"Not Giving Detailed Feedback after an Interview Is a Crime"

What are the needs of modern tech professionals? How to write to a developer correctly and receive cherished replies to emails? Is salary always a key factor for an offer acceptance?

In just one interview, we've collected a lot of valuable information for a Recruiter: we talked with Senior Front End Developer Ali Ragimov about what worries a modern developer and not just that.
  • Ali Ragimov
    Senior Front End Developer
    at Okko TV

— Ali, 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?

— My general experience in development is about 8 years. I started my career way working on the standard stack: PHP, jQuery, WordPress. I worked on various websites creation, like online stores on OpenCart. I got my first experience in Tolyatti, in a web-studio.

After working there for a year and a half, I moved to St. Petersburg. At first I occupied similar positions. These were information websites, business card websites, catalogs and so on. At one moment I got a job at an English startup, connected with costumes, and it was the time when I switched to Frontend development.
The team lacked these competencies, and I was engaged in the Front End development during my free time, I understood how everything was arranged in this sphere and that's why I switched to Frontend.
Since then, I've been working as a Front End Developer, mainly on React.js. At the moment I'm working at Okko TV. In time it's three and a half years. This is my absolute record.

— You say that three and a half years is your absolute record. It turns out that you changed your job, and more than once. Can you say what things you pay most attention to when considering a new offer?

Salary is not always the governing factor
— I think it's some kind of balance between salary and project. Salary is a very important factor. I know that recruiters confuse when they hear that I'm looking for a job not only to do interesting tasks, but also to earn money. It seems that I said something wrong :) Still, the salary isn't always the governing factor. These were some situations when the company offered me a higher salary, but the project was less interesting, and I chose a project with more interesting tasks, but with a lower salary.
For example, it happened when I was getting a job at Okko. The salary gap was big enough, but I understood that I wanted to work at Okko. I asked for a little raise, so that it would be easier for me to make a choice.
Thus, the key factor is an optimal balance between salary and projects/tasks.

— Tell us, what do you mean by an interesting project? It would be great to learn your opinion on it.

Working on an interesting project, you don't get bored.
— First of all, it's important to see that it's a real product that real people use. I must understand what we'll get finally. For example, working at Okko, I understand that this is an online cinema. People visit the website, choose a film, watch a movie. Everything is clear. Before that, I'd worked a lot on information websites, where the main idea was to fill all the space with banners. Working on an interesting project, you don't get bored.
Talking about interesting tasks, I can't distinguish which tasks are considered interesting and which seem to be quite boring. It becomes clear by feelings.
For example, if I receive a task and automatically get carried away thinking of the best possible solution, then the task is interesting, and if I have no thoughts about this task, then I'm not interested in dealing with it.

— Cool, thank you. Let's talk about emails. Is there something that prompts you to open an email from a Recruiter and read it?

— I'll open an email for two reasons:
  • 1
    I'm a maniac a bit and I have a "clean inbox" rule. That is why I look through all the emails.
  • 2
    A couple of times I received an email where I could see that the Recruiter had read my CV carefully. In my opinion, this happens quite rarely. But if I see that a person has read my portfolio and made an offer based on what I've written in it, it's very pleasant. Even if I'm not looking for a job, I'll respond in detail to such an email.

— If it happens that you and a Recruiter continued communication and discussed the future stages, could you tell us, how many stages of the interview are appropriate for you? What to you think about the test assignments?

— Usually, 2 stages are optimal for me. The first stage is an initial interview. The second is the technical part. By the way, I don't like long interviews :)

I view test assignments in a very negative light, if we aren't talking about Junior-level Developers, of course. If a specialist is just starting his/her career, then of course a Recruiter would like to see what a person is capable of. It's absolutely normal.
Paying attention to everything means paying attention to nothing.
I always prick up me ears when I hear about a test assignment. The first thing I ask a Recruiter is: "What do you want to see in this task as a result? What are the criteria?" I know that in 90% of cases people who give test assignments have no understanding of what they are going to check. This becomes clear, especially if when answering my question, they say that they'll pay attention to everything. Paying attention to everything means paying attention to nothing. At such moments it's very likely that they'll give me the brush for any reason, because there are too many reasons to say why I'm not the right person. I also rarely get adequate feedback on the test assignment, which means I've wasted my time. Therefore, I avoid test assignments unless I'm very interested in the position.

— And what is important for you when talking to a Recruiter? Which style of communication do you prefer more: informal or formal ?

— Usually, I have short correspondence with recruiters, but if we maintain a dialogue, it's not necessary to use strictly professional style. In some cases it's more important via what recruitment channel the Recruiter wrote to me. I prefer to communicate by email, but I'll definitely bang into Recruiter who'll find my "Vkontakte" (popular social media in Russia) and write there.

— And if the Recruiter was forced by circumstances? For example, you have the final interview with the company, and you've gone off the radar?

I am not used to the fact that VKontakte can be considered as a working tool.
— This didn't happen to me, but there was a case when a Recruiter wrote to me via Telegram because they didn't find other contacts or didn't receive a reply by email. The Recruiter apologized for invading privacy. I treat such stories normally. But if they write via VKontakte, and even as if it's a usual practice for them, it causes more negative emotions. I'm not used to the fact that VKontakte can be considered as a working tool.

— How do you feel about unannounced calls?

— I don't like that. Basically, I don't like to talk on the phone. A phone call should be agreed upon. Phone calls without prior warning are the exception when I'm actively searching for a job, put my phone number in the CV as a preferred contact method, and, of course, in this case I'm okay with that.

— And what if the Recruiter can't reach out to you: they've already written where they could but you still don't answer. What's worse: to write via VKontakte or make a call?

— To write via VKontakte :)

— Great, thank you for the information :) Now let's talk about feedback. Will you communicate with a Recruiter if you received no feedback on the interview previously?

Not giving a detailed feedback after an interview is a crime.
— No, I won't. In my opinion, not giving a detailed feedback after an interview is a crime. A person spends time on an interview and communication, and if Hiring Managers just say : "You are not the right person for us", it's a waste of time. If they give me a detailed comment, explain what I did wrong - it's great, because at least I know what I need to work on. Therefore, good feedback is a very important factor.

— I see. The lack of feedback is a fatal mistake of Recruiters. What mistakes, in your opinion, do Recruiters make when they try to attract a specialist?

— I don't like it when Recruiters write to me unnecessarily politely. Let me give you an example of this: "Hi! Can you devote some to time to read my email, please, I can tell you more details, I would be very grateful if you consider the offer". When they write like this, it seems to me that they cadge something from me.
It's one thing if a Recruiter write just politely, while another - when they go too far with politeness.

— And how do you feel when Recruiters write to you the second time? For example, you haven't replied to the email, and they write: "I don't lose hope for your reply. How will you react?

I'm okay with that. Previously I tried to reply to all the emails, today it doesn't always work, especially when I know that emails are often sent automatically. So, when I receive the second email, I realize that I'm communicating with a real person and I always reply to such an email.

— A million-dollar question. Name the TOP 5 key needs of a modern IT specialist. Salary and project are not counted:)

— It's probably an opportunity to change the direction within the company. It's cool to realize that there are several related projects in the company, and when you make the best use of one, you can just switch to another without changing the job. Variety kills boredom :) And that's cool.

I also give preference to companies where there is no strict work schedule. It is great when there is some freedom and you understand that you can distribute tasks how you want. It's very convenient when it doesn't matter how many hours you've spent on the the task completion. The only important thing is the result. I think it's the absence of bureaucracy and unnecessary processes.

— Ali, thank you for the interview! You've done it perfectly!

You are welcome. Feel free to contact :)

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