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Lynne Tye on the Engineering Hiring Landscape

Lead Time Chats: Season 2, Episode 7 Takeaways

July 28, 2021

In Season 2, Episode 7 of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, chats with Lynne Tye, about how the engineering hiring landscape has changed over the past year and predictions for the months to come.

Lynne is the founder of Key Values, a company that helps engineers find new roles on teams that are aligned with their own values.

Lynne and Jean discuss:

  • The different phases of engineering hiring over the past year, from sheer survival to the Great Resignation
  • How the pandemic has helped people clarify what’s truly important to them, both in work and their personal lives
  • The current confusion around remote work - where are teams actually hiring, and will what hiring managers are saying now still be true in a few months?
  • Just how hot the hiring market is right now for engineers!

Takeaways from Lynne

It’s an engineer’s market out there

“What I've been relating it to is like a game of musical chairs, but with extra chairs. There's a lot of options and people are really, really hiring pretty aggressively right now. On the company side, it's worse, but for job seekers it's great. There's a lot of competition in terms of comp, and so people are kind of outbidding themselves. If you want a pay raise, you can obviously ask your current employer or you could change jobs.”

For most people you look for a job, you pop your head up and you get a job, and then you go heads down working on that product. Then you kind of lose touch over the next year or five years, 10 years, what that feels like, and it can feel really intimidating. But truthfully, I think it is a really good time just because it feels like everyone is hiring. Especially the more senior you are ... I feel like a broken record, but it's your pick of the litter, and you can be as selective and demanding as you want.”

The current lack of clarity about hiring is confusing to candidates

“If it was really important to me to only go into the office one day a week and the hiring manager was like, yeah, of course we can do that. But maybe they haven't totally aligned internally yet, and then three months they're like, no, everyone has to come in four days a week. I would quit. So I think it's going to be... it's a little interesting. Yeah. It's not ideal.

It's so interesting because it's like the most basic thing when you think about hiring — where are we hiring? Can I live where I currently live? And it's not clear. So it's kind of funny... in some ways it's more sophisticated. People have really had a lot of time to think about what they want personally and professionally, but it's also like at the same time, back to the very, most simple basics of where you can hire.”

People really want human connection and to know who they’re working with

“Introducing team members, whether that's on your about us page or your team's page, just like having names and faces or pictures of the team members makes it feel so much more human and personable. Sometimes I go to a website and there's not a single face. It just feels like I'm applying to a shell entity rather than like a team of people, which is really what every company is made up of. People just want the connection, whether or not they're working remote or in person and having anything that kind of points in that direction is really, really helpful.”

Be specific about who you are and who you aren’t to attract the right candidates

“It's just being really upfront about who and what you are and who and what you aren't. There's this thing that happens where...engineering managers don't always love that job. Then it gets kicked to recruiting or the marketing team, and those people aren't engineers, and they can't really speak on behalf of what it's like to be an engineer. So sometimes either it gets diluted or it just turns into kind of like really fluffy jargon. A lot of jobs will say the same, it really is like the theme across every job description — something meaningful, learn a lot, and have fun doing it. Does that sound familiar? Probably. That's what everyone says ... our trajectory, something, something like these phrases, but they lose their meaning because everyone says them. So I think it's really just about being specific and providing examples.”

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and engineering leadership coach, and engineering leaders and other influential folks in tech.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps hybrid teams check-in asynchronously about what matters most. Know what's happening through status updates that pull from tools like Github and JIRA without scheduling yet another meeting.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team. To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

Season 2 Episodes

» Episode 1: Camille Fournier on making boring plans

» Episode 2: Tess Rinearson on early career engineering managers

» Episode 3: Kim Scott on building for systemic justice

» Episode 4: Sumeet Arora on moving on from a big company

» Episode 5: Rachael Stedman on IC manager work

» Episode 6: Chris Bee on Behaviors of Effective Eng Leaders

Season 1 Episodes

» Episode 1: Will Larson on the path of the senior engineer

» Episode 2: Duretti Hirpa on mentoring junior and mid-level engineers

» Episode 3: Cate Huston on working with an external coach

» Episode 4: Juan Pablo Buriticá on common eng manager mistakes

» Episode 5: Gergely Orosz on the decision to go into management

» Episode 6: Lara Hogan on leading effectively in a pandemic

» Episode 7: Kaya Thomas on common early career engineer challenges

» Episode 8: Uma Chingunde on starting a VPE role in a pandemic

» Episode 9: Katie Wilde on supporting your team's mental health

» Episode 10: Akhil Gupta on navigating uncertainty in new roles

» Episode 11: Harper Reed on giving everyone a voice in team meetings

» Episode 12: Marc Hedlund on sponsorship

S2 E7: Lynne Tye on the Engineering Hiring Landscape
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