Dan and Sadie from Rocket Companies share an inside look at hiring developers

Rocket Companies graphic

At Grand Circus, we work hard to build relationships with employers like Rocket Companies. This includes established companies like Rocket Mortgage, and Amrock, and a variety of startups. Over the years, many Grand Circus bootcamp graduates have gone on to work for Rocket Companies.

In February, we met up with Dan Ngoyi, Sadie McCourt, and Jennifer Horne from Rocket Companies to learn what they look for when hiring junior developers and hear about their outlook for hiring in 2021 and beyond.

There’s been a lot of economic turmoil over the last year. What is hiring like at Rocket Companies?

Sadie: Right now, we probably hire 20 engineers every month. Hiring engineers has been our main focus for years now. On a consistent basis, we want to double [development hires]. Given the new virtual environment, tech is the core of everything that we’re doing to keep this business running. Engineers are needed to maintain and build the network and infrastructure that we’re on. And to protect us: cybersecurity engineers are also needed to protect the environment we’re working in.

Dan: If we could hire 150 engineers a month, we would, without a doubt. There’s an unlimited need.

What programming languages do you want to see on a junior developer’s resume?

Sadie: We are always looking for C# and .NET Core engineers. That is literally, exactly what we look for. It definitely differs depending on the team, too. Some teams want someone with some mobile experience. And we want people who are super passionate about learning new things, like Angular.

Beyond coding skills, what do you look for in new junior hires?

Sadie: On the soft skills side, we want someone that’s willing to be a team player, that can communicate well with others. We don’t want someone who is just going to put their headphones on and code all day. In this bigger organization and environment, we’re looking for people to share best practices, to test others’ code in a code pairing environment, to collaborate.

How does Rocket Companies support the junior developers it hires?

Sadie: We’re hiring at all levels: junior, senior, and mid-level engineers. Four years ago, would I say we were super open to junior folks? No. I don’t think we had the structure in place to bring junior engineers in. Now we’re in a place where we can set them up for success. Our technology team is much bigger. We’re able to take those associate-level engineers, set them up with mentors, and train them up.

How is Rocket Companies promoting diversity and inclusion?

Jennifer: At Rocket Companies, we’re definitely weaving DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) into our DNA. It’s part of every aspect of what we do. I know on the talent brand side, we’re really focused on that.

Sadie: Unfortunately, there is a bias no matter who you are. There are some tools we’re building internally to remove bias from the hiring process. These tools support a fair, non-biased process by anonymizing applications. 

Dan: Broadly, from a DEI perspective, we’re looking at how we use candidate data to inform our decisions. We are going to the places where the talent is, specifically Grand Circus. We’re also doing training internally. Every single leader in our organization is going through interview training. Biases are real. We’re giving our [managers] the skills they need to mitigate that bias.

Is there anything else you want to share with folks considering a career in tech?

Dan: I appreciate Grand Circus not just as the purveyors of talent, but also as partners working through how we think about the tech industry in Michigan. I would encourage everybody, their mother, their cousins, and their brothers to find out more about Grand Circus.