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Prosecco & Pandemics: Hiring During The End Times with Lauren Langdell

Jonan Scheffler interviews Lauren Langdell, Founder of Women in DevOps: a platform that advocates for not just women's voices but also the LGBTQ+ community, people of different ethnicities, races, and religions, and neurodiverse people within software engineering and DevOps, about being a recruiter who helps underrepresented populations get into tech and thrive across many facets of humanity!

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Jonan Scheffler: Hello and welcome back to Observy McObservface, proudly brought to you by New Relic's Developer Relations team, The Relicans. Observy is about observability in something a bit more than the traditional sense. It's often about technology and tools that we use to gain visibility into our systems. But it is also about people because, fundamentally, software is about people. You can think of Observy as something of an observability variety show where we will apply systems thinking and think critically about challenges across our entire industry, and we very much look forward to having you join us. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of The Relicans podcasts on developer.newrelic.com/podcasts. We're so pleased to have you here this week. Enjoy the show.

Hello and welcome back to Observy McObservface. I'm Jonan, and I am joined today by Lauren Langdell. How are you, Lauren?

Lauren Langdell: I am fantastic. Thank you so much for having me.

Jonan: I'm so glad that you came to join us. The Observy McObservface podcast is fascinating to me because it is this constantly morphing environment where we have guests from various walks talking about all sorts of things, whatever we want. It turns out that you can only really say so much about observability. [chuckles] I'm so glad you could join us. So for our listeners who may not be well-acquainted with your work, tell us what it is you do and how you came to be here.

Lauren: Of course. I'm Lauren. I'm the founder of Women in DevOps, which is a platform that basically advocates for not just women's voices but the LGBTQ+ community, ethnicity, race, religion, neurodiversity within software engineering and DevOps. And then I'm also a headhunter in the DevOps and engineering space and have been for seven years, which makes me feel a little bit old. [laughs]

Jonan: Seven years is ages in tech.

Lauren: Yeah.

Jonan: We've watched thousands of companies live and die in that period. [laughs]

Lauren: Yes, [laughs] along with my Robinhood account.

Jonan: That one stings a little bit. Yeah, Robinhood, Coinbase is taking a beating. I understand my crypto friends are having a sad month.

Lauren: [laughs]

Jonan: So you founded Women in DevOps, and through Women in DevOps, you do recruiting...well, I mean, they're not necessarily too related. You founded Women in DevOps; I’m sure in large part to meet developers. But you are a recruiter, and you work for a firm that primarily focuses on underrepresented people in tech and helping the underrepresented populations get into tech and thrive here across many facets of humanity. Is this an approximate summary?

Lauren: It's a great summary. But basically, I was a recruiter first, and I was quite early in the DevOps recruitment world. So DevOps didn't really exist when I started. I was doing more like network and infrastructure and then was a sysadmin, CCNA that was my world. And I was really interested in this space. At the time, there weren't any other recruiters that I knew of that were doing DevOps. So in order to learn, because I learned from my candidates, for the most part, I started going to every meetup possible and every conference possible, mainly for the free pizza and the free beer because I was 25 living in London. And I always just sat at the back with a notebook. So I was just trying to learn as much as I could. So when I was speaking to hiring managers, or founders, or CTOs, I could actually have a tangible conversation with them and talk about their engineering roadmap and their plans. And then I could talk to candidates in a really well-informed manner. But no one would usually speak to me. And when they found out I was a recruiter, they definitely didn't want to speak to me.

And I was like the only woman in the room nine times out of 10. But it didn't really make that much sense because I was placing a lot of female engineers. But for me, I was always like, well, if I'm just putting forward white, male men, that's not really a true representation of the market, et cetera. And I guess that's what we know now is a real diverse mindset. This was four or five years ago, and it wasn't talked about as much. And then I was like, I’m going to make my own meetup so people can feel safe and network. And so I was asking some of my candidates, I was like, “Oh, do you want to come to this Kubernetes meetup with me?” I think it was ShiftMarket hosting it. And the response was, “No, Lauren. It’s just guys, pizza, and beer. And I feel like I can't socialize, or I feel nervous going into that.” And I was like, yeah, fair play, it’s usually guys, pizza and beer. So I founded my own meetup, which is Women in DevOps. And meeting number one, I didn't know how many people were going to come, so I ordered ten boxes of prosecco just to be on the safe side. Twelve turned up, and I can confirm that all ten bottles of prosecco were drunk. [laughter] We also have a really wide selection now of beverages. But we’re global now. You'll see stats in London, Dublin, Ireland, and Europe. And I just kept having people reach out in the USA. So what more of an excuse do I need to jump on a plane and relocate to California and launch it out here in the States? And here I am talking to you.

