Ev Haus is the head of technology at ZenHub, the leading GitHub collaboration and project management suite. GitHub empowers teams all over the world to work together on innovative projects. We asked him what it’s like working with Commit.
Tell us a bit about ZenHub. What do you do?
ZenHub is a product for software engineering teams who use GitHub for source control. Usually when teams are working on a project or a piece of code in GitHub, they use some other tool to keep track of their work—one that’s fairly disconnected from the place they’re actually working.
ZenHub solves this problem with a task management solution built right into the GitHub ecosystem. It allows software teams to stay in one central area to do all their work. ZenHub also surfaces valuable insights and analysis on a team’s work, for project managers and company leaders. It provides status updates and can inform priorities, schedules, estimates and more.
Were you looking to recruit for a particular role when you came to Commit?
Ev: Yes, we were looking to fill two roles that were particularly challenging for us. We asked Commit to help us with both, and one of them has been a big success. We hired Jason Dippel full-time as a senior frontend engineer.
Why was that role particularly challenging to hire for?
Ev: It’s in high demand at the moment. ZenHub is in a unique position in that we’re a fairly small company—a lot of people might not have heard of us. Even though we’ve been around for almost eight years, we still consider ourselves a startup. We’re a bit niche in terms of our product, so it’s been a challenge to hire for this role and find the skill set we’re looking for.
Also, we have fairly high standards for our team, including a set of core company values that we look for in all of our candidates. So a combination of all that made it a challenging role to fill.
What made Jason a good fit?
Ev: Jason hits all those points for us. He’s very strong technically. No matter what technical challenge we throw at him, he’s always able to deliver.
He fits in well in terms of our culture, too. One of our core values is a sense of ownership—we look for people who take initiative. Partly due to our size, we’re not the type of company with managers who give you a list of things to do each day. Usually we go to our engineers and say, we have a problem, or our customers have a problem, and we need your help. Then they figure out how to solve it.
Jason is very good at that. He’s able to analyze challenges, think them through, and be very creative with solutions. He collaborates well with the other folks on the team and works through problems together. He works really well across different teams in different departments—design, QA, our product team. He’s also very results-driven. He gets things done that we need to get done.
Did Jason do a three-month pilot with ZenHub before he was hired full-time? What was that experience like?
Ev: Yes—it was a way for us to evaluate him, and for him to evaluate us. It turned out that we were a great fit for him and he was a great fit for our team as well.
One of the concerns we had working with Commit is that there’s a big unknown. Because Commit does the technical vetting, it feels a bit risky for a company like ours to take somebody on and immediately have them jump in with very little technical vetting on our side.
On the other hand, it’s a good opportunity for us to just get going. To actually work with this person on something real, something tangible, and see how it goes. The good news is that Jason has surpassed our expectations.
What’s the impact of hiring somebody who isn’t quite the right fit?
Ev: It can have a very big impact. Especially if you’re bringing them on without a lot of technical vetting or cultural vetting on our side. Even the trial phase—that’s a big investment for our team. It takes time to get them up to speed with our tech stack and code base and processes. If they end up not being a good fit, for whatever reason, it’s a big wasted effort.
What would you say to other startups about working with Commit?
Ev: I would encourage them to give it a try. I would say it wasn’t easy for us to let go of some of the technical vetting and just bring somebody in right away. That was a hurdle to get over, I’m not going to lie. That was a challenge.
But we’ve had a lot of success. The quality of engineers we found at Commit has been very high. The team at Commit really does care about you as an employer and as their customer. They definitely show a willingness to help you find an engineer who’s the best fit for your team.
Our partnership has been really, really great in that respect, and it’s been successful in the end. So, yeah, I would definitely encourage companies to give Commit a try.