Category Archives: Natural Language Processing

Okay, Look…

…if the job requirements include: Semantic Java, Hibernate, etc.  And the company is: a Web 2.0 business information engine that’s created (and is creating more) highly disruptive products.  And the team we’re looking to hire for: is our Core development team, which focuses on natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and information integration.

And you are: an embedded software engineer with a PhD in electronics, and a Masters in signal processing and controls.

Then, you can’t claim in your cover letter that your: “working experience closely matches the position requirements.”

Here’s the thing.  If this cat had made a strong, thought out pitch about how his work experience was in any way relevant, it’s not out of the realm of possibility he would get considered by some companies.  Not here, because we honestly need directly relevant experience for this critical hire, but a larger organization might have thought “hmm, smart guy, can communicate – and, it never would have occurred to us from his resume, but yeah, that project he did is relevant to what we do…”

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What I’m Looking for in a Software Engineering Candidate

We’re doing some hiring in our engineering group.  Incredibly cool stuff happening here: complete rebuild of our our core platform, live apps, UI.  Re-architecting it all in Java (we’ve been a C#/.Net & C++ shop until now).  Taking our UI, and making it hugely interactive, yet elegantly simple.  Developing new metaphors for search.  And, more that we’re not public with yet.

We’re going to need software engineers with chops in Java for both our Core platform (semantic, AI, rocket-science type stuff), and Web Dev team (that beautiful UI I mentioned, plus major changes to our apps, and more to come). Lots of interesting problems, in other words.

It’s kind of like building the technology for a start-up, front to back, but at a place that’s already profitable, and has 5 million unique visitors per month (instant eyes-on your work – cool!)

We want you to come help us figure it out.

So, this is an opportunity.  A hell of an opportunity.  Let me repeat: an absolute (cover your kids eyes) mutha-fuckah of an opportunity.  Every software engineer in & around Boston should be clawing their way to get in here.  And, we’re getting some traction around that.

But here’s the thing: we want the best.  I figure it’s fair: best software engineering opportunity in Boston, possibly one of the best in the country, deserves the best software engineers.

No more or this “contributed to”, “supported”, “implemented” crap on your resumes.  I want you to brag.  Say “Architected & built from the ground up”.  “Led team to glory”.  “Researched and championed the use of [insert name of esoteric but cool technology here], which led to rapid scaling of…”

You get the idea.  Be amazing.  Don’t be some also ran, mostly worked as a consultant, never showed initiative.  Stun us.  We’ll give you work to do that you’ll thrive on.

I mean, think about it: this has been a Microsoft shop, and now we’re free.  But, the team’s light on Java – you’ll be the man/woman.  Major resource, cool cat, all of it.  Get yer ass over here, before somebody else does.

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Surviving (hell, _killing_) the Technical Intereview

Mikhail Naganov has written a handy post for engineers who are stressing out about interviewing.  He’s spot-on when he says:

“what are the staffing needs in smart companies? They want people that can tackle complex problems in new problem areas. They want people that are responsible and passionate about their work. And, of course, they want people that can explain their solutions to colleagues.”

We’re going to grill you when you come through, but it’s not like we expect you to solve all of our problems correctly – if you do that, expect an offer before you leave (unless you’re a jerk – we have a policy against hiring those…)

One more resource I’d point you at (hat tip to Mikhail) – Steve Yegge’s poston interviewing at Google.  Worth a gander or two… That said, very funny counterpoint to Steve’s raving about Google culture can be found here (hat to William Wechtenhiser for that one).

Shameless, Shameless Plug…

…for votes :)  For whatever reason, Good to Know  is up for best recruiting blog of the year.  I’m pretty sure it’s not because my employer is paying for the grand prize (seriously – what I suspect is that Jason Davis, the guy who runs RecruitingBlogs.com, the organizer of the whole contest, is just ridiculously nice and felt bad at how poorly I did at poker last time we hung out).

While I’m under zero illusion I’ll win, I wouldn’t mind not coming in dead last.  Seriously.  Soooo…. if you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate it if you clicked here and exercised your right to vote.  Primarily in categories #1& #6 – well, feel free to vote in the rest, too – in fact, I’d recommend checking out all of the nominated blogs – there’s a lot of really great guidance out there, from a gang of remarkable minds.

ZoomInfo and Online Advertising

So, this is a bit of a blatent plea, but on the off-chance you are (or know someone who is) involved in online advertising and/ or search, well, chances are I’d like to talk to them about an opportunity.  We are launching a new business unit – Search and Online Advertising – that stands a pretty fair chance of shaking up the world of, well, search and online advertising.  We just leased some nifty office space in downtown San Francisco, and this guy is out there building a team on search and advertising pro’s to help grow the new business.  That said: if you (or the aforementioned someone you know) wants to work in our home office in Waltham, we can go with that.

What’s cool is that we’ve got this really interesting technology that we can put behind the products our little dream team is going to be developing.  The company itself is: extremely well run (you know, profitable, growing strongly, etc), in a very interesting space, and very protective of it’s culture (our definition of an “A player” includes terms like “nice” “funny” “a litle quirky” and “not a jerk”).   So, you’ll get to make cool stuff, in a cool space, and with really, really cool people you’d love to have a beer with.  (Oh, and we like to have beer, too). 

Right now, I’m looking for a VP of Ad Products, but there are several more roles to come: VP of Search Products, couple product managers, few sales reps, some marketers…. If you’re interested in general, here’s the Rock Stars link.

Semantic advertising, here we come….  Care to join the party?

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