Jonan: And you came out here just recently, right?

Lauren: Yeah.

Jonan: So you lived in London most of your life, and then you moved here; how long ago?

Lauren: Last March, four days before lockdown, literally four days.

Jonan: That was a terrible decision on your part.

Lauren: It was pretty tragic. I wouldn't recommend relocating not just countries but continents during a pandemic. But actually, I'd rather be here than back home. And Women in DevOps has thrived, but I work for Trust in SODA. I’m the Director of Trust in SODA. That's the recruitment company I work for. They thrived, as you've probably seen those peaks and troughs of the pandemic when it came to hiring engineers. And it's sunny like 365 days a year here. So the vitamin D really helped the old mental health. [laughs]

Jonan: Those vitamins, I love it. You mentioned briefly there these peaks and troughs thing. I want to dig into that a little bit because I think you have a very interesting perspective on this whole thing. I know what I think happened during the pandemic with regards to hiring and so on, but how did it affect things for you? From your perspective, were people hiring less right as things happened and then more during, or what did you see?

Lauren: Yeah, so at the start...so I’d say about Q2, Q3, I kind of call it panic mode. So I look back at that time, and there was just this element of sheer panic. We just didn't know what was going to happen. We didn't know what was going to happen to the consumer, to the market, to the investors. My sort of sweet spot is like series A to series E/F. I do work with big enterprises too, but a big conversation was panic around future investment and what that looked like for the burn and runtime. So I saw a huge hiring freeze but then all of a sudden, was this revolution of okay, well, we're in a pandemic, everyone's remote. This now gives me access to candidates remotely. I saw a really strong and quite agile switch from folks who I've worked with for 18 years, CTOs that were like, “I’m not looking at remote. I don't care if you have the best woman with a degree from Stanford. If they don't live in the Bay Area, we can't make it work.” And then quickly, I saw a company shifting not just their culture, not just their interview plan and procedure but also that ability to think about remote.

So all of a sudden, there's this huge peak where we're drowning in work for a very long time, and we still are super buoyant. But that's been a real pleasure to see. And I really hope that stays because from a diversity standpoint...and that's what I do. I probably should have mentioned that at the start…it’s diversity recruitment and building diverse teams. Also, thinking about intersectional diversities is one thing to think about. I know women or folks who are non-binary. But when thinking about intersexual diversity, especially places like the Bay Area or Seattle, they’re incredibly expensive to live in. So if you're a working parent and you have to think about relocating your entire family, that's not always possible depending on your background. So actually, I've seen a huge positive shift when it comes to hiring because of the pandemic. And I think there are some patterns that are here to stay that hopefully can be really welcomed and embraced by everyone. And yeah, it’s opened a world of opportunity to folks who wouldn't have it otherwise. Does that make sense?

Jonan: Yeah, absolutely, and I 100% agree with you. I've always thought it was ridiculous that people found a company in San Francisco and effectively stick a flag in the ground and say, “We're only hiring people within 30 miles of here,” and they're standing in the most expensive real estate on the planet. What possible motivation can you have other than making a remote culture is hard? I get that. And I've been remote for years. For most of my career, I've been working remotely. My options were significantly limited before the pandemic came along as to where I could go and work. And that was fine with me because the kind of companies I wanted to work for were actually quite modern anyway and progressive in their thinking about how these things should work. But I mean, I was probably looking at 15%, 10% of all the software companies. What do you think? What percentage of companies were open to remote beforehand?

Lauren: Yeah, 15% to 20%.

Jonan: And now we're approaching 100%, I mean, most, right?

Lauren: I think, off the top of my head, there are only actually three roles I'm working on where the hiring manager is saying, “I need these folks back in the office come September.” The rest is 100% remote.

