Jon is a longtime Django/Python recruiter who runs Foxley Talent. We discuss how to stand out to recruiters and companies, current trends in the market, and giving back to the Django community.
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Carlton Gibson 0:05
Hi, I'm to another episode Django Chat podcast on the Django web framework. I'm Carlton Gibson joined by Will Vincent Halliwell.
Will Vincent 0:12
Carlton Gibson 0:13
Hello. Well, today with this we've got this jungle from foxy talent, then Django social. Hello, John.
Jon Gould 0:19
Yeah. Hi, chaps nice nice to get on and and chat with you
Carlton Gibson 0:23
know, thank you for coming on thanks for coming on. So what do you want? We should we should let people know who you are because I'm excited to have you on chat about the various topics but people might not know you too for people in New Orleans who How would you introduce yourself who I.
Jon Gould 0:38
So I am a career recruiter worked in tech recruitment for nearly 15 years. And for 14 and six months of that within the Django and Python community world, with mostly within the UK. Up until probably the last 18 months, it has been very, it was always very much UK focused. Not sort of your typical recruiter, I've always tried to buck the trend in that sense, but I have been very influenced and led by the various community involvements. And I suppose over the last 12 of those 14 years heavily involved in like London's community, the Django community went through various guises, which will probably never we'll try and cover off. And not know it's not last year anymore. The year before last week. I took the plunge and set up my own business, which is Foxy talent. With the mission, the goal to be the go to recruiter for the Python and Django community globally. Us and with taking a very community first approach to everything if it's the right thing to do, we'll do it. Very, very different.
Carlton Gibson 2:08
Okay, that's good. That sounds good. High level, I'm gonna go straight in there. So your recruiter right, Django? How do you focus? What what's led you to focus on Django? I mean, it seems like quite a clever thing, looking at what you've been doing the last year or so. And yes, like niche down, get get a name in a particular area. That sounds like a great idea. But in my experience of recruiters, which is quite long, they're not usually very good at matching a particular skill set to a job. It's like very much fire off random emails and see what sticks.
Jon Gould 2:38
Yeah, I think for for the magician, not for the majority. But I think it's very easy to say that you're a specialist. And it's probably what a customer, a company or a job seeker probably wants to hear is, oh, I specialize in this. And then they'll probably present one job to you. And if you don't fit it, you'll never hear from them again.
Carlton Gibson 3:00
Or six years later, are you still interested in entry level jobs in
Jon Gould 3:07
the event from the client perspective it is it's matching that understanding the job spec as a as a non technical person, but understanding where it is what somebody's after the key points about the personality, it's going to fit the experience we're looking for. But knowing that all because all we do is talk to Python and Django people, everybody's pretty much going to be close enough to the the spec that we can come off a call and no three or four people who will fit it if they're available or interested. And then do the other work behind the scenes. I initially I started my career in 2008 as a contract recruiter for software engineers, within the south of the UK, and that was my remit, trying to I think, sourced dotnet developers, C Plus Plus engineers, Java developers, a bit of a Yeah, at that point, anything or anything that was software sort of fell to me. And it was just purely by chance in 2008, I think I was trying to, I was working with a dotnet developer in East Anglia, sent them to a profile, agreed to send it to a couple of places that I knew in the city of Norwich, Norwich union being one of them. Who were at that point unknown to me, were a big Django user. And they turned around said, Look, we don't really need any dotnet developers, but if you know a Django developer or too weird take them on for we've got projects all of next year. So it just sort of happened. I didn't know what they were talking about. I've put my hands up. And I'm happy to take a brief on what you're looking for. I've never heard of this before, but I can definitely find you somebody if You trust me, and give me the opportunity to do it, I found the two, two contractors who started like the following week. They then we met, they needed a couple more than they needed three or four more. And before I knew it, I was scouring the whole of the UK for anybody who worked with Django. And this is 2008. So it's quite early. March, just nobody was really recycling on job boards. In terms of like, it might, they might be in their first job using Django, so they're not then looking for work because they're happy because they found somewhere that commercially uses Django. So there's nobody was using the job boards. LinkedIn wasn't really a thing. Twitter was somewhere that I suppose I'd started following, because I follow the football club I support. And then I thought I actually wasn't one of any developers are here, sort of found the Django community there. And then through that, I found I think it was the London Python dojo was happening. And I just felt, if I can go go along there, I might get to meet some of these people in person, or at least some of the people that I'm talking to, and just learn a bit more. There was another meetup run by a chap in London, which was less technical, more social, which was called the piss up py SSEP. And it was just meeting the pub and have some beers and talk Python and Django. So, so I was like, Do you mind if I come along and it's the champion ran, it was very accommodating, it's like yellow come along. It's it's not really a recruiting event. I'm not just sort of said I'm not really there to recruit. I just want to chat about why people work with this tech and the whole that was sort of the point where I found that I really resonated with what I hold open source movement is about and every developer I speaking to their first question wasn't what's the day rate? Or what's the money like, it was telling me about the project? Is it interesting cat what tools are they using? Why? And it was like, this is where I want to be. And yeah, just over time, sort of became more and more embedded, attended different meetups. And yeah,
Carlton Gibson 7:32
they've got honestly just gonna say like, I've met plenty of companies to Django event. Yeah, like the same. We were there. They were there. We're hiring. We sponsor the thing. But you're literally the only recruiter ever met a Django event? Is this like the sort of secret knowledge that you've hit on it to turn up to community events be involved in the community? You?
Jon Gould 7:53
It's not, it's not a secret code. It's not. Over time you do I do see there's other recruiters come to the events, but they come once and they go there. Exactly. They'll go with a very blinkered mindset of, I need to go to this event to find a job seeker for this job that I've got that I'm struggling with. Because it's the first Python job we've had or so they'll go, they'll probably have got sign off from their manager to expense the be some beers in the pub afterwards, or something like that. And we'll be there shaking hands with everybody in the room. introduce themselves asking where people work, whether they're looking for a job, and if they're not, they move on, and just sort of work the room and then leave before the talks or halfway through the talks and isn't. And then they'll never come back because they didn't hit they didn't find anybody. Whereas I suppose it's for me, it's just I actually, I enjoyed going there. I met people regularly. So the same people were always usually the same people, or at least the same core of people. You have the same follow up conversations you chat and, like, example, was at the London meetup in November, maybe that November what Yeah, isn't November and Tom Christie was F, which hadn't seen in person for like, three years. And immediately, he's like, Oh, John, congrats and you're setting up your business. I've been following what you're doing. We sort of exchange it's just that it's more over the time, it's developed into a lot more friendships and, you know, recruiter, contractor, recruiter, candidate sort of relationships.
