Join the Recurse Center as an Operations Assistant (we’re hiring)!
Update: As of January 25th, 2022 we’re pausing inviting additional candidates to interview. We’ve already heard from and scheduled interviews with a great number of strong applicants, and we’re likely to make an offer soon.
We’re hiring an Operations Assistant. This is a full-time role that can be done remotely from anywhere in the US. It could be a great fit for you if you want an administrative job (with good benefits and supportive colleagues!) that has a positive impact, while leaving you enough creative and intellectual energy to pursue your interests outside of work.
Read on to learn more about the Recurse Center and what we think is good (and bad) about this job.
If this role isn’t for you, please consider sharing it with others. If we hire someone who found this job because of you, we’ll donate $250 to the non-profit of your choice.
A unique business and community
RC is a unique institution. We run a free and self-directed programming retreat, a community of over 2,000 alums, and a recruiting agency, all of which are integrated and support each other. Our revenue comes from recruiting fees paid by our partner companies when they hire alums we refer to them.
Until 2020, we ran our retreats in our space in New York City. We’ve been operating online since the pandemic struck (we plan to operate both online and in-person once it’s safe to do so, but we have no idea when that will be).
Our views on education are unorthodox. We reject the overt and subtle coercion of school and believe people should get to decide what they learn and why and how they learn it. We don’t have grades, teachers, or any kind of curriculum. Instead, we provide time, space, resources, and a supportive community in which to grow.
Our approach to recruiting is similarly unconventional. While many recruiting agencies operate on a “quantity over quality” basis by referring any candidate they can find to as many jobs as possible, RC is different. We work hard to understand what Recursers and our partner companies are looking for, and only make introductions where we think it genuinely makes sense for both parties, after confirming mutual interest. We also stick with companies and Recursers throughout the interview process, checking in and offering support.
People genuinely love RC. Alums routinely tell us RC was one of or even the most impactful, meaningful, productive, or transformative period of their lives. We’ve helped people find their first programming jobs, meet lifelong friends and colleagues, and discover what they really want out of their lives and careers. Alums have told us RC changed their approach to programming, their beliefs about education, and even how they think about themselves and relate to other people.
Our community loves RC so much that they collectively donated over $350,000 to help us make it through the pandemic. When our business did better than expected and it turned out we didn’t need the money for operational expenses, we used it to restart our grants program. Since launching the program in 2012, we’ve given over $1.7 million directly to Recursers who are women, trans, non-binary, Black, Latina/o, and/or Native American to pay for living expenses during their time at RC.
About this role
By helping to operate and improve RC, you can have a huge impact on our small but steadily growing community. Your work at RC may not change the world, but it will change individual people’s lives.
Your daily responsibilities will be a collection of important operational work. Concretely, this includes:
- Data entry to keep our internal database of job posts updated. The core of our business is matching our alums with compelling jobs. We can’t suggest roles we don’t know about, nor do we want to suggest roles that are no longer open.
- Answering emails from people applying or recently admitted to RC.
- Classifying transactions (in QuickBooks) and managing invoices (in FreshBooks) to make sure we get paid and have an accurate view of our company finances.
- Coordinating with colleagues, partner companies, and our accountants to handle administrative work.
While varied, all this work has some important things in common: its value is clear; it’s well-defined so you can easily see when you’re finished; and it stays at work, so you can shift your focus to the rest of your life when you sign off for the day or weekend.
A collaborative environment with supportive colleagues
We work hard to foster a culture that’s collaborative, trusting, and thoughtful. Here are some things you’ll find working at RC:
- Clear company-wide goals and the reasoning behind them. You’ll have an understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish together and why.
- Our belief in self-direction isn’t only for Recursers, it also influences how we approach our own work. At RC, you’ll have the freedom and the responsibility to decide how to structure your time and work.
- Weekly one-on-ones to give and receive regular feedback and help you work through frustrations or challenges with your work.
- Organizational transparency. You will have access to whatever information about RC you want, from how much money we made last month to our bank balance.
- A culture of direct, but kind and constructive feedback. This helps us quickly resolve disagreements and work together more effectively.
- A writing review stream in our private chat and an accompanying culture of review. We copyedit and review all our writing, from blog posts to tweets.
Good work-life balance and benefits
All of us at RC work hard and care deeply about what we do. At the same time, all of us have lives and loved ones outside of work, and we know you do, too.
We strive to have a culture that supports our employees to do their best work in a sustainable way, so that all of us can contribute effectively over the long run. Here are some of the things you’ll find here to help with this:
- Full health, vision, and dental insurance. RC covers 100% of the premium for the standard plans for all employees, as well as their partners and families. RC also pays the full premium for basic life insurance.
- A 401k. RC contributes 3% on top of your salary to a 401k for you regardless of how much or even if you choose to contribute yourself.
