San Francisco-based Riverbed Technology sells network performance solutions, including WAN optimization, application delivery controllers, network and application performance management tools and cloud storage gateways. As the company likes to say, “We make WAN environments work like LAN environments.”
It takes 2,700 employees spread across 40 countries — though the majority are in San Francisco and Sunnyvale, Calif. — to get the job done. Riverbed’s high rankings on both Glassdoor and Forbes seem to indicate that its employees are a happy lot. “Tenure is high, and we have little turnover,” says Mike Guerchon, senior vice president of employee services.
How to Make Your Approach
Candidates can reach out to Riverbed through several avenues, says Jeff Bias, senior manager of recruiting, including the company’s job postings and pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. “We have a presence, and if you reach out to our recruiters, you’ll get consideration,” he says.
On the other hand, Riverbed is aggressive when it comes to outreach, and may come to you if you’re very good at what you do. “We have an internal group of 25 people that acts like an aggressive search firm,” Guerchon says. “We do outbound searching, cold-calling qualified people who are gainfully employed at companies we find interesting. We don’t just wait for resumes to come over the transom.”
A third approach is to use social media and networking to find your way to current Riverbed employees, who can earn significant finders’ fees — up to $5,000 for an engineer, for example — for helping bring in successful candidates.
How to Prepare Yourself
Riverbed’s job postings are likely to describe the company’s meritocratic and team-based environment. “We have a very open, collaborative environment even though we’re a billion-dollar-revenue company,” says Guerchon. “We still feel and act like a startup, with no private offices. Even our CEO sits in an open cube. We care most about the contribution you make today.” Job candidates must prove they are smart, curious, able to solve problems and up to the challenge of working in an aggressive environment.
Interviews are critical, and challenging. Bias warns that they’re roll-up-your-sleeves affairs, complete with whiteboarding and quizzing about your tech skills. “We’ll ask you to show us what you know, complete with on–the-spot coding.”
He notes that the best candidates are actually excited to be tested this way. “The advice we give is that you brush up on your coding and your network fundamentals before you come in, and be ready to show us how you approach problems in a logical way.”
The biggest mistake you can make is to be dishonest about your experience, Bias says. “If you embellish what you know and can’t back it up on the whiteboard, that’s a problem. I’d much rather see someone be candid and say, ‘I don’t know, but here’s how I would try to go about it to shorten my learning curve.'”
Also, be sure to research not only the company, but the interviewers you may meet. “Use the power of LinkedIn and Facebook,” Guerchon says. “Find four or five connection points with your interviewers so that when you come in, you can do your part to make the interview more conversational and interesting.”
Finding Jobs Within The Company
Riverbed will hire about 500 people during 2013, 250 of whom will be in technology roles, mainly developers, IT, tech support and QA. “We’re hiring across all product lines,” Bias says, “and some of the more challenging roles we have to fill are in software engineering, people with a storage and cloud computing background, and people who want to manage a large amount of data across a widely distributed environment.”
Skills Riverbed is currently looking for include C/C++ programming in the Linux environment, file systems and networking knowledge, as well as software engineers who can develop automation tools involved in deploying Riverbed’s Stingray virtual application-delivery controller products in the cloud. Some jobs may be more competitive than others, since Bias says the population of candidates is growing.
In addition to the company’s California headquarters, Riverbed has development and QA operations in the UK, Bethesda, Md. (where it acquired Opnet Technologies), and Champaign, Ill.
Advice for Seasoned Professionals
“We welcome and hire people with many years of experience,” Guerchon says. “We’ll hire anybody who has the skill set that matches the job description.” The most important thing for older candidates — especially those who have been working for one company or in one specialty for a long time — is to keep up the skill set, stay relevant and make sure your necessary certifications are current.
Advice for College Grads
Riverbed looks for newcomers who have strong skills hardware or software engineering, IT, networking, scripting or programming. The company brings in between 30 and 40 interns each year, and usually hires one-third to half of them.
Guerchon notes that Riverbed has “deep relationships with several major universities including Carnegie Mellon, the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Berkeley, North Carolina State, USC, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Worcester Polytechnic and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.”
“The schools we work with do a great job of teaching their students to work collaboratively, and reinforcing the benefits of working in teams,” he says says. “Those are skills they’ll definitely need when they come to work for us.”