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"The profession of a Developer is a creative one, and to know that my work won't be forced onto the back burner, is very important to me"

An interview with Team Leader at a large IT company
Recently we've interviewed a Senior Front End Developer. We got a lot of useful information, so we decided to conduct a whole series of interviews with the leading tech specialists in the industry.

Today our guest is the Team Leader at the NDA project of a large IT company - Alexey Vityazev. After talking with Alexey, we discovered what worries modern developers, what things IT specialists pay attention to when communicating with Recruiters, and, finally, what factors are the most attractive when considering a job offer.
Alexey Vityazev, Team Leader at the NDA project of a large IT company
— Lesha, hi! Thank you for setting aside some time for an interview. Let's start with some general questions. Tell us, how many years have you been working as a developer? Where did you start? Where did you work?
— In my second year at university, I realized that I didn't see any prospects in the speciality was studying for. Therefore, I began to think about the sphere I'd like to develop in, what to do, where to work. Since I like to solve various analytical tasks, I decided that programming is the most relevant speciality for me.

I've been studying on my own for about six months, and then I started looking for a job. It was a long-ago 2013 year, therefore, answering one of your questions, I've been working in the tech sphere for 8 years already.
In those days, the Russian tech industry was not as developed as it's developed today. This also refers to the field of web development. The labour market abounded with offers from various web studios, where, in fact, I got an internship. Based on the results of the internship, I didn't receive an offer from the company, so I started looking for a new job, which turned out pretty quickly.
— A few days later, I got a job at another web studio as a Junior web Developer. After a year of work at the company, seeing no prospects and opportunities for professional growth, I decided to quit. I found a new job pretty quickly. The company in which I got a job was developing software for special bank machines for credit granting, which after a long work in web studios, seemed very interesting to me.
However, the tasks became more and more trivial and monotonous after a while. Realizing that I had hit a ceiling in this company, I decided to find another
place of work.
— I joined the team of a large household appliance company. I held the position of a Backend Developer, participated in the creation of the company's IoT technologies. I worked at this company for about a year and a half but eventually quit because the company was more focused on manufacturing and marketing its products, rather than developing IT products.
The company's conservative approach, and along with that a large number of legacy technologies and a reluctance to implement more advanced solutions, significantly affected my work and hindered my professional growth.
I realized that I would work only at tech companies in the future.
I made the decision not only to leave the company but also realized that I would work only at tech companies in the future. So I managed to work at an advertising company as a Middle Backend Developer, at an IT startup as a Senior Backend Developer, and later as a Team Leader. The experience of working as a Team leader seemed very interesting to me, so I decided to throw my lot with this particular position. Today I work as a Team Leader at one NDA project.
— Cool! Thanks for your story. You made a point about why you made the decision to leave the companies. This is both stagnation and routine tasks. Are there any other reasons why you decided to change jobs?
I'm absolutely convinced that I'll quickly leave the company if I don't like the team.
There are reasons, but they stem from those that I've already mentioned. For example, this is a wage hike. In conditions of stagnation, it's difficult to "arm" yourself with arguments for salary raise. It turns out to be an endless circle. There is no professional growth and with it material growth. I'd also like to mention the project itself. If I'm not interested in the project that the company develops, I'll most likely find something else. In addition, I'm absolutely convinced that I'll quickly leave the company if I don't like the team.
— There is also a common reason for the job change - a more attractive offer :) In the IT market, this is a fairly common story. Do you have such cases and how often?
— This doesn't happen to me. I don't consider new offers until I make a decision to leave the company. On average, Recruiters write to me 4 times a week, and there are stories where they offer me much more money, for example, 30-40% higher than I'm paid now. It's pretty good, but it can't be an argument for changing jobs if I'm satisfied with everything in my current place.
— It's impossible to lure you, right?
— I have no idea. Perhaps no one succeeded :)
— It turns out that when a Recruiter writes to you with a job offer, you don't even look at what they offer to you?
— I look, but mostly to know what's going on on the market. Maybe I receive a million dollars, while everyone is paid 10 million for a long time :) In addition, if I know that someone from my acquaintances is now looking for a job or is thinking about changing it, then I can suggest this person consider the opening.
—What do you pay attention to first of all when you open a job opening description?
I really like it if a Recruiter or HR, when making a job description, highlights some keywords.
I should say that I don't read the "header" of the vacancy because everything is always going great at all the companies :) I cut to the chase. Therefore, I really like it if a Recruiter or HR, when making a job description, highlights some keywords. It helps navigate through the text and quickly decide whether to spend time on reading the opening or not.