Carlton Gibson 9:31
And just one more before button works, I know you'll see a bit there as well. But just because I always find that if you are just part of a community, you might have a product or a thing to sell or you know, whatever your job is, but and people know what that is that comes up in its natural time and then get on and have a conversation you know, be part of the community
Jon Gould 9:54
conversation first get to know people, and it's it's almost like Oh, I used to go in with a, a bit of a mindset of don't say what you do until someone asks, because nobody if if you go in Oh, Hi, I'm John. I'm a recruiter. I recruit Python. Django engineers. Are you looking for a job? Yeah, we get it. At times we've got Oh, my God, oh, your recruits it? No, I'm not looking. I wasn't going to ask.
Will Vincent 10:21
Well, I mean, I just assume if somebody is outgoing at a meet up the recruiter like that was my experience in San Francisco way back is like, people who are friendly and outgoing, every single time recruiter, which is fine, but it was like, just Yeah, I prefer someone just to say it right, instead of three minutes in? I mean, because I've never felt that way, I think. But if you do, I guess it's easier just to lead with who you are.
Jon Gould 10:46
Yeah, I suppose it's, it's easier now. Because I've been there for so long. And people know, know me. And actually, people will introduce me to each other other. It's more. Again, it's like, I feel accepted as part of the community as opposed to just an outsider turning up and getting involved. And it's funny, you said, one of my stance, long standing jokes. Every time I hosted a meet up, where we had speakers and talks in a sponsored venue was, every person who spoke would normally say, and this is me, where it is where I work, and we're hiring. And at the end of, it would always be me going on the recruiter here hosting the event. And I'm the only one who's not going to pitch anyone for a job tonight. was always the standard stock joke. And it probably wasn't very funny after a while, but I'd stick with it. It was part of it. That's
Carlton Gibson 11:39
the rules. Yeah.
Will Vincent 11:42
If I can get in, I'm curious, if you like, what is the normal trajectory of recruiting, if you could get kind of give that overview? Because my, my naive sense is that it's something there's a lot of younger people who are, you know, throwing stuff on the wall, and then a handful of more senior people, like, why aren't more people doing what you're doing? Like, does it does it winnow out, or is that an inaccurate
Jon Gould 12:04
election? Yeah, I suppose. I think my trajectory trajectory was probably I understood what I was doing. I joined a movement to recruitment, I was about 26. So I wasn't the young, I wasn't a fresh young grad. I had responsibilities. And I had, like a reason, personally, to be successful that my partner at the time when I joined, I started in recruitment in the beginning of February 2008. My partner came pregnant in May 2008. And my son was born on the fifth of January 2009. So I immediately had having just left the job, I needed to get my earnings back on track. And so I dedicated every sort of spare hour in that nine month 10 month period to really understanding what I was doing and getting to working out what was what worked for me, and that's where the Django world suited as well. Just it just clicked. So the usual trajectory is, somebody joins with no recruitment experience there. Day one, you're given a, a database of old people call them see where see if anyone's available for work or interested. And if they are here, some jobs that they might like, very throw stuff at a wall, see if it sticks. And, but you can you can progress through your career if you have targets and go from being a trainee to having more responsibility with client side and more autonomy. Being a senior recruiter than a maybe a team leader. Then managing a team, which is a journey I went on. When I was employed for the same company for 1012 years, my trajectory was very sort of traditional in that I grew a team, my desk became busier, I found somebody else to do. The I was working Python, Django, they had somebody running the front end, then PHP, then some user experience and design all that accompanied it, really, but always under the guise of this is your your remit where you can build. And over time that it was growing a team and I got further and further away from the hands on involvement with people in the community and it was part of the trigger when I left was that I really wanted to get back into the part of the job I really enjoyed, which was the community side. So you kind of go on that trajectory and people leave because it is hard work. Maybe they aren't naturally good at working with Pete. Ironically, like mentoring People or they're not very, you know, they've hit the achievement, they've they've received some accolades in their company, and then they go off to go and either set up on their own or do this and then it's too difficult and it doesn't careers compete around. Because it's, there's not much in terms of like a barrier to entry. Anybody with any background can do recruitment. But to do well, you have to be a bit more invested, I
Carlton Gibson 15:25
think. But how do you get there? So the other bit of the business on I've never sort of said, well, we've got you peek under the hood sort of thing is like, because you're a market maker, essentially, you're matching jobs to candidates. So how do you get the relationships with the company? So it must be quite a difficult thing to know. I mean, because it's compact, massively compact,
Jon Gould 15:45
it is. And I think, again, where I've done it for so long, a lot of the people that I work with, I've known, I've, I've, I might have worked with people as a contractor in the past, and now their technical director in their their startup or in their business or so they sort of the way that I do it isn't necessarily print off, this is the how to. And I much prefer that I don't want to be sending out the blacked out CVS and all the key information, redacted and phone calls and all of the noise that I'm sure happened Still, I'd much rather people go, John, I, somebody I know knows you. They like you. Can you help us?
Carlton Gibson 16:26
Yeah, that but that is when I got one more question that's come up, what is it about not telling the salary range? Like, why is it that they? Yeah, so or in a director mirror? And you say, Well, you know, they say, well, we seen your thing on get up, we basically did a search and you came up, and we're sending the same form email to everybody, blah, blah, blah, we've got this route, we might be interested, you say, Okay, well, what sort of range? Is it? And then I can't tell you, no, come on, give me a clue.
