At SparkCRM, we are big proponents of Lighthouse Labs. Not only are they helping to alleviate the developer talent crunch in Vancouver, but they’re doing it in a way that is sustainable and effective for startups like ours. We've hired twice from Lighthouse Labs: Ian Smith(featured here) was our first hire 4 months ago, and we just hired Slav Kurilyak from the newest cohort. Their hiring system is top notch(I am not surprised by their 100% placement rate), and there's a few things in particular that make it work for us:

Hiring For Culture

One of the great things about hiring from Lighthouse Labs is I know they'll have what it takes. Although of course there's talent variation from student to student, I know they wouldn't have graduated without a strong baseline of technical ability and a rock solid work ethic. I also like that we can work with Jeremy to interview as many or as few candidates as we'd like. This allows me to focus on what matters most to our team: cultural fit.

Cultural fit means a few things to me, the biggest of which is chemistry within our group. We like to think of ourselves as a small, scrappy team. We spend a lot of time together, we hustle hard, and we play hard. It's important that people we bring on are hungry and can bring their own opinions to the table, but are also coachable. Since we are always iterating and keep a tight feedback loop, we need developers who think like “A-level players” and take ownership of their role. Lighthouse students tend to have these qualities in spades, and if I can find the one that exhibits them the most, I know we've got a great fit.

Co-op Onboarding

There's another aspect that makes hiring from Lighthouse Labs so positive for us: their co-op system. By bringing on students for a 3 month co-op, we are able to get capable hands on our projects immediately while we test drive each other for fit. Unlike blindly taking on a (much higher-priced) full-time developer, a co-op allows both sides to make sure it’s a perfect fit. Don't forget - this is their first job as a developer, so they're testing us out as much as we're testing them. So far, so good; Ian has recently moved to a full-time salary and Slav is off to a great start.

Future-Proof Mentorship

Lighthouse Labs really encourages mentorship for their grads, and we have a unique setup in that regard. Our senior developer is based out of England. He is able to to do code review and provide guidance for our junior devs late at night or in the morning, but isn't available in the afternoon. This means our guys learn to be resourceful and self-driven enough to find their own solutions. On that same note, we encourage guys to bring up and pursue ideas they have, and appreciate when they can work independently. This gets down to the real future we see for our Lighthouse hires. I don't just see them working on our code base - down the road, I can also see them growing into larger, VP or Product Manager type roles for us.

Want to work with Jeff and SparkCRM? Email him here!

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