2275Engineering

My path to Tokyo: An email, a rocky start, and a new life inside Indeed

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.

The Arrival

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. 

Here, Java is everywhere and although there are roles that primarily use other languages, like Python for data scientists, Go for internal platform teams and JavaScript/TypeScript for front-end developers, most software engineers will write Java code in their daily work.

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.

Interested in joining Sebastian in one of our many offices across Tokyo? View our open roles in Tokyo.

Find out how to get in touch with one of our recruiters in the video below.

Want to hear more stories of life at Indeed and our technology? Check out our inside Indeed culture and Engineering blogs.

 

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2281Inclusion

We rise by lifting others: Empowering Women at Indeed

“Before I worked at Indeed, I worked at a small company that was about 80% men and I was told there that I was never gonna be a leader because I wasn't aggressive enough. It's taken me...

In the spirit of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting our Women at Indeed Inclusion Resource Group and the work they’re doing to empower and uplift women inside Indeed and beyond.  

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “we rise by lifting others,” a sentiment that’s helped women make major strides in overcoming a history of bias and dismissiveness by a world-wide work culture that has been largely dominated by men.

Sarah, a Senior Director of Global Product Commercialization at Indeed has seen this firsthand as she’s carved out her own career path. 

“Before I worked at Indeed, I worked at a small company that was about 80% men and I was told there that I was never gonna be a leader because I wasn’t aggressive enough. It’s taken me many years to unpack that and realize that aggressive is a dog whistle term. That it’s something that is very frequently gendered.”

Women have historically been paid less for doing the same job and regularly passed over for promotions because those in power didn’t see them as having the right mental makeup to succeed in a leadership role. 

This bias is often perpetuated and ingrained in women early in their careers as they don’t see themselves reflected in the faces of their managers and senior leaders.

“Before I joined Indeed, I worked at companies in the finance sector. The leadership there was mostly white male,” Val, a Client Success Manager at Indeed Amsterdam explains. “That was what I was presented with and I didn’t see anybody like me in a management role or a senior role. Being that you don’t see that example, you already automatically feel like it’s a goal that you’re not able to get to.”

The lack of women represented in the technology industry is well known, specifically in technical roles. Indeed is not immune to that trend. This knowledge is what’s motivated many Indeedians to join Women at Indeed. 

Quality Assurance Engineer, Soumya outlines the hesitation many technical women have in expressing their opinions in a room full of men.

“In the meetings when I just joined, I was scared to talk because I was the only woman in the meetings…I was a bit worried like, okay, there’s no female manager or any leader where I can go and talk.”

Val, Women at Indeed site lead in Amsterdam

The first step in fixing these issues is to acknowledge them. According to Val, Indeed’s leadership has acknowledged the problem and has given Women at Indeed the support and resources to combat them.           

“Talking to senior leadership has been amazing. Seeing the support that we get, it just feels authentic. It doesn’t feel like you’re ticking a box.”

The move from the “ticking a box” mentality to one where real change can be made starts with giving those who have felt the impact of these societal roadblocks the leading voice in the conversation.

“We do a lot of trainings and workshops that just help women with the issues that they’ve been able to identify as areas that they struggle with and being able to support them,” Dublin Client Success Manager, Tara explains. “That’s a major goal for us.”

Tara, Women at Indeed in Dublin

There’s still a lot of work to be done, but people like Soumya are seeing the impact of their work.

“Women at Indeed are developing themselves, being more confident to speak and they’re actually moving out, giving tech talks at conferences very confidently,” she proudly explains.

As the world’s #1 job site*, we also have the power to impact work culture for other companies. This is a unique opportunity and Women at Indeed is our guiding voice in building products that don’t discriminate based on gender.

We are continually inspired by these change-making women as they rise together toward a common goal.

The official mission of Women at Indeed is to champion a culture of inclusion by providing a platform for advocacy, development and support for women at Indeed and be the model for gender equality, both in our culture and product offerings.

Want to learn more? Listen to this podcast to hear Sally’s story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need some career guidance from women who have been there? Check out this article from Indeed’s career guide about Mentorship, Staying Motivated and Winning at Work and this article about how women can advocate for their worth at work.

Find more perspectives from Women at Indeed on our Instagram and read more Indeed stories on our #insideindeed culture blog.

Check out the video below to learn more about Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Indeed.

 

 

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2267Perks & Benefits

Family First: Why supporting parents makes Indeed better

"There is a common understanding that family comes first and that we all work better when our home life is peaceful."

Rachel Seo is a part of Indeed’s Sourcing team in Tokyo and is responsible for finding and attracting top talent to Indeed.

I came to Indeed one and a half years ago with a 3-year old. My husband has a wonderful job that we are proud of, but it sometimes requires him to travel a couple of months out of the year. Plus, just like some international families, both sides of our families live quite far away, which means we only have each other to raise our son. 

For these reasons, continuing a full-time role in the situation was frightening. I was unsure if I would be available for my kid for any sudden notice from a childcare center on behalf of my husband.

I worried a lot, but Indeed didn’t let my worries set me back. Indeed has a great policy for both working mothers and fathers. My managers have also been understanding and embraced the “family comes first” mindset. 

There was once where I received a call from a childcare center that my kid had a high fever. I quickly shared the situation with my manager and said I needed some time off to pick him up. 

Unfortunately, my son had come down with a flu so I couldn’t put him back at the daycare center for a few days. I was grateful my managers were all very understanding and supportive, and had no problems with me working remotely while taking care of my son at home. Being able to access remotely from my company laptop enables me to work from home with no disruptions. 

It’s in these small ways that Indeed has helped both my career grow and my kid thrive. He’s a frequent visitor to our office and loves to come and sit with my team. 