Jon Gould 16:52
I don't know, I don't know, it's, I try, you've obviously got a range from the client, because that's what they can pay. I think there's, some people would do it because maybe, if they told you the salary, and it's 15 grand under what your are your current basic as you won't then have the rest of the conversation. And they may not be able to send you somewhere else, it will establish like exactly where it is. Where it needs to be. If especially if they're only working one job, because they're not really a specialist. They've got they want to speak to you, they want to find out whether you'd maybe take a pay cut, because it doesn't address the thing. But to put that on an email or a message might be there. But nice. There's there's only so many, how much time in the day, this is the salary. This is what the pay and like, do you want the job or not?
Carlton Gibson 17:42
Is it of interest? Yeah.
Jon Gould 17:43
Is it of interest is you? Yeah, it's, I think, I think it's it really helps, because otherwise, and on the other side, you might be lower, and then maybe they can save the client some money on salaries or something, but it's just it never feels right. Just be open.
Carlton Gibson 18:01
Yeah, I mean, it's deeply frustrating, I think. Cool. Well, I
Will Vincent 18:06
think I would guess, Carlton, that and this question for you, John. You know, being a market maker, a lot of times, I think employees and companies don't really know what they want. And I've seen like we linked to you have some lightning talks about the why, I guess what, I'm often of the opinion that it's easier to understand what someone actually wants, even if they themselves don't see it. I'm curious if there's certain patterns, if someone, especially a developer comes to you and says, This is what I think I want and you're like, No, it sounds like you really want this over here. I'd imagine you like Right, like, oh, I want to be at a small company, but I'm in a big company or vice versa. Are there some patterns that you see, just with all your
Jon Gould 18:44
experience? We're definitely right now, probably eight or nine out of 10 people that we speak to want to work in tech for good or renewable energy. This is right at the moment is it's the real poll at the moment that people want to give back and work in a sector like that. And not everybody's background will lend itself to work in that sector. But the but also it's like if you understand that's why people will move in because they'd like to work there. It's almost the why that I mentioned in the talk previously, it's them. The trick is always trying to find that trigger that made somebody apply or get in touch and right right is that it can't just purely below say that one. I'd like to work in renewable energy but everything else about my current job is great. There must be something else that's wrong that's made you have that thoughts, which is what we'll try and establish through through a conversation. Understanding what is really going on whether it's you've been overlooked for a promotion, whether it's there's a technology that your business don't want to adopt that you want to use in your in your career. It's, it could be there's too many people ahead of you in line for opportunities, it could be that the business isn't performing and you're worried about the security, the industry, you're in so many variables. But if we can understand and at least understand together what the key thing is. I'm a, like a belligerent note taker, I will always write stuff down. And even at the, towards the end of a search, if somebody isn't, if they stray from what we originally said, I don't mind taking like, a picture of it and sending it to them ago, this is what I wrote down when we first spoke. Are you sure that's going to tick this box for you?
Will Vincent 20:43
Right, it's like a psychiatrist. Oh,
Jon Gould 20:47
Will Vincent 20:48
That That makes sense. I, I one more kind of big question. We have a whole list. But for people listening, like what if someone's new to Django or wants to move into Django? What what should they do? Right? How do they get on your radar or company's radar? Like what's your current advice? For? Right, here's the things you should prioritize. Yeah,
Jon Gould 21:06
I think location is really important. And the world is, is has gotten a lot bigger and more available to more people. But I think if you're lert, if you're in a position where you're trying to learn to be able to get together with people in person, and yes, we can use like virtual whiteboards and things. But if you can actually sit and draw something out, I think is really important to try and maybe target companies where you're nearby, or have got teams in locations near to you. Remote Jobs, we are where everyone is working on how efficient we can be. But I don't think it's completely perfect for a junior. I think, again, identifying this the technologies that you want to work with, and looking for a company where if you've got if you're a career changer, so if you've got a career in another sector, and you've developed lots of skills that could almost be traded. If you're you know, maybe being an accountant, you've become a software developer. And that's where you want to go try and maybe find a company who build accountancy software. And trade a little bit of your industry sector knowledge, with the the opportunity to learn and develop your career as an engineer. Another tip would be to not every, it's not that easy always to identify companies who work with Django. I know there's a page where there's a list of all people recommend sites that have been built with Django, and they're all listed. But that can take some time to go through and look for jobs on. I always direct people to the Python job board on python.org. I used to send people towards like Django gigs. And those sorts of those sites. There's not very much traffic on them anymore. direct them to the job pages on current and previous conferences. And looking at the sponsor pages as well, because people are either trying to sell their products because it's relevant to the Django sector or any sector, same advice. Or to go to the companies who spent money sponsor it and sell it, send it send an email to HR director or HR person or the technical director and say, I've seen you're involved in this conference, this meet up this event. This is my career, this is what I'm trying to achieve. Can you would there be any opportunities for me to join your team, and not everyone's hiring, it's difficult at the moment, but those are some good places to go. And to start. Further, a piece of advice would probably be to attend a meet up in in your location, rather than waiting for a conference. Yeah, we're very lucky in London that we've got the London Python dojo, which is always probably the first port of call where I thought I'd suggest people go to because it's live coding experience as well. We've got the London Python meetup. We've got the London Django meetup and then run a Django social in London as well. So there's opportunities there just to get in and around people and talk to people doing the job you want to do.
Carlton Gibson 24:24
Yeah, my, my experiences of going to community events is you always meet people, and then it's, you know, can meet them a couple of times later, and all of a sudden, it's like, Oh, you are in Are you? Oh, that's interesting. Yeah. And, you know, opportunities just sort of come up in that way.
Jon Gould 24:39
Yeah. And you know, somebody that you've, you've connect on LinkedIn and it's not everyone's favorites or if you connect on there. It's people will share when their company's hiring because it's exciting or if they're growing, they'll share it if you will see where to go and
Carlton Gibson 24:54
it's the sharing because HR said share it.
Will Vincent 24:59
Yeah, Yeah, sometimes you get a, you get a cut of bringing in, like in, in Silicon Valley used to be that you would get, I don't know, a decent percentage of a friend joined. So you would find these, you know, these groups, right groups of five or 10 engineers and the leader would go, and then they'd bring all their friends, and they would get a cut of it. And then after three years, they go to the next place. And yeah, you know, what, what about personal sites blogging? Is that important? Or is that overrated? Do you think?
