Paying it forward with BlueCat’s referral program

BY Jadecy Kidane

If you’re more concerned with a career than a job, just any role won’t do. You’re taking into consideration a company culture and growth opportunities. You need longevity and you want a company to deliver on it.

So how do you find a company with that promise? Simple. Ask a friend.

toronto software engineersAt BlueCat, almost 20 new employees in the past year joined as part of our referral program, which encourages BlueCats to recommend candidates for available positions at the company. There are many reasons why employers support a referral program, but what does it mean for employees?

James Spence (right), a Senior Software Engineer and a referral himself, told us about his experience coming into BlueCat.  He also talked about how he referred his friend
and former colleague Matt Helmer (left) as well.

Job Wanted: Better Tech, Better Culture

Before joining as a Senior Software Engineer, James met with his engineer friend from BlueCat for coffee regularly. Learning about the Engineering team piqued his interest early on. There were two elements of the company that resonated with him: the technology and the culture.

“It was really appealing to hear about technology that I only read about online or heard through the industry. BlueCat works with a very modern tech stack, and they have the sense of ownership over everything they do. That got me really interested from technical perspective.”

For software developers or engineers, a technology stack is a valuable indicator of a company’s investments in tech and overall trajectory. James was looking for ways to become a better software developer and saw the opportunity.

“The technology BlueCat works with is very relevant. That’s something that gives me value as a software developer in the industry, and not just at BlueCat.  That's great for my career development.”

Another compelling factor was how he could take ownership of his work. He likes that this is an environment where he can pitch new technologies that add value and his suggestions are typically implemented. This was a culture where he could be creative, explore technology that made him curious, and get hands-on experience.

Culture was equally important to James. The statistics make a clear connection between workplace culture and job satisfaction and we take it seriously at BlueCat. In September 2019, we received Ultimate Software Award for Best Workplace Culture.

Becoming A Software Engineer at BlueCat

Once James was ready to apply, he reached out to his friend for a referral and the interview process moved fast. He’s been with BlueCat for over a year now, and his overall impression of BlueCat is remarkably consistent.

“I've learned a ton in a year, and I've become a much better developer being here. I really feel I can make a big impact on the work that I do. And on the other side, I have a ton of fun at work. It's a really good place to work. I like my peers. I feel I work with good people and company does a whole lot to make it a good place to work.”

James recently had the chance to pay it forward by referring his friend Matt for a software engineer role. This time, the tables turned. James gave Matt the rundown, which lead to him doing his own research about the company. Checking out our Careers page, Matt found clear similarities in James’ stories and the marketing speak. (What can we say? Culture is important here.)

“Since the culture at BlueCat is such a big part of working here, it was actually a better relationship to have with James. He was able to vouch for me as a cultural fit. That being such a big deal, it made the rest of the recruiting process move forward at the rate that it did."

(Work) Friends with Benefits

A referral program is more than fast-tracking friends into your company. For James and Matt, who now work on the same team, their established friendship plays a large role in their day-to-day work. Whether it’s coming into the office or collaborating with your teammates, being able to call your colleague a friend has its perks.

“It makes it more fun to be at work,” as James puts it. On a more serious note he shared, “if I’m having a bad day, I can trust my coworkers are going to help me through that day.” He’s referring to the mental health element of work. This support is vital for a healthy work environment and that’s why six BlueCat employees were certified to practice Mental Health First Aid earlier this year.

A referral program is built on trust. The referral trusts the referrer’s assessment of the company and role, with the hope it’s right for them. We love when our employees want to refer their friends or contacts in the industry to our company. Knowing that someone is happy enough to extend their experience to others is a win for us. Between these friends, James was very sure when referring Matt into the company.

“As the person doing the referring, there's not a moment of doubt that someone I refer is going to like it here. I can be very, very confident that I'm referring a person to a good situation, which is really cool. I didn’t necessarily want to refer a friend to places I've worked at before. I couldn’t say that it was a place I'd want them to work. With BlueCat, there's no doubt that anybody that I know who's looking for a job would like it here.”

Matt also explained why collaboration is easier among friends. “I like working with someone that thinks similarly to you but different enough to learn from them. I find that my mind is more open to new ideas from someone that I’m friendly with.” Matt’s opinion is the reality for many of us and it’s an important consideration when colleagues need to work together.

The real value is in the results. What can be accomplished among friends that work together? Here’s James take, “In the end, it produces better work. When we're working together, there's just a level of energy present because we get along very well and that allows us to make progress and to bring energy to the problem-solving process that wouldn't necessarily be there otherwise.”

Learn more about our company culture and open positions on our Careers page.

If you want to keep up with BlueCat, follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

Jadecy Kidane

Jadecy Kidane is the Marketing Content Manager at BlueCat.

View more articles by Jadecy Kidane