I owe a lot to Indeed as I am able to manage my work and childcare thanks to the great support of my team, the flexibility, benefits, and work-life balance commitment from Indeed.

Indeed would never allow its employees to be in a dilemmatic situation whether they have to choose a family OR a career. There is a common understanding that family comes first and that we all work better when our home life is peaceful. I look forward to sharing these amazing experiences with other working parents at Indeed and future Indeedians!

Read more about life #insideindeed on our culture blog here, or learn more about our benefits at Indeed.

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2258Career Growth

How part-time Sales at Indeed supports my side hustle

“Once I kicked off the job search, I began to realise how tough it was to find part-time work in Dublin that did not involve working in retail or behind a bar."

With the recent opening of part-time sales roles in Dublin, Indeed is showing our appreciation for the value of flexible working. The goal is to find a place for talented sales people who may have ambitions or obligations outside the office.

Tim van der Gouwe is our first part-time Account Executive in Dublin. He is originally from the Netherlands where he built his first startup, a speech-to-text translation platform. During his 3 years in Dublin, he’s worked in full-time sales roles for multiple companies, but recently found himself missing life as an entrepreneur.

“Something in me knew that I had to get started again. I was no stranger to the fact that combining a full-time sales position and setting up my own business would be hard work, but I knew I had to find a way to get started!”

Tim decided a part-time gig was the way to go. The problem was, the type of flexibility he was looking for was hard to find in Dublin.

“Once I kicked off the job search, I began to realise how tough it was to find part-time work in Dublin that did not involve working in retail or behind a bar. This process was quite strange for me, as back home in the Netherlands, part-time jobs are widely available.”

With Indeed having just begun offering part-time work, the stars aligned and he found a sales role at Indeed…on Indeed! At first, he was understandably concerned about how he would fit in as a part timer.

 “Applying for part-time work can be tough as you can’t help but feel you may be treated differently to a full-time employee, however, this could not be further from the experience I’ve had since joining. My manager and teammates have been a huge support for me!”

 So how exactly does he juggle all of those responsibilities inside and outside the office?

“My week consists of 4 hours work per day where I get the opportunity to sell Indeed’s products to new and existing clients and the rest of my spare time I spend building my own business outside of the office. I feel privileged to have been onboarded and given identical sales training that’s on offer for full-time employees, which not only helps me to better my sales skills in work, but will also benefit me when I decide to launch my own business in the future.”

It’s not easy.

 “There is certainly a lot going on for my career right now as I still need to meet my sales KPIs when I’m in the office, but I try to focus myself to Indeed in the mornings and my business work in the afternoon.”

 The flexibility and support Indeed has provided is already paying off as he tries to get his latest startup, User Sense, off the ground.

 “Looking back over the past few months, I now know how to tackle difficult sales conversations, which will be so helpful for future conversations when I launch my new business!”

 So what has Tim learnt from this experience besides how to be a better salesperson?

“Apply and be honest about your motivations. The people inside Indeed really understand that you might leave the company eventually, so it really helps to have that clear image of where you want to go with your own career.”

Want to hear more of Tim’s story? Check out the full podcast here or explore part-time sales roles at Indeed in Dublin.

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2248Inclusion

Embracing my culture unapologetically: 10 questions with Nathalie

Hear how Nathalie helps people get jobs as Learning Experience Facilitator, why being a part of the Black Inclusion Group at Indeed is important to her and the best career advice she's ever received.

Nathalie Lovinsky‍ started at Indeed in April 2015. She was the Stamford Black Inclusion Group (BIG) Secretary/Historian from January 2017, until she took over as site lead in July 2019. She currently works on the Employee Development team as a Learning Experience Facilitator.

  1. How do you help people get jobs?
    The Employee Development team sits under Human Resources and we like to say “we help people, who help people get jobs” through employee engagement and professional development. In my role, I facilitate the growth and development of Indeedians inside and outside the training room.

  1. What do you love about your office?
    The people! I will celebrate my 5-year Indeediversary in April, and it is amazing to see the growth of the Stamford office in size and also the growth of the people. Having the opportunity to see Indeedians grow in their careers is amazing to see.

  1. What was your first job?
    My first paid job was a babysitter at the age of 12. I have always loved children, and I babysat and nannied from high school through grad school.

  1. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
    People would be surprised to know that as a child I used to dance in a Haitian folklore dance group called “The Ebo Dancers”. We performed for years and I was the youngest member in the group.

  1. Why is BIG important to you?
    BIG is important to me because this is the first time I have ever been part of a large organized group where the majority of people look like me. BIG has provided a space where I can share and learn from others’ experiences, discuss diversity and cultural issues and share moments where we embrace our culture unapologetically.

  2. Where was your favorite vacation?
    South Africa! Thanks to our open PTO policy I was able to spend two weeks in South Africa last Spring. It was an amazing and unforgettable experience!

  3. What’s the best thing about your Indeed team?
    The passion we all share for helping Indeedians. We all play a small part in this large organization but we strive to make a big impact.

  4. Are there any causes you’re particularly passionate about?
    The Lupus Foundation of America is an organization I have been supporting since 2009. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any major organ in the body. Anyone can develop Lupus but 9 out of 10 people with Lupus are women, and people of color are at higher risk for developing the disease. Next month, I will be going to the National Lupus Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C., to lobby and support the efforts of the organization.

  5. What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
    Words from my father, “if you are going to do something, do it right”. This is advice that I have carried with me throughout my life and career.

  6. What do you consider your greatest Indeed achievement to date?
    My greatest accomplishment was not only getting a job at Indeed but finding a career! I appreciate the opportunities I have had through internal mobility to work my way into a field where I truly love what I do and know that I will continue to do as a career for many years to come.

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