What Makes a Great Candidate?

Chris Young
Chris Young
May 9, 2022

At Harled, we have a fundamental belief that every candidate is amazing. Our job is to work together to identify what you are really good at, and then assess fit with our organizational needs. If we're doing our job, we're working with you to uncover and highlight your passions, your goals and how they would intersect with our business. So, first off, thank you for being amazing!

The purpose of this post is to bring transparency to what we're looking for in candidates, and how to give yourself the best possible chance of landing an interview.

We Are Small but Mighty

We are a small team, and by small I mean we typically range from a core team of 5-10 individuals. However, we deliver big, and that means that every member of the team has to have an intrinsic drive to do great things. We just don't have the capacity for anything less than highly motivated, entrepreneurial learners who have something to prove.

Unfortunately the "game" that is talent acquisition makes the above point very hard to have a transparent conversation about. If an obsession with your craft doesn't come naturally, then it will be a big leap (and probably unsuccessful one) to join our team. The ironic part of the "game", is that when either side plays it, both sides lose. We want you to win, and we want to win, so a candid conversation about your inner fire is essential! If you have a good sense of self, and you know this isn't you then fear not. There are probably a couple hundred thousand other really great opportunities!

You're Impressive, Show us!

We love to see the work that you have done! In this day and age, it is really easy to do things in the open (blogs, open source contributions, portfolio sites, social media content). It doesn't have to be the case, but students and professionals alike should offer an open presence which provides a much more realistic view of how you work and how you present yourself (vs a resume that is).

Here are some of the common things we look at, and what we look for.

  • GitHub profile - just making a profile isn't an accomplishment! If you don't have meaningful content, it is best to leave it out to show that you recognize this. We think that customizing your home page is great, pinning your favourite repos is great and creating your own Human User Guide / Personal User Manual is great. These things are easy wins in the event that you don't have a lot of activity on your punchcard.
  • LinkedIn profile - social proof is a wonderful tool. Post everything you've done. We'd rather see your LinkedIn profile than a resume. Don't be shy, ask former colleagues and employers for recommendations. They matter. We also love to see your history of employment or volunteer opportunities and what you've delivered at each of them.
  • Portfolio site - GitHub Pages, Firebase, Heroku ... there are tons of great options for having a personal website. We love to see it, and we pay attention to what you include and how you position yourself. We also like to ask questions about it.
  • Resume / CV - ok, if you insist we will look at it and appreciate what you've done. However, we'd much rather see less, but more meaningful content rather than keyword bingo. That is, if you've read a blog post about a topic, you're safe to leave it off of your resume. Also, PDFs only please!

This might seem obvious, and we do appreciate that it is a big competitive job market, but reviewing our content before an interview shows. Know what projects we work on, know the language we use and make sure that it resonates with you. Our site doesn't include any tricks. We want you to want to work with us and we don't want to mislead you in any way.

When you complete our job application forms, show off! We have all of the important fields (name, email, LinkedIn, GitHub, portfolio site) for you to share the great work that you have done. You would be surprised how many submissions we receive with only a name and email. There are very few names and emails in the world that would receive a callback.

"once you get your job it won't seem like work"

Get Your Job

We know that we're an opinionated organization, and we won't be a fit for everyone. However, we see that as a positive as it saves everybody time and frustration. In general, we feel that the advice included here isn't only valid for Harled, but also sound advice for any non hr-robot-driven organization. Take the time to reflect, be authentic and realize that getting a job isn't the accomplishment, getting your job is the accomplishment! Not to mention, once you get your job it won't seem like work.

If this resonates with you and you want to make a big impact with a small, tight-knit team, then we can't wait to meet you!

About the author

Chris Young

Chris is dedicated to driving meaningful change in the world through software. He has taken dozens of projects from napkin to production in fast yet measured way. Chris has experience delivering solutions to clients spanning fortune 100, not-for-profit and Government.