Fact or Myth? Companies stop recruiting over the holidays.

bizarro comic santa christmas a better job elfs

bizarro comic santa christmas a better job elfs

Give up the job search over the holidays?  Bah Hum Bug!

Fact or Myth? Companies stop recruiting over the holidays. Myth! Contrary to what many job seekers believe, companies do not stop looking for talent over the holidays. Many think that hiring managers are too busy to review resumes or don’t have time to interview.  The truth couldn’t be more opposite!  In fact, many hiring managers increase their recruiting activity during the latter part of the year.  On average, it takes 3-6 months to fill an open requisition…even longer if it’s an engineering position.  There are two things going on during this time of the year:

1.       Hiring Managers are losing requisitions that haven’t been filled. 

2.       Hiring Managers are doing forecast planning for 2013 headcount. 

If you consider the time frame involved in hiring a new employee, they won’t have their positions filled until much later if they wait until after the holidays to engage with candidates.  That puts first quarter initiatives and goals at risk.

Don’t let the sleigh leave the station without being on it!  WhitePages is actively recruiting right now!  We have openings in Engineering, Sales and Product Management. Check out our current openings and see if there might just be something special for you under the tree this year!

Why Interning at a Small & Nimble Company Rules

Hiya's De-Dupe Feature

This is the latest in a series of blog posts that take a look at the people and culture of WhitePages.

After my freshman year as a computer science major at the University of Washington, I was lucky enough to score an internship at WhitePages as a back-end developer. I spent last summer working on Hiya, a contact management service – that launched yesterday – that cleans up contact lists and syncs between different contact sources. Following my summer as an intern, I’ve grown to really appreciate working at a small and nimble company. Here is why:

Big Impact

One of my concerns about doing an internship was that I would be working on an insignificant project. At WhitePages, quite the opposite was true: I found myself contributing to one of the coolest features in a new WhitePages product – algorithms to detect duplicate contacts. It was a very engaging and open-ended task that challenged me to think of clever and creative ways to figure out whether or not two or more seemingly different contact listings actually belong to the same person. I was able to apply really interesting computer science principles to a feature in a new product that every user will most likely use, saving them many minutes of manual cleaning of their contact lists.

Hiya's De-Dupe Feature

Sense of Community

One of the many benefits to working at a smaller company is being able to experience the close-knit community of engineers. WhitePages’ office is open and friendly in both physical layout and culture. As one of two interns, I felt like the majority of people were very welcoming and knew who I was upon my arrival. I was often greeted in the halls and had many conversations about  how my internship was going. When lunchtime came around, it was easy to join groups of people to eat at the office or to go to one of the many restaurants near Downtown Seattle to get lunch or coffee.

The developer environment was also very open. I had access to the whole codebase so I could easily find good examples of how to build certain things. It was easy to checkout and push code and I felt like they trusted me–there was never any red tape. Ocassionally I would visit the work areas of other teams and see what they were working on. For example, the whole company cheered on the DealPop team as they launched product.

Awesome Talent

Perhaps the best thing about working at WhitePages was being surrounded by talented developers. When I had questions, I was comfortable asking the people around me and was always very impressed by how knowledgeable everyone was. I had enlightening discussions on a variety of topics ranging from algorithm design to the specific intricacies of Ruby gems.

This was my first experience working on software with a full team, so I significantly improved my ability to communicate technically and to ask the appropriate questions. I also learned about good building practices like how to properly use source control and was able to obtain a great sense for how a web application is put together.

My internship at WhitePages not only provided me with many useful skills to take back to school with me but made me a much stronger software engineer, an invaluable take-away that will only help with my future career.

Teamwork at WhitePages: Trust, Determination and Camaraderie

Yelp integration on WhitePages Business Search listings

I tend to credit most of my personal success to teamwork. In school, I was a part of many great teams. Industry, I had imagined, would be probably much like school, a grab-bag of teams. When I joined WhitePages, I found myself part of perhaps the most productive and rewarding teams of all time.

All of my strongest teams have shared some common attributes: Trust, Determination and Camaraderie.

Trust: confidence in one another

Yelp integration on WhitePages Business Search listings

I started at WhitePages as an intern. At that point, I expected that I would be given a pet project like the ones my friends had been assigned to at their internships. However, within days I was working on a user facing project that spanned both the backend and front-end of our systems. It was only weeks into my internship before I was being treated like any other Software Engineer on the team and was given the opportunity to launch a very visible feature with my team: Yelp integration into our business search listings. At WhitePages, I am not only entrusted with the freedom to design solutions to my task, but am given the support and mentorship that is needed to get the job done right.