I also pay attention to the location. I'm one of those people who prefers to work in the office, but I don't like to go to the office for a long time :)
— Would you consider a job opening with relocation to another city?
— I don't think so.
— Even if the opening implies relocation to Europe?
— I don't plan to move somewhere at the moment, but I keep in mind that there is such an opportunity.
— Super! Thanks for the answer. Let's go back a bit to the "headhunting" story. Could there be a situation in which you consider the offer, despite the fact that you like everything at your current place of work? For example, if this is your dream company? Or a project that extremely useful for people?
The profession of a developer is a creative one, and to know that my work won't be forced onto the back burner, is very important for me.
I admit such a situation, and most likely it can happen if the project seems really inspiring. It's difficult to say what kind of project it might be, but it's definitely something that is useful for people. For example, a cool medical startup or project that is aimed to improve the quality of people's life. The profession of a developer is a creative one, and to know that my work won't be forced onto the back burner, is very important for me.

The higher the likelihood that the project will be useful to people, the higher the chance that the project will be interesting for a developer. In such stories, there is motivation and a desire to lend soul to the project development.
— What will you choose: an "indecently: high salary or a breakthrough project?
— The project
— Great, thank you. Let's now talk about recruiting processes. What do you pay attention to when communicating with a Recruiter? What delights you the most, and what scares you off?
Firstly, I'm very captivated when the Recruiter clearly understands what they are talking about. I don't expect that the specialist will snatch the stars from the sky, but I would like the person I am talking about the opening to understand what its essence is.
For example, if a Recruiter is looking for a C ++ Developer, it would be great if that they understand that C ++ is a language for developing desktop applications, and not just a letter with two signs. It scares me off when a person can't answer the most basic questions.
Secondly, the "level of obtrusiveness" is very important. Recruiters often write to me with a job offer. I try to always answer, but there are stories when an email gets lost among others, or I forget to answer.
It's very annoying when a Recruiter (although I'm sure this is more often a bot) starts to write every day, reminding of themselves. Of course, it's okay if after some time the Recruiter writes a second email when they don't receive a reply, but this shouldn't go beyond the "limits of importunity."
Thirdly, it is the communication style. I like it when Recruiters write to me not quite formal emails, but I don't like excessive familiarity.
— How many stages of recruitment process are optimal for you?
— Two, maximum. I don't think more stages make sense. I'm much more pleased to talk once for 4 hours than 5 times for an hour.
— How do you feel about test assignments?
Test assignments are an acceptable measure for Junior or beginner Middle Developers.
I think test assignments are an acceptable measure for Junior or beginner Middle Developers. When a company sees that a person has 15 years of relevant experience, and, despite this, asks to complete a test assignment, I perceive it as disrespect for the applicant. In addition, I'm not inclined to believe that test assignments show representative skills of the specialist.
— It turns out that under no circumstances you'll agree to complete the test assignment?
—There is a small chance that I'll complete the test assignment only if I am very interested in the project, and if it takes no more than 15 minutes of my time.
— Can you tell us if there were any unpleasant cases related to the hiring process in your story?
— Yes, there were some. Once I've been interviewed by an IT company. They had a problem with the number of recruitment stages. Initially, it was about two or three stages, and then, the third wouldn't be needed if I approved myself during the second.

During the second stage, I was told that I successfully passed the interview, but, still, I needed to pass the third interview with the CTO of the company, since he wanted to offer me a higher position.

The third stage also went well, according to the Hr-s words, but I was asked to pass another interview with other people in the company. As a result, the declared 2-3 stages turned into 6! I didn't go to the 6th stage, because I decided that enough is enough.
I was also interviewed at one of the largest Russian IT companies for the position of PHP-Go developer. The company was looking for a specialist with good knowledge of PHP. Basic knowledge of Go was a desirable but optional condition.
I was confident in my abilities, since I not only knew PHP well but also knew the basics of Go.
The PHP Team Leader who was supposed to conduct an interview, got ill, so I was interviewed by the company's Go Team Leader.

