We’re hiring—A Developer

theSkimm is looking for an all-star developer. Please send resumes to jobs@theSkimm.com

Title:  Fulltime Fullstack Developer with Java/Groovy Experience.

Requirements: Comfortable with Ruby, PHP,   HTML/Javascript and CSS.

An ideal candidate has:

- Background in writing backends that are scalable and perform well under sudden spikes and without too much intervention.

- Experience dealing with Grails/Groovy and the Java language.

- Solid knowledge of HTML, CSS, Javascript

- Experience working with AWS (Amazon Web Services) infrastructure and scaling services such as load balancers, autoscaling groups and RDS database.

- Comfortable changing between front and backend programming as needed by the company’s growth objectives

We’re Home Sweet Home

Last year, we loved it when people we were meeting with would ask to ‘just come by the office.’ Our office consisted of our very tiny living room, in our shared apartment. So, the answer was no.
But January 1, we grew up. We got an office. We got employees. Only problem was, the office looked like:
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We had a problem. We had employees starting and we kind of forgot to budget for furniture. Then we met Apt 2B. The rest is decorating history — their price points were amazing, their tastes aligned with ours, and they moved quickly. Which we like.
One of the best pieces of advice we got from a mentor was ‘don’t dismiss putting your office together. make people happy about going to work.’
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For us bringing Skimm HQ to life was more than just setting up Ikea desks and chairs (see above). It was about creating a company culture. theSkimm started as two friends on a couch and we needed to embody that in our office space — a (small) space that’s part newsroom (or Skimmroom) and part business ops. Our space is meant to embody what our brand stands for—smart with a little bit of fun. Apt 2B got that and really had the best furniture for us to choose from.
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Each detail was carefully thought out on a VERY tight budget. Our office makes us happy.  And we hope it makes our employees happy. We look forward to going to work everyday because it’s bright, livable, and comfortable. You don’t get two couches, if you’re not into napping.
Much thanks to LablStudio for helping us put the final touches on a VERY small budget and introducing us to wallpaper.
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And @netflix just made #SkimmHQ ‘s #ValentinesDay weekend is now booked.

And @netflix just made #SkimmHQ ‘s #ValentinesDay weekend is now booked.

Loving this @lablstudio antique find for #skimmhq

Loving this @lablstudio antique find for #skimmhq

Tags: skimmhq

Guess the office is permanent now #skimmlife #skimmhq  thanks for the amazing decal @lablstudio !

Guess the office is permanent now #skimmlife #skimmhq thanks for the amazing decal @lablstudio !

Flair or not to flair?

2014 is already a big deal at Skimm HQ. We will have our first office and our first employees start (today!) and the two-(wo)man team known as Skimm HQ will be no more. We’ve been preparing ourselves for what it means to grow a team and create a company culture. And have been thinking a LOT about what type of CEOs we want to be.

We’ve heard horror stories. Like the time we went to one office where all the employees had to wear black flat shoes because the CEO liked to be the only one in bright high-heeled shoes. Or the one where the co-founders would only take meetings while they were on their TrekDesk.

We’ve been compiling some of the best advice we’ve gotten over the years from our former bosses and managers, our current mentors,  and fellow business owners. Below are some of our favs. 

- The best CEOs respond to email themselves. Quickly.

- There is a known balance between work and life. Find it. Hold onto it.

- There is also a known balance between when a boss is a friend and when a boss is a boss. 

- Be a leader — an organized one

- Know what your team does on a daily basis

- Put a name next to each task you want done

- Be a mama bear when it comes to protecting your team

- Look out for the future. It’s coming. 

- Focus. Focus. Focus. So others can as well. 

- Make sure your office is inviting. No one wants to wake up and go work some place that makes them sad.

- Incentivize your team by thinking long term

- Read “The Secret” — again. You’ve got to see success to be a success. Or something like that. 

- Say ‘thank you’ 

-Your team needs to believe in you and see you confident. If you don’t know an answer to something, come up with one

-No one will care about your company more than you. But try and make them.

We’ll let you know how our transition goes this year. We are currently looking into having a long table instead of a TrekDesk and making Friday meetings BYOB. Thoughts?