- Three months of paid parental leave, which you can take within a year of having or adopting a child.
- 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 nine 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.
- Flexible hours. You can choose any eight consecutive hours with five or more hours of overlap with 9am-5pm ET (most of the team works 9am-5pm or 10am-6pm ET).
Many companies have stated policies that aren’t followed in practice, but that’s not the case at RC. For example, I took two months of parental leave when my son was born in 2019. Even though I’m CEO, I was able to fully unplug from work during that time (I intended to take my third month of leave in 2020 but the pandemic disrupted my plans).
Downsides and other things to know
No job is perfect, and this one is no exception. Here’s what we think the biggest downsides are:
- Much of the work is unglamorous, and some of it can be rote and repetitive. While our community and team culture are highly intellectually engaging, the daily work for this role is not.
- This role occasionally requires checking and responding to emails while on vacation. We generally avoid this by having colleagues take over when we’re out, but sometimes we can’t (e.g., during our winter break when the entire company is off).
A few other things to know, which might be upsides or downsides depending on your perspective:
- RC is a dynamic place — some might say chaotic. You need to be comfortable with some amount of uncertainty to be happy working here.
- The salary for this role is $50,000. It is also eligible for de facto profit-sharing through optional annual bonuses (these tend to be small and are in no way guaranteed, since they depend on our overall company performance).
- We are a profitable, privately held business. We do not plan to ever sell or go public, and so there is no equity or chance of a big financial windfall.
What we’re looking for in candidates
These are the criteria we think are essential for success in this role and which we’ll be evaluating during interviews:
- You understand what this job is (and isn’t) and want to do it. We want to hire someone who’s happy doing this and who won’t want to leave in six or 12 months.
- You’re detail-oriented. You’re careful, learn from your mistakes, and care about doing a good job.
- You’re trustworthy. You’re honest, ethical, and able to deal with sensitive data responsibly.
- You communicate clearly. You can express yourself clearly in conversation and text, and you can write clear, error-free emails with a conversational but professional tone.
- You’re open to feedback and know (or can quickly learn) the core skills for doing this work. You need to be comfortable using and learning how to use a range of software tools.
- You’re intellectually curious. This helps with almost any type of work, but more importantly, it’s a key part of our company culture.
- You understand RC and want to help make it successful. This doesn’t need to be your life’s mission but you do need to understand what RC is, how your work contributes to its success, and want to be part of a thriving team.
We also have some logistical requirements:
- You need to have US work authorization and work from one of the 50 US states (we’re unfortunately unable to sponsor visas for this role).
- Your work day has at least five hours of overlap with 9am-5pm ET.
- You’re fully vaccinated. All RC employees must be fully vaccinated, even if remote (we still meet up in-person sometimes).
Lastly, it’s great if you have some experience or familiarity with any of the following: bookkeeping, support, data entry, recruiting, marketing, the tech industry, or the world of computer programming. But none of these things are necessary and you can be a strong candidate without any of them.
What to expect from our interview process
Our interview process has three parts: an email, an initial Zoom call, and a half day of interviews (also all over Zoom).
The first step is to email email@example.com with your resume or publicly accessible LinkedIn profile. Please confirm in your message that you meet the logistical requirements above and include short answers to the following questions:
- What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve learned recently?
- What are one or two things that attracted you to this job?
- What’s your biggest concern about RC or this role?
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 two or three sentences for each answer. Please do use thoughtful, conversational English and proof-read what you write (writing clear, error-free emails is part of this job).
Initial Zoom call
We’ll let you know within one week of when you apply whether or not we’d like to proceed with a call, which is the second step of our process. These calls are between 30 and 45 minutes long. This is an opportunity not just for us to learn about you, but for you to learn more about RC and to suss out if this role might be a good fit for you.
The third and final step of our process is a set of online interviews. These interviews are meant to be as representative as possible of the work you would do at RC. Throughout the course of your interviews you’ll get a chance to meet with several RC employees and ask any questions you have. If you reach this stage, we’ll give you a $200 Amazon gift card as a thank-you for your time, regardless of if we make an offer.
We’ll let you know within two weeks of your interview whether or not we’re making an offer (we can usually tell you faster than this, but we ask for and speak with references, and sometimes it takes a few days to coordinate these calls).
Other things to know
- 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.
- We’re currently a team of nine full-time employees. We plan to be a team of about 12 full-time (plus one or two part-time) people by the end of the year.
- While our whole company currently works from home, some of us will eventually return to working in our office in Brooklyn. Some roles (including Operations Assistant) will remain open to being fully remote even after we return to our office. Of course, if you’re based in New York, you’re welcome to work from our office, too.
- If you tell someone about this job and we hire them, we’ll donate $250 to a non-profit of your choice. How? We’ll ask whomever we hire if they found out about this job from a specific person. If they did, we’ll reach out and ask that person what non-profit they’d like us to donate to.