freecodecamp nashville

freeCodeCamp Nashville December Meetup Recap

After taking a hiatus from our meetup for a month due to family obligations, Dave and I were back at it again this month for the freeCodeCamp Nashville meetup. This month we pulled together a group of technical recruiters for some Q&A. The premise behind this time together was that recruiters can be a valuable asset to people in the tech scene through their relationships with companies as well as their knowledge of how to best get past some common barriers. However, recruiters seems to get a bad wrap in general due to some bad apples in the industry. Those people who are required by a company or boss to get X number of calls or contacts in per day per position. I know I’ve personally received emails about positions that I know I’m not qualified for and anybody who took a few seconds to scan my LinkedIn profile would know as well.

First, our three panelists:
– Caroline McGowan works for FortyAU where she is an Account Manager and focuses on internal recruiting.
– Hunter Mitchem works for OtterBase where he is a Technical Recruiter focusing on finding talent for positions in Nashville.
– Sydney Crimmins works for where she is the Chief Recruiting Officer and focuses on filling position in Nashville.

Below you’ll find the highlights and some noteworthy quotes from our discussion. With any panel discussion it’s difficult to keep very detailed notes. I did the best I could and these are the types of things we hope you attend in the future with us. With that, I do hope some of this helps you out some. Use the comments for questions and further discussion. Or just join on in the #freecodecamp channel on the NashDev Slack network.

One if the fist topics we discussed was LinkedIn

  • Recruiters are keyword driven when looking through LinkedIn.
  • Make it concise and keep it professional.
  • What technologies you used and where. Not really looking at the summary.
  • “Be conscious of what you “like” because people see that,” Caroline.
  • “First impressions are key. ‘You get about 15 seconds before I decide to move on or stay,'” Sydney.
  • The heading should be what you know today not things that you’re going to do.

Make sure that your LinkedIn account is setup so recruiters can find you:
On your LinkedIn account click your profile picture, then Settings & Privacy, next click Privacy at the top, then scroll down to Job Seeking and make sure that section is setup the way you’d like so recruiters can find you.

In addition ensure your Career Interests are accurate.

Networking Is Key

  • Build your portfolio and projects you can explain. Real life in production apps that you can demonstrate.
  • Keep your Github up to date for others to look at.
  • You need the above two so that you can, “Find people to go to bat for you. Find people to say ‘Hey I need help. Take a look at my code or my projects.’ Purely professional contacts,” Caroline.
  • References can help you fill the credibility gap so for sure list them up front when you have good ones.

The Nashville Job Market

  • More people interested in front end than backend. Finding backend devs is more challenging.
  • Even though the Nashville market is saturated for the Junior level positions Nashville is working on the situation and the community here is very open to people who are starting out.
  • Ruby on Rails & Salesforce are in high demand.
  • Java.
  • Q3 is known as the highest time for staffing. Q4 slows down. Q1 companies typically get fresh new budgets.

Interview Tips

  • “Never say, ‘I learn quickly,’ or ‘I’m a jack of all trades.’ Be relaxed, be yourself.” Hunter.
  • “Be confident but also be humble.” “Address where your shortcomings might be up front. Point blank ask someone ‘What concerns can I alleviate for you.'” Caroline.
  • “Don’t be afraid to say no. Yes and no but. If you have worked with something say ‘Yes and’ explain it. If you haven’t say, “No but’ then explain something else.” Sydney.
  • Be confident and able to tell your story in a clear and concise way. – Caroline


  • Career changers could remove bullet points from past careers but still list the work to keep a resume concise.
  • One page is not the hard and fast rule.


  • Be transparent as you can with recruiters.
  • Typically on W2 roles the recruiting company gets a % so they are motivated to get you more.
  • Contract positions are typically a $ amount. So if you get paid less then the recruiting company will get more.
  • Junior in Nashville will be 50-60k typically.

General Advice

  • “Don’t be picky for the first gig. The experience is worth it and you can be more picky if or when you choose to move on to a new job.” Sydney.
  • Follow up with recruiters ~1 time per month when you haven’t heard from them.
  • Don’t deal with a recruiter who targets you obviously for a position you’re not qualified for. They’re just trying to get their numbers in.


  • Freakanomics
  • Complete Developer Podcast
  • Junior Developer Toolbox
  • CodeNewbie
  • NashDev Podcast
  • JavaScript Jabber
  • NodeUp

I hope this was helpful and I’m looking forward to the comments section on this one for more discussion of these topics.