Jon Gould 25:27
I think it's really, I think, in terms of having your, your CV, I think the personal statement at the top is important because it, you can address anything in their head of a cover letter, I'd say that part is more important. Because you can say, this is me, this is what I'm doing. This is the stage of my career I'm at and this is what I'm trying to achieve. And in that, you could say, I'm looking to change industry, I'm looking to work in this sector. And then as long as then that is truly what you're trying to move for. And it's, that's really powerful thing to have, at the top, address an elephant in the room, if you've had a year out in the past because of a thing, address it in there. And then it's it's, it's done. I think you're listing your personal personal project saving Lincoln, GitHub or StackOverflow. Or any way you keep your projects, whether it's on your personal site. Again, really important, because people will click through and look at those probably more so than reading what your first job at a university was.
Carlton Gibson 26:30
Where you got a few GCSEs 50 years ago,
Jon Gould 26:33
yeah, I had a an example, I sent a profile over to a client when we're working with them. And in the email that I sent it, I linked to their GitHub that came straight back. Yeah, this person looks great. Please me set up an interview, we set up the interview, five minutes before it started, I had a panic call because the CV that I sent was blank. And all they'd done was look at the GitHub. So they realized that she had nothing to talk to them about other than their projects. So
Will Vincent 27:06
yeah, that's confidence. Right? You pull that off, right? It's like,
Jon Gould 27:10
oh, yeah, just just really moonwalk out of it. We know you liked them and why. So then it meant it meant for us is, if somebody had a GitHub profile, we were just we could send, send them over, we know, that's what they will look at first.
Carlton Gibson 27:26
People have always liked, GitHub was been very influential for me, you know, I started contributing, and then you know, really changed the the hiring dynamic always said, but then the counterpoint that you get this line where people say, but GitHub is not your CV, and your GitHub profile isn't your CV, there's more to life than that. What's your take on the balance between?
Jon Gould 27:46
I mean, it's always gonna be that pedantic I don't you want to work with it. But I think I think there's, if you're trying to impress somebody to get a job, put everything that you're good at, and you're proud of, available, you can't always share work projects because of commercial agreements, which is fair, but share as much as you can, if you go to if you go to me if you go to meet up. So if you go, you're involved in conferences, or you contribute to anything listed on your CV, because that just it just it will differentiate you from the the average developer who's maybe doing it as a career, as somebody who's actually passionate about helping and growing and giving back and everything in their list. It's what, again, after so you'll probably see like, on a CV, it's opening statement, if there's A skills matrix, people will look at that just interested in what technology people use. last job, mostly last job title and any skills associated. And then I tend to skip to the bottom to see if there's anything interesting on someone's CV that I can talk to them about that isn't the job, build a bit of rapport, and then you can then talk about jobs a little bit more freely. And again, if you're interviewing somebody, try and I'll say, let's try and find them on. If you're being interviewed, trying to find the interviewer online, whether they've got a Twitter account, or a socials anywhere, see what they're interested in, see if you can build a personal connection. Before you get too deep into why you
Carlton Gibson 29:20
like, Well, that's good. Find out who the interviewer is, and stalking on that slide. It's very advanced, I think that it's quite well.
Will Vincent 29:27
It's proving interest, right. I mean, it's like I always think if if there's, if someone just has a CV, it's like, I can ask you generic questions. But if somebody has, like, if somebody wants to work in Django, and they have a couple of projects on GitHub, like let's just jump to talking about that, because that's more what a real work like you kind of skipped the first stage. It's a real work like environment and at least I find that people people are insecure about what they know. And they, they feel bad about not knowing something when really, the question is how, how self aware are they of their knowledge, and how quickly can they learn because obvious See, someone more senior can tell. And the question is not like, I'm not trying to make you feel bad. I want to see, why do you make these decisions? And how, how self aware? Are you of your knowledge? Right? That's for me anyways, the test right like, Oh, I see you use this package just tell me why, you know, it's not anyways, that that kind of conversation is way more interesting than let's whiteboard some stuff or let's
Jon Gould 30:23
Yeah, but that's why I don't necessarily agree with having scripted one on one process interview questions. I think that, you know, if you're, that might work for a global giant and they've got they they've got a certain way of recruiting but I think there's, there's such a human element at the moment, and there is a bit of a battle for took good talent and lots of competition, half the job of the interviewer should be to leave the person you've spoken to wanting to work for your company, whether you proceed with them or not. Because in the future, they will, they will tell their friends about the experience they had. And even though it wasn't necessarily the outcome they wanted, they go, I really enjoyed this conversation with this company, they say a lot of interest. And I'd love to whether in the future, you should apply.
Will Vincent 31:18
Can I tell a horror story related to that? So my experience at especially at startups, often it's like the most junior people are the ones who do the first cut. And that idea is well, they're closer in age and and they have basically no training on how to do it, right. Like, I remember I and some others would give them some questions, but you're asking a 25 year old to or a 24 year old to interview like a 2122 year old. And they just don't have we don't have the training to give to them. They don't often do a good job. They're not sometimes they're thinking I want to be hard on this person just because someone was hard on me when I was interviewing. But in one of these interviews, we had someone who got to got to the second or third stage, they met with me. And so that's more of a culture fit. And we like flew this person up from LA to San Francisco, right? So we put some coins on the table, took them out to eat and for whatever reason, my company card was declined. So personal card, like and this person just wrote went on Glassdoor and wrote like a really like just negative review, which was interesting, because now they're being negative and also like highlighting the card. And I was, you know, it was sort of like a code read because like, oh, wait, there's only one Glassdoor review for us. And it's this like horrible things that won't be like they don't have any money. And they did a bad job. Yeah, they can't pay for dinner. But it was also like, I just couldn't understand why that person would want to put that out there. Because if I'm reading that about that person, that that just sounds like a pill. But anyways, that's that's one of those, you know, I guess that's a long way of saying often, people in companies don't have any training. And the people who make that impression are just, you know, they're just kids. And they don't, you know, it's not impressed upon them. Hey, you're supposed to be giving a good impression out there for us in the world.