Jonan: Wow. I really hope that stays. I think it's going to be a hard move to make back because now, having had the opportunity to work remotely, many engineers and developers are not interested in going back to an office, and they will express it with their feet when it becomes necessary. If you require someone who's been working remotely for a year and a half to suddenly go back into an office, you may find yourself with some attrition, which brings me to another question, actually. I know that many companies right now have been experiencing record levels of attrition. Have you seen that as well?

Lauren: I have. So honestly, I’ve been recruiting for seven years. This is the most buoyant market I've ever worked in, regardless of the sector I’ve been focused on. It’s a huge amount of attrition. I think the last year has given people time to reflect about what's important to them, what their personal goals are. We’re talking about mental health more than ever. We're talking about diversity, Black Lives Matter more than ever, all of these things. So I think it's really given companies the opportunity to let their culture shine. I think some folks have thrived and done really, really well, and others unfortunately, haven't. And that gives the opportunity to reflect, and heal, and build, and do better. But that's what I'm seeing is that flexibility in that culture piece and what it means to be a remote engineer and how involved you can be and how you build that communication piece. And there's been a lot of movement, and with hiring mass comes attrition because these engineers come from somewhere. [laughs]

Jonan: Yeah. I actually have been fascinated to see that happen. I have worked for remote companies for a while, and many of them did this remote culture thing really well, but it's a hard thing to master. It's the kind of thing I think that if you're a remote-first company from the get, like you've got four people at the company they're all remote, and the next 100 employees are also remote. It comes naturally that you find ways to develop culture, and you develop traditions and the kinds of things that create that tribalism that is this culture piece. And really, I much more enjoy the path from 0 to 150 in a company's life cycle for that because, after that, the culture starts to fragment and fall off. But especially in a remote culture, it's very easy for people to just never see each other except to get on a meeting and have this meeting, and that hangout time is so important. We have on our team…once a month, we do this thing where we get online and play video games for half the day. And this seems to me a very small sacrifice. We're playing four hours of video games together to grow the team. And it's actually very insightful for me as a manager. We're playing team games, and it's really interesting to me to see how people interact with each other. But really, the point is just to get together and hang out and not have any particular tasks to accomplish because it's so easy to get into this kind of task-oriented executive mode all the time and assume that the culture is going to happen in the in-between. But what you end up with is one to two minutes of every meeting before the boss joins where everyone complains about how hard everything is, [laughter] and that’s the culture. That’s not what you want.

Lauren: Yeah. I totally agree with you. And it’s the same in interviews. When I'm coaching candidates, before interviews, I always say, “Make sure you have three to four questions to ask someone in the elevator,” because you can build so much rapport in a 10-second elevator ride. And I honestly feel like you set the tone in the elevator. I mean, not every office has an elevator. So it's the same thing in interviews, like even in your existing teams. But then, how do you build that rapport when you're interviewing remotely, and you don't have that elevator time? Recently, I thought about how you incorporate that especially if it's on a Friday or a Monday like; how’s your weekend? All that sort of thing. It's hard in a video to gauge the ambiance of who this person is. But yes, kind of an elevator chat but like a team chat.

Jonan: And it’s hard to make it anything other than the basic transactional like, how was your weekend? What did you do? How's the weather?

Lauren: [laughs]

Jonan: And during the pandemic, everyone's like, “During the weekend, I sat at home and cried into my popcorn and binge-watched Netflix. And everything's terrible. Thank you for asking. I don't know what the weather's like because I haven't been outside,” [laughter] these same cookie-cutter approaches to this kind of thing. I think it highlights the fact that culture inside of any organization needs to, of course, cater to the people who are there, which I guess leads me to another question about diversity, the sort of work that you do. It's much harder for a candidate from an underrepresented population to find success in an organization that doesn't look like them. If you walk into the room and you can't find the canary in the coal mine, they probably already quit, and now you're the new canary. It feels much like you did probably walking into that meetup where you were the only woman in the room. And there's this first follower problem where you have maybe 20 women have come to that meetup over the last year, but none of them stuck around because they were the only one in the room each time.

Lauren: Exactly.