Determination: smart and eager to learn

I am continually impressed with the depth and breadth of the accumulated skill set of the people here at WhitePages.  While I’ve been given ample opportunities to test out unfamiliar territory on both front and backend, it is great to know that there is always someone who can help out with such things as UI design advice, Rails routing questions or insight into how our architecture works so that I can add in an API call. Help can be found on my team and company-wide – just the other day I was able to consult with another front-end dev about JavaScript I had written as part of a page redesign prototype.  It is awesome to be part of such a multi-talented group of people who all look out for one another.

Camaraderie: friendship outside of work

Over the past five months I’ve finished my Masters in Computer Science and joined my team as a normal full-time member. Now I’m proud to be trusted with tasks that can potentially block half my team (this means that I matter!). And best of all, I’m still constantly learning. Now when I’m out with my coworkers at lunch, or having a beer or glass of wine (or both) after work, I know that I have truly found another great team of friends and coworkers.

Working at WhitePages: Blake Thomson, Software Engineer

CSE

This is the first post in a new series that will look at the people and culture of WhitePages and what it is like to work here.

Blake Thomson is a 2010 University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering graduate who emerged into the “real” working world this year. Blake joined the WhitePages team this summer as a front-end engineer. Here is his story:

I was drawn to computer science because I like solving puzzles, but I fell in love with the power of software as a medium of expression. More than anything, I love the act of creation: the expressive power to make something appear out of nothing. I think I was a designer in another life!

In fact, for the longest time, I thought I wanted to be a Project Manager. Like most undergrads, I talked to recruiters and engineers from all the big companies: Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc. At that time, I felt like getting an offer from a big company was a much better measure of success than from a smaller one, and thought that PM work would avoid my chances of being put in a closet to become a ‘code monkey’.

While the PM work never did pan out, I ended up doing web development during the summer for Seattle Public Schools, then the UW transportation research group (TRAC), and finally, Qups.org. I walked away from these experiences with a solid toolbox of web languages and frameworks: HTML5/JavaScript/CSS, Flash/ActionScript, PHP, and Ruby on Rails. I loved the real-life, UI design-matters vibe of the web developer community, and I loved the big audience of the Web.

So when it came time to apply for full time positions, I finally realized that I could leverage my passion for creation and my skills as a developer at a smaller web company where I could have a big impact. I envisioned feeling the pride of saying “I wrote that, I brought that into life” and knew that I really wanted to be a developer. With this new plan, I interviewed for front-end positions at many small-medium sized web companies, like Yelp, Cozi, ESPN, and WhitePages, and got offers from every such position I applied for. I had found my calling.

Why did I choose WhitePages?

Of all the places I received offers from, WhitePages had the best company goals, people, methodologies, and workplace.

As a top website, with consumer-oriented products, WhitePages’ goal for creating effective user experience on a huge scale matched my hunger for impact and passion for creating useful, interactive software.

The people at WhitePages were the most diverse and passionate of all the offices I visited. It was easiest to ask them the most questions. WhitePages has a very flat organization, which gave me the opportunity to see how the business works, and meet most everybody in the company – around 120 people. In fact, the CEO is now the business owner of my team!

Some places choose to use their own tools, frameworks, and technologies to write software. An important part of my decision to work at WhitePages was the commitment to cutting-edge, community-standard technologies like Ruby on Rails, jQuery, and agile development. Coming from the routine of quarter-long school projects in groups of 5-6, I felt right at home in my agile sprint team of 3 engineers (front-end and back-end), tech lead, two designers, and program manager. Small sprint teams and quick iterations of one or two weeks made it seem like I could get the most done at WhitePages. And I do! WhitePages releases new code live at least once a week!

And finally, the environment at the WhitePages office just blew me away. It has the feel of a creative architecture studio, featuring an open layout and no workstations – only laptops. People migrate from place to place to work with coworkers, or to get a snack. It is every bit as bright and playful as one might imagine kindergarten-colored Google to be. When I first started work, I didn’t feel old or accomplished enough to be working downtown, on the 16th floor of a recognizable building in the Seattle skyline.

How I know I made the right decision

As soon as I started at WhitePages in August, I knew I had made the right decision. I joined what is called the core-site team, who, along with other front-end work, is responsible for the look and feel of WhitePages’ most used services: people search, reverse phone search, and reverse address search. Since I started, I’ve participated in several large projects centered on increasing traffic and improving the user experience of our homepage, and people search results. I was personally responsible for implementing a new URL-scheme for our people search result pages:

Recently, I’ve been working on Hiya, the brand-spanking new way to clean up your contacts. Collaborating on a brand new product with a modern, technical, javascript-heavy web front-end has been an awesome challenge. Having the opportunities to collaborate on design decisions in both UI and backend services has been a dream come true. Just two weeks ago, we released Hiya into private beta, on my birthday!

With Hiya and Coresite projects, I have received my wish to work on something shiny, new, useful, and all-about-user-experience. The value of my contributions has been instantly noticed, both by my peers and managers. I am excited for my future in this rapidly growing company, and take ownership in the projects I work on, because I know that WhitePages really does depend on me!