Jon Gould 33:02
Yeah, absolutely. By so
Will Vincent 33:05
it says a follow up for you, as a recruiter, how do you how do you avoid not focusing on like the most senior executive people? Because that's kind of, I'd imagine where the money is. And that's where as you build up a reputation? In some ways, maybe it's easier to place those people like, what's the mix for you? Right? How do you avoid that? Like, how do you still find time to place like an individual developer, when perhaps the more senior person is worth? I don't know, I don't know what the numbers are, you know, but it's worth more more coin,
Jon Gould 33:32
I think that's the obvious thing probably is like, right, what's worse with the most of us because we, the way that we operate is we will work on a percentage fee of the salary that is that is offered, and we're paid that from the client. Yeah, it makes commercially probably makes more sense to, to work with more senior management and, and people but I find there's less turnover of those sorts of people. I enjoy the the sort of sweet spot. And the thing that we really openly say that we're good at is from that like, second job, up to principle lead engineer is where we can really sort of, I suppose hack, add the most value to a job search for somebody because it's the companies we work with are either constantly on the lookout for mid to senior level developers because they want to get them at a point where they've got knowledge and passion and interest and then they can help them to to progress internally. And therefore if you bring progressing from mid into senior into leadership roles, you're probably more likely to stay I don't quite know the, the psychology behind that. But it's, it's very much that's where there's more like more volume, more opportunities. I think that's probably where it is. I mean, I've probably placed one CTO, engineering director level person in the last two years. It's It's just not necessarily happened and we get a lot more from the lower the earlier career people,
Carlton Gibson 35:07
do people hire juniors? Do people? Yeah, the people hire juniors because like, you know, I see so many people saying it's hard to get that first,
Jon Gould 35:17
it is hard. And we we probably are away from sort of specifically working that partly because I don't feel we can justify charging a fee for somebody who had no experience when all we've done is identify potential and help. So I think it's people do hire juniors, whether it's dictated to by budget, whether it's dictated to by a need to attract talent, and hold on to it. So again, find people who want that opportunities where they prove loyal and stay for a while. It whether it's just you've got the size and the capability of some senior engineers who want to mentor Junior. And that's probably the big thing, like, I generally, for a junior, suggest looking for not necessarily grant schemes, but trying to go and I've said before about approaching companies who hire at the higher level and asking the question, so I like your company, because of x, y, and Zed Are you hiring, don't just send a CV and hope because you'll just end up never hearing back. It's about targeting it. There are some places in particular, in the UK, I know, torch box to a really good Junior Academy, and take sort of three, four people per year from with no experience, whether it's graduate career changer. And take them into their academy and train them through their business. But there's it's trying to identify more of those. Like where people go after that first stage, but I'm sure there's a way to do it. I'm sure companies who hire juniors Well, yeah. If there's so much to put your hand up, because again, it's trying to find good juniors.
Carlton Gibson 37:16
I mean, again, that would be for that, where they're going to the meetup to help save your company. Look, who is willing to hand that to hire juniors, if a junior turns up to meet it, you know, you're like, Oh, well, there's a prospective candidate.
Will Vincent 37:29
Well, that's also why if you can contributing to Django, I mean, speaking of, you know, torch box like sage, right? I mean, he was a Google Summer of Code, and he's a superstar. But, you know, I guess technically that was his first job, but he'd already contributed to Django. So you kind of leave, you know, it's possible to leapfrog that step that I guess he got mentors, you know, from you, Carlton, and others, but, you know, having something that's open source,
Carlton Gibson 37:54
yeah. He's gone on to be paid to work on wagtail. Now, so he did the Google Summer of Code added the cross DB JSON field. Yeah. As your as a university student. And then he's finished. He's he's now working on wagtail on a paid basis, which is he
Jon Gould 38:10
came to our first Django social in Bristol, that we held just for Christmas.
Will Vincent 38:17
Yeah, I mean, he's not, you know, I wouldn't say he's, he's normal. So I don't. But it's possible. I mean, I know in the US cactus group, which is an agency in North Carolina, they also do some mentoring. I've talked to them. It's just, yeah, it's challenging for companies to make it work. And at least as a company, the reason why everyone wants two to five years experiences, they already know something, but they're malleable, and they're cheap. And that's kind of the that's the company perspective, that I'm familiar with.
Carlton Gibson 38:46
If you're there for the long haul, like cactus, or like torch box, you know, been around and really established if you can, if you can set up a kind of Academy type thing, you know, works for Manchester, United or Chelsea, right? They bring on the the juniors, why can't it work for a development company? Because mid level role good mid level developers they're rarer than who knows what.
Will Vincent 39:07
But you also need you need staff who want to do that. I mean, that's Dimitri cactus group, for example. He's, he was a he was a teacher, a math teacher who got into programming, so he enjoys that. So it's a retention thing for staff to, but not right. Not every company has developers who want to do that. But if you do, then it makes a lot of sense. But it was let's talk about Django social, so we'll link to the site. People should check it out. Like what's, what's what? Yeah. Oh, no. Please. Go look at Simon Wilson's layout, right. I mean, the more the more badass you are, the worse your site should look and your site. It's way better than assignments. Right. So
Jon Gould 39:47
please, please don't judge the actual site. Well, yeah, interesting. So a really good segue because this site was built by a junior developer who contacted me in about June, July last year just finished his GCSEs in the UK. So 16 years old, had the summer off and wanted to get some advice about picking up a project to, to put on his CV because he wants to be a Python developer when he's when he grows red, not when he grows up. But when he when he leaves education. And it just came about that I was trying to get a site together for Django, social and just said, Look, if you'd like a bit of summer work, and somebody put on a CV, here we go. And yeah, he's now he started his A levels, and I'm sure in two years time, there's gonna be a really keen Python developer deciding whether to go to university or to go hands on into its career. But yeah, so Django social ways. I suppose a simple to run meetup, which can be picked up by anybody anywhere in any city. And started I spent years were involved with another meetup in London called juggler, which is the Django user group London, DJ UGL. Started by some of the original global radio people trying to get people together in London. And over time, I was regularly attending it, and had helped out with the bid sponsorship paying for the beers and the pizzas. And then there is a venue let let the group down at the last minute. So fortunately, my job is I was going around a lot of offices, meeting people who use Django, and as I actually I know, somewhere that could host let me call them see if we can work something out. So then I was like, this works really well, I found a couple more venues. So I was effectively helping with the sponsorship, the venue organizing, and then again, I was speaking to Django developers all day, every day, when there was a slot for a speaker needed. I already had like a little list of people who are working on interesting projects. So suddenly, it was like, I was doing every aspect of it. But it became so much admin to find a venue to find some speakers that can all make the same day. Set it up, get there early, put out chairs, that it they became less and less frequent. And I when I, when I decided, when I said after I started working for myself, that I really wanted to get some community things happening in London again. But I don't want all that admin. Because life is busy, start working startup is busy. I just want to pick a day and something to do and bring people together. So Django social we have done. We've walked around the park, we've had sat in the park and had a picnic. These are summer ones not right now. We horrible. We did a board games night, we did a really successful co working day just brought 1012 People who work usually on their own together for the day. And the idea is that it's just bringing people together with a common interest. That's Django and doing something together as opposed to learning ways.
