Jon is part of the Product team at Indeed and has extensive experience in product and growth throughout his career. He moved to Tokyo in his third year of college and has been there ever since. He has a passion for coding and enjoys having conversations and discussions about design.
If you’re curious to find out about what it’s like being a product manager in the tech industry, or have ideas you would love to bring to life, this episode of our Culture Matters podcast may be an interesting listen for you.
“Having come to Japan, when I was in college, I worked part-time jobs and I knew the resume format was different from the US. I saw that gap in the market in terms of the competing offerings out there, and there were some things I thought would be useful as well.” Jon shares his own experience on resume writing, and breaks down his ideation process of the Indeed Resume Maker in the Culture Matters podcast.
“One of the shared points that most people bring up is that you have to be a good collaborator. Kind of like with the gratitude journal… when my wife handed the pen to me, I thought she was writing in her journal, and she suggested I write and we had a shared thing. You have to be open to similar feedback and suggestions from your team as a Product Manager. It’s a lot of collaboration and ideation together; and the great thing about that is that you get new ideas.” Jon shares in a podcast conversation with Inside Indeed.
Jon gives us insights into the working culture and what it takes to be successful in the Product team at Indeed.
In the interview, Jon also shares about failure, how to overcome it and advice on becoming a successful product manager
“If you ever wanted to start an idea or build something, but you’re not an engineer or a designer, I don’t think that it’s a hurdle to becoming a product manager. The most important thing is that you understand the discipline of product management, you do projects on the side and you make it known to people who would be potential mentors. The combination of all those things, the advice, the things you learn, the failures and your side projects will prepare you to be a really good product manager.” Jon shares.
Jon highlights the diversity of being a product manager, and the advantages of being able to connect and touch on different aspects of products and teams across the business.
“In meetings with Engineers, we’re talking about features and how to implement things. It’s a lot about breaking down big problems into really small tasks, and really small chunks and attacking it one by one. I can also jump into meetings with our UX Designers and we can do virtual whiteboarding.” Jon shared.
To find out more,listen to this episode of our Culture Matters podcast.
Find out how the team at Indeed navigates through the complexities of working at home, especially from an IT perspective and what we’ve learned along the way.
In this podcast, Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed, and Graham Loew, Director of IT Solutions, talks about how Indeed navigates through the complexities of working at home, especially from an IT perspective and what we’ve learned along the way.
Graham Loew, Director of IT Solutions, shares how some of his team’s processes were already being streamlined, even prior to Indeed’s move to working from home, to help Indeedians across the globe work more efficiently in the changing times.
“The biggest thing we were focused on was (and still is) IT solutions… the idea of productivity and ensuring that all Indeedians are as productive as possible,” Graham shared.
“A big part of our strategy to do that was to focus on reducing the inefficiencies in IT so we can focus on productivity of employees.”
He added another thing the IT team was focussed on even before the pandemic was reshuffling the organization structure so the team was well set up to handle surges, spikes and volume.
Unsurprisingly, the IT team had to manage challenges across multiple types of offices, including supporting the Tech, Sales and Customer Success teams, which all had differing sets of issues to overcome as they moved to working remotely.
Chris and Graham also walked through the process of how Indeed managed one of their very first offices where all of the Indeedians had to work at home – can you guess which office that was?
To find out the answer and to listen to the rest of the podcast, click here or listen via the Soundcloud player below.
We’re hoping this series will give you a little insight into some of the learnings Indeed has gathered so you can learn from our experiences. We’re here to help.
You can also watch our Here to Help series trailer to see how Indeed is navigating through the complexities of working at home.
I seem to be one of the lucky few who had the unique opportunity to join Indeed the week after our work from home mandate went into effect. It’s had its ups and downs...
A whirlwind tour of working from home from my first day on the job.
Jack Mudge, Site Reliability Engineer at Indeed Seattle
I seem to be one of the lucky few who had the unique opportunity to join Indeed the week after our work from home mandate went into effect. It’s had its ups and downs, but overall the experience has been an enlightening and optimistic one, and I’ve had a chance to see some of the strengths of Indeed’s team that enabled me to get started, and to find some rough edges that never needed to be filed down.
T-Minus 3 To 5 Days
Despite the sudden shift in gears, the pre-flight checklist was remarkably complete. Human Resources provided enough information to complete my paperwork; a quick trip to the UPS store for notary and that was all set. IT managed to have my laptop delivered on Friday morning, despite having only been in touch since Wednesday that week.
