Hiring Report: StillSecure Needs Developers Skilled In Linux Admin, Networking

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Company Name: StillSecure Company Focus: StillSecure creates secure network infrastructures. By converging networking and security, StillSecure is the foundation for secure, intelligent, highly automated networks that are easy to manage and protect. StillSecure customers range from midsize companies to the world's largest enterprises and agencies in government, financial services, healthcare, education, and technology. Headquarters: Superior, CO Web site: www.stillsecure.com Founded: 2000 Number Of IT Employees: StillSecure does not disclose employee numbers. The Company: StillSecure's vision of combining networking and security will create next generation policy-driven networks, where automated, integrated security systems combine with an organization's security policies to control network access, devices, users, and traffic. This approach has been validated by explosive revenue growth, an expanding line of integrated, award-winning products, and continuous recognition as an industry leader. In 2005, StillSecure was ranked number 12 on Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 Rising Star list. In early April StillSecure launched The Cobia Unified Network Platform. Cobia offers an alternative to the traditional, fixed-appliance approach to networking by providing a modular, open source software platform for networking and security. Cobia's modular design and web-based management interface allow users to implement the complete network or a subset by tailoring the Cobia platform to the needs of each network.
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Hiring Leaders: Mitchell Ashley, CTO and General Manager of Cobia, StillSecure. 20+ years in IT software development, large systems integration, and product development for the telecommunications, finance, and technology industries. Are you looking to hire on more IT staff this year, and if so, how many and in what skill areas? Yes, we plan to add 12 to 20 additional technical staffers. Given all the news about the talent crunch, have you or are you finding it more difficult to find qualified IT professionals? Yes, the "talent crunch" is due in part to availability of qualified candidates but even more so our selective hiring standards. Our technical hiring is focused on software developers who also possess a strong knowledge of Linux system administration and strong networking skills. We focus our development efforts on Java, C, C++ and Python deployed on Linux. What are your primary recruiting strategies? Do you work with recruiters, post jobs online, etc. Our strongest hiring mechanism is through employee referrals. Candidates are generally better qualified because they have been somewhat prescreened for the required skill sets and fit with company culture. We also utilize more traditional methods including employment recruiters, online ad posting, and posting to various news groups. More recently we have been successful recruiting candidates through our executive team's blogs. What is the hiring process? StillSecure utilizes a standard set of technical questions to qualify candidate's skills in technical areas such as Java, C, C++ and Linux. Using a standard set of questions allows us to better qualify candidates, and use a consistent set of questions across different interviews. A programming test is frequently requested to determine how candidates apply their technical knowledge. The second step is the onsite interview, consisting of two parts. We do a team interview with the candidate. Participants in the team interview can include, but are not limited to, co-workers, other developers, QA staff, and the technical lead or product lead for the hiring area. The second component includes interviewing with key technical leaders in the organization including the CTO, Chief Architect, VP of Engineering, and Product Engineering Managers. Candidates may be requested to return for follow up interviews or phone interviews as needed. What should candidates know before they interview at StillSecure? First, StillSecure is a great place to work. We believe in hiring the best people who can contribute to the mutual success of our company. The work everyone does shows up directly in the software products and services we produce. StillSecure's culture is one of openness and transparency. We have an open cubicle environment and put a big emphasis on communications throughout the organization. StillSecure is known for its product innovation in secure network infrastructure software. Our company has a very high energy, team-oriented, fast-paced environment. We put very strong emphasis on excellence, results and quality. The people who work here are passionate about what they do. We have a very open work environment and strong corporate culture. We recognize that these are energizing and exciting to many, although certainly not a fit for everyone. What makes for an outstanding potential hire? Technical competence is important but cultural fit is probably even more important at StillSecure. We look for people who have a track record of success with individual contributions as well as with team contributions. We are looking for repeatable results, not one-time heroes. Sometimes expertise in a specific skill set is what we need. At other times it may be adding a new skill that we don't currently have. We also look at the investment an individual makes in their own personal growth such as new projects or technologies they learn to accomplish a project. Home networks and computers can also be a good indication of an individual's commitment to keeping their technical skills sharp and up-to-date by learning new technologies. Growth in the types of projects the candidate has taken on during their career as well as growth in responsibility are also good indications of someone's track record of success. Failures are also important, particularly what individuals learned from past failures and how they were applied to future efforts. This can be as important as the successes in many cases. What are red flags you look for when reviewing resumes, doing interviews? We put an emphasis on screening candidates who would work well within our company culture. A red flag would be someone who might be easily distracted in an open, no-cubicle work environment. Individuals who prefer to work alone versus as an integral part of a team would also be a red flag. Lastly, we prefer people who like to learn hands-on versus those that might require formal training to learn new skills. What kind of non-IT skills do your IT team members need, if any? Communications skills, problem solving skills, a passion for learning, and team interpersonal skills are non-IT specific skills we require of our staff. How important is the cover letter in job queries? A long or wordy cover letter is not important but we do look for an expression of interest in the position, an introduction to the candidate's resume, and the candidate's contact information. Proper grammar and spelling are also important. A short, to the point cover letter is much better than a lengthy one. Is the IT organization looking for certified skills, is that a must have or is there any other qualification that is a must have? No, in most positions at StillSecure certifications are not required. We are most interested in what the candidate has done in the past that would be a reasonable predictor of future contributions. Does the organization hire 'newbies' and invest in training and how well does that work, and if not, why not? Yes, for specific positions. For example, a typical growth path for a customer support engineer would be to grow into a QA job or possibly move into programming. However, most of our positions today are for experienced candidates. What characteristics or personality traits do you want in a hire, and don't want? Competence, confidence, self motivation, a passion for learning, and a team player are all required personality traits. What does your company offer IT specialists as an employer? StillSecure is unique in that we offer employees the opportunity to work on the latest technology in security and networking products. Many IT specialists are looking to add more security or networking to their expertise to help them in their career path. StillSecure is immersed in this technology and that's something our employees value. StillSecure also offers employees a place where they will enjoy working. Everyone's contributions are valued. Employees frequently have a chance to work in areas or with technologies that might be new to them. It is also an environment where diversity of ideas, opinions, and experiences are valued. Most importantly, it is a company where every individual can make a difference. Other recent articles from TechCareers How To Avoid IT Career Burnout Hiring Wave Bodes Well For Job Seekers
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