Chris Gibbons Design Technologist

Weeknotes: Season 2: Episode 1

Welcome. Firstly I feel that I need to apologise - I’ve been very tardy in writing my notes this year and for good reason. A lot has changed since we last spoke, hopefully, in this bumper edition of week notes (more like half-year notes), it will all become clear. So grab yourself a drink and let’s settle in.

What’s happened then, pal?

To go into detail would be too much, so let’s have a quick-fire version:

  • 🦿 Torn meniscus, again! 4th time in 5 years - that’s twice on both knees now - alongside that, I also have a bone-marrow oedema.
  • 🤯 MH took a bruising. The early months of the year had been massively affected by work and the (undue) stresses that had occurred towards the back end of last year. It took a while to hit my stride again, well at least until…
  • 👎 Redundancy. Yep, you read that right. In April we (there was a significant amount of us) got given the news that we were “at risk” (code word for gone). The announcement was emotionless, scripted, and devoid of any kind of empathy. It was a lesson in “How not to deliver a speech”, oh and it was right before the Easter break, so we had two extra days to really worry about things, nice. I have lots to say about this, how it was all handled etc. but this isn’t the right place for it. Let’s just say Glassdoor is giving a good account of things…
  • 🏥 Knee op. To my first point, I was fortunate to be able to get a very quick meniscectomy this has enabled me to get back up and running (figuratively speaking) a lot quicker, and hopefully keep the goal of ticking off some Wainwrights this year still alive!

When did the interview process get so fucking crazy?

Thankfully, I’ve not had to do much in the interview space over the last few years, but I’m finding the current trend of 5-6-7 stages (yes, that isn’t a typo!) is the new normal, and it’s fucking ridiculous. Calls with HR, calls with hiring managers, tech tests/live coding(!?), calls to discuss, calls with “heads of”, calls with execs, calls with the office dog… Honestly, it’s tiring, draining, slightly demeaning, and absolutely broken.

My biggest gripe though, is how interviewers “grade” candidates. Having been an interviewer in the past, I like to think that I can give a fairly unbiased view of this section.

First & second-round interviews usually assess a candidate’s values/competencies, aside from technical. This, for me at least, is perhaps the most important thing to assess in a candidate. It gives you the “dick-head filter”, but also shows the candidate’s attitude, leadership and mentoring approaches, which are all things you just can’t teach people. It’s that lived, real-world experience, and this is super important.

The next stages usually dive into the technical via tech-task (take home, or live coding). This is the area where if a candidate of any seniority is maybe lacking, they can relatively quickly re-skill, after all, they have more than likely been in a leadership and less hands-on position…

So to get feedback such as:

Unfortunately, we're not going to be progressing from here... primarily this comes down to your recent focus having been more towards management than individual contribution.


You certainly came across as very proactive, having taken strong ownership of yourself and the team's work. Your leadership style also really shone through; a clear team player who is very humble.


You had a big star next to your values and competencies, but "we need someone who can hit the ground running"


It really feels like a kick in the teeth.

🚩🚩🚩 There are others, one principal felt that they didn’t need to hire a 2nd principal, despite wanting to double the dev team this year to 50+. That sounds a little short-sighted, and a little gate-keepery to me! Overall, some of the feedback just felt too petty to even worry about not making the cut at those places. 🚩🚩🚩

Interview empathy

Folks, if you’re involved with interviewing candidates, I think it’s time to factor in empathy when grading candidates. Candidates in an interview are highly likely to be nervous - I’ve been in the industry for nearly 20 years, and let me tell you, I was bricking it the other day in an interview, I could hardly make a sentence (and yes, I didn’t make the cut, because the other principal said I didn’t give deep enough answers to the tech questions…🤷)

Anywho, onwards. The job hunt still continues, and I’m still confident that I’ll land something sooner or later. ❤️

Things I’ve done

Given the job news, much of my focus has been on that re-skilling I talked about. I’ve tweaked and updated this site under the hood, so we’re now on the latest version of Astro, and more in-keeping with the new way of doing things.

I’ve also been doing some courses on FrontendMasters. Enjoyable to get back into doing some coding!

Places I’ve been

With my knee-hab well underway, and as it’s been getting stronger, I’ve been exploring my local area. In particular, the lovely Arnside and Silverdale!

A 25km look around the place was a very nice if tiring day out. It also brought home the fact I need some new walking boots, as my poor toes can testify to, sadly they will have to wait until I get a new job!

Planning for a week camping in The Lakes in August, hoping to do some walking! A paddleboarding intro session has been booked - I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forwards to that!

The lovely Grizedale forest for Go-Ape! This was so much fun, and my knee really held up well on the cargo nets!

Until next time! 👋