I needed to buy a few adapters, since the back-and-forth to have them shipped would have pushed past my first day of work, but otherwise, this experience was astonishingly smooth and well prepared, and communication about the process was excellent.
Day One: Monday
Orientation started in the afternoon, to give time for FedEx to finish delivering laptops. This had the effect of shortening the day to about a half-day, which is a nice reprieve from the usual frenetic pace of any new job. While there were some bumps along the road (mostly technical difficulties that required a little extra time and hand-holding to resolve than they would have in the office), for the most part, this very much mirrored my impression from earlier communications.
Despite the clearly unusual circumstances, everyone pulled together and came up with a very workable model for remotely onboarding a significant number of people smoothly.
About the only miss here is that, unlike in an office environment, I wasn’t in the room to hear chatter or meet and greet. This reflects one of the normal complaints about working from home: The entire social environment is displaced. The effect that has with regards to onboarding is that I could take notes, but I had fairly few resources right out of the gate – just a few points of contact and written next steps.
One of the downsides to starting a job remotely isn’t something that has ever occurred to me before: It’s been surprisingly tricky to keep coworkers straight. I can’t watch what people are doing, sit over someone’s shoulder for a minute and gather rather ephemeral information about work styles. I can’t notice that everyone’s going to a meeting right now where I may have missed the memo. I actually have no idea who I would say sits to my left or right. So I drew a map of an imaginary office and started writing names. It doesn’t resemble the Seattle office in the slightest, but just having the ability to think of something in terms of “Oh! Jane Doe sits at the end of the hall. Let me wander over there,” has provided some semblance of organization to that particular brand of chaos, even if it’s ultimately a pretty straightforward mirror of the org chart at the end of the day.
There’s a sense in which learning the engineering systems and tools used at Indeed mirrors this thought.
Under more conventional approaches, I would start with watching what the team is already doing and build my knowledge of other systems out from there. That approach has been nearly completely inverted by necessity.
It’s tough to ask even basic questions without first knowing enough about the context to know what I don’t know, which from an onboarding perspective, has meant a much heavier focus on general engineering practices and systems knowledge initially. However, I have great news on that front: The internal resources here are amazingly complete and cohesive, and both of the teams I’m working with have good lists of onboarding material to work through.
Getting to know you
As I mentioned earlier, it’s tough to get to know the team without being around the office to mingle both on the small scale and the organization as a whole. However, as it happens, with everyone else facing the same challenge at about the same time, quite a few opportunities showed up to help alleviate this.
The Site Reliability team hosts a social happy hour at the end of each Friday, so I can get to know them more closely, for the small scale.
On a grander scale, I found the #wfh-cooking-club and #wfh-workouts channels awesome, and #zoom-lunches in particular have been a good way to get to know a few people outside of my immediate teammates.
At the end of the week, it’s a testament to everyone’s efforts that my biggest bummer is that I didn’t get to actually physically ring the gong, a rite of passage I hope I can cash in a rain check for when we all return to the office!
I seem to be one of the few truly native Seattlites left: born, raised, and never lived anywhere else. When I’m not embracing Seattle’s growing tech culture, I spend time hiking, playing classical mandolin, and keeping tarantulas happy.
I joined the Site Reliability Team in Seattle at the beginning of March, as a Site Reliability Engineer II. Prior to starting at Indeed, I worked at a clothing retailer on the Supply Chain team administering and developing the Warehouse Management and ERP systems.
The lived mission of helping people get jobs, the approach to product experimentation, and career advancement are all great aspects to working for Indeed no matter if you join in Japan or the US.
Sebastian Tschan was a CTO in a small Swiss/German startup when an unexpected email written in code from Indeed sparked the fires for a new life across the world. Find out more about the journey that brought him to Indeed, and what life is like for him and his family now in Tokyo.
Like other engineers, I sometimes receive emails from recruiters, but when I received Shingo Tomishima’s email on October 4, 2018, it was a bit different.
It looked a bit like this:
An email written as code intrigued me and although Indeed wasn’t really on my radar as a future employer, I knew them as a product myself, as some job seekers had found my company on Indeed.
At that time, I was working as a Chief Technology Officer for a small startup in Germany. A large part of my role was hiring. I had grown the engineering team from three to 20 members in four years.