Will Vincent 43:18
What would be I don't know if you're familiar, but Paulo has talked about having biannual sprints, so like the sprint part of Django cons, but just in places. And it's and just to which other frameworks have done and to do together for a weekend. Yeah, just it'll be sounds like kind of what you're doing. But it's, you know, those are exciting because those are like, very targeted. And yeah, one of the one of the highlights for me of Django Con this year was I actually stayed for the sprints for the first time. I had Carlton's recommendation. And and they're, they're fantastic. They're in some ways. So I was like, why do we need to have a conference to have the Sprint's so it'd be some, I guess, somewhere in between?
Jon Gould 44:01
And it seems a great idea. It's just trying to obviously if you get getting together for a weekend, there's there's obviously the the middle night that there isn't, people might want to put their laptops away for an hour or two and do something sociable. And yeah, that's, that's where I don't I'm not clinging on to Django, social and saying everything has to go through me if somebody wants to run one, then fine. Go for it. It's, it should be just, it's for the community. Now. I'd much rather just pass it on.
Carlton Gibson 44:28
Did you put down a sort of breakdown of what is involved in organizing an event like a sort of checklist?
Jon Gould 44:35
I can do it. I mean, this is one of those. It's, it's that low admin cards and I've done nothing for it.
Carlton Gibson 44:43
Because one of the thought when you said you were describing before is like this classic scenario of this one person takes on a job and then they take on another job and then they take on another job and none of these jobs are identified. And because because they're not identified that work is a hidden this is one of the long term The big recurring themes of open source, but also it's really hard to get people to come and replace it because you can't say, hey, I need a volunteer to do X, or to do Y. And so, you know, one of the really important things that is this comes out of 90 Hegel's work and related work around that. But is to first of all identify the work and then say, well, thanks, you know, say thanks to all those people, because then that creates the job that you do list and the call for volunteers and it becomes a sort of virtuous circle, I just wondered if, like, from your experience of sort of being, that that one person deep in the hole organizing it and, and sort of right, slowly running out of puff, you will
Will Vincent 45:37
have a good blog blog post or something that people can refer to? Because I think, right, it's all obvious to you, but it wouldn't be for a first time person, but in the same way that
Jon Gould 45:45
it was something that Kojo mentioned in his keynote, Django con was about people. If you go into an event, thank the people who've organized it, because they've given up time to do all this that it is that an unsung hero role, really? And I'm not just saying that because I do it. But it's, yeah, I think there's actually more. In theory, there's far less to running a Django social we can, like weather permitting. It's as simple as going, let's just meet here, we'll go for a walk for an hour. And if anybody knows a pub afterwards, we could go to let's just go there. Or other for a coffee or whatever. It's, it doesn't need a lot of thought.
Carlton Gibson 46:29
Yeah, no, that's good. That's good. But yeah, just that that sort of checklist of these are the things to consider. I think that's a valuable resource.
Jon Gould 46:37
Yeah, I'm, I'm keeping a list of some of the ideas that we've we've got or things that would work and people every time is like, what else would you like to do? What what could we do? It's different what's, what's a good event? And yeah, whether it's a sprint, tech sprint, or there's no, there's there's so many different options. It's just like, what do you do on a weekend? You know, can we go to a mini golf? Or can we go and do a take the pedalos out on the lake at the Hyde Park and it could be anything. It doesn't have to be very, it's not tech centric. It's just people.
Will Vincent 47:11
So you said you said golf, we have to mention both you and I play which is unusual in mini golf reminds me that when I met, I never played really mini golf growing up. I played actual golf. And when I met my wife, one of our first dates, we went to play mini golf. And I said, Oh, great, like, that sounds fun. So I brought my own putter and my own ball. And she just still to this day made fun of me. I was like, but it matters, right? You know, like, I'm not gonna use a terrible putter, like the balls or the balls or crap, like, right? I mean, it makes so much sense to me. Why would I use deliberately awful equipment to do that? But if anyone listening you know, I now I just use the terrible balls and the terrible balls balls and while they come on, right, like if she still hasn't beaten me, you know, so she's, she's good. But you know, so I'll usually like not pay attention and she'll she's always like, keeping score. And then if she hates me on the, on the front nine, I'm like, Okay, I gotta focus. And I mean, I want her to win. Actually, it's not that I want to beat her, but I'm not gonna let her win. Yeah, cuz I mean, it's like my, like, my little brother. Like, he also plays and our dad when we were growing up, said, offered him $50 If you ever beat me, and that still hasn't happened. So it's again, same thing, like, I'll be screwing around. My brother will play well. And now they Oh, right. I gotta focus. And then yeah, anyways, so yes, I would be in favor of mini golf, and I won't bring my own putter. But inside, I'll silently be upset if I miss a putt. And I'm like, I would have made that with my right. My correct gear, right? Like, you wouldn't go you wouldn't go. If you're a Mac developer, you someone wouldn't be like, let's go do some Django work and let's bring a Linux machine or Windows. Like it doesn't make sense. Let's just go and see what they've got. Like, like, like, what are we doing here? Right, like, yeah, anyways, so yeah, I'm in favor of that. I Yeah. Now that now that I'm now that I'm not on the Django board, I mean, one of the things that would be I can speculate, and one of the things would be nice to do is, you know, just have funding for this weekend, right? So we could say like, Hey, like, here's a half dozen people that in the in Europe and Django will pay your plane tickets and rooms and you're going to do a sprint right and it's not directly paid for that would be my name is I'm Carlton, can we can we discuss your you've made it public your situation with Jane Doe.