Jonan: So, how do you help candidates succeed once they land, like, concrete details? What kinds of things are you able to do for a candidate coming into a company that maybe many other recruitment firms or hiring specialists overlook?

Lauren: So, as part of a much wider process, it really starts with confidence and the accessibility to good candidates. If you're a recruiter just going to LinkedIn, A, you might not just find the best candidates. But as an engineer from an underrepresented group, there are a ton of battles that you face as a non-white, male, middle-class engineer with a Berkeley degree, for example, and confidence is one of them. For example, I always talk about a stat which is 80% of males will apply to a job description they feel like they tick 20% of the boxes or more. And the stat is a flip reverse for women. I don't have data on non-binary and transgender, et cetera. But just looking at male versus female, for women, it’s like 20% will apply if it's 80% or more. So firstly, you need the access point of just reaching the right people and saying, “Hey, I think you can be really good for this role, and this is why,” so getting them in the pipeline is a challenge in itself. But really, it's about having folks bought into the future vision and part of that. So even if you do not have a diverse engineering team right now, that's okay. You just need to be doing something about it. And empowering folks to be part of that, to own that, and drive that can be really exciting, but that needs to be authentic. The moment you lose that authenti...I cannot say this word.

Jonan: Authenticity.

Lauren: Thank you.

Jonan: Yeah, the moment that you lose that genuineness.

Lauren: Yeah, then it's game over. You cannot be an HR team talking about a diverse target report trying to attract diverse candidates. You need to be an engineering team who see the true value of what a diverse team means, what that means for culture, purpose, vision, input. And then, naturally, that's going to be an organic and magnetic environment. And it's difficult because I am having conversations with engineers who are saying, “What leaders can I look up to? Who can I aspire to be in that company?” And sometimes, it’s a tricky question. So we look at the value, and the value drive, and the engineering roadmap, and vision roadmap and be like, “Hey, be part of this instead, drive this, lead this.” And maybe it’s let's circle back in a year's time when they’re more mature. This might not be the right environment. You can't force people into a role that ultimately you know they're not going to be successful in or feel super comfortable and safe in three, six, nine months' time.

Jonan: First of all, I want to thank you for your 80-20, 20-80 explanation. I feel very seen by this as someone who will be like, what is the thing? Yep. I can do that.

Lauren: [laughs]

Jonan: I think I see people on Twitter talk about this a lot. They say, “Lord, lend me the confidence of a mediocre, white man.” There's definitely a thing there where I somehow have grown up believing that I can. And some people grow up believing that that’s not for them. They look at that list of requirements, and they're like, well, I don't tick every box or even exceed it. I think many people that I speak to want to exceed those requirements. And I've been on the hiring side. I know where the list of requirements came from. It was like someone from HR reached out and was like, “Oh no, no, no, we don't hire people with less than seven years’ experience.” And then I was like, “Cool.” I write seven years’ experience on the hiring description, and then I hire who I want anyway [laughter] because I am looking for very specific things that have little to do with experience and everything to do with attitude, and mentality, and perseverance, and autonomy.

Lauren: Absolutely.

Jonan: Those are the kinds of things that I want from people who work with me. So when people do come into the house, I've spoken with a couple of other companies that do work in the diversity space. I think Black Tech Pipeline is maybe an example of one of them where they do a whole process. If you want to work with Black Tech Pipeline, you fill out an application effectively. Like, the first form you get is like, what does diversity mean to you at your company? What are you doing concretely to make sure that you succeed in this thing? How are you supporting candidates once they're in the door? YearOne is another one that I've spoken with recently where people come in, and then they are effectively abandoned. I mean, the recruiter has gotten paid. They don't have any interest in necessarily...I mean, there are good recruiters, and there are the rest.

Lauren: [laughs]

Jonan: They don't have any necessary interest in maintaining that relationship. And then things go badly, and you end up back with this revolving door of candidates moving in and out. But the really good organizations I've seen do this follow-up where they're reaching out to people and making sure that they're safe and happy. And they want to hear about the time that you went to HR with the complaint and HR opened a complaint against you. They want to know where those workplaces are so they can protect their other candidates from those kinds of places. Do you do any kind of follow-up with people after they’re placed?

