We couldn't get enough: Stack Overflow, Round 2

by Zalando Technology - 19 May 2016

After our incredibly successful Stack Overflow event, we were impressed with how open and approachable Joel Spolsky was to our team of developers and recruiters. Not only did he take part in a great Q&A session with our VP of Engineering Eric Bowman, but he also hung around afterwards to spend some quality time with Zalando’s tech recruiters, sharing his knowledge as a founder and CEO.

We couldn’t resist one more chance to chat with the enigmatic creator of Trello and CEO of Stack Overflow, so we bashed out some quick questions for a good ol’ fashioned interview with his crew. Both Joel and the team over at Stack Overflow have put together the following information for us.

Zalando Tech: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. What learnings and impressions have you taken back with you to New York after visiting Zalando and engaging with the tech scene in Berlin?

Stack Overflow: German companies have the same needs for talents as companies in the Silicon Valley. However, recruiting in Germany is still quite traditional and conservative compared to other markets, except for Berlin. Zalando is a perfect example for that. You guys understand the competition for talent is fierce and you don’t shy from experimenting with new ways to attract and retain talent by offering a developer-centred working environment.

Zalando Tech: After our Q&A session with Zalando developers, you stayed back to chat with our tech recruiters. What did they pick your brain about and what’s the one important takeaway you would highlight for recruiters in tech?

Stack Overflow: If you ask programmers what’s important to them, money is quite low on the list. The things that are most important to them are the ability to learn something new, the quality of the people they work with, and getting excited about the products and projects they work on. When hiring developers, it is really important that a company communicates these top things. That being said, the salary is something that both sides need to agree on. The earlier in the process the better. We’ve run some extensive testing where we found that showing salary range increases the click through rate of job listings substantially.

Zalando Tech: You mentioned during your Zalando Q&A that Stack Overflow are accomplishing three things for developers: Helping them learn, allowing them to share their knowledge, and leveling up their career. Can you expand on how SO are achieving this?

Stack Overflow: We're always in search of ways to help make developers' lives better. We're still very much focused on fixing a broken tech recruiting industry and want to help developers get jobs they love without the spam and nonsense. We've been doing a lot of work in this area to improve Jobs on Stack Overflow – better matching, salary data, etc.

We're also exploring new content types on Stack Overflow that will complement Q&A and help developers learn, collaborate, and solve problems. You're going to see us launch some new features on Stack Overflow in the coming months.

Zalando Tech: You would have heard about how Zalando has implemented Radical Agility across its tech teams. What kind of agile principles are you using at Trello?

Stack Overflow: We operate much closer to the Kanban methodology than agile. We do use tools from agile occasionally where they're useful, like stand-ups and retrospectives. We don't organise work into sprints, epics, user stories, etc. I think that's what most clients think of "agile" as.

We definitely value the principles of the Agile Manifesto, and our current processes operate pretty well against each of them.

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