Shadowing to Hire | Mike, Senior Developer at Betagig

What do you call it when you job shadow at a company that facilitates job shadowing? I call it Job Shadow Inception.

I was recently contacted about a software development position at Betagig, a company that connects job shadowers with interested companies. I was excited about the idea from the start, but what really caught my attention was the chance to see what Betagig is really all about. Job shadowing allows people to see what a job is like. Even better, it allows companies to see what the shadower is made of. For me, it turned the normal interview process on it’s head.

Interviews for software developers can be tedious. The latest trend is to have the applicant ‘live code’. This means writing actual code while the interviewer watches. It’s like showing up to a hospital to interview for a surgeon position and being asked to scrub in.

Since you can accomplish the same task many different ways, coding is personal and somewhat artistic and the process to get from beginning to end is different for everyone. That’s where job shadowing shines, taking a grueling 3 hour interview and transforming it into an 8 hour, relaxing, informative, and fun experience.

I arrived at Betagig in a suit…nervous. I expected typical questions and tests. Pleasantly surprised, I was offered coffee and sat with Melissa, the CTO, for about half an hour chatting about various topics. We talked about their infrastructure and workflow a bit, but mostly we just got comfortable. Once we got down to business, I was given a task and left alone for a while. Nobody looking over my shoulder. Nobody asking me why I did something that way. Just a quiet workplace where I could ask questions and do some work and show them what I am capable of. I found the process refreshing and really fun!

When I completed the task, Melissa and I talked about what I did and how I felt about it. She was supportive and encouraging, partially because that’s just the kind of person she is, but also because that’s what job shadowing fosters; A low pressure, nurturing, learning experience.

I’ve since been offered, and have accepted the position. The experience made me believer in job shadowing and Betagig.

The Benefit of Job Shadowing for Companies

We strongly urge our employees to test out the job shadowing process. Although our employees have usually found a career that they are already passionate about, we want them to really understand why this is such an important experience not only for the job seekers, but for companies as well. Having happier employees means you have a more productive workplace. You have employees that WANT to accomplish something (and not just kill time by checking their social media accounts…incessantly). Moreover, you reduce turnover, and what company couldn’t benefit from that?

For a lot of people, it’s hard to imagine leaving their job to pursue something more meaningful…but I’m here to tell you… it can be done. This week, we spotlight our Project Manager, Oliver. He quickly learned that even the people he was shadowing, could have benefited early on in life from an experience like this. Not to mention they would have saved a lot of time and energy, not just for themselves, but for their previous employers as well. Enjoy…

Every day here at Betagig, we work with students and job seekers struggling to find a fulfilling career. Often they feel trapped in the wrong major or exhausted by a mundane office job. Through our online marketplace, we match them with job shadowing opportunities and streamline the process of finding just the right fit.

Today, we are sharing Oliver, a software product manager’s, shadow day with our friends over at 1iota. He got a chance to hang out in the ‘dev’ room and wrap his head around what his role working there would be like.

“Over the course of the day, 1iota’s incredible team of engineers illuminated their own paths into the industry for me. One had found programming after a short-lived career as an oil prospector. Another had spent a year as a lumberjack back east. They all agreed that what was needed to become a brilliant coder was not, in fact, a computer science degree, but an analytical mind and a penchant for patience. It’s a specific skill and one uniquely suited for a certain kind of personality. Friday morning, I explored whether I might fit the mold.

As a product manager, I’m immersed in the features I design but rarely consider the code that supports them. After a day spent shadowing, I can now add a fresh perspective to my toolset. I have a better understanding of the engineers I collaborate with every day and I’m a better PM for it!”

Some people think they are too far into life to change careers because they didn’t major in that field in college. Others think they know what they want but come to find out that the day in and day out of a career is not at all what they had expected. If you had an opportunity to really spend time and find out what career or company made you happier….wouldn’t you take it?