Carlton Gibson 49:25
So I'm going to step down from fallowing this spring. I've been there five years, January 2018. I started it's now 2023. So it's, you know, I love Django deeply. I'm not going anywhere, but it's time for me to do something else. It's it's been a massive honor. But time to time to get just changed really. Last few releases. There's been an awful lot that's come together. You know, with async with the form changes with database constraints that just the list goes on and on and on. And there's lots now where it's, it's like, there just aren't the patterns that are unknown. Like, there's lots of new stuff that needs to be played with. And those patterns need to be codified. And, you know, I want to play with them. And I want to, I want to codify them. And I can't do that, whilst I'm at, you know, managing the firehose of incoming tickets, you know, on a weekly basis. So it's time for me to step back. So hopefully there'll be the call should go out sometime soon. Ish for a new fellow. I've had said, you know, I've been banging the drum for since 2018. About how unlike the community, the contributors to Django core, the CO contributor to Django, Django, mostly men, almost all entirely men. So if you're listening to this, and you're a woman in the Django community, and you want to check his chat about, you know, what the federal role might involve, then reach out to me and I'm really happy to put some time aside and just, you know, talk you through it, it's not that doesn't mean you have to apply it doesn't mean anything. But if you think oh, yeah, I could be the fellow to reach out. So
Will Vincent 50:59
what else? I think we mentioned that, I mean, there's a stereotype there's a difference sometimes in like how men and women approach these roles, right? Where men are like, I'm a good fit, and women are like, I'm not, I don't think I'm a good fit, but Right, like some of the emails you got, immediately.
Carlton Gibson 51:15
Yeah, no, I mean, yeah. I think blokes just have no idea of, like, any self awareness of limitations or anything at all. They're just idiots, basically. And but yeah, I'll
Will Vincent 51:27
do that phrase, Carlton, right, like, Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man.
Carlton Gibson 51:32
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So, you know, if you listen, hey, oh, no, it's not for me. No, no, do reach out. Like, there's no reason. And so one thing I also said to the fellowship committee was that if, if needed, I was happy to transition away to do some mentoring. So, you know, that's a genuine offer that I made, but I'm not going to. That's not, I'm not making that just for anybody, I'm making that for the right candidate who's needs a bit of help. And if, if that happens, then I'll, you know, I'll phase out over a period of time. But I would really like it if it wasn't just, you know, if we get another white boat, we get another wind blow. But I would really like it if we at least had applications that didn't fit into that category. So I don't know if that's going to happen or not. But you know, Django itself is a lot more diverse than the code contributors to Django, to the Django repo. So why is that?
Will Vincent 52:28
Well, that'll come out on probably the Django project blog, you can follow the Django news newsletter, if you want to just get a weekly dose of stuff. I have one, I guess I have one more question for you, John, which is, how do you think about working in house versus doing your own thing? I mean, obviously, you've chose to do your own thing. But that's also a pattern where somebody, you know, a company is like, regarding growing like crazy. We need Django developers, we've already worked with a freelancer, like come in house, like how do you evaluate the pros and cons of that?
Jon Gould 53:00
I suppose I, it never even crossed my mind to do that as a job. But for me, I love what I do with the variety of people that we work with the variety of companies that we can support. I mean, I've got, I've got personal goals that I want to achieve, and using Foxley and our work to do that. And those are some of those are changing. And I think I don't think I could give back to the community. For me, the person thing that makes me tick is to give back to the community that has given me a career. And these opportunities, it's, it's so important to do that. Without Django, I'd never I'd never ended up doing what I do. And I don't I couldn't do that by working internally. But I think it's I think it's I think it's a really good, it's a really good career move if it suits your lifestyle. And I think going back to the earlier questions about the career trajectory of a recruiter, some not everyone wants to be working 12 hour days taking phone calls in the evening. I'm not saying that internal talent teams don't do that. But it's it's going to be the right job for the right person. Now, what is the why why do people work on freelance or why do they work as a, an in house developer? What Yeah, it's the same, it's you've got to feel that you line with that mission completely. I lie, I feel my values align. I suppose in the business, I'm building in the in the mode that I want having worked in other businesses before I can do something different, I can do something that I feel feel good about. And, you know, the, the mission we've got is to give back to Django to create, say, thanks for that sort of thing. So I can do that without running my own business. Now.
Carlton Gibson 54:54
That thought that you expressed there of the of the framework that Django gives in your career, that's exactly what I took on the fella role, you know, to those ideas like, you know, literally gave is given me a whole career and to be able to give back to it is just phenomenal. And I'd foxing
Jon Gould 55:11
I think back to the the conversation, you know, the very first thing if I'd said to the guys at Norwich union like no, I don't know what Django is. I'm not interested in finding out where I'd be. I write
Carlton Gibson 55:21
slightly normal is Yeah, really? Yeah.
Jon Gould 55:25
But no, it's just created everything that
Carlton Gibson 55:30
I know. I know, Fox that you've said foxy tan will give a percentage of profits back to the DSF. Ha, can you tell us about that a little bit?