Lauren: Yeah, forever. That follow-up for me should never stop. I guess from my perspective of being a tech recruiter, the relationship I form with candidates that's a forever relationship, A, to make sure that they are happy, they feel safe, they're involved, they're growing in the way that I told them they would. But equally, it's an opportunity for them to lean on me if they need anything. But if they choose to go down the management path, if they choose to scale teams, they've then got a partner who knows and shares the same sort of values. Word of mouth is like wildfire. There is nothing more powerful than reputation and word of mouth. And like-minded people hang out with like-minded people. So that follow-up can never stop, and it can't just be a tick box follow-up. It can’t be like, oh cool, I checked in with that person. They're all good. That defeats the object. You might as well just join the back of the queue with the keyword flag people. It needs to be are you hitting your personal and professional goals? Like, how you fit in, big open questions, and just creating that safe...When you find a good recruiter, if you know anyone, please let me know.

Jonan: [laughs] I do. I know a couple. But I know far fewer than I would like. I think that we should talk about this, the keyword flag crew, because there are a handful of recruiters that I've gotten to know, usually by some other means. Because really, to be honest, my first contact with most recruiters is what is clearly a form message on LinkedIn that has not been personalized at all and is reaching out to me about some role like, “Hello, Jonas. We noticed…” my name is Jonan for those listeners. Please don't call me Jonas.

Lauren: [laughs]

Jonan: “Hello, Jonas. We’ve noticed that you are a perfect fit for this role. We'd like you to write PHP for a supermarket in Wichita.” And none of that that appears on my resume would even suggest I would be interested in that role. And then, fortunately, LinkedIn has now added a button that says, “No, thank you,” in a very nice way because a lot of times, recruiters got very mean messages back to those kinds of things.

Lauren: Oh yes.

Jonan: And they still do, right? Yeah, I bet that you get a lot of that, right?

Lauren: Yeah.

Jonan: What percentage of the time is just -- I understand working as a recruiter, you deal with rejection a lot. But what percentage of the time is it just like a summary, no?

Lauren: I want to say at least 50. But I don't do a huge amount of work on LinkedIn anymore. I’m much more focused on GitHub, and Stack Overflow, and Twitter, et cetera but yeah, at least 50. But that kind of links back to what we were talking about earlier, particularly at the moment, there's such a high demand. I imagine that anyone with more than six months of experience is being mildly harassed in their inbox. And if I was them, I would probably delete LinkedIn altogether. And I've seen an influx of people that are not necessarily on LinkedIn anymore, and I truly understand why. But then, if you look on the flip side, probably call it the dark side, people do have a job to do. And if you're not educated or trained or have that kind of innovation piece... and that is, you know, recruitment is broken to an extent. And that's probably one of the reasons why, right? You can't just mass mail and expect to have good people.

We spoke about this earlier; I love working with startups, that 0 to 150 building those initial original teams, nothing beats that, nothing beats that feeling. And what responsibility it is to be a recruiter that scales that company from 0 to 150 and then to 250, 1,000, et cetera and the rest. And if you were speaking to folks who haven't heard of that startup before, what responsibility it is for you to get that message right. And for you not to even just talk about their baby, more like the product in the best way, but their culture, their mission, their engineering roadmap, the founder's vision for this. So just to mass mail that on LinkedIn, I just don't think that does credit to the company, if that makes sense. And that's one of my biggest pet peeves is what responsibility, what privilege you've been given to sort of share this exciting story with the world and find the best DevOps engineers, Python engineers, Golang engineers, wherever it is in the Bay Area, Seattle, wherever you're recruiting. Yeah, just don't do that. But I imagine it's really frustrating, and it gives us all a bad name. I promise you we’re not all d*ckheads. [laughs]

Jonan: No. I mean, you really aren't is the thing. From an engineer's perspective, I get that it is frustrating when someone is not aware of your background, and they've misapplied this form email. Great. Maybe don't give those people the time of day. But when I get in the door, another frustration I often experience is…I'm open to a conversation, I guess. I'm pretty happy where I am now, but I try and stay in practice, certainly, with the interviewing and the hiring process throughout my career. And I have periodically ended up through those kinds of conversations in advisory roles or contracting relationships with startups along the way, and I really enjoy that actually. But when you get on the phone finally with the recruiter, anything beyond just the series of funding or the product is very exciting. Then you ask a question like, “What does the product do?” And it starts to stumble. The wall crumbles a little bit around the edges. I actually expect to have a real conversation. If you're on the phone to just screen me for my sanity, that's one thing. Just be like, “Are you holding an ax right now?” Like, that's your first question. “How murder-y are you, 0 to 10?”