This rearrangement played a decisive role: the Go Team Leader asked "penetrating" questions about Go development, pulled my knowledge of technology to pieces, and as a result said that I wasn't suitable for the position.
The discrepancy between the stated requirements and the real ones left not the most pleasant impressions, considering that I was applying for a position with a different stack of technologies.
— And if it happens that companies will contact you with an offer to consider an opening, would you agree to talk? Why?
— I definitely won't consider the opening from the first company, because I was generally not interested in the prospect of working for it, while I'll be glad to communicate with the other, because I am interested to know what questions a company of this level asks applicants.
— Super! Thanks for the answer. How do you feel when people write to you in not the most classic places? For example, via VK? (popular Russian social network)
— To write via Vk, in my opinion, is strange. If a Recruiter has found a person on VKontakte, then, probably, they can find a Developer in other social networks or messengers.
— And what's about Telegram?
If to choose the most comfortable way of communication, then this is definitely email.
I am fine with searching for specialists via Telegram. Considering that more and more channels with vacancies appear in the messenger, and this niche is taking root more and more in Telegram, it is becoming a fairly common practice to receive job offers in the messenger. Still, if to choose the most comfortable way of communication, then this is definitely email.
By the way, returning to your question about what I don't like when communicating with Recruiters. It's very unsettling when Recruiters call, although I always list email as my preferred method of contact.
— The penultimate question: you have come a long way from a Junior IT specialist to a Team Leader. And, if we compare you " in the past" and you "in the present", did you notice any changes in your priorities at work? If so, which ones?
— Definitely happened. When I first came to the tech sphere, most of all I was interested in the salary. Today the situation is different:
1
Firstly, I prefer to work only in tech companies and I no longer consider offers from outsourcing companies.
2
Secondly, the team became very important to me. If earlier this didn't play a significant role, today, before accepting a job offer from the company, I ask the employer to introduce me to the development team (although in my last jobs I recruited the team myself).
3
Thirdly, since I prefer working in an office, it should be comfortable and cozy.
4
And of course, I pay attention to the technology stack. The more things don't know, the more I'll be interested in the offer. Development prospects are perhaps one of the most important points today.
— You say you prefer office work. We know that the IT industry offers many bonuses like a library, a recreation area and even a pool. What is especially important to you in your workspace?
Most of the bonuses are no more than an "enticement" because in 90% of cases I don't have time for them.
I realized a long time ago that most of these bonuses are no more than an "enticement" because in 90% of cases I don't have time for them. However, there is one thing that is very important to me. These are games, like kicker or table tennis :) They are a very good relief, they help me switch a little, relax and get back into work with renewed vigour. After such a "reboot", I become more productive and focused.
I respect those employers who understand this, creating comfortable conditions not only for work but also for recreation.
It's also important to me that there is a space where I can work alone. In my office there are such rooms, they are small and a bit like a torture chamber, but this is a great place to spend some of the time in peace and quiet.
— Great! Thank you very much! A tricky question: name the TOP needs of a modern IT specialist. Please don't add salary and project to the list :)
1
The Team
This is very important. I know that for some Team Leaders, the size of the team is important. It's not that important to me. For me, the qualifications of specialists play a key role. It's great when my team is high-class professionals who can perform the most difficult tasks, do not bother for a small matter, and sometimes teach something new.
2
Adequate supervision
It is very pleasant when a Leader not only pays heed to your problems but also does something to solve them.
3
Free schedule
I cannot imagine myself at work, where I am obliged to be clear from 9 to 18. If I or my team need to go somewhere, this shouldn't be a problem. I don't understand the approach where the main thing is to "sit" your working time. The result is much more important.
4
Developed corporate culture
It's great when a company tries to create a close-knit, friendly team by arranging regular joint events.
— Lesha, thank you very much for the interview. It was very interesting and great to talk to you.
— Same to you. Thanks for the invitation.
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