Indeed is all about matching job seekers with employers and because that was such a large part of my job, it made me curious. It was also really good timing, since my wife and I had already considered a move to Japan. Although Indeed’s headquarters are in Austin, Texas, they have offices all over the world and a large group of engineers are located in Tokyo, Japan.
On 1 May 2019, my wife, our 3-year-old son and I arrived in Tokyo with just our suitcases. A dozen boxes with the rest of our stuff arrived soon after. We were provided with temporary accommodation in central Tokyo and had a month to find our own apartment. Indeed’s global mobility team was super friendly and helpful, making the move from Germany to Japan so much easier.
Just a week after we arrived, I went to Indeed’s Tamachi office, which had just opened a month prior, to start my new job.
At Indeed, new engineering recruits do something called an Individual Contributor Rotation. So although I was hired as an Engineering Manager, from May to June I would work as a Software Engineer, committing code to Indeed’s various repositories.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to do this, as it provided me a good understanding of the tasks and issues engineers face in their daily work and helped me to become familiar with Indeed’s technology, processes and tools through hands-on experience.
Unfortunately, despite a very welcoming environment, I was not happy at the beginning.
A Rocky Start
Part of this had nothing to do with Indeed and was just the process of getting used to Tokyo. Although I used to live in other bigger cities, like Osaka, Aguascalientes (Mexico) and London, I’m originally from a rather small town close to Freiburg, Germany and prefer nature over city life.
But I was also a bit frustrated about the technology stack at Indeed, as I was not used to multi-minute build times, deployment pipelines that were configured via multiple config files, JIRA labels and a lot of internal knowledge, nor the ubiquity of Java and the Spring Framework.
When I was in University, I was very fond of Java, and even helped other students learn the language as a tutor for two semesters. I had also used it to implement the backend for a final study project that integrated motion capture data with a virtual 3D environment.
But in over a decade of my professional life, I had never touched it again – until I joined Indeed.
So I had to brush up my rusty Java skills and accept that, for once, I was not the domain expert anymore. In fact, I felt very much like a beginner again and all the acronyms and code names for internally developed technology at Indeed didn’t make things easier.
But slowly, over time, I became familiar with how things work here and also came to appreciate all the good things at this company.
My favorite thing by far is Indeed’s mission statement: “We help people get jobs”.
I’m glad to be able to work on something that has a positive impact on people’s lives and from everything I’ve learned in the past months, so do the people around me.
A Company that is Mission Driven
I think the reason this particular mission works is that helping job seekers find the right jobs directly benefits employers, creating more value for the money they spend on our platform, which creates revenue for us.
To achieve the stated mission, Indeed invests into user research and runs a myriad of experiments to find out which improvements and new features actually do help. This data-driven approach is embraced across the company and supported well with tooling, some of which has even been made open source (https://github.com/indeedeng).
Although I still have gripes with the state of Software Development at Indeed, I think deploying and analyzing A/B-Tests works very well.
Evidence-based practices also extend beyond product development. A lot of effort goes into making bonus payouts and promotions as fair and bias-free as possible, and individuals note down their contributions across products and organizations and link it with evidence.
This gets reviewed by a panel of managers against a set of expectations for their level, with a more behavior-focused view for promotions.
While I don’t think the system is perfect (opportunity and visibility are still important factors), it is much less dependent on individual managers making the right decisions.
The lived mission of helping people get jobs, the approach to product experimentation, and career advancement are all great aspects of working for Indeed, no matter if you join in Japan or the US.
But something that makes the location in Tokyo special is that 70% of our employees are expats, and both the expats and many of our Japanese co-workers have an active interest in foreign cultures and prefer to work in a diverse work environment.
In my experience, this creates a greater sense of community, which is visible in the amount of shared after-work activities.
Personally, I’ve played futsal, basketball, table tennis and badminton, enjoyed many local restaurants and had fun at karaoke, all with a diverse set of co-workers.
So yeah, while Indeed is not a startup anymore and both technology and processes are more similar to what you can expect from bigger tech companies, the competitive salaries (salary ranges are public for open positions), good company culture and great mission do make up for it.
And since our son is now enjoying his time at a Japanese Kindergarten or with his parents at the park and playground near our place, and my wife has found a part-time job as a tour guide for lesser known eating and drinking spots (even hosting the producer of Hollywood blockbuster movies once), life is pretty good and I’m happy we made the move to Tokyo.