Jon Gould 55:40
Yeah, I suppose again, it's a little bit my thinking in the learning more about the Django foundation software foundation over the years about individual contributors. People like yourself who who are working as a Django fellow its people are giving their time there. They're contributing financially, whether they're attending meetups, conferences, speaking, sharing, learning. Lots of this hunt hundreds of contributors, 230 odd, actual individual members. And then 2030 companies who sponsor it. Maybe that's generous, I don't know. But every what I come across is people, individuals who we work with and help get jobs, contribute to the Django Software Foundation, whether it'll be time scale money. In theory, companies who use Django contribute back by either working on projects, giving up their developers time, financially contributing, and our job and my business links, developers to companies all using Django, why shouldn't we do something? And I can give back by time by getting involved in the social and attending conferences and being around talk to people experience scale. I don't I don't, I can't, but I can contribute financially. So that's, that's important to me. Okay, cool. I'm good. I mean, 5% is, as I am building my business, I think it's a good amount to give back. And we, I've got a little personal goal, they're looking at the tears on the on competitors, there is I would like to be okay, we're the first recruitment company on there. But I would like to be the one of the top companies. Just the inner competitor wants me to do that.
Carlton Gibson 57:43
If you don't keep score, there's no excitement, right? Exactly, yeah.
Jon Gould 57:48
And equally, this year, I'm looking at different ways that I can, I'll do something on top. In that we're looking at growing the business in order for the business to grow, we need people to want to work with us or come to us for help with a job search or to find them good talent. And again, if I'm trying to work out like an affiliate, not an affiliate scheme, but a very basic if somebody refers somebody to us, and we can make big help them in a job, I will give another donation on top of the 5%. Just as a rather than a night, his 50 pound Amazon voucher, or his egg, whatever, I'd rather go on putting this in the pot that we all benefit from. And that's not a sales pitch. It's just I I'm passionate about it, and I can't help so
Will Vincent 58:38
in terms of free advertising, one thing you know on your foxy talent site, if you have some blog posts on like, you know, tips for getting hired or this that the other thing I'm happy to feature them in the Django news newsletter which does reach some people, right in terms of like open sourcing the process but so I guess one last final final question world domination. So when when is the US office open for Foxley? Are you are you you're still very UK Europe focused? Is that fair to say?
Jon Gould 59:05
We are, I suppose, in what we do. We can work anywhere at any time. I operate, the way that I run the businesses, we don't have any like core hours, we don't really have any restrictions about corporate rolling because I'm very casual. And that's the sort of person I want to work with. I we've specifically this year are looking to work more within the US with companies out there. We're getting approached by people looking for work, and it's just finding those companies that are looking to hire to match up at the moment without having to do all the redacted information CV sending and sales calls. But yeah, we're sort of looking at the PIF PyCon in April as a event to attend Looking at the careers fair there to, to get in and actually be able to just maybe present jobs to people, or stand or just give career advice, or just be there and create a bit of a presence, backed up with Django con in October. And getting out more and more. I know we mentioned about taking our golf clubs to that one well, but it's, it's using events like that as the platform to reach more people and to do that. So yeah, the US is very much on our remit and pipeline for this year. Just need people to more people to help. And people who want help you know what I said? There's chicken in the egg.
Will Vincent 1:00:41
Well, I would say as a bystandard of Fox lead, I didn't know about you, but foxy Talon has certainly kind of come out of nowhere and now is like, the not just the only but like the default one right? Both just the you're focused on the space and all the Adam Johnson, everyone down, who in the in EU knows you. And so your trajectory has been fantastic. And it's also validating to see that there's a space for a dedicated Django recruiter. I mean, I often feel like with, you know, with books and content, like, why aren't there more Django books? You know, sometimes I'm like, maybe the space isn't big enough for someone hasn't done a good enough job. It feels like certainly on the recruiting side, there are enough jobs. It's just nobody's put them out self out there as the Django, you know, recruiting shop. Yeah,
Jon Gould 1:01:27
and that. I think it's mentioned about putting blogs on the website and having the website redone at the moment being built with Django. Because it just didn't feel right to do anything else. And it is completely unnecessarily as well, because it's a pretty static page, and there's not a lot of flashiness to it. But yeah, with that, it's, it's trying to, I suppose, cover a bit more of the word about what we're doing. I think if, if I don't shout about it, then I don't, I can't rely on Adam. Always just putting a good word in for us. But he which he's done, like, he's been such a great advocate for us and attended all of the meetups. The Django socials, when when it was in London still last summer. It's, it's been great to have good people and going to Django Con last in September in Porto attending there and just having people that we know from various events and having been to Denmark, day conference in April, seeing the same people or both, it's just, that's what that that that's what I love about the communities. It's the same, not the same people, but it's a really good core group of people who really care and just want to share what they know and how, how, and improve the world. We're all in. In the Django sector world.
Will Vincent 1:02:53
I would just put one final plug, if you know, there's Django con Europe in Edinburgh in May, and then Django con us. In North Carolina, probably near Raleigh, that's to be finalized in October. If you don't have the funds to attend, there often are you can email the organizers and there are Opportunity Grants and sometimes ways to get the funding to attend. So don't be put off by the cost because it is expensive, especially if companies not paying for you. Okay, anything else? I think we're near on time. Is there any thing, Carlton for you? Or any plugs? John? No. Well, good.
Carlton Gibson 1:03:23
John, if you got anything that we didn't cover that you want to shout out, and
Jon Gould 1:03:28
I'm not going to plug anything else? I think there's there's the line isn't there, the sales guy, the recruiter just coming in?
Carlton Gibson 1:03:36
Oh, I've got this one opportunity continue to pay range, but
Jon Gould 1:03:41
I'm not going to tell you that. They pay. But they're hiring. So if you want a job, let me know. But generally, I suppose if anybody wants advice either about building a team hiring for the first time, creating a good job spec, or from the other side, once someone is starting a job search and wants some advice and some options. I can, I'm happy to talk about it. There's no obligation to work with us. It's just I can give good advice. And hopefully we've got some opportunities that will appear with you. You are a job seeker.
Carlton Gibson 1:04:16
That's fair enough. All right. Well, thanks for coming onto.
Will Vincent 1:04:19
Yes, thank you. We'll have links to everything in the show notes. And Django chat.com. Where I'm asked, we're on foster dawn. Now.
Jon Gould 1:04:28
Yeah, yes, I
Will Vincent 1:04:29
think just for Christmas. Yep. All right. Well, we'll see everyone next time chaps.
Carlton Gibson 1:04:34
Yeah, you've got a good one. Right. That was a good ending right. Bye bye.