laser-focused on learning. Participants can ask themselves, “Will this feature/analysis/design lead us to prove or disprove our hypothesis?” If the answer is yes, they know it’s worth doing.

Lesson #3: Get the most bang for your buck

Being focused at least ensures that your efforts are headed in the right direction, but sometimes too much of a good thing is a bad thing. It’s hard to simplify a product down to the minimum requirements that will help prove your hypothesis. It’s not uncommon for a team to pare down too much. This results in not proving their hypothesis as a result of how it was implemented, rather than because the hypothesis is untrue.

In that case, they then have to address those issues and test again. However, that happens far less frequently and is much easier to correct than overbuilding in the first place. Assume you expect a certain feature or set of features will prove your hypothesis. You need to build just the right amount to be able to measure that improvement. Anything more increases your risk since your original hypothesis may be wrong. You want to reduce wasted effort as much as possible. You have to find the sweet spot where you get “the most bang for your buck.”

If you want to deliver a new feature to test a hypothesis in half the estimated time, you need to halve the original requirements of the feature. It’s simple math. Teams would slowly chip away at features that were awesome, but not required.

The good news is that as we approached the end of Indeed University, many of these value-adding features were delivered in later experiments. The even better news is that some weren’t, because the team came to believe that those features wouldn’t materially improve the core value of the product.

Lesson #4: Know when to pivot

In a culture where learning, often through small failures, is celebrated, being able to learn from those failures quickly becomes the epitome of success. We do our best to instill the belief that learning what not to build is as important as — or even more important than — learning what to build, especially when you can learn fast.

During every Indeed University session, a few teams will pivot. Sometimes it’s a complete 180 spin on the entire problem-solution space, sometimes it’s the tech stack, sometimes it’s the way they’re proving their hypotheses. Something they all share is a sense of celebration. If your car is speeding to the edge of a cliff, you don’t put your pedal to the metal. You hit the brakes, reassess your direction, then turn the car around to head somewhere safe… or at least safer than a cliff.

One team noticed that small businesses have a higher job-seeker-apply-to-job-impression ratio in some markets. They assumed job seekers preferred small businesses when applying. They formulated a hypothesis: “A search site dedicated to small business jobs would have higher engagement than an all-jobs variant.” The team created a site with a control group of all jobs and a test group of just small business jobs. The click-through rate on jobs dropped by 25.6% in the test group. Their discovery: Although users may prefer small business jobs in the context of all jobs, they do not in isolation.

The team then pivoted to another problem they had learned about during the brainstorming phase of IU and returned to generating hypotheses they could test quickly.

“I wanna go fast.”
— Ricky Bobby, Talladega Nights

For me, IU was an accidental parallelization of product development. It could take a product manager years to launch anything close to 13 products, but to be involved in IU as a lead I saw these lessons play out on many teams all at once. It’s a privilege to see new hires adjust their mindsets from building to learning quickly about what really brings value to users. You can learn these lessons without launching more than a dozen projects in a dozen weeks, of course. But my unique experience with IU 2018 showed me how undeniably effective these lessons can be.

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Find out more about what it's like #insideindeed