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"Honesty and integrity are very important" - Temenos Head of Technology Thomas Sin

Posted on Friday, Jun 9, 2017

Thomas Sin - Temenos | Hays What IT Employers WantThomas Sin, Head of Technology at Temenos

Thomas Sin studied Engineering at the University of Waterloo and quickly moved to Toronto after graduating.  Quickly realized that engineering wasn’t for him and decided to pursue an exciting career in software development.  Shockingly discovered that big city living though fun was expensive.  With a can do spirit that only youth can provide proceeded to fall back on his education and moonlight in landscaping while coding media/marketing software during business hours.  After 20 years the coding bug has remained but vows never to do landscaping even on his own lawn.  Thomas is currently working at Temenos heading the technology team that consists of highly skilled, self-motivated and confident people.  Happily married for 16 years with two teenage daughters.  In his free time he enjoys tinkering with recreational code and believes in staying relevant with emerging technologies.  He also promotes and contributes to casual gaming communities and loves all types of games that challenge you mentally. Grateful to live in an amazing city where a short drive can provide any type of food your heart desires. Thomas enjoys talking with new people and discovering the fascinating and unique experiences they have to offer.

Current job market

What are the hottest tech skills right now?
Java, Server side java script, Big Data, Oracle, HTML5

Do you prefer candidates from big companies or smaller firms?
There are benefits from both. Coming from smaller firms, people tend to be more hands on and jacks of all trades. Coming from larger firms, people tend to have a better grasp of navigating larger companies and have learned how to cooperate in compartmentalized organizations.

How much do you value international experience in a candidate?
Depends where it comes from. Onshore international experience is on par with Canadian experience. Traditional offshore international experience isn’t viewed as highly.

To land the perfect candidate, what are you willing to negotiate on as part of the total compensation package?
We do negotiate on salary when appropriate. Benefits are standard and are not negotiable.

Tech skills: how important is it to know the latest software/language? At what point does this become obsolete?
Somewhat important. Skills become obsolete after five years. If a person has remained a developer but hasn’t touched a technology in several years it’s not a significant detriment. We expect some ramp-up.

Reviewing resumes

What are the five things that make an IT resume stand out?

  1. Relevant job experience with a specific language
  2. Computer Science or engineering degree in a recognized university. Preferably an onshore institution.
  3. Offshore experience
  4. Experience with relational databases and storage
  5. Grammar and spelling

Cover letters: What value do you think they add to a resume?
It doesn’t add much value. We go through a lot of CVs and a cover page is normally skimmed.

What certifications or qualifications do you look for in a resume?
I’m not interested in certifications. Practical experience or potential is more important than testing well. I’ve interviewed and worked with many people where certifications didn’t result in a more productive employee.

Evaluating candidates in interviews

What are the top three soft skills that you look for in an IT professional?

  1. Being well spoken with grammatically correct English
  2. Having social awareness and tact – i.e. understands when to talk and when to listen
  3. Leadership qualities

What is your experience with skills testing as part of the interview process?
We use skill testing as a screener for candidates. It’s an important part of the interview process to determine the capable.

How can you tell if someone is genuinely interested in the job?
•    Lots of good questions
•    Body language
•    They verbally tell me they are interested

How does professional attire influence your decision?
Somewhat but depends on the role. I prefer them to dress for the role. However, circumstances can dictate how a person is dressed.

When interviewing candidates, what’s your biggest turn-off?
When candidates try to answer in way that they think the right answer should be instead of answering what they think or feel. Honesty and integrity are very important. We don’t always have to agree.

How useful is social media when interviewing? Do you view candidates’ profile ahead of time?
Somewhat useful. How they dress in their profile and the effort to make themselves look professional indicates how important they feel about optics. It’s a valued social skill.

How do you feel when the candidate looks you up on LinkedIn prior to the interview?
Don’t mind it at all. It means they are interested and are doing their due diligence.

How important is it that the candidate follows up with your after the interview?
Not that important. If it’s appropriate and there was a need to contact me then it could help. However, I don’t want to receive scripted calls, it’s wasting both our times.

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