VMunderground Opening Acts – Careers Panel – VMworld 2015


  • Panelists are…
  • John takes the opportunity early to plug TechReckoning  –http://techreckoning.com
  • If looking for someone to join an organization, what is the top thing you’d be looking for?
    • Dom Delfino – work ethics, personal value, self-starter, hiring people and not machines
    • Kat – ability to think and to adapt to change
    • Keith – wish that hiring managers who came to him asked for that and not just a list of skills.
    • Lauren – ask people doing the interviewing to each focus on a specific category along with general questions
  • So who here is looking for a new job? No one wants to answer….but when Troyer says “raise your eyebrows if you might talk to someone” lots of people raise their eyebrows.
  • How do I know what I’m worth?
    • Kat – if in the same role for more than 5-10 years, you’re probably not being paid what you’re worth.
    • Dom – no one is hiring you, Damiaan. If you look at the salary bands on Glassdoor, they are really wide. See too many people chasing a job for the money – get into a job where paid a lot but are unhappy. I see this with SE’s – “going to leave b/c will get $150k more”…you’re crazy for not thinking about that. Maybe the company is having to throw gobs of money at people b/c it’s such an awful place to work.
    • Lauren – need to know what you’re worth is a mix of stock options, base, sign on, etc. Sometimes can give you non-traditional things to make up for it.
      • If take a title hit and pay hit, need to make sure you’re getting experience that makes up for it.
    • Dom – someone is always willing to pay you more money for the same job. If think you should be getting more and can justify it, go ask before you jump.
    • Lauren – if want to know if you’re really valued, go have that conversation about a raise….and see if they let you walk away.
  • How would you negotiate an internal hire and an external hire? (asking as an employee)
    • Dom – he who mentions money first typically loses. If get through all the interviews, the manager wants you.
    • Kat – much more attractive if have a current job.
    • Lauren – pick what you’re willing to negotiate on and what not willing to negotiate on.
    • Emad – think about base – need to be able to live off that. Factor in cost of living change and relocation cost.
  • What advice would you give to avoid leaving money on the table?
    • Keith – recruiter can ask the money question so you don’t have to ask first.
    • Internal recruiters want to get you in below the amount, external recruiters get a % of the first year salary so are fine with the number being higher as long as it’s reasonable.
    • Dom – if someone is looking to nickel and dime you, don’t go work for them.
    • John Troyer – isn’t it a nerd rule that nerds don’t negotiate? So always ask for a bit of change to see what happens.
    • Kat – express you’re excited about the offer and then negotiate.
    • Dom – if negotiate too much, employer may get tired of it.
  • Emerging Skills – how do you get to where you want to be?
    • John – need to do really well in the job you have now. Also a T-shaped expert – kind of a generalist but also a specialty. Needs to be more like Pi shaped – create more and more specialty legs. Need to be continually building new skills.
    • Lauren – often not hired just for what you can do but also for your network.
    • Dom – “ability to learn new things” is a skill…except for mainframe dads.
  • Key career inflection point?
    • Emad – getting pushed into blogging –
    • John – trying many things over time
    • Dom – building your network – have to do it over the course of your career…network is so important it’s not even funny. Your network is important…but really important for the best positions.
    • Kat – can you do something different in your existing company or do you have to change companies?
  • Do resumes still matter? And what about first impressions?
    • Dom – I’ll read your resume in 5 minutes. Can you spell? Don’t embellish your resume especially on technical things. How many jobs over how long? If someone is a jerk in an interview, they’ll probably be a bigger jerk when you work for them.
      • Story about how Dom was interviewing someone – they were a jerk. He asked them in the second interview about their career (3 years at Avaya, 3 years at Extreme, etc.) – why should I come work for you when you worked at multiple companies that didn’t do well?
    • Lauren – need to be willing to learn to code in some kind of language or scripting. I won’t hire an architect who can’t code at some level.
    • Dom – value prop of someone who can architect a network isn’t as much as someone who can automate that same stuff…which requires coding.
    • John – weird nerd problem….the higher you get, the less hands-on you are. It’s as good to be as hands-on as you can be as high as you can be….
  • Followup – not as much about learning to code and as learning automation tools and automation mindset.
    • Lauren – so much out there you can use to learn to code….not that have to have the best coders but at least can do.
  • Question from audience – you get a new offer, how do you deal with the counter offer?
    • Dom – probably some catalyst to look at new offer. Counters almost never work out…don’t do it.
    • Keith – have seen executives give a counteroffer just to keep someone around, look for a replacement, and then fire that person.
    • Damian – don’t be a jerk on Twitter.

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