Finding The Secret Sauce By: Jeremy Shaki June 24, 2014 Updated February 4, 2016 This week, job interviews are beginning at Lighthouse Labs for our graduating May cohort. This is one of the most intense parts of my job, but also one of the most rewarding. Since we can’t have every employer interview every employee(there’s too much coding to be done for that), I’ve become the puppet master between our hiring partners and our students. I coordinate the needs of the two groups, and I do my best to set up the interviews that are most likely to become loving, productive developer job matches. We know that all our graduating students have employable coding skills. However, could any one of our students be a good fit at any company? The answer is no. Finding a good pairing is more than just matching skills; it’s about cultural fit, the growth needs of each party, and a little bit of secret sauce. In figuring out that secret sauce, there are 3 things I think about that are unique to the Lighthouse Labs environment: 1. How Did They Get Here? In getting to know the students, one of the first things I ask is, ""why did you apply to Lighthouse Labs?" Believe it or not, the answer usually isn’t just “learn to code.” Some people want to take their design skills online, some are budding entrepreneurs, and some are established professionals that are ready for a career change. Learning the student's unqiue backgrounds provide valuable insight into where they would fit best. Similarly, not all of our hiring partners grew as a company in the same way. Some, like Hootsuite, have established business models and can offer lots of mentorship to an eager new employee. Others, like SparkCRM, are fresh out of an accelerator and are ready for someone who can go a hundred miles an hour with them. 2. Where Are They Going? Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Australia, America, England. Our students are going many places! They also bring different things with them. Some students will work anywhere they can take their laptop, while others would like to work somewhere where their kids won’t have to switch schools. These students are all making a big-time life change - for employers, it’s crucial to determine the scope of that change. 3. Just Letting It Happen Like any good mother will tell you, eventually you have to let the birds fly with their own wings. Despite the stereotypes, our programmers-to-be are exuberant and fascinating people to talk to, and letting them go out and do their own networking can be the best way for them to get opportunities. That's why we host and sponsor events like the #LabsTownHall and the upcoming Game Design Seminar, and why we put on a Demo Day exclusively for employers and students to interact. In the coming weeks, I'm looking forward to seeing the secret sauce in action and experiencing some magical new matches! Become a Lighthouse Labs hiring partner today.