How not to get a job at theSkimm

We are very excited to add to our Skimm team in 2014 and so thrilled with the new hires we’ve already made. We have been interviewing a LOT of people. Turns out it’s actually not more fun to be on the other side of the interview process. 

Putting aside everything that’s about to follow, the biggest takeaway we have from the job application process is how amazing it is to see how excited people are to join our team and how much they believe in theSkimm. Truly, nothing has meant more to us than that.

Things we’ve learned:

  1. An interview is as much about you interviewing the candidate as it is for them to interview and learn about you. Both sides need to bring their A-game and want it.
  2. People need direction and it is hugely important for the employer to lay out what they expect from this position. 
  3. Negotiating is an art. And you (the employer) will be very bad at it your first few times.
  4. People need to hear your short term goals and long-term vision. Share it. Make them excited.

The process has also brought to light a lot of major mistakes we’ve seen from potential candidates. Examples below.

Things people need to learn:

Skimm A: Hey I like Applicant X  and Y. Did X send in a thank you note?

Skimm B: Nope.

Skimm A: OK, let’s talk to Y.

      *Thank you notes

Your parents weren’t just being annoying when they made you write them. It seems like such an obvious thing to do but so many people do not take the time to do it. We literally have a column on our interview spreadsheet indicating who wrote a thank you note and who didn’t.  First, they show you have manners. And if you are talking about a role where you will be representing the brand and interfacing with clients, these are things we are are paying attention to. Secondly, they show an interest in the product and the know how to follow up. 

    *Apply for a specific position

Applicant: Hi I have a lot of talents. Let me know where I’d be a good fit.

Early startups have very specific problems that need solving. Positions are specific to skill sets that can offer solutions. Having us do the work to translate your talents into positions we’ve already posted doesn’t make us excited. This is a big mistake Skimm A and B made in pre-Skimm lives when applying to jobs and something that is very annoying to see on the other side.

      *Apply for the right position

theSkimm: Hi, what are you applying for?

Applicant: I’m a college senior and I’m going to be your head of Business Development

theSkimm: We have an entry level position you may be better suited for

Applicant: No, no, I have a lot of experience

We have gotten so many applications with people saying they are interested in both our most senior role and our most junior role. That is a big red flag.  If you are graduating from college this spring, you are likely not qualified for a senior role. 

    *Homework

theSkimm: Thanks for applying! Please send us a sample Skimm in our voice 

Applicant: Sorry, I’ve been writing so many applications I’m not interested in doing another writing sample.

theSkimm: Goodbye

We ask most candidates to complete a homework assignment. This is a test to see how you think, that you can complete tasks specific to the role, and that you can meet deadlines and follow through. Getting your trial homework in late is not a good start.

For editorial candidates,  we ask them to write a sample Skimm in our voice. This is to see they can master what we do on a daily basis.  When candidates write it in a different format or ask to see examples of our format (read: try signing up for the email) it goes to the “No” pile.

     *Grilling

theSkimm:Thanks for coming in! Would love for you to tell us more about yourself

Applicant: Let’s actually start with you. How did you get investors to give you money?

Candidates are 100% interviewing us as much as we are them (see above) but there’s an art to doing that. We are the first to say we are new at this, that this is an early-stage company, and that we are learning a lot. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t professionals. We have had too many meetings when the interview asks us questions like “do you really think this is a business?” Yes — one you won’t be joining. 

    * Know your stage

theSkimm: Tell us what you’re looking for in this position

Applicant: Well I don’t do ad sales, I hate powerpoint, and please never ask me to deal with Excel.

Startups are not for everyone. That’s OK. Early stage startups are definitely not for everyone. Sometimes people forget that.  They weren’t for us pre-Skimm lives. When you list all the things you don’t want to work on, it’s a sign you are not cut out for the constantly changing environment of a new company. It’s fine to know these things but should also help you redirect your job search to something more stable.

    *Compensation

theSkimm: We’d like to make you an offer

Applicant: Great, I’d like to be paid $200k and have 8% of your company. 

