Meet Piotrek, our Software Architect, who is not only a great specialist but also a leader of his team. Piotr tells us about the ins and outs of preparing for a technical recruitment interview and what is important in a day-to-day job, apart from technical skills. Let’s dive in!  

1. Hi Piotrek, we’re glad that such an experienced and engaged in various projects #AilleronExpert found the time to talk to us. 馃槉聽

Hi, I’m pleased about this meeting and interview. 

2. To warm up, please tell us what you do at Ailleron.聽

I’ve been working at Ailleron since 2018, during which I’ve been leading a team of Android Developers for 4 years. Together, we develop a banking app. I also design new solutions and consult them with specialists from other departments, external companies, and our future clients.   

Together with other mobile architects, I’m developing our specialization in the company. As a result, I founded the company’s first knowledge guild. It brings together all the mobile developers in our department. For a year now, we have been meeting regularly to spread knowledge, discuss new trends in the industry, and support mutual development and best practices.  

3. Having worked in the IT industry for 12 years, you have a lot of experience. What were your beginnings like? Where did you get the idea for this particular career path?聽

My beginnings can be traced back to an early age when I received my Commodore 64 馃槉 Writing my first programs in BASIC; I knew that when I grew up, I would go to university to study computer science. However, I didn’t immediately start writing applications for mobile systems. Before that, I worked with .NET and developed web applications in JavaScript. 

4. Currently, you are a Team Leader. How do you feel in this role?聽聽聽

Great! I’m a very communicative person who easily builds relationships. My daily challenges and giving direction motivate me. In the process of gaining work experience and discovering myself, I recognized values that now guide my work. I have reached a point where it is not the programming itself but the development of others that gives me a sense of fulfillment in my work. 

5. As Team Leader, you do a lot of technical recruitment interviews. What is such a meeting like before joining your team?聽聽

For my team, I’m mainly looking for people who are inquisitive and fearless in asking and digging into topics. I always reserve at least two hours for a technical interview. During them, I check the candidate’s basic knowledge, thought process on finding answers to more complex questions, and test their intuition. Also, it is not uncommon for me to set practical tasks for them, and we discuss how to solve them. 

I believe that we should come out of every interview a little brighter, that’s why we often discuss wrong answers during the interview so that the candidate knows what the correct solution is. I also give each person who is not shortlisted a summary with suggestions on what their weaknesses are, what they need to work on, and helpful materials for further development.   

Many recruiters don’t take the extra time to leave a good impression, so feedback sets us apart. We may see the same candidate again in some time. 

6. A job interview is often stressful, and everyone wants to do their best. What three pieces of advice would you give to someone preparing for such an interview?聽

First and foremost, learn the basics of how mobile apps work and the technologies you will be working with. Without this, you are putting your colleagues at risk of writing many corrections to your code.  

Provide thorough answers to questions. If you don’t know the exact name, describe use cases you know. You might talk to a recruiter about the same thing, just from a different perspective. 

When talking about the application’s components, also mention related elements you know. This will signal how broad your knowledge is, anticipate the recruiter’s following questions, and steer the conversation to an area where you feel more confident. 

7. At Ailleron, we place a high value on the development of our Aillerons, including extra hours to be used for training for each employee and through internal knowledge-sharing initiatives. Recently, you gave a speech as part of our proprietary Ailleron Power Up Camp development program. Firstly, congratulations on an exciting presentation; I took a lot of inspiration from it myself. You touched on the issue of soft skills and personal development then. Tell us briefly what you focused on in your speech and how you got ‘hooked’ on such topics.聽

Many people look at a programmer through the prism of a person who is wrapped up in the code of a project. Meanwhile, when working on a larger project, other aspects are very important, such as good communication, understanding the other side in discussions, self-criticism, and sacrificing one’s own ambitions for the sake of collaboration.   

I have been investing heavily in my self-development for several years now. Having seen in myself the increasing motivation that comes with being involved in suitable projects, I decided to share my experience with others. Investing time in our strengths improves our well-being, enhances our sense of self-satisfaction, and helps us succeed. We take the initiative to determine which direction we want to go in to improve.  

8. You also talked a lot about the Gallup assessment. Can you boast about the main traits/talents that emerged, and do you agree with this ‘verdict’?聽聽

I’ve done a few different assessments on myself, being curious about the outcome. Of these, it was the CliftonStrenths report that helped me the most. In addition to the material provided by the Gallup Institute, the multiplicity of information and interviews from popular podcasts and blogs also helped me a lot in interpreting it.  

The talents that made it into my top 5 were Communication, Relator, Responsibility, Woo, Self-Assurance. Four of these have always been with me while I acquired self-assurance during my school times. However, it is not true that we only use the other 29 talents occasionally.  

9. When they discover the results, people who do this assessment don’t quite know how to relate to them, what to do with them now, and how to use them in life. How did the results from the Gallup test help you somehow in your professional and private life?

The first thing to do is analyze the report you receive to understand the definition of each talent and how you use them. Each person with a particular talent will use it a little differently.  

Something that has helped me a lot in my life is to identify the dynamics of talents. Our actions very rarely stem from individual talents. When confronted with specific situations, a whole set of talents becomes active, interacting with each other, strengthening or weakening each other. In my case, such a set is Communication, Woo, Relator and Harmony. I quickly establish closer relationships with people, building a friendly atmosphere. I try to find a balance between sharing my own experiences and stories and being an active listener. I am always looking for what unites us rather than what divides us.  

Learning about these dynamics allows us to work on our strengths more easily. By associating given situations, we will try to activate the bright sides of our talents while ‘muting’ the shadow ones. 

10. This is a vast and exciting topic that each of us should explore to grow professionally and personally. Thanks, Piotrek, for introducing us to this topic, and I hope you have inspired many people. You have shown that it is worth betting on yourself, your talents, and your self-development.聽

I also thank you for this conversation and invite all people who would like to consciously work on themselves to get in touch with me. 

As you can see, it pays to invest in your development on many levels, both technical and soft. This is crucial when working with a team. At Ailleron, we focus strongly on our #AilleronExperts to give them the opportunity to become even better specialists in their field. Perfect examples are our original Ailleron Academy programs or Power Up Camp, where our Aillerons, including Piotrek, share their knowledge. Remember that it is worth betting on yourself.聽