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Draft Day + Training Camp 2017

Early Results from Training Camp + Draft Day 2017

We just wrapped up our second annual Training Camp + Draft Day, a two-step program designed to help graduates from underdog schools increase their chances of securing a tech job. Training Camp was held on June 13 at Pacific Science Center, and Draft Day took place on June 22 at Galvanize. Of the 19 candidates presented at Draft Day, 20 invitations for interviews were extended to 14 candidates. In the coming weeks, we’ll report how many candidates received actual job offers.

Draft Day introduces triple-vetted top talent from non-top tier tech schools to small and mid-sized tech employers for entry-level employment opportunities using a speed-interview format. During the interviews, employers are presented resumes with the candidate’s’ educational backgrounds removed to reduce any possible bias. Training Camp provides potential Draft Day candidates with interview prep and resume review to ensure they are fully prepared for Draft Day.

What was Different in 2017 vs 2016

Additional volunteers were recruited for Training Camp 2017, enabling candidates to receive two 10-minute mock interviews instead of one. Sixteen volunteers from the tech industry scored Training Camp candidates, helping to determine who would make it to semifinals. All participants received feedback from the process. Semifinalists were given time to revise their resumes based on feedback from Training Camp before they were sent on to the judges, who then recommended the finalists based on their resumes and their instructors’ nomination letters.

This year, 15 schools nominated a total of 96 students. Bellevue College, Kal Academy, Coding Dojo, South Seattle College and General Assembly nominated students for the first time this year.

In 2016, five out of seven of the companies that participated in Draft Day had fewer than 100 employees. This year, the six hiring companies, Tableau, RealSelf, PeopleConnect, Skytap, Lyft, and Limeade, were generally bigger and had more job openings. Most of the hiring partners in attendance brought teams of recruiters for 18 seven-minute speed interviews, with five-minute breaks to grade and prep for the next interview.

Draft Day 2017 Finalists

Although there was no diversity requirement in the nomination or vetting process, nine out of 19 finalists were women, 11 were people of color, and 17 were looking for a career transition or career re-entry after taking some time away. Before studying tech, Draft Day finalists were previously office admins, a construction engineer, a hardware engineer, a dietician, an air force engineer, and an airport worker.

Schools that had students advance to Draft Day included Green River College (6), Bellevue College (3), Code Fellows (4), General Assembly (1), Seattle Central College (1), Kal Academy (3), and Edmonds Community College (1).

The program aims to give top candidates from underdog schools a chance to interface directly with potential employers. The candidate who received the most invitations for technical interviews had said while waiting, “I don’t know if I would have made it through the AT’s of these companies.”

Other candidates expressed similar sentiments.

Ken Evans, a recent graduate from Bellevue College, found a lot of value in Draft Day. “I started off as a tester, I left the industry and am now working my way back in,” he said. “I liked the reverse job pitch. At most job fairs, there’s a long line of people to talk to the recruiters, and they usually aren’t the ones who make any decisions or don’t know anything about you. Here [at Draft Day], they know who you are.”

Some candidates said online applications have gotten them nowhere.

“I did software development for one year, then took a three-year break. I have tried applying online, but never heard back,” said Alice Muhimpundu, a student at Kal Academy. “With Draft Day, I have a better chance because during the interviews, they can see your potential more.Training Camp helped me prepare for Draft Day, and I learned how to interview better.”

The hiring partners also appreciated the opportunity to interview such a diverse group of candidates.

Adrianna De Battista, a Tech Recruiting Lead at Lyft, said she is definitely planning on inviting several candidates in for technical interviews. “I look for intellectual curiosity and the willingness to persist in problem solving. I saw that a lot in the candidates presented here.”

As of June 27, the six employers extended 20 invitations for technical interviews for 13 candidates. All candidates got red-shirted, meaning if there is a position that opens for a candidate, they will be connected. Last year, 5 out of 16 candidates landed entry-level jobs through Draft Day.

Training Camp + Draft Day 2017 by the Numbers:

96 Nominees

15 Schools Represented

65 Training Camp Attendees

36 Semifinalists

19 Finalists, including one candidate who interviewed with a company for one role

20 Invitations for technical interviews offered to 13 candidates

We’d also like to thank these volunteers: Sunny Lee (BrandVerity), Steve ThrockMorton (HR Business Foundations), Melanie Vargas (Swift HR), Matt Chung (West Monroe Partners), Roger Wagoner (Amazon), John Xu (Amazon), Lisa Dean (CenturyLink), Becky Carlson (Infospace), Leslie Carlson (Carena Inc), Neal Mosbarger (Truth Engaged), Jennifer Shettleroe (Emergency Reporting), Brian Reyes (Splunk), Shawn Gibbs (Independent Talent Consultant), Finnian Durkan (RealSelf), Fuzz Azni (WTIA’s Apprenti), Karen Manuel (WTIA’s Apprenti), Uzo Akotaobi (Comcast Technology Services), Eric Osborne (Vitamin T). Event volunteers include  An Huynh, Andrea Sachaeo, Jessica Monger, Jasper Kinnay, Hadiya Hope-Crichlow, and Gabe Kaemingk.


  • Julie Pham

    Julie Pham is the Vice President of Community Engagement and Marketing at WTIA, where she helps fulfill Washington’s potential to become home to the world’s greatest tech industry.

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