Lauren: [laughs]

Jonan: That's fine if that's what we're trying to achieve with that call, and many times we are probably. But I really am here to get information, and you're in a position where you're able to sell me on the role. That should be your goal is to help me understand the company well enough that I am motivated to join and then represent me to that company well, assuming that you believe it to be a good fit. So there's a lot of this animosity that exists, I think probably on both sides between recruiters and the engineers. I’m sure that you deal with your fair share of tomfoolery from the engineer's side, not the least of which is that many, many engineers are entitled brats and have to be handled very carefully through the whole hiring process. But it doesn't come from nowhere. And the people who stand out to me...you mentioned if I know anyone. I don't actually know her. Her name is Jill Wohlner. I know Jill from Twitter only because for most of my career, Jill has been on Twitter interacting with my friend group. I see my friends on Twitter, and Jill is poking around in mentions and replies and has many of the same friends I do. And I imagine if I were to line up our Twitter spheres, we would have quite a lot of people in common. In part, because I think Jill, for a while, was in Portland.

But that takes a lot more work, the kind of work that you are doing. You say I'm not just on LinkedIn because, on LinkedIn, people are doing these keyword searches and finding me or just messaging me anyway. But that level of work is much less likely to succeed with me than if I meet you at a Women in DevOps meetup where I went to learn a technical thing, and you're just chatting with me about technical things and trying to help figure out what kinds of things I care about as a person, and that informs your work anyway. You're out there in the industry. It's important for you to know what people are interested in, and what the new technologies are, and have a cursory understanding of what Kubernetes even is, which is quite a step for most people where they are in their recruiting careers. I think if I'm getting to a point, and I promise I am, it is you are very good at what you do. Jill is very good at what she does. People who succeed in this industry in recruiting are rare gems in my experience. And I am looking for some advice for your peers and for people who are maybe just starting out in recruiting about how they can be more successful.

Lauren: Yeah, of course. So I think honestly, it’s just linking back to that genuine authenticity around this is not a transactional job. If you are looking for a transactional sales job, go and sell software sales. Go and work for whoever. Go and sell software. You are working with people, and you're changing...I've had so many people cry when they accept offers because you're changing people's lives to some extent. When you’re getting people jobs, you need to understand them as a person. And on the flip side to engineers, my advice would be to test your recruiter. Ask them about the founder's background, ask them how big the network is, ask them about the latest project that went well. Because that’s going to be super telling to how invested that recruiter is to their client relationships, which is going to tell you a little bit as well how invested they are in their candidate relationships.

And in my opinion, any recruiter who wants a successful career you can't treat them (clients and candidates) differently. You can't treat your clients like the king and the queen and then your candidates as second-grade citizens, not giving them feedback, because one day that candidate might be your client. And actually, each relationship is just as valuable as each other. And that's what my biggest pet peeve is when I see recruiters giving all their time and attention to their clients but not the same to their candidates, and actually, that's not an interchangeable action. You have to care. Get involved, go to meetups, get yourself on GitHub. I learned Python. I got myself on Codecademy at the weekends. You need to understand what's important to people both on a personal and professional level and also what they’re doing outside of work. You play around with Raspberry Pis, you’re on GitHub, or you contributed to open source, or you're talking at meetups. Really understand what makes someone tick and their motivation. And then have a conversation with them about the sorts of clients you're working with, the sorts of roles you think they'd be interested in, and go into a hell of a lot of detail about the projects and just connect people. Network, even if someone's not looking, just network, network. Reputation precedes you. I’m going off on an absolute tangent right now. But I'm very passionate about it, and I hope you can see that. And I'm really passionate about good recruiters, not giving everyone a bad name and how important this job is, and how important recruiters really are to scaling startups and, ultimately, the fun, we can all have.

