Recurse Center

Join RC and help grow a new kind of business and community

James J. Porter

Update: As of June 19th, 2018 we’re no longer hiring for this role.

We’re hiring a Career Facilitator to help run our recruiting business. This involves helping people find fulfilling jobs, establishing and nurturing recruiting relationships with partner companies, and helping strengthen and grow all aspects of our business. The Recurse Center is an educational community and a recruiting agency, and while the primary focus of this role is on the latter, we’re hiring someone to think about and collaborate on improving both.

Read on to learn more about RC, what this role involves, the good and bad parts of working here, and our hiring process.

About the Recurse Center

RC is a radically self-directed educational retreat integrated with a recruiting agency. Experienced and new programmers come to RC from around the world to spend one, six, or twelve weeks in New York focused on getting better at programming. The primary educational value of RC is peer-to peer. We don’t have teachers or a curriculum, and Recursers work on whatever they’re most interested in, teaching and learning from each other. Afterwards, alumni remain highly involved in our community, both offline and online.

Our revenue comes from recruiting fees paid by our partner companies when they hire alumni we refer to them. This allows us to keep RC free for everyone, and to fund need-based living expense grants for people from groups traditionally underrepresented in programming. There is no expectation or requirement that people who attend the retreat want or take a new job.

About this role

We started RC in 2011, and for the first several years, we mistakenly organized our company into two divisions: education and recruiting. There were good reasons why we thought this was the right way to operate, but by late 2016, experience had changed our minds.

We now think of RC as an integrated whole. Rather than some of us working on recruiting and some on education, with the two groups mostly keeping to themselves, we now all regularly collaborate to improve all aspects of RC, and we all take a holistic view of the company when choosing what we work on and how we do it.

The primary things you should expect to do in this role include:

  • Helping Recursers with all aspects of their job searches. This includes meeting with them to learn more about their goals and backgrounds, editing their resumes and professional communications, referring and introducing them to our partner companies, helping them move through interviews and negotiate offers, and giving them feedback and moral support.
  • Supporting Recursers with their careers more generally. You’ll help them figure out their goals, make their jobs work better for them, negotiate for promotions and raises, and resolve conflicts at work.
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with our partner companies. This involves learning about their hiring needs, finding Recursers for their open roles, organizing in-person hiring events, searching for and on-boarding new companies, and soliciting and processing feedback about how RC could better meet their needs.
  • Improving our processes and strategy for doing all of the above. We don’t expect you to do this on your own or on day one (we expect anyone we hire to take some time to get up to speed). We have an existing team and process that works reasonably well, but we are always trying to improve.
  • Working on projects that improve all aspects of RC. Examples might be helping plan our annual alumni reunion week, guiding improvements to our internal software for recruiting work, or helping Recursers run events they’re excited about.

We expect your role to change over time as we learn more about how we can most effectively meet our goals, and that you’ll play a large role in figuring out what changes to make and implementing them.

Pros and cons

Every job has downsides, and this one is no exception. People usually learn about these things after they join a company, but we think it’s important to highlight them in advance:

  • Some of the work can be emotionally draining.
  • Some of the work is unglamorous (we’re a six-person company, so we all have to do some amount of mopping up, figuratively and occasionally literally).
  • You’ll sometimes need to be able to attend events, take calls or respond to emails in the evenings or during weekends. We try to avoid this, but we prioritize being responsive to our alumni, and so if an alum wants our help deciding between two offers on a Sunday evening, we’ll happily take the call.
  • The pay is probably less than you could get at many tech companies.

Thankfully, we think this job has many more good things going for it:

  • Meaningful work, with a huge effect on people’s lives. To brag briefly: We’ve lost track of the number of people who have told us we changed their lives, or that RC was one of the best things they’ve ever done.
  • A friendly and intellectual atmosphere, and a tight-knit and supportive team of coworkers.
  • A warm and welcoming office (we’re currently in SoHo but we will be moving to a new location in lower Manhattan or Brooklyn this fall).
  • A great health insurance plan, plus dental and vision insurance.
  • 15 days of vacation (we effectively have unlimited vacation, but we have a number to make sure people actually take it), a 10-day winter holiday (Dec 23 to Jan 1), and seven additional holidays. We also have five days for personal development, which you can use for anything that supports your personal and professional goals and growth.
  • 3 months of paid parental leave, which you can take within a year of having or adopting a child. In addition, you can do an optional one month of working from home after your three months of leave.
  • Complete organizational transparency: If we give you an offer, we will share all employee and founder salaries, how much cash we have, projected revenue, and the many risks we face. We will answer any questions you have about our company and prospects honestly and directly.
  • Speaking of transparency, the salary for this role is $100,000.

Finally, working at RC involves a fair amount of uncertainty and change — we’re a small business and we routinely try new things to help us meet our goals. This is either a pro or a con depending on what you value.

Who we’re looking for

  • You’re empathetic and have a high “EQ” (emotional intelligence).
  • You’re intellectually curious.
  • You’re a good writer and communicator over email, on the phone, and in person.
  • You collaborate effectively with others.
  • You’re confident enough to make decisions and get things done on your own and humble enough to accept feedback gracefully when it’s given.
  • You’re driven to make organizations you’re a part of successful.
  • You’re not overly introverted and don’t get drained by interacting with people.
  • You share our core beliefs about education and our business. Dissent and skepticism are great, but if we don’t all agree on enough of the big things we’ll never get anything done.

Lastly, there are some things you might think are required for this role but aren’t. You don’t need to have a specific degree (or any degree at all), prior experience with recruiting or programming, or an existing connection with RC to be a strong candidate. What we’ve described in this post is what we’ll be evaluating all candidates on; we don’t have any hidden requirements.

What to expect from our interview process

  • The first step is to email us with your resume or publicly accessible LinkedIn profile. Please also include short answers to the following three questions:
    • What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve learned recently? (This can be about anything and certainly does not need to be about programming, education, or recruiting.)
    • What are your career goals for the next few years? (For example, how are you looking to grow, and what type of work would you like to be doing three years from now?)
    • What’s your biggest concern about RC or this job?
  • None of these are trick questions. Instead, like every part of our process, they’re meant to help us assess how you meet the requirements listed above. Please don’t write more than a few sentences for each answer. Please do use thoughtful, conversational English and proof-read what you write.
  • We’ll respond with a quick acknowledgement that we got your email.
  • If we decide to move forward, we’ll follow up to schedule a call. This call has two purposes: We’d like to learn a bit more about you and what you’ve done, and we also want to answer whatever questions you have about RC and the role. This call can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending in large part on how many questions you have for us.
  • If that goes well we’ll invite you to an on-site, which will be a day-long series of interviews with RC faculty and community members. We will try to make these interviews as much like the actual work of this job as possible.

After each stage we’ll let you know whether or not we’d like to continue as quickly as possible (our goal is within two business days). If you’re advancing to the next stage, we may also give you feedback about what we thought you did well and what you could improve on for the next round.

A few extra things to know

  • Most of the company gets in around 10am and leaves around 6:30pm, but some of us come in early and/or stay later.
  • We’re personally and institutionally committed to combating sexism and racism.
  • If you’re considering applying, you should spend some time reading our about page, blog, and User’s Manual to get a sense of our company and your potential coworkers.
  • This is a full-time role, and you need to be able to work on-site at our office in NYC.
  • We are happy to sponsor visas when possible. We cannot sponsor H-1Bs, since the soonest someone could start work on a new H-1B is October 2019, which is unfeasible for us (we can probably transfer existing H-1Bs).