No one joins an early stage startup for the salary. It’s very common place for compensation to be a mix of cash and equity and as a new company we have decided to grant all of our first employees equity, as a sign we are invested in them as much as they are in us. If you’re looking at a startup, see how much money they’ve taken in, how many people they are hiring, and do the math. And know, there are no “departments” yet.

   *Honesty

Applicant: I’m 110% taking this job if you offer it

theSkimm: It’s yours.

Applicant: Actually, I’m up for a big promotion at my current job and probably would want to get that first.

  The best kinds of candidates are the ones that are very candid. Honesty about what you want out of the position and if you’re talking to other companies is totally OK. It does no one any favors—on either side of this process—to lead someone on if you’re not serious. 

    *Start what you finish

theSkimm: Great chatting! We’d love to take next steps

Applicant: Well, I don’t  know if I’d take the job if I got it 

While this may seem contradictory to the point above, this one is for the benefit of the interviewee. It is always best to go through an interview process just to see what happens.  We benefited from this in our pre-Skimm lives and recently tried to return the favor and helped a candidate who wasn’t right for us get a new job. She starts next week.  

      *Know how to lie

theSkimm: Great to meet! What do you think of the product?

Applicant: It’s meh.

Again this may seem contradictory to a point above but there is an art to lying in an interview. When we ask what you think of the product, you might want to make us feel like you like it. And when we ask what you want to do we aren’t impressed when you say “I have no idea.” We are all figuring it out but there’s a way to artfully do it and sometimes it involves a fib or two.

        *Know the time

theSkimm: We’d love to talk with you about opportunity to join our team

Applicant: That’s amazing! I really like my job now  so can I join in a year?

Startups move very quickly. A year in startup land could mean new funding, acquisition, or disbanding. Waiting too long to act means missed opportunities. We’ve made the mistake of waiting too long to close a candidate and losing the opportunity and many applicants have made the mistake of thinking our needs now will be the same a year from now.

Party like it’s your birthday

Today is our birthday.  The big 1. This year has flown by in a blink of an eye and has been the wildest adventure we could have ever imagined. A year ago we sat in our very tiny apartment and pushed ‘send’ on an email, with no sleep, a lot of hope, and maybe a few drinks (yes, it was early). We have had even bigger rewards than anything we could ever have thought up as kids—the Today Show, Vanity Fair, a tour of “60 Minutes,”  invitations to breakfasts with our business idols, personal notes from readers on how theSkimm has impacted them. And some real stressful times (no need to talk about those!).

 

All in all, Year 1 has surpassed expectations and given us a lot to reflect on.

Things we’ve learned:

-how to make GCal invites

-how to set up a printer/scanner (ok maybe we didn’t learn this well)

-how to make financial models

-how to ask friends to help us make financial models

-how to ask what a pitch deck is

-how to make a pitch deck

-how to ask for money

-how to speak in public

-how to smile on camera without getting lock law

-how to recruit

-how to negotiate

-how to fire

-how to respond when someone says ‘you write like a dude’

-how to be managers

-how to network

-how to do business taxes

-how not to introduce one another as partners (turns out when you are two female founders, people may think you are lesbians)

-how to code (ish)

-how to turn a coffee table into a supply closet 

-how to win a fight with our cable company

-how to talk to strangers and give them Skimm cards

-how to make schedules to remember to shower and go to the gym

-how to sleep in shifts

-how to manage a love/hate relationship with Mailchimp

-how to embrace crying at the Genius bar

-how to accept that we are terrible drivers

-how to decide who to listen to and who to totally block out

-how to prioritize

-how to stick to a schedule

-how to smile when your credit card is declined in public

-how to convince people we don’t get sick of each other

-how to balance work and play (still working on this one)

-how important a support system is

-how important it is to know when to be humble and when to be confident

-how far we have come

-how far we have to go

-how “your” and “you’re” make people VERY passionate

From the bottom of our Skimm hearts—THANK YOU!

Do you know where your #skimm’rs are? #skimm’ing with inspiration #jfkbday #skimmhq #marilyns

Do you know where your #skimm’rs are? #skimm’ing with inspiration #jfkbday #skimmhq #marilyns

#Skimm HQ learning how to celebrate milestones.

Lessons

-chill champagne before use

-do not pop cork near someone’s eye

-buy more than one champagne glass