Jonan: Yeah. I think as an engineer; I turned a corner there early on in my career. I wasn't necessarily ever rude to people. I like to think my parents raised me well. But I certainly was short with people when they reached out. And clearly, I had no idea what I was talking about. I was like, “Well, my name is Jonan, and I don't actually write any PHP and never have. I wish you the best of luck in your search.” This is a much kinder version of a message than people get there.

Lauren: [laughs]

Jonan: There were no swears, for example, in that whole message. And nowadays, I try my best actually to maintain that relationship because you never know. We're in good times right now, but you never know when the next early pandemic situation is going to hit. And you're going to be the person looking for work amidst a sea of engineers who've just been laid off because all of the companies panicked, and they stopped hiring by laying off a bunch of people and then closing the doors. And you've got to get hired in that environment so you can eat maybe. Be prepared to have the right friends in the right places. And recruiters, as it turns out, they know about a lot of jobs. [laughter] They, over time, develop these relationships with companies that offer jobs to people.

Lauren: It’s true.

Jonan: So you can find out about those jobs, and all you have to do is just be kind. It's not that hard.

Lauren: I mean, I don't think so. [laughs]

Jonan: I know that you don't think so, but you're also very good at this. And I think that as a recruiter, there's quite a lot more work involved in being good at this. As an engineer, what you can do is at least be kind and respectful and recognize that there is a human being on the other end of that message. And no matter how frustrating you may have found that experience, you cannot imagine the pressure that that person is under to deliver results for their clients. There are a lot of other extenuating circumstances that could be applied here. Just try to extend your sphere of empathy to recruiters and especially the lovely recruiter that we have had on the show today. Lauren, thank you very much. I'm so glad we invited you over to the threshold into the developer house to inform us of this. [laughter] I'm sorry I just described you a little bit as a vampire. But I mean, there has been some animosity here. And I hope that this goes the distance for healing that for some people because we are both working towards the same goals. We want these companies to be successful.

Lauren: Exactly.

Jonan: The engineers and the recruiters alike want the people first, I hope, to be successful, and they want the companies to also be successful.

Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. It’s been a real pleasure. And I think it’s been great to step over the wall. Thank you for having me. Hopefully, you’ll invite me back, and yeah, just to pick your brain around this and how we can make this a much more fruitful situation for everyone. [laughs]

Jonan: I think that's in the cards already. The growth that we are expecting to continue, I think, in a world where suddenly everyone has access to an infinite remote talent pool is going to be good for everyone. And I'm very excited to see where it leads. Well, again, thank you so much for coming on the show. I will absolutely be happy to have you back anytime. And I look forward to attending Women in DevOps someday when I have the opportunity. Is it open to all?

Lauren: All. And I cannot stress that enough. It's really important, and it's not just women, very big on white male allies, anyone at all. And there's always proseccos, sandwiches, pizza, and beer. So even if you just fancy a drink, it would be a pleasure to have you. [laughs]

Jonan: I am sold on the dream though I will never self-identify as an ally. [chuckles] I hope that most times I manage to have empathy, and situations like this can be very helpful. Also, it's just a refreshing change, I think, for the men to walk into a room and not be in the minority sometimes.

Lauren: Yeah.

Jonan: So I’m happy that it exists, and you've done a wonderful job growing it. I hope it continues to succeed. So, Lauren, if people want to find you on the internet, where would they go look you up?

Lauren: Well, please don't go to Google image search because I need to give it a little bit of a cleanse there. But you can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter just Lauren Langdell. My Twitter is @laurenlangdell. There aren't many Lauren Langdells in the world. So yeah, please look me up. Please feel free to connect. And my email address if you'd like to be old-fashioned is lauren@trustinsoda.com.

Jonan: Lauren, I have to admit that the best way to get an engineer to Google something is to tell them not to.

Lauren: [laughs]

Jonan: You may have made a critical error there, but we'll see how it turns out. Have a wonderful day. I hope you enjoy it. Get out and enjoy some California sunshine, and we'll see you next time.

Lauren: Thank you. Cheers.

Jonan: Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. You can find the show notes for this episode along with all of the rest of The Relicans podcasts on therelicans.com. In fact, most anything The Relicans get up to online will be on that site. We'll see you next week. Take care.

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