In this article series, we're introducing our hiring partners in Tokyo: startups, web agencies or large tech companies that regularly hire Le Wagon Tokyo graduates. Discover their services, the working environment they propose, and most importantly, what they like about our amazing graduates!
For the very first article of this series, we sat down with Jeremy Marin, Engineering Manager at Crowd Cast.
Staple: Going Cashless
Welcome Jeremy! Could you start by telling us a bit more about you? “I started working at Crowd Cast 5 years ago, and I am currently managing the whole engineering team. Thanks to a sizable funding earlier this year, we’ve been growing very quickly over the past months— my team is 12 people, and overall we’re about 25 in the company. My role has shifted towards management so I don’t code as much as I’d like now, but I used to work for 2 startups before landing in Japan and joining the company.”
So what’s Staple?
“Staple original offering was to make the expenses report process as seamless as possible for employees by dematerializing it. So basically, an employee will take a picture of their receipts, and our app will directly identify the total amount and merchant name. Accountants can then approve or reject expenses as they are submitted, streamlining the process instead of spending a full day on it at the end of the month. Since December last year, we’ve also introduced Staple Card, a prepaid corporate card that makes company spending and tracking even simpler. We hope to help companies become completely cashless and paperless, but as you can guess, it takes time for some of them to change old practices.”
Hiring bootcamp graduates
How many Le Wagon graduates have you hired so far?
“The very first one was Trevor, more than 2 years ago! He’s actually the youngest Le Wagon grad we’ve ever hired, but has been extremely solid, and got promoted as Lead Engineer. Since our funding, we’ve accelerated our recruitment, and managed to hire three more: two back-end developers and a web designer, Geoff.”
What’s special about Le Wagon grads?
“There are a lot of traits we like and look for when hiring bootcamp graduates, the strongest point for us being the “career switch” aspect. This means two things: first, they made a choice to become developers, so they have the necessary drive to quickly fill their knowledge gap. Second, most of them already have some professional experience, which means they know how a company actually works. In short, they are really self-driven, and compensate their lack of theoretical knowledge with motivation and professional behavior.
“We know they’ll learn fast, be professional, and quickly adjust to our tech stack.”
As a developer and manager myself, I also appreciate the fact that they don’t have any bias when it comes to technological choices, which is not the case with some senior devs I know. It means it’s easier to scale a team with them. We know they’ll learn fast, be professional, and quickly adjust to our tech stack. Lastly, some can have an experience that’s relevant to our field: one of our recent hires used to work in banking.”
Are you doing anything different during your interview process when the candidate comes from a bootcamp?
“We have a pretty standard 3-step hiring process, and we strongly focus on portfolio and attitude. Our lead engineer will ask very classical interview questions, along with a set of technical questions. Candidates also have to go through a home assignment, and this will be a good basis for discussion: what was hard, and why they decided to take a certain route to solve that problem. I don’t think there are any disqualifying answers for the tech questions: mainly, we want to understand if a specific candidate think like a developer.
“We strongly focus on portfolio and attitude”
On my side, I usually take care of the second interview and check for culture fit, personality, and how that person will adjust to our team. That’s when portfolio and attitude really matter. For example, Mike’s final project at Le Wagon was very similar to our main expenses dematerialization product, and Silvia started a small platform giving alternative solutions for nomads suffering from air quality in Chiang Mai. It confirmed two things: she’s motivated, and she’s going to learn new tech fast.”
What’s next for Crowd Cast?
How have you been dealing with the COVID situation?
“It’s actually been a really good learning experience for us! We’re happy with Finolab (their current Fintech-oriented coworking space), but we also realized that our team grew even during COVID, and we now do not have enough seats to fit everyone there (laughs). At the same time, some of our team members do enjoy the increased flexibility. So we’re currently thinking of a mix model, with the option to come to the office, but a lot of the work happening remotely too. On a more personal side, I realized that even though I haven’t personally met some of my team members, we still manage to collaborate really well.
I feel we’ve managed to keep a good team spirit, and to continue our streak: no engineer has left the company since I started.”
Any last word?
“Yes! We’re currently looking for an experienced React Native developer ”
Thanks a lot Jeremy for your time! We’re super happy to be collaborating with Crowd Cast and help you grow your team and business